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Hardware Hacking Hardware Build

Raspberry Pi Unveils New $5 Mini-computer 243

An anonymous reader writes: The Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled the Pi Zero, a new $5 mini-computer, Thursday morning. The board is the smallest Raspberry Pi yet, containing the first-gen Raspberry Pi's BCM2835 chip (safely overclocked to 1GHz) and 512MB RAM. The latest issue of The Magpi will include a free Raspberry Pi Zero and hits U.K. newsstands Thursday. The announcement came just a few days before the highly anticipated C.H.I.P. $9 mini-computer goes on sale to the public. puddingebola writes: How can they achieve this price, you may ask? "Its 40-pin GPIO header has identical pinouts, although the pads on the circuit board are "unpopulated," meaning you'll have to solder on your own connector. The same goes for the composite video output: The connection is available, but if you need a socket, you must solder it yourself." Dude, go to Radio Shack. Some relevant specs besides those mentioned above, from the blog post linked:
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
  • Micro-USB sockets for data and power
  • Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
  • An unpopulated composite video header
  • "Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm"

New submitter graffitiwriter adds a note that the newest Pi has "already been turned into a retro gaming console. It turns out the Pi Zero is more than capable of running Retro Pie and other emulators, and even has a video output that lets you play games on an old CRT TV."

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Raspberry Pi Unveils New $5 Mini-computer

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  • radioshack? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @10:22AM (#51007935)

    Dude, go to Radio Shack.

    Or not. Mostly you can only buy consumer electronics there now.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dude, go to Radio Shack.

      Or not. Mostly you can only buy consumer electronics there now.

      Yeah. I was thinking "what, does it need crappy batteries or something?"

    • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )

      Dude, go to Radio Shack.

      Yeah, my initial reaction was "why? I Don't need a cell phone."

    • Quite right. Try out Micro Center, if there is one in your area. Or Frys.

      Speaking of Pi Zero, I do hope Minix gets ported to it.

  • by SimonTheSoundMan ( 1012395 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @10:23AM (#51007937) Homepage

    Aren't they the size of a filing cabinet?

    • Aren't they the size of a filing cabinet?

      That was just the external hard drive, more a full sized rack in their 1st generation, plus another rack for peripherals. They eventually got down to desktop workstation size. Maybe palm sized now with the Pi. How does a Pi with a remote text terminal session compare performance wise to a PDP-11 :-)

      • by JanneM ( 7445 )

        How does a Pi with a remote text terminal session compare performance wise to a PDP-11 :-)

        Way faster, way more capable. I worked with a PDP11 on a summer job. If I remember correctly, it had 2x64KB memory (data and code pages); the Pi has more main memory than the PDP had hard rive storage.

        It managed to support about a dozen concurrent users that used it for monitoring an industrial process. It was tight enough, though, that we had to stop people using a full-screen clock application, since it couldn't cope

  • by luvirini ( 753157 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @10:27AM (#51007963)

    That costs $3.14?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      5 USD is 3.31 GBP, so it's almost there

    • by Crowd Computing ( 4269575 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @11:42AM (#51008275)
      The Pi actually stands for Python, the main programming language used for the Raspberry Pi, effectively making it a mathematically sweet triple pun: Pi, Pie, Py-thon. Sheer genius in naming. The first name is inspired by the old tradition of naming personal computer makers after fruit: Apple, Acorn.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, 2015 @12:46PM (#51008571)

        Except Python isn't the "main" programming language used for the RPi.

        Pi is because originally we were going to produce a computer that could only really run Python. So the Pi in there is for Python. Now you can run Python on the Raspberry Pi but the design we ended up going with is much more capable than the original we thought of, so it's kind of outlived its name a little bit.

        http://www.techspot.com/article/531-eben-upton-interview/

      • Then they should have either called it Raspberry Py or Raspberry Pie.
      • Since when has an acorn been a fruit?
        So basically the "old tradition" starts and ends with "Apple".
        • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

          Since when has an acorn been a fruit?
          So basically the "old tradition" starts and ends with "Apple".

          Acorns are seeds, which are produced within what are botanically regarded as fruit (even if, like the tomato, it's not exactly something you'd think of as "fruit" when you're looking for something to eat).

