Raspberry Pi gets major hardware upgrade, pleases enthusiasts

By Peter Gothard
15 Jul 2014 View Comments

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released a new beefed up version of its eponymous device that should widen its appeal beyond its traditional users in the education sector .

The $35 Raspberry Pi Model B+ is about 3cm longer than its predecessor and four USB 2.0 ports, twice as many as the two-year-old Model B.

Further reading

The GPIO (general purpose input/output) header now has 40 pins, but retains the same pinout on the first 26 pins as the Model B, meaning backwards compatibility.

Storage has also been changed to accommodate a push-in, push-out micro SD cards, instead of the old-style SD cards that needed to be pushed in and pulled out manually.

There is 512MB RAM on-board, just like the last board (but not like the original Model B, which had only 256MB).

Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton posted on the Foundation website that original Model B machines will still be produced "to ensure continuity of supply for our industrial customers". Which means Raspberry Pi officially has some.

According to the Foundation, a B+ was accidentally sold in a store in Virginia over the weekend, necessitating the "official" unveiling of the device this week.

While the Raspberry Pi clearly started life as an education sector project aimed at the same kind of community that once treasured the BBC Microcomputer, it seems fair to say that the hobbyist and - indeed - "industrial" markets (those BBC users who are now adults, perhaps) have really rallied around the budget-priced board from Cambridge.

While Computing originally visited a school that was getting to grips with the machine at launch, and found it using the Pi as a server to connect laptops, education implementation has somewhat failed to explode since, prompting Raspberry Pi to join up with Google to give around 15,000 of the devices to schools in October 2013.

Alejandro Simon, head of software at Raspberry Pi accessory maker Kano, has also been quoted as saying "more than two million units [were sold], and pretty much all of them went to hackers".

Simon suggested the biggest obstacle was in teachers finding the time and resources to apply their own learning before implementing the Raspberry Pi properly in their classrooms.

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