Raspberry Pi 2

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Out of nowhere we all woke up to some news from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, there was a new Raspberry Pi. This new device comes only a few months after the Model B+ and uses the exact same layout of the board. They are of course competing with some other boards like the Banana Pro and the Banana Pi M2 hardware wise.

The board upset some people because of the fact the B+ came out not long ago, causing a lot of people to run out and buy the latest and greatest model just to find another new one a couple months later. This board is quite the upgrade though if you stick to the Raspberry Pi boards.

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Hardware

The new Pi boasts a quad core processor and a gig of ram which makes for a 6x performance increase since the old board. This is refreshing if you have been using your Raspberry Pi as a media device or a game machine. If you are using your Pi for something like an Octoprint server or an internet radio you are fine holding off on the upgrade.

  • Broadcom BCM2836 ARMv7 Quad Core Processor powered Single Board Computer running at 900MHz
  • 1GB RAM so you can now run bigger and more powerful applications
  • Identical board layout and footprint as the Model B+, so all cases and 3rd party add-on boards designed for the Model B+ will be fully compatible.
  • Fully HAT compatible
  • 40pin extended GPIO to enhance your “real world” projects
  • 10/100 Ethernet Port to quickly connect the Raspberry Pi to the Internet

One downside to the hardware is the lack of gigabit Ethernet.

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Software

All of the existing software for the Raspberry Pi (including NOOBS) works fine. You wont be able to pop and old SD card out of your B+ though unless you update the firmware first. If you download a fresh image you will be fine. You can update the firmware by running a few commands

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade 
sudo rpi-update

Once this is done you will need a reboot but you will have fresh firmware which is ready for the Raspberry Pi 2. Performance wise the software is way better. I was able to install Libre Office and do word processing, Geany for programming, and I watched some video using VLC. All of which were tasks I wouldn’t have done on the previous Raspberry Pis.

The GUI on the Pi 2 is a lot more responsive when using Raspbian which is a big deal if you are not using it as a command line device. I mainly ssh into my Pis because of how I am using them. I find the software to run quite a bit better on this device.

Final Thoughts

Over all this board is a really nice upgrade for the Raspberry Pi users. Since I have been using boards like the Banana Pi and the Banana Pro a lot of the features of the new RPI are not as amazing to me since I already was used to them. My dream is to have one of these single board computers so good I can use it as a reliable work station that could rival a desktop computer. The RPI2 is not quite there yet but it is quite good.

The performance is worth it though if you are using the original Pi with a GUI. While demoing it for some guys at Bold I had them leave all the windows they opened open while opening more software. It took quite a bit to slow down the Raspberry Pi 2. There is some benefit to getting the official Raspberry Pi simply because of the community.

Pictures

Here are some pictures I took of the Raspberry Pi 2 along side the B+ and Banana Pi M2.