back to article Raspberry Pi mini-puter TOO BIG and EXPENSIVE for you? Think AGAIN

A new Raspberry Pi model has arrived, and it's even smaller and cheaper than the original, while being in most respects just as good. However it does come down to just one USB port. The A+ was spotted in the wild over the weekend, only for a product page at Element14 describing the computer to disappear. RS Online's …

  1. nagyeger

    No ethernet

    "Just about a clone" seems to ignore the fact that it looks like there's no ethernet port on the A+.

    1. Old Used Programmer

      Re: No ethernet

      There wasn't on the original A, either. Nor, without an additional chip, is there a way to have one.

      The only thing that (mildly) surprises me is the price The Reg is claiming. Unless that includes so hefty taxes and/or shipping, it's higher than one would expect.

      1. bleh_meh

        Re: No ethernet

        no, it was on element14 so that explains the higher than expected price.

        Take a look at other lines on that site, they are 20% - 50% higher than other sites - even bricks and mortar locations in Aus that already include the antipodean tax.

        I use them for emergency purchases my normal suppliers cannot meet quick enough and accept the hit in the budget!

      2. Synonymous Howard

        Re: No ethernet

        Yes it's an 'upgrade' of the A not a clone of the B+ but using the same approach as the 'upgrade' of the B to B+ ... i.e. I think the differences between the B and B+ are the same differences between the A and A+ ... so better power regulation (brill), microSD slot (brill), more GPIO pins (brill) and a board re-layout (meh).

        The $ price tag has always been a bit of a misnomer as that is the total BUILD inc PROFIT price not the retail price which needs to include Delivery + VAT.

        Still, a nice upgrade and very useful for embedded systems which require more grunt than an Arduino/Teensy/etc but at a comparable price.

        1. David 14

          Re: No ethernet

          The cost of one RPi Mod A+ ordered this morning was £22 (shipping to Canada included) from the PiHut. Pretty darned cheap in my mind for such a function little hobby computer... my fourth RaspberryPi.

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    It looks like this is aimed at embedded computing rather than being a general purpose teaching tool. Sure there are plenty of robots and interactive displays that will benefit.

  3. saif

    Running headless over wifi this can't be beaten

    The old Model A suddenly becomes extremely attractive, considering it is cheaper than an Arduino Uno. For simple non-realtime IO, running headless over wifi, this really can not be beaten.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Running headless over wifi this can't be beaten

      Saif: "The old Model A [$20 + S&H] suddenly becomes extremely attractive, considering it is cheaper than [perhaps a 'genuine'] Arduino Uno."

      Knock-off Uno R3 are well under $10, including S&H. Most of the ones I have were about $7.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: Running headless over wifi this can't be beaten

        Good luck with all that 3D, camera and video decode with the $7 UNO.

        But to be a little less sarcastic, you get what you pay for. If the UNO does what you want - use it. If the A+ does what you want, use it. Don't use the wrong device for a job, because you will pay the wrong price.

        1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Running headless over wifi this can't be beaten

          @ John Hughes 1 "Good luck with all that 3D, camera and video decode with the $7 UNO."

          Since you quoted "$7", then I can assume that your post was misdirected at my previous post. Please read my post in context of the Saif quotation that I so thoughtfully included. My post was clearly clarifying Saif's claim that the $20 Pi was "cheaper" than an Arduino Uno. But I guess he's never visited eBay and knows nothing about the actual selling price of perfectly functional knock-off Uno R3s. $20 + S&H is not "cheaper" than $7 (or $10) with free S&H. That was the only point that I was addressing. I did not even touch the technical / performance point that you have subsequently rebutted. So your rebuttal was misdirected.

          Remedial Reading Classes for you!

          1. James Hughes 1

            Re: Running headless over wifi this can't be beaten

            re: reading comprehension.

