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Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi: How the DIY computer has been improved

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Pi 2

Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi - It's time to compare the specs

The Raspberry Pi 2 has been announced almost exactly two years after the first model opened up a whole new market for DIY microcomputers. It's been a pretty major success story for its Cambridge-based creators, and ahead of schedule, there's now a new one to play with.

So how much of an improvement is the Raspberry Pi 2 - specicially compared to the formerly-top-of-the-range Raspberry Pi Model B+?

We take a snapshot look at the specs to see which is the better buy.

Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi - Power

Raspberry Pi 2: 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 Broadcom BCM2836 CPU and Videocore IV GPU, 1GB RAM

Raspberry Pi: 700MHz single-core ARM11 Broadcom BCM2835 CPU and Videocore IV GPU, 512MB RAM

We’ll start with the biggest difference between the Raspberry Pi 2 and the original Raspberry Pi. The newer device has received a massive power boost.

This comes in the form of a new Broadcom chip with four cores (the original only has one) and a higher clock speed (900MHz versus 700MHz).

Another advantage come with the amount of RAM. While the latest B+ model of the original Raspberry Pie comes with 512MB of RAM, the Raspberry Pi 2 features double the amount.

Elsewhere, both Raspberry Pi computers have the same Videocore IV GPU.

SEE ALSO: Creator CI20 vs Raspberry Pi: Battle of the DIY microcomputers

RP1

Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi - Storage

Raspberry Pi 2: SD card slot

Raspberry Pi: SD card slot

Neither Raspberry Pi has fixed storage. In both cases, you must supply your own with an SD card. You might consider this a bit of a missed opportunity for the Raspberry Pi 2, but in this way the device is kept functionally identical to its predecessor. It's cheap enough these days to purchase a SD card from online retailers like Amazon, so shouldn't push up the cost greatly.

Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi - Connectivity

Raspberry Pi 2: 4 x USB, 1 x HDMI, Ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack

Raspberry Pi: 4 x USB, 1 x HDMI, Ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack

Once again, the Raspberry Pi 2 keeps an identical set-up to the original.

“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,” reads the blurb on the official Raspberry Pi website.

That means four USB connections, one HDMI, an ethernet connection, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Simple.

Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi - Software

Raspberry Pi 2: Variety of Debian-based OSs, primarily Raspbian OS, free Windows 10 version

Raspberry Pi: Variety of Debian-based OSs, primarily Raspbian OS

The whole point of the Raspberry Pi 2’s largely unchanged setup (but for a big boost in power) is to make the experience consistent for those upgrading from the original.

As you might imagine, this means that the software that runs on the new device is identical to the that of the original. That means a decent choice of operating systems, many based on Debian.

One notable bonus of going with the Raspberry Pi 2 is the announced future availability of a compatible Windows 10 version. The makers of Raspberry Pi have been working with Microsoft for six months to get this version up and running, and it’ll be made available for free when ready.

That’s a pretty massive advantage for the Raspberry Pi 2, and it's an example of what that extra power can do for its users.

Debian

Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi - Price

Raspberry Pi 2: $32

Raspberry Pi: $32

The final benefit of the Raspberry Pi 2 is its price. Despite being a fair bit more powerful than the original, it’s been given exactly the same $32 (just over £21) price tag.

If you think that this means the price of the first Raspberry Pi has been sliced, you’d be wrong. It’s still being made and sold for industrial customers who want to keep the same consistent set-up (such as those in the education field), but at the exact same price as before.

Neither is what you'd call expensive, given what both microcomputers can do in the right hands, but the Raspberry Pi 2 definitely represents the better value of the two.

Early Verdict

The Raspberry Pi 2 is an improvement over the original in a couple of key areas, and identical in all others.

It’s much more powerful than the original, and will eventually have the unique ability to run a free version of Windows 10. Despite this, it’s identical to set-up and run, and is also priced exactly the same.

As such, anyone looking to get into the whole DIY microcomputer scene would be foolish to select the original Raspberry Pi over this new and thoughtfully improved model.

Matthew Bunton

February 2, 2015, 7:45 pm

The mind boggles at the possibilities.

Everlast

February 3, 2015, 12:23 pm

Absolutely, for example put this on a drone and make it go around on its own and do stuff ...

Bruce Jefferies

February 5, 2015, 11:33 am

This should have been called the Raspberry Tau

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