          As for Apple, there were lots of Apple II clones [lmgtfy.com] back in the day that adopted fruit-related names.

        • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

          Don't forget the Blackberry [youtube.com].

  • Wow ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @10:34AM (#51007987) Homepage

    So, I remember when a fairly sizable tower was considered a "mini computer" ... hell, I think it was a friggin' VAX.

    And the desktop PC was considered a "micro-computer".

    Now we have this mini-micro computer called a mini-computer.

    This is all very complicated. :-P

    • by Anonymous Coward

      mini-micro computer

      Nano computer!

    • So, I remember when a fairly sizable tower was considered a "mini computer" ... hell, I think it was a friggin' VAX.

      And the desktop PC was considered a "micro-computer".

      Now we have this mini-micro computer called a mini-computer.

      This is all very complicated. :-P

      The Chinese OEMs produce what they called a mini-PC, basically the ARM version or original of the Intel Compute Stick. So that's your mini-microcomputer.

    • So, I remember when a fairly sizable tower was considered a "mini computer" ... hell, I think it was a friggin' VAX.

      A VAX-11/780 at 5 MHz and up to 8 MB? [wikipedia.org] This ARM SoC is more than competitive at 700 MHz, 512 MB.

  • by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @10:46AM (#51008027) Homepage

    "Why isn't it more powerful, I can get a Beaglebone/Banana Pi/Intel board for just a little more money with a faster processor"
    "Why isn't it less powerful, the Arduino is more efficient"
    "Why can't I have exactly what I imagine in my head for an impossibly small amount of money"
    "It doesn't have ethernet/wifi/component video/USB hub so is therefore useless"
    "The video code isn't free therefore IT IS PURE EVIL"

    A computer as a magazine cover freebie is pretty cool...

    • Let me add a legit complain. They only have one USB port, and ethernet/harddisk will have to share it. It means it would suck as an NAS server. For $5 it would be a cool throwaway card for various projects though, like you know a intelligent garden lighting or whatever.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fendragon ( 841926 )

        Let me add a legit complain. They only have one USB port, and ethernet/harddisk will have to share it.

        The fact's there's no built-in Ethernet interface is a legitimate complaint, but the performance issue is the same on the original Rasperry Pi, whose onboard Ethernet interface is actually a USB device sharing a USB hub with the external USB connectors.

        • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

          Part of it is simply a matter of dongle-count. Yes, ethernet is absolutely needed; yes, the connector should be right there, physically secure. No, USB dongles to provide ethernet won't ever be on my list of things I'm excited to do.

          It would be better - a lot better - if there was actual, reliable ethernet hardware on there, and I'd be more than happy to pay a few bucks for it.

          The ethernet on the other PI's is not particularly reliable, and that, in my case, is the downfall of the whole enterprise. I have f

          • I don't consider the ethernet on the Pi to be suitable for any mission-critical feature. That's why I'm actually excited about this version of the Pi. In the past I have criticized the poor USB support (which is also the poor ethernet support) and the lack of RAM. But if you're not expecting ethernet then the bad ethernet isn't a problem, and the lack of RAM isn't really a problem in the ultra-miniature space where this product exists. I expect it to become the new de facto standard for flight controllers b

          • The ethernet on other Pis *is* an ethernet dongle.

            Look at the board. The processor has an onboard USB interface, one port. On the A, that interface goes to the USB port - that's why it only has one. On the B, it goes to the extra chip that the A doesn't have. That chip is a combined USB hub and USB-ethernet interface. The ethernet and two USB ports connect up to that, and it in turn connects to the processor's one USB interface.

          • It would be better - a lot better - if there was actual, reliable ethernet hardware on there, and I'd be more than happy to pay a few bucks for it.

            Odroid C1+ [hardkernel.com] does it a lot better for a few more bucks. OK, quite a lot more bucks, but it's much better all round. Actually the new RPi could cram WiFi on the board in less space than an Ethernet connector, which would be good enough for most of its networking needs but I suspect add too much to the cost.

