Raspberry Pi Technology
Exclusive First Look: Hands On With the Fast, Powerful Raspberry Pi 2

Today, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the Raspberry Pi 2, Model BMake: has been able to play with the tiny new computer for a week and let us tell you, the new Pi is fast, really fast.

How fast? We set it up and concurrently sliced an STL, browsed the internet, ran the photo editing software GIMP, played minecraft, and kept several system-monitoring terminal windows running — a mix of applications that wouldn’t be possible on the original-generation Pi’s, but handled fine by this new version.

It’s “at least 6x” faster than the original RPi B+, according to CEO Eben Upton. It does this with a new quad-core ARMv7 processor running at 900mhz, a jump up from the original B’s 700mhz single processor. And its RAM is double the original, now at 1GB — another big help with having all those programs going.

Raspberry Pi 2
Hands on with the new Raspberry Pi 2, Model B

All that leads up to some impressive performance for a computer that holds the same tiny form factor and still only costs $35.

In the above video shot at the Maker Media Labs, we demonstrate the new board running these multiple applications without taking a performance hit.

Concurrent Processes on the Pi 2, Model B
Concurrent processes on the Pi 2, Model B

Technical Specifications

While the GPIO (General Purpose Input and Output) remains the same as the Model B+, the addition of a quad-core 900MHz processor and 1GB of RAM ensures smooth performance even when executing resource demanding tasks. Slicing an STL file, running GIMP, or playing Minecraft are all far more enjoyable experiences given the improved computing power.

  • SoC Broadcom BCM2836 (CPU, GPU, DSP, SDRAM, and single USB port)
    CPU 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex A7 (ARMv7 instruction set)
    GPU Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 250 MHz
    OpenGL ES 2.0 (24 GFLOPS)
    1080p30 MPEG-2 and VC-1 decoder (with license)
    ​1080p30 h.264/MPEG-4 AVC high-profile decoder and encoder
  • Memory 1 GB (shared with GPU)
  • USB ports 4
  • Video input 15-pin MIPI camera interface (CSI) connector
  • Video outputs HDMI, composite video (PAL and NTSC) via 3.5 mm jack
  • Audio inputs I²S
  • Audio outputs Analog via 3.5 mm jack; digital via HDMI and I²S
  • Storage MicroSD
  • Network 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet
  • Peripherals 17 GPIO plus specific functions, and HAT ID bus
  • Power rating 800 mA (4.0 W)
  • Power source 5 V via MicroUSB or GPIO header
  • Size 85.60 mm × 56.5 mm
  • Weight 45 g (1.6 oz)​

The new Raspberry Pi 2, Model B, is available to pre-order from the Maker Shed.

2 thoughts on “Exclusive First Look: Hands On With the Fast, Powerful Raspberry Pi 2

    1. Raspberry Pi version is almost identical to the Pocket Edition, it doesn’t have nearly as much stuff in it as the PC version, but it’s still fun to play in. Windows 10 coming out, but it depends on if it’s running Java Runtime or not.

  1. I was just looking to buy a b+ to learn some programming with my 5 y.o. son. This was unexpected good news to me. I pay the same 35$ and get a machine that might be nice to use for things other than text terminal kind of programming. Very nice. Ordered mine at 10:11 AM this morning. I wonder when it will ship.

  2. What slicer program and how fast did it slice 3D files for printing? I want to use one as a 3D printer computer and having ability to do onboard slicing is huge.

  3. I’m really disappointed that they didn’t add hardware PWM. My beaglebone will still be getting a lot of use from the PWM pins. That said, I’m pretty excited about the extra cores for running OpenCV and other big libraries.

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I love to tinker and write about electronics. My days are spent building projects and working as a Technical Editor for MAKE.

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