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Hot on the heels of the updated Raspberry Pi Model A+ What Can You Do With The New Raspberry Pi A+? What Can You Do With The New Raspberry Pi A+? Curiously, this new Raspberry Pi doesn't feature any additional hardware. In fact, it has fewer ports. Just what are the Raspberry Pi Foundation up to? Read More , the Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced another new device: the Raspberry Pi 2. The new Raspberry Pi 2 is six times faster than the previous version, the B+, and can even run Windows 10 (albeit a special version).

Let’s look at what this means.

Hardware Changes

While the previous upgrade from the B to the B+ The Raspberry Pi B+ Is Here. What's Changed? The Raspberry Pi B+ Is Here. What's Changed? Read More was largely iterative, the newly released 2 has some major hardware changes.

The processor has been upgraded from a 700 MHz 32-bit ARM single core Broadcom BCM2835 to a newer 900 MHz ARM 32-bit quad core Broadcom BCM2836. The amount of RAM has also jumped, from 256 MB in the original B and 512 MB in the B+, to a whole 1 GB in the 2 B.

The external dimensions of the 2 hasn’t changed much from the B+. It still has the same four USB ports, HDMI out, Micro USB power port, and 40 General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) Pins.

Performance Boosts

The hardware upgrades bring some serious performance boosts to the Raspberry Pi. In an interview with The Register, the head of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Ebon Upton, claims that they’re now making “a useable PC”.

Measuring relative real world performance isn’t a simple task especially, as I explained in my article on computer components What's Inside Your Computer: The Story Of Every Component You Need To Know What's Inside Your Computer: The Story Of Every Component You Need To Know Whether you're buying a new computer or building your own, you're going to be subjected to a lot of acronyms and random numbers. Read More , when comparing multi-core CPUs with single-core CPUs. To get some grounds for comparison benchmarks are used.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation claims on their site that the 6x performance increase is “a typical figure for a multi-threaded CPU benchmark like SysBench”. For other tests the increase is as low as 1.5x — in “single-threaded CPU benchmarks” — and as high as 20x — in “NEON-enabled multicore video codecs” benchmarks.

What ever way you look at it, the new combination of a faster processor, three more cores and double the RAM is going to make it noticeably faster in everyday use, and allow it to run far more intensive applications.

Windows 10 Support

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has been “working closely with Microsoft” to get Windows 10 running on the Raspberry Pi 2. This is huge news. While Linux is a great operating system, it’s certainly not for everyone Should I Use Linux Or Windows? 3 Deal-Breaker Questions You MUST Answer Should I Use Linux Or Windows? 3 Deal-Breaker Questions You MUST Answer Linux. Windows. We aren't here to tell you which one is better; rather, we're here to help you decide which one is better for you. Read More .

Like the other versions of the operating system Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Microsoft is boldly stepping into the future with innovative software and hardware. Windows as a service and mobility of experience were the major keywords from the recent Windows 10 briefing. Most importantly, Windows 10 will... Read More , the version of Windows 10 that Microsoft is developing for the Raspberry Pi 2 will, according to the foundation, “be available free of charge to makers” – but will likely only run Universal apps due to the ARM architecture.

The exact specifics of how this will work are yet to be announced. You can sign up for the Windows Developer Program to be kept up to date or rest easy knowing that we will cover installing Windows 10 on a Raspberry Pi as soon as we’re able.

What It All Means

At MakeUseOf we’re big fans of the Raspberry Pi. I use the one I installed in an old guitar amp Turn An Old Amp Into A Smart Streaming Speaker With Raspberry Pi Turn An Old Amp Into A Smart Streaming Speaker With Raspberry Pi The ultimate self-contained music streaming speaker, with support for Spotify, Google Music, SoundCloud and Airplay. Let's do it. Read More everyday. Christian and James also use theirs all the time. Our only complaint about our Raspberry Pi’s has been that they are too underpowered — this latest update changes that. I’m very excited to see what people — including us — are able to do with the extra power.

We’ve also been following the development of Windows 10 closely Windows 10 January Build Includes Many Exciting Changes & Some Bugs Windows 10 January Build Includes Many Exciting Changes & Some Bugs Windows 10 Build 9926 is a big leap forward. It comes with novelties, most notably Cortana, Continuum, and some overhauled features. It remains an early build that still contains bugs, but fixes are coming soon. Read More . So far, we’ve been impressed with many of the changes and really like how Microsoft is engaging with the community of users. Personally, I’ve high hopes for Windows 10 especially when it’s installed on a $35 Raspberry Pi.

Getting a Piece of Pi

100,000 Raspberry Pi 2 have been released for sale today. You can expect them to fly out the door. –I’ve already ordered mine. If you’re interested in buying one too, check out the Raspberry Pi site for links to the foundation’s partner retailers.

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