            The ethernet on the other PI's is not particularly reliable, and that, in my case, is the downfall of the whole enterprise. I have four pis. They all drop their ethernet connections from time to time. It's beyond annoying.

            I must be very lucky as I have one which is on 24/7 as a home mail/backup/DNS server. Though it's slow for USB sharing reasons described above, it's run for over 2 years without problems. (touch wood...)

        • Serial comms from the GPIO - link it up to a model B [other end points are available] via pppd and you have a fairly reasonable link speed

      • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

        Let me add a legit complain. They only have one USB port, and ethernet/harddisk will have to share it. It means it would suck as an NAS server. For $5 it would be a cool throwaway card for various projects though, like you know a intelligent garden lighting or whatever.

        Exactly. The Pi is not a replacement for a computer (though the fact that you can manage to use it as a cheap replacement for a computer is a bonus). It's job is to get the bits there. That's all. Say you were just using the Pi to serve stuff straight from RAM, so your USBHDD / USBNIC contention wouldn't be an issue. Even at the $5 price point, and assuming you could use all 512MB of RAM to serve memcached, it would still be cheaper to just add a 2GB of RAM to your server for $15. It does not make s

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      Didn't Broadcomm release source code for the video hardware (albeit not for the same chip as in the Pi but a different related chip?)

  • by newsdee ( 629448 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @10:50AM (#51008037) Homepage Journal

    Back in the 90s I joked that computers would become so ubiquitous that they would some away when buying a box of laundry powder.... not far away now...

  • by Vapula ( 14703 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @11:22AM (#51008167)

    As is, this Raspberry is quite useless... You need to add
    - a SD card
    - some header
    - an USB Hub
    - Some adapters (micro-USB to USB host, HDMI)
    - Some network dongle (Wifi or RJ45)
    - You can use the video composite output... but you don't have any sound output so video composite is rather useless and you need to use more expensive HDMI monitors

    When you add all these hidden costs, you get a price similar to Raspberry 1 or 2... in a much less practical form.

    They stripped the card of everything possible to reach that 5$ price tag... which make me think that they wanted to undercut the C.H.I.P. which is going out in a couple of month and will be 9$...

    Useless product... Microcontrollers (AVR/PIC/...) or conventionnal Raspberry/BBB/... are much more useful.

    • As is, this Raspberry is quite useless... You need to add
      - a SD card

      $2

      some header

      No. No I don't. I can solder direct. For my application, that's actually more useful to me.

      an USB Hub

      If I even use the USB functionality at all, I shall use it to connect perhaps one device. Therefore, I only need some micro USB connectors. I got five minis for two bucks, I'm sure micro connectors are plenty cheap. Or I can pop the USB connectors right off the boards, and just solder magnet wire to the pads. I only wish they had brought in power on an unpopulated header connector instead of on a usb connector which I'm going to have to desolder.

      Some adapters (micro-USB to USB host, HDMI)

      I don't need the HDMI. If I use the GPU at all, it'll be for computing and not for video output. Already discussed the USB adapter issue, which for me is a non-issue.

      Useless product... Microcontrollers (AVR/PIC/...) or conventionnal Raspberry/BBB/... are much more useful.

      You can use this to do precisely what you do with a microcontroller; this is going to replace Arduino for a lot of uses.

      The real problem is going to be actually getting them for $5. element14 is sold out and wants $13.50 for one even if they had one!

      • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

        I only wish they had brought in power on an unpopulated header connector instead of on a usb connector which I'm going to have to desolder.

        Two of the pins (+5V and any GND) on the 40-pin connector can be used to supply power instead of going through the USB port. That's what I did with my beer-fridge controller [alfter.us]: power for the whole system comes through the barrel connector on the 1-Wire/I2C interface board in the middle of the stack.

        • Two of the pins (+5V and any GND) on the 40-pin connector can be used to supply power instead of going through the USB port. That's what I did with my beer-fridge controller: power for the whole system comes through the barrel connector on the 1-Wire/I2C interface board in the middle of the stack.

