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:
- Raspberry Pi 1 model B February 2012
- Raspberry Pi 1 model A February 2013
- Raspberry Pi 1 model B+ July 2014
- Raspberry Pi 1 model A+ November 2014
- 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|
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|
|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.