Monday, September 12, 2011

Raspberry Pi ARM Single-Board Computer

This is the Alpha prototype board according the the wiki.

This is a very low cost ARM SBC that is being developed right now. It is unreleased but once it comes out, there could be a multitude of applications in Ham Radio for it. They are talking about making two versions, Version A for $25 and Version B for $35.
Here are the "Provisional Specifications" from the community written wiki

  • 700MHz Broadcom media processor featuring an ARM11 (ARM1176JZF-S) core, Broadcom GPU core, DSP core and support for Package-on-Package (PoP) RAM
  • 128MiB (Model A) or 256MiB of SDRAM (Model B), stacked on top of the CPU as a PoP device
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
  • 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • Composite and HDMI video output
  • One USB 2.0 port provided by the BCM2835
  • SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
  • General-purpose I/O (About 16 3v3) and various other interfaces, brought out to 1.27mm pin-strip
  • Optional integrated 2-port USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller (Model B)
  • Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)
  • Capability to support various expansion boards

Anyone's guess if it will come out at the price point they are hyping up. In my experience stuff like this tends to slip into higher price ranges when people get excited about it. Kinda like electrons jumping into higher orbits.

Besides including 256MB RAM, the B version is also suppose to have a chip on board that is a 2-port USB hub and ethernet controller. I'm assuming the ethernet will also use your USB bandwidth.

It is interesting to me that they are stacking the RAM chips right on the processor. That should save some space at least! The Broadcom SoC seems to be pretty neato too. It has the ARM11 CPU, a GPU that does Open GL and 1080p30 H.264 decode, and a DSP but there's currently not enough information known to access that yet.

16 GPIO at 3v3, I2C and SPI interfaces will come in handy, it also has stereo audio out. I wonder if it would also have stereo audio in? That could make a very small interface to something like a SoftRock. They also talk about being able to interface to a cheap LCD module for portable operation. Otherwise, it looks like HDMI output.

v---Click on the sbc label to see my other single-board computer posts.

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