          Guess I shoulda looked at the pinout before leaving that comment. What do you need for I2C? Is it more than some resistors? Hmm, I looked and it seems you just connect up the pins [instructables.com]. Internal pullups? on-board? Leaves it to external? I am way too lazy to hunt through the docs to find out. Did you put in some fuses or something? My experience with I2C is so far limited to connecting Arduinos to IMUs and so on. Also did the SPI sdcard thing there with the sdfat lib. Hooray for electronic tinkertoys.

          • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *
            If you're OK with 3.3V I/O, connecting straight to the header will work. My board puts level shifters (a transistor and a couple of resistors each) on the 1-Wire and I2C pins for 5V I/O. It also includes a clock (connected over I2C) and an SSR controller (a DS2406 connected to the 1-Wire bus). Since I was going to put a DS18B20 temperature sensor inside a refrigerator at the end of a long cable, 5V I/O would be preferable.
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @01:04PM (#51008695)

      It's not useless as is. If you have one specific task for the Pi then you wont need a lot of that stuff. Why pay for ethernet if you wont be using it? Sure this isn't for everyone but I can see things it would be usefull for and I know at 5 bucks a pop it'll wind up doing a lot of things.

    • This isn't aimed at those applications. It's aimed firmly at embedded - situations where you need a bit more processing power than an arduino can provide, or a real operating system. It has the essentials for that: GPIO, UART and USB. You might hook up a monitor and keyboard for development or configuration, but they won't be connected in general use.

    • Actually all I really need to add is the same USB wifi adapter I've been using on Pis for years, US$10. At that points its a Linux box I can ssh in to.
  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @11:48AM (#51008315)
    If you're considering putting "dude" in your submission, turn off your internet and go live in a hole instead. Though you may already have done that if you think you can go to Radio Shack to get anything you can solder on, to, or with.
    • by Nyder ( 754090 )

      If you're considering putting "dude" in your submission, turn off your internet and go live in a hole instead. Though you may already have done that if you think you can go to Radio Shack to get anything you can solder on, to, or with.

      Whoa, back up dude. Nothing wrong with using the term of endearment "dude". It's a time honored way of addressing someone politely. For example, if I didn't use the term "dude" I might say things like "cumquat, shit for brains, twat, fucker, shithead, dumbfuck or the time honored "cunt". Instead I and others use the term "dude" because we are either in front of children or just being polite.

      Remember that next time you complain about someone calling you dude, dude.

  • Needs Ethernet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @11:52AM (#51008327)
    Its cool but, the lack of ethernet for most uses means people will also need to buy a USB network adapter bringing the price back up to $20 or so.
  • First, I want to applaud this achievement. 5$ for a little computer with a 40-pin with 26 GPIO is quite amazing in term of capacity. They are getting real closer to get a price tag low enough so it'll enter the manufacturing of some SMBs. I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing those into some toys or drone real soon because it just cut the development time drastically.

    But I'm saddened that it still doesn't come with WiFi. The ESP8266 is a good example on how cheap and small it could be. You could scrap

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday November 26, 2015 @12:14PM (#51008415) Homepage Journal

    Why is element14 still in business?

    SBC, RASPBERRY PI ZERO
    [generic broken product image]
    Image is for illustrative purposes only. Please refer to product description Manufacturer: RASPBERRY-PI
    Mfg Part No: RASPBERRYPI-ZERO

    Price: $23.17 (Price is before tax)
    Out of Stock
    Price: $13.50 (Price is before tax)
    0 ship now

    So in short, the product is not immediately available (it's sold out in the Swag shop also) and when it is, it won't be $5 unless you order it direct. And then, if you don't live in the UK, you'll have to pay an assload of shipping.

    Where can I buy R-Pi in a B&M store in the USA, so that I can actually get it for $5? And when will it actually be available?

  • by johnw ( 3725 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @12:16PM (#51008423)

    To me, "mini-computer" still means something that only requires two or three 6' cabinets - as opposed to a mainframe, which needs a whole room full.

  • Does anybody know of a place where you can *still* get one? Or get on a waiting list or something?

  • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Thursday November 26, 2015 @01:23PM (#51008819)

    The CHIP has WiFi, Bluetooth, and 4Gbytes of NAND built in, all things you need to add to the Raspberry Pi.

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