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Raspberry Pi 2 Is Faster, But Not Pricier

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Available for the same price as its predecessor, the next-gen Raspberry Pi 2 packs the BCM2836 and 1GB of SDRAM.

Raspberry Pi 2

The next-gen Raspberry Pi 2 is on sale now, and despite its souped-up memory and CPU performance, it is still just $35.

The Raspberry Pi 2 runs a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM, which offers six times the performance and two times the memory of its predecessor, the company said.

The newest Raspberry Pi is compatible with the first-gen device, which has 512MB of RAM, a Broadcom BCM2835 application processor, and a 700MHz ARM11 CPU. Raspberry Pi 2 also looks identical to Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+, an upgraded version of the Raspberry Pi 1 that added more ports and some other improvements over its two-year-old predecessor.

As a result, connectors on the Raspberry Pi 2 are in the same place and have the same functionality, so existing users will find it easy to make the transition. Also, the board can still be run from a 5V micro-USB power adapter.

“Since we launched the original Raspberry Pi Model B, back in 2012, we’ve done an enormous amount of software work to get the best out of our Broadcom BCM2835 application processor and its 700MHz ARM11 CPU,” Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi Founder and CEO, wrote in a blog post. “Nonetheless, there comes a point when there’s no substitute for more memory and CPU performance.”

Workers have spent “thousands of hours” developing firmware and board support “to make Raspberry Pi the most stable single board computer in the world,” he said. “It’s worth going back and trying out an old SD card image from 2012 to get an idea of how far we’ve come.”

The low-priced Raspberry Pi 2 is available for purchase from element14 and RS Components. “Remember you’ll need an updated NOOBS or Raspbian image including an ARMv7 kernel and modules from our downloads page,” Upton said.

Once you get the device, you can take advantage of “the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu Core, as well as Microsoft Windows 10,” according to Upton. Windows 10 will be available for free to the Maker community later this year. Join the Windows Developer Program for IoT to get updates about that.

“Raspberry Pi has quickly become one of the Maker community’s favorite platforms because their highly capable, low-cost boards and compute modules enable developers to bring their vision to life,” Kevin Dallas, general manager of the Windows IoT Group, wrote in a blog post.

“Raspberry Pi 2 is a surprisingly powerful device that opens up the world of computing and programming to a huge range of people and skill levels,” Dallas added.

The launch of the Raspberry Pi 2 does not mean the demise of its predecessors. The company promised its RP1 Model B and B+ will continue production, “as long as there’s demand for it.” Both boards will remain on sale for $35. Model A+, meanwhile, is still available for $20.

For more, see PCMag’s review of Raspberry Pi and the slideshow above.

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