Raspberry Pi 1 and 2 compared


The Kodi media center software package in the form of OpenELEC or Raspbmc on the old Rasp Pi experienced several delays. Menu display, load times for YouTube videos, and installation of add-ons all caused long pauses on the system.

The four cores in the RPi2B definitely make OpenELEC run more smoothly, although you might still experience short pauses when videos from YouTube start or a media library loads. In general, system reaction times are faster and more acceptable.

The RPi2B also brings new prospects in the area of gaming. The RPi1 could already emulate several old consoles, and the RetroPie Project [10] has a large community devoted to this effort. Now games that ran on fifth generation consoles like the Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, and Sony PlayStation 2 can run at full tilt because of the increased performance of the new Rasp Pi. More and more video platforms show up in impressive videos [11].

Operating Systems

Exciting times are ahead for Raspberry Pi fans because of the release of the second generation nano-computer. The performance potential of the new version creates new areas of application. With Debian, Ubuntu, Windows 10, and Android, a number of well-known operating systems stand poised as an alternative to the tried and true Raspbian.

Android is still lacking in terms of graphics speed. The developers are moving more functionality from the proprietary GPU blob of the VideoCore graphics kernel into the free drivers. The increased performance also makes it possible to transfer code that was running on the GPU to the CPU, adding more flexibility.

A usable Android version for the Raspberry Pi could still appear this year as the result of these developments. Although the Raspberry Pi Foundation does not currently show any interest in investing money and time in Android support, hobbyists or a private enterprise that could see financial benefit from the existence of an Android version will probably take on the task.

Microsoft Windows 10 will be available on the RPi2B in its Windows 10 for Small Devices version [12]. It will be able to run Window Apps (formally called universal apps) and the new universal drivers, and you will be able to access the GPIO easily.

The platform is intended for developing IoT applications and includes supporting features like the proximal device communications framework AllJoyn and integration with Microsoft's Azure cloud service. Windows 10 for the RPi2B will be free for hobbyists and device manufactures.

Windows desktop applications, such as Microsoft office, will not function on the RPi2B. Aside from incompatibilities in computer architectures, the RPi2B only has half the computing power of the original Microsoft Surface tablet (which had 13,000DMIPS).

Microsoft is pursuing an ambitious goal with its "Write once, run anywhere" strategy. Even the Rasp Pi can play a role here, although probably with an emphasis on the Internet of Things. On the other hand, thanks to the HDMI port, it could very well be possible that the nano-PC has enough performance for universal desktop applications to function properly.

Installing Debian 8 or Ubuntu on the RPi2B will not take more work than required to install Raspbian as soon as the Ubuntu developers have gotten rid of the startup kinks with the distribution. The Snappy Ubuntu Core that has been officially introduced for the Raspberry Pi is still in the beginning phase [13], and other versions of Ubuntu currently available come from members of the Ubuntu community [14]. The distribution will have to show that it can take its place in the Internet of Things.

For both Debian and Ubuntu, all ARMv7 packages are ready to go. However, some manual work is needed to speed up graphics, play back videos, and use the Raspberry Pi camera, among other things.

The greatest strength of the Rasp Pi has always been the large size of its community. When a standard Debian or Ubuntu is used, membership numbers immediately increase, even though many newcomers do not realize in the beginning that most of their everyday questions could be directed to the Debian and Ubuntu communities that have many forums, wikis, and blogs. Additionally, Ubuntu represents a very strong brand for the Linux world that in turn provides the RPi2B access to the low-end desktop computer market.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF

Pages: 8

Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Raspberry Pi Geek

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content