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Raspberry Pi 1 vs 2

May 31, 2015

Raspberry Pi 1 model B image

Raspberry Pi 1 Model B

Raspberry Pi 1 model B+ image

Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+

Raspberry Pi 2 model B image

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

Raspberry Pi became widely popular as a small, inexpensive computing board with its introduction in 2012.  The RPi 1 model A sold for a mere $25 USD and the model B with more interface ports and memory, sold for $35.  Experimenters, hobbyists, educators and technology enthusiasts embraced this little board with demand that far outstripped supply.

The progression of Pi models from oldest to newest:

  1. Raspberry Pi 1 model B    February 2012
  2. Raspberry Pi 1 model A    February 2013
  3. Raspberry Pi 1 model B+  July 2014
  4. Raspberry Pi 1 model A+  November 2014
  5. Raspberry Pi 2 model B    February 2015

The Raspberry Pi model B’s have progressed in capabilities and power since the original generation 1.   This article will contrast the B models.

Model B Specifications:

RPi 1 B Specs RPi 1 B+ Specs RPi 2 B Specs
SoC: Broadcom BCM2835 Broadcom BCM2836
CPU 700 MHz single-core ARM 700 MHz single-core ARM 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7
RAM: 256 MB
later 512 MB
512 MB 1 GB
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 250 MHz
Operating System: Various Linux based OS’ – Raspbian Recommended
Storage: SD slot Micro SD slot Micro SD slot
Video: Composite & HDMI HDMI HDMI
USB Ports:  2  4  4
Network 1 Ethernet port 10/100 RJ45 jack
Audio: 3.5 mm jack or via HDMI
Input/Output Pins (GPIO): 26 40 40
Power: 5V  ~600-800 ma (not including USB peripherals)
Dimensions: 85 mm x 56 mm

The most notable changes from RPi 1 B to the RPi 1 B+ are 1) the change from SD card to micro SD, and 2) the increase from 2 to 4 USB ports (very nice) and the loss of the composite video (which was not widely used).

For the RPi 1 B+ to the RPi 2 B, a very nice improvement in performance thanks to the quad-core CPU running at 900 MHz along with the increase to 1 GB of RAM.  Some synthetic performance benchmarks have shown the Pi 2 to be up to 6 times faster.  Real-world results will vary, but unquestionably, RPi 2 is noticeably faster and snappier in usage and applications.  RPi 2 also got a switching regulator instead of the RPi 1 linear regulator for increased power efficiency.  Further, while neither generation can boast outstanding audio quality, RP 2 audio has improved over RPi 1.

Raspbian, the recommend operating system, has the same look/feel, functionality and application set for both RPi 1 and RPi 2.  However, only versions 1.3.11 and later with support for the ARMv7 processor will run on RPi 2 .   These later versions of Raspbian are backward compatible to the RPi 1 models.

Generation 1 Pi are still sold and are very capable for hobbyist, experimenters, educators, and technology enthusiasts and even for commercial uses.  Both Pi generations are excellent computer boards, but at only $10 more, the Pi 2 is an easy choice for its better performance.

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