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Raspberry Pi: the Upcoming $25 1080p-Capable ARM-Based Hobby Computer

Discussion in 'News' started by qubit, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Yes, you heard that right, when completed, the Raspberry Pi foundation will be selling a credit card sized computer running Linux that can plug into your television and play H.264 1080p30 videos. Raspberry Pi is the somewhat cheekily-named UK registered charity which has been set up to design and build a very low cost computer that is targeted for use in computer science lessons in schools, to "put the fun back into learning computing." Why, was it ever not fun?! However, such a simple and cheap general purpose gadget has the potential for many other uses than the classroom, as the world is full of inventive tech-minded people that can tinker with something like this and build innovative projects with them, perhaps by using several of these together.

    The product will come in two configurations, a $25 Model A with 128 MB SDRAM & $35 Model B with 256 MB SDRAM and both will come with the same 700 MHz Broadcom BCM2835 media processor featuring an ARM11 (ARM1176JZF-S) core, Broadcom GPU core, DSP core and support for Package-on-Package (PoP) RAM. We expect that in this day and age, most people will go for the 256 MB model, which is still a very small amount of RAM. For those that want to get the most out if this device, the website - www.raspberrypi.org - has a forum and a wiki with tons of technical details on the device, including benchmarks and links to many other news stories & blogs about the product. There's even a shop, although at the moment, it's only selling keyboard stickers of the foundation's logo.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Note that the target price of $25/$35 is a hard limit, so the standard feature set is limited by this. One example is that it has no analog VGA output, since this would require conversion electronics that would increase the price. The wiki however, does provide links to suppliers of HDMI to VGA adapters. This computer is expected to be available in December in the UK and possibly the US. In the pictures above, the diagram on the right is the final PCB artwork and the provisional specification is shown below:

    • 700 MHz Broadcom BCM2835 media processor featuring an ARM11 (ARM1176JZF-S) core, Broadcom GPU core, DSP core and support for Package-on-Package (PoP) RAM
    • 128 MB (Model A) or 256MB of SDRAM (Model B), stacked on top of the CPU as a PoP device
    • OpenGL ES 2.0
    • 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
    • Composite and HDMI video output
    • One USB 2.0 port provided by the BCM2835
    • SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
    • General-purpose I/O (About 16 3v3) and various other interfaces, brought out to 1.27 mm pin-strip
    • Optional integrated 2-port USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller (Model B)
    • Open software (Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)
    • Capability to support various expansion boards
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
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  2. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Thanks to Easy Rhino for the tip. :toast:
     
  3. Damn_Smooth

    Damn_Smooth

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    I have no idea what use I would have for this. It's weaker than any phone from the last 2 years. 1080p youtube videos? Meh, I'll pass.
     
  4. TRWOV

    TRWOV

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    Cool, nice and cheap. I might go ahead with my car pc project after all. I had considered a Via Nano board but prices are through the roof.
     
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  5. Damn_Smooth

    Damn_Smooth

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    Thanks, I didn't think of that. I'm still good though.
     
  6. Lionheart

    Lionheart

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    Where can I plug in my GTX 580 thankyou ^_^
     
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  7. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    For $25 that's a great hobby kit. One can already think of so many applications even for the 128 MB model.

    • Stick two wires into its power connectors
    • Stick the other ends of those wires to the L and N of your 120V wall socket
    • Enjoy the stunning visuals™ (in Intel's words)
     
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  8. mediasorcerer New Member

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    Ah, thankyou lionheart and btarunr, funny words!

    This could be good for a pushbike, with a rear facing cam and a small screen mounted on the handlebars? Doesnt seem quite powerful enough at its current spec.

    Good idea though.
     
  9. Jstn7477

    Jstn7477

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    FXI Cotton Candy is a LOT better, but I guess this has a little more connectivity instead.
     
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  10. Trackr New Member

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    What kind of OS can this thing run 1080p from?

    I doubt you could run Windows 7 on 700Mhz ARM.
     
  11. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Debian, Fedora, any modern Linux-based OS for the ARM architecture.

    You should be able to run Windows Mobile 7 "Mango". You can't run Windows 7 (the PC operating system) on any ARM platform for that matter. Not even NVIDIA Tegra penta-core chips.
     
