After a buff of the Model B and a streamlining of the A, adding plus signs to both device's names, the Raspberry Pi Foundation decided that its was time to move its credit card-sized computer to the next level. Branded the Raspberry Pi 2 B, the foundation's latest programmer's computer has been fitted with more power and more RAM.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has drained dry the original model's 700-MHz ARM11 CPU, spending a lot of money and optimization efforts to do so, says Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi co-founder. It gets to a point where there isn't a replacement for more memory and processing power, says Upton.
"Our challenge was to figure out how to get this without throwing away our investment in the platform or spoiling all those projects and tutorials which rely on the precise details of the Raspberry Pi hardware," Upton says. "Fortunately for us, Broadcom were willing to step up with a new SoC, BCM2836."
The Raspberry Pi 2 B, bearing its predecessor's $35 price tag, is compatible with the Raspberry Pi 1. It features a 900-MHz quad-core ARM Cortext A7 CPU and 1 GB of SDRAM, which are six times faster and twice the capcity of of the Model B+.
"This has an identical form-factor to the existing Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+, but manages to pack in both the new BCM2836 and a full 1 GB of SDRAM from our friends at Micron," says Upton. "All of the connectors are in the same place and have the same functionality, and the board can still be run from a 5V micro-USB power adapter."
The Pi 2 B enables users to do pretty much everything they can do on a traditional PC, according to Upton. Users can surf the web, watch videos and even play games like Minecraft, he says. But apart from the RAM and CPU buff, everything else remains the same.
"So, all of those tutorials that people have developed over the last few years will carry on working with this device," Upton says. "It just kind of broadens out the range of interesting stuff kids can do."
Evidencing just how far ahead the Raspberry Pi Foundation was looking when developing its latest product, Upton says the Pi 2 B will be compatible with Windows 10 when Microsoft's latest OS launches. The version of the OS that will be compatible with the Pi 2 B will be availabe free of charge to developers of all skill levels.
While the Pi 2 B out lifts and out works the Pi 1 Model B and B+, Upton says his organization has no plans to end production of the previous models.
"We'll keep building Raspberry Pi 1 Model B and Model B+ as long as there's demand for it," says Upton.