            Rather ironic that you got my name wrong then....it's written next to the post, and contains the name 'James' not 'John'

            But my point was that you cannot compare a $7 UNO with a $20 Pi, simply because they are completely different devices. In fact one has to wonder why you brought the subject up as they are so completely different. Rather like comparing a Reliant Robin with a F430. I suppose they are still both cars, according to some definition of car.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what's actually changed?

    B+ was great because of the extra USB. But A+ still only has 1?

    So other than yet another new form factor (annoying - B+ has struggled to catch up to B on variety of cases, so A+ will no doubt be worse), extra GPIO, slightly better audio and micro SD, its basically the same as original A.

    I assume the original A will be more popular than A+ for a while in that case?

    1. Refugee from Windows

      It's a different PCB than the B+, there's not even a spot to park the Ethernet/USB expansion IC as in the previous version. The USB port goes straight into the SoC.

      However it does mean it's shrunk a bit, and the power draw is reduced, useful for portable applications.

    2. SolidSquid

      With the smaller form factor, microSD option and additional GPIO pins I'm guessing that the A+ is intended for integrating with hardware projects rather than as a cheap desktop machine as the Pi was originally pitched at. Considering how many people seem to be using it for that *anyway* it doesn't seem a bad idea for them to go that way with it

    3. James Hughes 1

      @AC - what has changed

      Form factor has been made smaller

      Power requirements have been reduced

      GPIO increased

      Better audio

      uSD

      Best thing? It's now $20 (before tax/delivery). I am not aware of anything remotely this powerful in this price range. Remember, decent 3D, 2D, camera ISP, 1080p30 H264 encode/decode, 1Ghz (overclocked) processor, well supported Linux distro (plus others), great community.

      For $20.

      I think that is a pretty good deal.

      And I think you are wrong about the A being more popular, I expect sales of it to fall to zero. This is so much better. The ONLY reason to still buy an A is if you already have a case for an A. And since cases cost from about $5 you may as well just buy a new one for the new form factor. TBH, if case compatibility is the only argument you can come up with, the A+ is clearly already a success!

      The reasons for 1 USB is that the SoC only supports 1. To add more, you have to add a USB hub to the board which means much more expensive - basically the old model B. You want more USB? Get a B+. It's only $15 more.

    4. Jez-UK

      Power

      The lower power consumption, and weight/size reduction will be useful for anyone wanting to use it for robotics projects (the "A" was already very popular for this).

      It is tempting to think the "B" (or "B+") is always better, but it does depend on what you want to do with it, sometimes the "A" was better, I think for most of those times the "A+" is quite the upgrade.

    5. fajensen Silver badge

      I think it will work well as an Ethernet Player for the Sauna, I need something battery operated.

  5. BillDarblay

    All we need now is a multi-core version. Selfishly of course. When I am playing HD 5.1 audio my XBMC menus are a bit laggy. Other than that - wonderful!

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Not really.

      The PI is only up to the task of being a general purpose device if you're really dedicated to the idea. That includes XBMC too. Even with a well optimized build, XBMC just wants too much out of a system.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      What would have been nice is an easy means to use it as a USB device as well as a USB host.

    3. James Hughes 1

      Actually, a guy at the Foundation is working on improving XBMC menus and the like - they are currently a bit inefficient, especially when controlled via CEC.

      Although multi cores would be nice (but how multi threaded is XBMX?), better to get the software efficient first...

  6. SimpleSi

    The new one is supposed to be $20

    Well - supposed to be - but can't be bought for that in UK anyway :)

    CPC is £14.03 which is $22

    Farnell is £15.51 which is £24.68

    Usual 1st day product launch muck up :)

    1. Phil_Evans

      You haven't accounted for being a clod, limey, brit, idiot. (that's all of us who end up paying nowhere near US retail price equivalent in the UK). Eg today:

      iPad2 USD starting price= $499 = £313.75

      iPad2 GBP starting price = £399 = $634.46

      'go figure'

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        US prices tend to be exclusive of sales tax, because the rate varies between states.

