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Pint-sized PC uses only a third of the power of its predecessor

We covered the Raspberry Pi project back in its nascent days in 2011.  The Linux-on-a-stick project aimed to give an ultra-cheap Linux personal computer running Ubuntu on an ARM processor.  Since then the project has exploded thanks to strong interest from the "geekosystem" who salivated at the device's low cost and easy application to various microelectronics projects.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has struggled to keep up with orders, at times running out of stock.  To date is estimated to have sold over 1 million units since its April 2012 launch.  Those units were all "Model B" versions.

So what happened to the "Model A"?

Well The Raspberry Pi Foundation is about to lay that question to rest, announcing the availability of the Model A in Europe.  The newer Model A cuts the amount of onboard DRAM from 512 MB down to 256 MB, ditches the Ethernet port, and trims down to only one USB port.

Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi Model A is here! [Image Source: The Raspberry Pi Foundation]

However, it does bump the power efficiency so that the new model only uses a third of the power of the Model B.  The new model is power efficient enough to run on solar power and is perfect for "robots, sensor platforms in remote locations, Wi-Fi repeaters attached to the local bus stop and so forth" according to the designers.

In order to further cut power, The Raspberry Pi Foundation is working on special software which will force the processor to background certain tasks and milk longer battery life when deployed in low-power applications.


The biggest advantage of the leaner Model A is price.  The Model A will retail for $25 USD, versus $35 USD for the Model B.  The $25 USD price point is a special one, as it's the cost the project founders originally hoped to target back in 2011, before later bumping the initial unit costs out of practical needs.

Initially the Model A will only be available in Europe (The Raspberry Pi Foundation is based out of Caldecote, UK).  But the company assures, "We’ll lift this restriction very soon so the rest of the world can order too."

Sources: The Raspberry Pi Foundation [1], [2]



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RE: so, i'm confused here
By Argon18 on 2/4/2013 4:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
milliamps matter when you're talking small solar powered installations.

and 256 vs 512 mb ram is irrelevant when you're using a slim embedded OS and application. you really only need 512 if you'll be doing streaming video or other media-center type stuff.

so no, they aren't "going back" to 256 mb. they're offering it an alternative option.


RE: so, i'm confused here
By elleehswon on 2/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: so, i'm confused here
By Argon18 on 2/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: so, i'm confused here
By othercents on 2/4/2013 4:35:15 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it is all based on application. If you are trying to run a video player in your house then the current version with 512mb ram is your better choice especially if you need Ethernet. However if you are looking at an imbedded application the lower ram and lower power requirements are a plus.


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