Raspberry Pi Foundation makes a unit with fewer connectors in a dinky DIMM package, for commercial users to build into embedded systems
An even smaller version of the Raspberry Pi is being made available to business and industrial users, with the SD card slot and connectors such a HDMI left off to provide a cheaper, smaller unit for embedded systems.
The Linux-based Raspberry Pi Compute Module is powered by a Broadcom BCM2835 processor and 512MB of RAM, which are integrated into a 67.6 x 30mm board, allowing the module to fit into a standard SO-DIMM connector used for laptop memory.
The remaining processor interfaces are available to the user via the connector pins, with most of the connection features on a standard Raspberry Pi removed in the name of flexibility.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation says the Compute Model is recognition that a “very significant” number of users are using embedded Raspberry Pis in their systems and commercial products and that it wanted to make it as easy as possible to use the core technology.
“We think there needs to be a better way to allow people to get their hands on this great technology in a more flexible form factor, but still keep things at a sensible price,” explains James Adams, director of hardware at the foundation. “Like proud parents, we want to free the core technology of the Raspberry Pi to go forth and become an integral part of new and exciting products and devices.”
Compute Module IO Board
The Raspberry Pi Compute Module has been primarily designed for those who are going to create their own system, but the Foundation is also launching the Compute Module IO Board to help designers experiment with the new module before they go through with the expense of creating a custom board.
Adams says the Compute Module IO Board is a simple breakout board that users can plug the Compute Module into, providing the necessary power to its flash memory and the HDMI and USB connectors required to use a display and keyboard.
Initially, the two products will be able to buy together from some point June, and shortly after that the Compute Module will be available on its own. It will cost $30 in batches of 100, although individual computers will be available at a slightly higher price.
“The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity, and as with everything we make here, all profits are pushed straight back into educating kids in computing,” adds Adams.
More than two million of the original Raspberry Pi have been sold since it launched in 2012 with the aim of providing a cheap Linux-based computer that would encourage children to write code. It features a 700MHz ARM11 processor, VideoCore IV GPU, and either 256MB or 512MB of RAM and has been used to power a number of projects, including a GSM base station and the hack of a drone over Wi-Fi.
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