Last week, the Raspberry Pi Foundation made its biggest announcement for makers and hackers since it last introduced A+ and B+ versions in 2014: a new Raspberry Pi B, codename “Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.” So, what does this mean for us as designers and developers? What new features will Raspberry Pi 2 Model B be using, specifications, the price, and how will it affect our projects?
The Raspberry Pi 2 is designed to touch the heart of anyone with electronics and programming skills. It’s featured with a new BCM2836 quad-core system-on-chips with 1GB of RAM. According to Pi designers, this new processor should deliver at “least 6 times” more performance compared with B. Personally, I would really like to wait for a benchmark test between RPi 2 B and B+ and then spoke about performances.
In other words, the Pi Foundation designer Eben Upton said that the Raspberry Pi 1 is already used as a PC, but the Raspberry Pi 2 should be a great PC at the same cost. More than that, the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is the first open-source Pi platform from the beginning with the same expectation from an embedded Linux platform.
New vs old features
The most obvious improvements are the processor and the capacity of RAM memory. The new processor is a Cortex A7 quad-core Broadcom BCM2836 at 900MHz and 1GB of RAM shared with the GPU. According to the same Pi designer, the processor is “a little tweak to allow us to address the gig of RAM.” With such a powerful processor, the Pi 2 should properly support Android, Windows 10 and Ubuntu operating system.
Looking at Pi 2 from other viewpoints, all we known about Pi B+ and uses with it, should be compatible. So, all the cases, add-ons, and much more mechanical and electrical components that work with Raspberry Pi B+ should be compatible with Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. If the list with compatible components is huge, from the software side, the things are a little different. For example, the previous versions of the NOOBS software (1.3.x) are not compatible anymore with the Raspberry Pi 2 B. In this case, you have to purchase a memory card with pre-installed NOOBS 1.4 software or program your own SD card after downloading the NOOBS 1.4 operating system.
With the main focus on DIY projects, the Pi 2 B has the same form factor as model B, the same full size HDMI port, the same micro USB power supply connection, the same CSI camera port and DSI display ports, and of-course the same 10/100 Ethernet port.
Raspberry Pi 2 Model B specifications
- Processor: Broadcom BCM2836 800MHz ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core processor with VideoCore IV dual-core GPU;
- GPU: Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode, GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure;
- RAM: 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM;
- Video output: HD 1080p, composite video (PAL/NTSC) output;
- Ethernet: 10/100 BaseT RJ45;
- Adapter: HDMI 1.3 & 1.4 video/audio socket
- Audio: stereo, 3.5mm 4-pole audio/composite video out jack socket;
- USB: 4 x USB 2.0;
- Memory card: MicroSD card socket;
- GPIO: 40-pin header for GPIO and serial buses (compatible with Raspberry Pi 1 26-pin header);
- Power supply: +5V @ 2A via microUSB socket;
- Dimensions: 86 x 56 x 20mm;
- 15-way MPI CSI-2 connector for Raspberry Pi HD video camera;
- 15-way Display Serial Interface connector;
Improved features at the same price as B+?
According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the Pi 2 Model B is waiting your order at the same price as the B+. I found three online stores with three different prices: in the UK is $34.30, in Australia at $40.00, and again in Australia at $59.00. As you can see, the prices start at $34.30 and reaches nearly double the starting price.
Even the development board is available online now, the organization has built only 100,000 units. If the number of orders is similar to the B version, the 100,000 numbers will be reached in a few weeks.