Friday, November 25th 2011

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

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 - - 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.
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
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52 Comments on Raspberry Pi: the Upcoming $25 1080p-Capable ARM-Based Hobby Computer


December 1st, We have PCBs!
We’ve made 100 of these betas, which will now be populated with components (I don’t have an ETA from Pete on the completed boards, but I promise you I’m as keen to find out as you are). Raspberry Pis from this very first, small batch, will be going on sale when they’ve been tested, most likely via an auction so that we can raise some money from those collectors who are very keen to get their hands on devices with a very low serial number. I can’t make any promises here, as it all depends on how they perform in testing, but we anticipate that happening before the end of the year. As soon as they’re finished, we’ll be starting production in earnest.
Two more pics at the source.
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Overclocked quantum bit

I wuz gunna go cardin' but the number's blanked out and the card expired in September. :cry: :laugh:
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