Another new version of the every-popular RaspberryPi has been released, and this time the form factor has stayed the same (as the B+) and it’s the CPU and memory that get the attention: single-core ARM6 is replaced by quad-core ARM7, and the RAM doubled to 1GB. This opens up the platform to Ubuntu and should help stave off some of the competition for a while.
How much faster is it?
The box claims 6x improvement, and of course real-world scores will depend on the workload and being able to keep those four cores busy. But anyway, here are the Geekbench scores I’ve run on the RP1-B+ and the new RP2-B:
1329 puts the new model roughly comparable to something like an Intel Core Duo T2400 (from 2009), adequate for every-day desktop computing in many cases. For me though the board is much more interesting as a network server or embedded application server.
MediaWiki for example is frustrating on the original RaspberryPi, so with an existing Raspbian image updated to work with the new platform (simply ‘sudo apt-get dist-upgrade’ then reboot), I measured response via ‘time wget …’ – the new board is consistently 3x or 4x faster than the older model, providing sub-second response times in many cases (with APC PHP caching enabled). At least for a small wiki, this makes the platform pretty usable.
SD card read performance remains at about 18MB/s for both boards (measured with a SanDisk Ultra 16GB), but iperf network tests show a usable improvement in full-duplex operation – the RP2 managing about 150Mbps total throughput, compared to about 110Mbps on the RP1.
An interesting aside is the power consumption – it’s slightly up on the original B+, but still it peaked at only about 2W during testing. So a RaspberryPi 2 desktop PC should use at least 15W less than even a carefully specified Intel machine, and with Windows 10 bring readied for the new RaspberryPi, this might not be so unrealistic. Given some 10 million office workers in the UK, saving even 15W on each one would add up to 300 GW hours per annum (and about 200,000 tonnes of CO2).
But anyway, to sum up – a great upgrade to an already useful system, having kept both the price and the power consumption about the same. Form factor is identical to the B+, and the GPIO header pinout is also the same. Micro-SD card storage can be a bottleneck, especially for random workloads, but in very simple testing performed here the board is consistently 3x to 4x faster than the original overall.
A new version of the Lo-tech GPIO Interface for the RaspberryPi is due shortly – watch this space!