Raspberry Pi 2 Model B review: Great, but the Pi 3 is better
The Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi B+ are both impressive, but which is best for you?
Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi B+: Processor Specs
Compared to the Raspberry Pi Model B+’s Broadcom BCM2835 ARMv6 system on a chip processor, the Pi 2 Model B has a new quad-core Broadcom BCM2836 ARM v7 processor, powering a single-board computer running at 900MHz.
The B+’s single-core ran at 700MHz, so it’s clear that the Pi 2’s quad-core running at 900 MHz is a beast in comparison.
By having the next step up in Broadcom’s chip range, the Pi 2’s BCM2836 chip can push out Broadcom’s VideoCore IV technology at 250MHz, has a 1080p30 MPEG-2 and VC-1 decoder, and a 1080p30 h.264/MPEG-4 AVC high-profile decoder and encoder.
Verdict: Raspberry Pi 2 wins. The Raspberry Pi 2’s quad-core Broadcom BCM2836 makes it capable of rendering high-quality video, and ideal for use in an IP camera. However, if you’re only interested in using your Raspberry Pi for simpler projects, the B+’s Broadcom BCM2836 will be more than up to the task.
Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi B+: Memory and Connectivity
The Pi 2 has 1GB of RAM shared between the GPU and the CPU, which is twice the amount of the B+, and runs 50MHz faster than the B+’s 512MB SDRAM at 400MHz.
You can now push 1.2A to the Pi 2’s four USB 2.0 ports so you can connect power-hungry devices. To do this, however, you will have to use a 2A Micro USB power supply instead of the usual 1.8A 5V USB B power source that the Model B+ uses and the Pi 2 supports.
Other than that, the Pi 2 still has four USB 2.0 ports, uses a 40 pin general-purpose input/output, takes MicroSD cards for storage and also has an ethernet port. There’s also a CSI camera port, and a DSI display port for connecting a Raspberry Pi camera and touchscreen display.
Verdict: Raspberry Pi 2, just. The Raspberry Pi 2 has a wealth of ports, so will be able to handle almost any application you throw at it. While the Model B+ has fewer, it’s still extremely versatile, particularly for a microcomputer. Depending on the project, either Pi could suit your needs.
Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi B+: Price
The Raspberry Pi Model B+ can currently be had for around £25, but that’s only £10 less than the Pi 2.
Verdict: A draw. Both models represent exceptional value for a computer of this size and power.
Raspberry Pi 2 vs Raspberry Pi B+: Potential problems
At launch, the Pi 2 had compatibility issues with older programs, but subsequent developer updates mean most software is now optimised for the Pi 2’s superior quad-core architecture.
As a result, the Pi 2 is now compatible with a larger range of projects than the Pi B+.
Verdict: Raspberry Pi 2 edges it. Despite being released several months ago, the Raspberry Pi 2 benefits from widespread compatibility with most programs – and that’s thanks, in part, to its quad-core architecture. If you’re looking to use your microcomputer for a variety of projects, it’s likely the Raspberry Pi 2 will support them.
Raspberry Pi 2 specifications
|Processor||Quad-core, 900MHz Broadcom BCM2836|
|USB ports||4 x USB 2|
|Memory card reader||microSD|
|Graphics card||Broadcom VideoCore IV|
|Sound card outputs||3.5mm analogue output; digital via HDMI|
|Price including delivery (inc VAT)||£30 inc VAT|