Today, the Raspberry Pi foundation announced the Raspberry Pi 2, the “sequel” to the wildly popular Raspberry Pi and our budget media center build. The origianl Rasperry Pi has seen a number of board revisions over the years, the most recent being the Raspberry Pi Model B+.
So what does the Raspberry Pi 2 bring to the table over its predecessor?
Firstly, there is a significant leap in performance. In moving from the BCM2835 to the BCM2836, the Raspberry Pi 2 has a 900MHz quad-core ARMv7 processor, up from the single 700Mhz core in the original. So far, synthetic benchmarks have suggested that it performs roughly 6 times faster than the Model B+. It’s also got a RAM upgrade to 1GB, up from 512MB, and is still priced at only $35.
However, not everything is new. The board maintains the same form factor as the Raspberry Pi Model B+, meaning accessories should be compatible. Additionally, the GPU is still the VideoCore IV. This was a relatively powerful GPU for the device and has always offered excellent media playback, so I’m not disappointed with its reappearance here.
Windows 10 on the Raspberry Pi 2?
That wasn’t the only interesting announcement however. The post also mentioned that the Raspberty Pi foundation are collaborating with Microsoft to bring a free version Windows 10 to the tiny PC. The wording in Microsoft’s announcement implies that there will be some differences, so whether this is some form of cut-down Windows 10 or something more akin to Windows 8.1 with Bing is yet to be seen. Rest assured that we’ll be trying to test it out as soon as possible.
Could this be THE budget Kodi hardware to get?
I’m definitely excited to see how the new BCM2836 on the Raspberry PI 2 improves Kodi performance over its predecessor. Whilst media playback was always excellent and Kodi optimizations went a long way towards improving the user experience, I always felt that the CPU held the platform back. Menus could be sluggish, scraping was slow and thumbnails took forever to generate. With 4 faster cores available, I’m hoping this greatly improves UI performance.
Furthermore, with USB ports capable of delivering 1.2A, plugging in a USB harddrive or WiFi dongle without the need for a powered hub should be a blessing.
Raspberry Pi 2 Technical Specifications
- Chipset: Broadcom BCM2836
- CPU: 900MHz Arm7 Quad Core Processor
- GPU: VideoCore IV
- RAM: 1GB DDR2
- Storage: MicroSD card slot
- Video/Audio Output: HDMI, Composite AV via 3.5mm jack.
- Connectivity: 10/100M Ethernet
- USB: 4x USB 2.0, 1x micro USB (used for power)
- Expansion: 40 pin GPIO, CSI Camera Port, DSI display port
- Power: 5V 1.8A via micro USB port.
- Dimensions – 85 x 56 mm
[via the Raspberry Pi Foundation]