$25 Raspberry Pi twice as powerful as iPhone 4S GPU, burns Tegra 2

By on January 25, 2012, 12:30 PM

A new interview with executive director Eben Upton reveals that the upcoming $25 Raspberry Pi minicomputer offers twice the graphical performance of Apple’s iPhone 4S and thoroughly smokes Nvidia’s Tegra 2 as well.

“What’s really striking is how badly Tegra 2 performs relative even to simple APs using licensed Imagination Technologies (TI and Apple) or ARM Mali (Samsung) graphics” says Upton. “To summarize, BCM2835 has a tile mode architecture – so it kills immediate-mode devices like Tegra on fill-rate – and we’ve chosen to configure it with a very large amount of shader performance, so it does very well on compute-intensive benchmarks, and should double iPhone 4S performance across a range of content.”

The $25 computer features a 700MHz ARM11 SoC, 128MB of SDRAM, a 3.5mm audio jack, USB 2.0 port, HDMI out and DVI out. Wi-Fi will be available via a standard USB dongle and storage is handled via SD card. We’ve already seen that Raspberry Pi systems are capable of running Quake III at 1920 x 1080 with 4x AA as well as Apple’s AirPlay.

We first heard about the Raspberry Pi minicomputer in May 2011 as a project designed to help school children learn about the hardware aspect of how a PC operates. During a visit to Cambridge University in 2006, Upton noticed a distinct drop in skill level with those applying for computer science courses versus the previous decade.

The reason for this, he surmised, was that students in previous years were hobbyist programmers that had learned their craft on hardware like Amigas, MMC Micros and Commodore 64 systems. The most recent incoming students had virtually no programming skills and perhaps just a touch of experience with web design, if that.

Upton compiled a board of trustees and set about developing an ultra low priced computer to spark interest in programming once again. What he didn’t expect was the enormous interest from those not into programming. Developing countries are interested in the low-cost machines as are hospitals and museums.

Raspberry Pi is awaiting units to come back from the factory before the initial batch goes on sale, although we expect the first production run to be gobbled up pretty quick.




User Comments: 15

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Guest said:

Very impressive indeed!

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I've been watching this little product for a while now... Have a few little pet projects in mind for the networking version ($35) that is being produced first. My first endeavor will be a few older TVs that are going to be getting a "smart TV" upgrade. Good times.

tehbanz tehbanz said:

Vrmithrax said:

I've been watching this little product for a while now... Have a few little pet projects in mind for the networking version ($35) that is being produced first. My first endeavor will be a few older TVs that are going to be getting a "smart TV" upgrade. Good times.

+1, i am currently using xbox 1's with XBMC loaded on them which are cumbersome and somewhat ugly, can't wait to get these guys and just tape them to the back of my TV!

They have 3 different approved distro's of linux which should all run XBMC nicely! and if they don't (for me) a simple SaMBa share will suffice! I can't wait much longer, been following this project for awhile now and every time i hear more news i get giddier inside! (Release date is encroaching!)

Guest said:

very good project, unless a patent troll finds a way to stop it (Apple ?)

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I want 3 good sir

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

I never even heard of Rasberry Pi until couple weeks ago, and now they have beaten nVIDIA and PowerVR chips? Intel come on, you're time to shine has to be soon if these little guys can do it.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

tehbanz said:

They have 3 different approved distro's of linux which should all run XBMC nicely! and if they don't (for me) a simple SaMBa share will suffice! I can't wait much longer, been following this project for awhile now and every time i hear more news i get giddier inside! (Release date is encroaching!)

My one stumbling block at the moment is Netflix playback, which I know is a bit convoluted on Linux (since Silverlight is not available in Linux). I had heard Netflix was releasing a Linux stand-alone streaming app similar to what they have done with Android, Chrome OS, iOS, etc. Just haven't heard whether it's still in process, or dead. Definitely want streaming on my TV upgrading projects!

Guest said:

Good luck fitting that giant beast into an 11mm thick cell phone. My radeon 4850 runs 1000x faster than an iPhone 4s gpu. DUH! put that into a cell phone too please.

lipe123 said:

Guest said:

Good luck fitting that giant beast into an 11mm thick cell phone. My radeon 4850 runs 1000x faster than an iPhone 4s gpu. DUH! put that into a cell phone too please.

Wow dude thats an engineering sample, way to show off your stupidness here.

The actual part that's going into other devices like phones its just the tiny square chip in the center.

treetops treetops said:

dang and smart phones are like 600$

Guest said:

"you're a genius..."

MrAnderson said:

I'm soooo getting a bunch of these. It is great to find cheap and powerful hardware to learn and play on.

Zeromus said:

Just knock off the unneeded io ports and you have a canvas for the next fairly large hand held device.

Guest said:

NONE of it is going into mobile devices - the whole point of Raspberry Pi is that it is an inexpensive, standalone computer. Its not a component, or a SoC, its a fully fledged computer.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Powering the upcoming Wii U.

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