Raspberry Pi 2; configured with embedded-hardware use in mind

February 03, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Introducing the second-generation Raspberry Pi, founder Eben Upton offers some insights into the varied applications where he sees the Pi being used, in addition to its well-publicised role in education.

First announcement of the Raspberry Pi 2 model B is here.

The Pi 2 has a Broadcom chip with four ARM Cortex-A7 cores; giving it the claimed 6x gain in processing power over its predecessor. This is very much an average, Upton says; some single threaded benchmraks only gain a little speed, whereas “NEON-enabled video codecs can be over 20x faster.” Other than the quad-core swap, the Broadcom chip retains all of the features of the first generation, including the VideoCore IV 3D graphics core.

Upton acknowledges that the first-generation Pi, while it could be used “as a PC”, was at the limits of its performance in that role. Raspberry Pi 2, he says, marks, “a transition to a new world.” In addition to the less demanding task it has been applied to – such as the education aspect – the new chip will readily handle being deployed “just as a PC.”

Embedded users who have designed in the existing model B+ and don’t wish to make any design changes will continue to have that product available. Distributor RS Components says it will continue to stock all legacy products, including the Compute Module. Upton adds that a compute module derived from the Raspberry Pi 2 is an anticipated project/product, but at present there is no projected date for its release. For embedded use of the compute module, Upton says that his objective is to get to the point – both from the supply side, and from users perceptions – where, “it makes no sense not to use it ant any volume under 50,000 units.” Also not on the [immediate] product roadmap is a version 2, board scaled back to the “model A” format – the existing model A performs that entry-level function adequately, the Foundation believes.

Upton says that Raspberry Pi has seen varied deployment in embedded functions, often in control and supervisory roles in larger items of equipment.