  12. theJesus

    theJesus

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    Complain all you want the low specs, but at this price it's pretty damn cool. Could make a very cheap alternative to an HTPC for those on a tight budget.
     
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  13. Zubasa

    Zubasa

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    Exactly, people complaining about the specs need to realize they can't even get a decent router for $25.
     
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  14. Chevalr1c

    Chevalr1c

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    Windows is compiled for the X86 architecture, so even if the embedded CPU of this device ran at a clock speed of, say 20 PHz, neither Windows nor Mac OS and not even gaming console OSes (being compiled for IBM's PowerPC arch, AFAIK) would be compatible. You are currently trying to compare peaches to cauliflowers.

    And you should now (as a TPU member) that Linux and BSD, especially when properly adapted to the hardware that is used, is more leightweight than Windows.

    And this is mainly meant to fiddle with and to practice programming on, as it seems.
     
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  15. Completely Bonkers New Member

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  16. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Yeah, I remember it and I was thinking about it when I wrote up the article. :)
     
  17. Completely Bonkers New Member

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    Original ARM processor in Acorn Evaluation System

    [​IMG]

    I remember it being "unbelievable" when it came out. The performance was not a % or double of existing systems. It was like 20-100x faster depending on what it was doing. Reason? It was 32-bit and had 25 separate registers, whereas, the CPUs of the time (excluding mainframes) were 8-bit with just 3x 8-bit registers and perhaps 1x or 2x hybrid 16bit registers.

    So old 8-bit code was constantly swapping registers and PUSHing and PULLing to the stack. So there was a lot of "overhead" to actual computation time. Any 16, 32 or float calculations required a lot of lengthy routines and scratch space using memory as virtual registers. This was slow. Multiply didnt exist in 8-bit (typically) whereas these new processes had a MUL instruction.

    Incredible breakthrough at the time.
     
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  18. Frick

    Frick Fishfaced Nincompoop

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    Ohh, possible release date! BTW, if you're interested there's an old thread about it here.

    Do wantwantwant noew!

    @C Bonkers: When was that released?

    Oh, and here we can see it playing Quake 3!
     
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  19. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Nice find. Yes, the performace gain was astronomical and those original Archimedes computers, which had an ARM2 CPU, absolutely flew. It was the first taste of high performance that mere mortals had seen in a desktop computer. :D Trust Acorn to f*ck up such a huge advantage. :rolleyes:

    I think the Z80 had a multiply instruction, but it's been so long now, I'm not sure.
     
  20. Completely Bonkers New Member

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    @Frick, 1986/87 I think

    @qubit. No. Z80 had no Multiply. You had to do it with a series of adds and binary rotates (multiply by 2 in binary means shift all 1 and 0 to the left).

    Here is someone showing you how to do it on the Z80
    http://sgate.emt.bme.hu/patai/publications/z80guide/part4.html

    IIRC, the Comodore 64 used a "special" 6509 processor called the 6510 which DID have a simple 8bit hardware multiply for one of its registers. It wasnt a "true" multiply, but it helped the coding significantly, meaning long-hand multiply as shown in the link above could be simplified and be about 4-5x times quicker. DIVIDE was still a PITA.

    Remember that 8 and 16 bit integer multiple is EASY PEASY compared to the code needed on 8-bit processors to do floating point! Now THOSE PROGRAMMERS I really admire.

    http://6502.org/source/floats/wozfp1.txt / http://6502.org/source/floats/wozfp3.txt

    Steve Wozniak (and friends). Genius.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
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  21. HalfAHertz

    HalfAHertz

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    Yey! Finally my toaster will be able to display 1080p pr0n!
     
  22. Jizzler

    Jizzler

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    Can pick up a 48 10/100 + 2 Gb port switch for a little over $200.

    Now to think of something to do with 48 ARMS.
     
  23. HalfAHertz

    HalfAHertz

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    Ya but can you fit it into a toaster?
     
  24. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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  25. Jizzler

    Jizzler

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    Yeah, MY toaster. Can do a whole loaf at a time :D

    Hmm... may not have a need for a toaster with an ARM cluster. But I wonder if they would make good thin clients. Plug in into a TV, connect up to other computers in the house.
     

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