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Raspberry Pi 2 is six times faster than Pi 1, supports Windows 10

Agam Shah | Feb. 3, 2015
Raspberry Pi 2 will support a custom edition of Windows 10 for the development of robots, smart devices and Internet-connected appliances.

The speed boost made it feasible to put Windows on Raspberry Pi 2, and Microsoft quickly whipped up a version of Windows 10 for the device, Upton said.

"We've always had a good relationship," Upton said. "Obviously with Pi 1, there was no way we could work together."

Windows 10 brings some unique things to Raspberry Pi 2 in the areas of device updating and system security, Upton said.

Microsoft has talked about a version of Windows 10 code-named Athens for power-, cost- and size-constrained devices. The OS will be developed for both ARM and x86 processors.

The original Raspberry Pi, which started shipping in 2012 and was priced from $25 to $35, became popular for its sheer versatility. One of its most popular uses was as a home media server with XBMC, with the computer serving movies and shows to TVs. It was also used by programmers to test Linux applications and by students to learn programming.

But Pi's popularity ended up hurting it the most. Many users clamored for an upgrade to its aging CPU and components. Some users moved over to faster boards with better graphics.

Component prices have come down, which made it possible to build the faster Raspberry Pi 2 in the same price range as its predecessor, Upton said.

The biggest upgrade in the Raspberry Pi 2 is the CPU, which provides much faster processing power. It has a quad-core ARM Cortex A7 CPU, which is used in many smartphones today. At 900MHz, the CPU speed isn't blistering, but it will capably run a Linux distribution with a browser and a productivity application like LibreOffice, Upton said.

It has a Broadcom VideoCore IV graphics processor, which will be able to render 1080p video. It will be also possible to play basic 3D games with support for OpenGL ES 2.0. The computer has 1GB of RAM, which is double that of the original Raspberry Pi.

The new computer is also backward compatible with the original Raspberry Pi, which was important to Upton in developing the board. That will ensure electronics made for the original Raspberry Pi will work with the new computer. Applications will also be cross-compatible.

Otherwise, components on Raspberry Pi 2 are similar to that on older Model B+. It has four USB ports, an HDMI outlet, an Ethernet slot, microSD slot for storage and GPIO pins.

Raspberry Pi Foundation will retain the original models that shipped in 2012, including the $35 Model B+ and Model A+, which is now to be priced at around $20.

 

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