I’ve been a fan of the Raspberry Pi since I was initially intrugued by the size of the board, its capabilities and also its price. Admittedly, I’ve mainly used my two Pis as media centre units but have also dabbled with other uses such as motion sensing when we’re not at home and simple file serving.
Unfortunately, my Raspberry Pi Mobel B+ unit was fried in an electrical storm last year leaving my original Model B to handle media centre duties. It works but with its single core 700MHz ARM CPU and 256MB of RAM (the Model B+ had 512MB of RAM which really helped with graphics processing) navigation around XBMC is slow. In contrast, using XBMC on my Ouya is fast and fluid but sadly lacks the ability to receive inputs over HDMI from the television remote.
So, when I read news about the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B I thought it would make a worthy replacement for the unit prematurely turned into a paperweight.
Anyway, highlights of the Gen 2 B are a faster 900MHz quad-core ARM CPU, 1GB RAM and four USB 2.0 ports packed into the same form factor. The USB ports are great given that you can connect a mouse and keyboard and still have USB ports leftover without having to use a hub.
For $55 plus shipping from Aus E-Parts (who seemed to be the cheapest by around $10) it’s still an affordable unit given the extra $8 over the Model B+ at $47. Element14 have the Gen 2 B going for a crazy $38 a pop here.
I think the one thing that really stood out for me was Microsoft’s announcement regarding the availability of Windows 10 for the Raspberry Pi 2 as part of the “Internet of Things” SKU. The kicker here is that Windows 10 will be free through the Windows Developer Program for IoT which could make development rather attractive when combined with the free versions of Visual Studio for small teams.
Maybe I could make an internet-connected garage door opener using this stuff?
Anyway, I’ve ordered the new Raspberry Pi so I will do my usual unboxing video and a comparison with the Model B and Model B+ when it arrives.