This morning, the Raspberry Pi Foundation have announced a brand new version of their small board computer, the Raspberry Pi Version 2 Model B. This is the first version to feature a new processor and new memory, but it remains completely compatible with older boards, and has the same form factor as the Raspberry Pi Version 1 Model B+. It’s also the same price as the old Version 1 Model B+ ($35).
The new board features a quad core ARM Cortex A7 SoC and 1GB of RAM.
The new board features a quad core ARM Cortex A7 SoC and 1GB of RAM (now mounted on the bottom of the PCB rather than ontop of the SoC as in previous versions). Otherwise, the board remains unchanged from the B+. That means, it features 40 GPIO pins (26 of which are useable), 4 USB ports, a Fast Ethernet port, HDMI output, audio and analogue video on a 4-pole jack and a micro USB port for power.
The new board is 100% compatible with the version 1 B+. That means any software that ran before should still run, and any expansions that used the GPIOs should still work without problems. You will need to grab the latest version of Raspbian, but otherwise you can just swap the new board in as a direct replacement.
The Raspberry Pi Version 2 Model B
We’ve had one of the new boards for a few days and have been putting it through a series of gruelling benchmarks to find out exactly how it compares to the previous version.
(click for larger)
As you can see from this graph, the multi-threaded CPU intensive benchmarks ran far faster than on the previous Pi: about 6 times faster than the version 1 Pi without overclocking, and 4 times faster than the version 1 Pi with turbo overclocking enabled. This is compared to a B+, but the results should be the same for all previous versions of the Pi as they had the same SoC.
These multi-threaded benchmarks were specifically designed to split the load up well across many processor cores. In real life, not all processing tasks do, so we also ran benchmarks for singe-threaded tasks. In this case, the new Pi ran about 1.7 times the speed of the old version, and still noticeably faster even when the version 1 Pi had turbo overclocking enabled.
With the memory no longer mounted on top, you can see the Broadcom logo on the SoC.
To get a feel for how the new model performed normal tasks, not just articifial benchmarks, we also timed a series of normal computing tasks, like installing software, starting a work processor and opening a complex spread sheet. These came together to form the typical desktop workloads benchmarks. As you can see on the graph above, the new Pi dramatically out performed the old Pi at these.
The new memory is clocked slightly faster than on the old version, so that accounts for the difference in the memory benchmark (it didn’t take into account the larger size). Increasedencryption performance of accounted for the majority of the difference in the networking benchmark as it included a test for secure transfer.
The new Pi uses exactly the same VideoCore IV GPU as the previous model, so there is no significant difference in 3D performance or capability.
Benchmarks are good indicators of performance, but they’re rubbish at detailing how a computer feels. The multi-core SoC and increased memory means the new Pi is much more suited to desktop use than it’s predecessor. Switching tasks is now much snappier, and browsing the web is no longer an exercise in frustration. It’s a great upgrade, and since it retains the same price as the old Version 1 Model B+ ($35), it represents fantastic value for money.