The Raspberry Pi 2 – which made its debut earlier this week – packs a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor and 1GB of RAM (LPDDR2 SDRAM). Additional key specs include four USB ports, 40 GPIO pins, HDMI output, an Ethernet jack, 3.5mm audio jack and microSD card slot
According to Joel Hruska of Extreme Tech, the new Raspberry Pi could very well be 40-60% faster than the old RBP (in single-threaded code), due to the clock increase and core improvements.
“Add the multi-core capabilities, and this second generation chip should be three to four times faster in total,” writes Hruska.
“The Raspberry Pi Foundation is claiming a sixfold speedup, with performance ranging from 1.5 times faster in single-threaded code to four times in Sunspider. NEON-enabled tests, which the ARM Cortex-A7 supports, can run 20 times faster.”
The Raspberry Pi 2 will also run Microsoft Windows 10, in addition to a number of GNU/Linux distros including Canonical’s Snappy Ubuntu Core.
“We’ve had people queuing up and saying they want Windows, the whole time,” Pi founder and CEO Eben Upton told Tim Anderson of the UK-based Register. “I think there’s a sense that ‘you’re a real PC’ if you run Windows.”
Interestingly, EE Times journalist Cabe Atwell noted back in December 2014 that increasing onboard memory was a “key” step in taking SBCs out of the embedded world and into mainstream usage.
“Gone are the days of blinking lights and command lines,” he wrote. “Only through RAM can desktop-level software come to the embedded development world.”
Loren Shalinsky, a Strategic Development Director at Rambus, expressed similar sentiments.
“As Atwell points out, bolstering onboard memory is key to moving SBCs like the Raspberry Pi 2 into the mainstream. It is worth noting that the first Raspberry Pi was a single-core ARMv11 processor with only 128MB of RAM,” he added.
“Driven by an increase in the amount of RAM to 1GB, the minimum required by Windows 8.1 and 10, access to desktop-level software will allow more traditional end-users to take full advantage of SBCs.”