        UK prices tend to include the VAT. That £399 becomes £332.50 ex-VAT. OK, it's still £20 more, but that's not overly unreasonable.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          And the more onerous product warranty/guarantee laws that Apple try so hard to side-step also cost us.

      2. Montreal Sean

        @Phil_Evans

        Of course UK prices are always more than USA prices for American goods, it's expensive to hire people to translate everything to English.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Usual 1st day product launch muck up :)"

      Yup. RS and Farnell couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery. That and being as leaky as a sieve, they really are hopeless.

  7. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Does it still accept power via its USB ports?

    The original would power up via its USB ports (the USB Host sockets) from a powered USB Hub that also lacked the power steering diode.

    1. DuncanL

      Re: Does it still accept power via its USB ports?

      No; that's one of the things they fixed in the + versions.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Does it still accept power via its USB ports?

      According to reports from the Pi people on their official forum the A+ does support back-powering via USB. The B+ doesn't but A+ does. Presumably a consequence of not having the Ethernet/USB chip and associated circuitry.

      http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=91267

  8. Stuart 39

    So are they all made in UK now ?

    I really like the fact that some are manufactured in the UK. It used to be the Maplin mob still bought Chinese made ones because they were cheaper. I'd go out my way to support the UK makers and buy it online rather than popping down Maplins, money grabbing barstewards.

    So are they ALL manufactured in the UK these days?

    1. Synonymous Howard

      Re: So are they all made in UK now ?

      Possibly ... and Made in UK is somewhat of a cachet on Alibaba ...

      http://www.aliexpress.com/item/free-shipping-raspberry-pie-2-Raspberry-pi-2-generation-B-512M-memory-green-plate-imported-UK/1550832366.html

      So assuming you don't get hit with customs handling charge + vat then its cheaper to export from and then re-import in to the UK.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: So are they all made in UK now ?

        B, B+, A and A+ all made in the UK (except those actually destined for the Chinese market anyway). I think some CM's and some camera modules are still made in China. - but that is a decision made by the licencees, not the Foundation.

  9. Chris Evans

    GPU is not dual core

    It is Quad core according to: http://www.broadcom.com/docs/support/videocore/VideoCoreIV-AG100-R.pdf

    Though I thought I'd seen posting from Broadcom engineers on the Pi forum mention many more cores than four!

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: GPU is not dual core

      Two vector/scaler cores, plus 12 Quad processors.

      Each vector core is a 16 way SIMD devices.

      So lots of 'cores'.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. David Kelly 2

    Is "goof" a Britishism?

    … while being in most respects just as goof.

    Is goof a Britishism like "kit" and "sorted"? :-)

    1. lorisarvendu

      Re: Is "goof" a Britishism?

      Goof is probably an indefinable concept, like Cool. If you think you're goof, then you're not.

    2. Patched Out

      Re: Is "goof" a Britishism?

      Seeing that f is next to d on the keybaord, and being an American, I thought it was a typo with the author intending to type "good". Since goof seems to have similar meaning as good. maybe that is how it first started?

      In American English*, to goof means to make a mistake, or to be a goof is to be silly.

      * That term is probably considered an oxymoron to Britons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is "goof" a Britishism?

        "... and being an American, I thought it was a typo with the author intending to type "good"

        In Merrka, a lot of people use the idiotic term "sick" instead. Your country has a history of getting things backwards - your butt is NOT your "fanny".

        1. Hero Protagonist

          Re: Is "goof" a Britishism?

          Only the yoofs call things "sick".

  12. JaitcH
    Meh

    At least there are now 4 Mounting Holes

    My employer, in a fit of trying to support UK industry, bought four of the original boards with a with to using them in some of our products.

    Unfortunately, they failed largely for mechanical reasons when subjected to appropriate tests as they lacked sufficient mounting holes. Now mounting holes are the most noticeable feature!

    Pity, we are now gobbling up Beagle Boards.

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