All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis


Raspberry Pi Model B+ review

by
Latest Raspberry Pi gets more I/O and USB ports

The Raspberry Pi Model B+ adds numerous improvements that users have been looking for, without a big price hike. The extra USB ports allow for more storage, while the expanded I/O pins offer hobbyists greater flexibility.

Pros:

Low cost, more I/O, extra USB ports, various operating system images available

Cons:

Relatively modest performance, needs additional hardware and software to function

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £24.35 + VAT (typical)

Manufacturer: Raspberry Pi Foundation

The Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled the latest incarnation of its affordable single-board computer recently, sporting a redesign that adds more USB ports and access to more I/O pins from the processor, but keeping software compatibility with the current Pi.

Although many of these changes are largely cosmetic, we took the opportunity to take a closer look at the new Raspberry Pi Model B+ and see what has changed since we reviewed the original Raspberry Pi back in 2012.

What has not changed is the price, which is still around the £22-£24 mark before VAT and delivery, although the price varies depending upon which retailer you buy the miniature marvel from, so it is worth shopping around.

Raspberry Pi Model B Plus

Design
The new Raspberry Pi has the same footprint as the original device, but has been given a redesign that doubles the number of available USB ports to four, while adding a larger I/O connector block to bring out more of the general-purpose I/O pins from the Broadcom system on a chip (SoC) so that hobbyists can use these in hardware projects.

While the SoC is still the same ARM-based Broadcom BCM2835 of the original, the chip has been upgraded since our original review and now has 512MB of memory mounted with the CPU inside the chip package, rather than 256MB.

The GPIO header is basically an extension of that in the original Raspberry Pi, which had 26 pins. The new one has 40, but retains the same pinout for the first 26 pins, which should mean that 26-pin ribbon cables for the older model should still fit.

However, these are just the most obvious changes. The Model B+ circuit board also now has four mounting holes to enable it to be fixed securely into an enclosure or something else. The Pi actually gained a pair of mounting holes in a minor revision, but now the designers have done a better job and delivered four regularly spaced holes.

Most of the connectors now fit pretty much flush with the edge of the board rather than sticking out, as with earlier Raspberry Pi boards, which makes for a neater appearance if the board is fitted into a case.

The redesign also swaps the SD card slot of the original for a smaller smartphone-style micro SD slot on the underside of the board. As with a typical smartphone, you insert the card by pushing it in until it clicks into place, and remove it by pushing again to eject it. The SD card slot of the original Pi simply held the card in place using friction.

Raspberry Pi Model B Plus

In order to make room for the larger I/O header connector, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has had to remove the RCA-style phono connector that provided the composite video output. This signal is still available, but is now output on a new four-pole 3.5mm jack socket that also carries the audio. This has been designed in such a way that a standard audio cable will work as normal, but if you want the composite video you will need to purchase an adapter cable that breaks out the audio and video signals.

The on-board power regulator has also been redesigned in order to make the Model B+ more power efficient, while also supplying enough current to power peripherals such as external hard drives via the USB ports. However, this is still restricted to a maximum of 1.2A across all four of the USB ports on the Model B+, and requires a power supply capable of delivering 2A to the Raspberry Pi itself.

Next: Setup, in use

Processor: Broadcom BCM2835 SoC with 700MHz ARM1176JZF-S core
RAM: 512MB
Display: Videocore 4 GPU supports resolutions up to 1920×1200
Storage: Slot for micro SD card
Ports: 10/100 Ethernet, 4 x USB 2.0, HDMI, audio/video jack socket, GPIO header, micro USB power, DSI and CSI
Operating system: Images available to download from Raspberry Pi site
Dimensions: 85.6mm x 56mm

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Daniel Robinson
About

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

Related reviews
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus
Poll

IT curriculum poll

With coding now compulsory in schools, how important are digital skills for the next generation of school leavers?
63%
8%
20%
9%

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
V3 Security Summit

V3 Security Summit Day 2: Botnet, skills and BYOD intelligence incoming

Keep V3 bookmarked for news updates on all the key security concerns and topics facing businesses

Updating your subscription status Loading
Newsletters

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button
hpv3may

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging

ibmv3may

Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

Front End Web Developer - London - Salary 35-45K - E-Learning

Front End Web Developer - London - Salary £35-£45K...

Business Analyst - credit cards

Business Analysts / Change Analysts required - credit...

Perl, Ruby or Python Developer - 45K-55K - Southampton

Perl, Ruby or Python Developer - £45K-£55K - Southampton...

Senior PHP Developer - London - 45K-55K + Benefits

Senior PHP Developer - London - £45K-£55K + Benefits...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.