Raspberry Pi B+ and the MIPS Creator CI20 Low Cost Kit Computers

Raspberry Pi B+

The Raspberry Pi computer is a $35 system board that you can connect your mouse, keyboard, and monitor to. [Buy]

The system has HDMI, USB, And Ethernet ports, as well as an audio jack to connect a headphone or speakers.

Here’s a description from the RaspberryPi.org website:

“The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It is a capable little computer which can be used in electronics projects, and for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn how computers work, how to manipulate the electronic world around them, and how to program.” (source)

Learn more at eLinux.org/RaspberryPiBoard or Wikipedia.

Raspberry Pi Specifications

The model discussed on this page is the Raspberry Pi B+ design. Here are the specifications and enhancements over the previous model.

  • 700MHz Broadcom BCM2835 CPU / 512 MB SDRAM @ 400 MHz / 10/100 Ethernet RJ45 On Board Network
  • 40 pin Extended GPIO / Full Size HDMI / 4 USB Ports / Micro SD Slot
  • More Energy Efficiency (Less Power Required) / Improved Power Management: Manage More Devices from Your Pi!
  • Bigger and Better projects via an Expanded GPIO Header (40 pins vs. 26)
  • Increased connectivity – 2 Extra USB ports (making a total of 4) and a new 4-pole connector replace the existing analogue and composite video port on the Model B

Product Description

As seen on the Manufacturer’s website – MODEL B is the original Raspberry Pi, MODEL B+ is the higher-spec variant of the Raspberry Pi. It replaced the original Model B in July 2014. Compared to the Model B it has:

  • More GPIO. The GPIO header has grown to 40 pins, while retaining the same pinout for the first 26 pins as the Model B.
  • More USB. We now have 4 USB 2.0 ports, compared to 2 on the Model B, and better hotplug and overcurrent behaviour.
  • Micro SD. The old friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a much nicer push-push micro SD version.
  • Lower power consumption. By replacing linear regulators with switching ones we’ve reduced power consumption by between 0.5W and 1W.
  • Better audio. The audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply.
  • Neater form factor. We’ve aligned the USB connectors with the board edge, moved composite video onto the 3.5mm jack, and added four squarely-placed mounting holes.

Raspberry Pi Enclosures and Cases

Below are some Raspberry Pi B+ enclosures and cases. Click any image for more details.

Zebra Case – Raspberry Pi B+ (Black Ice) $17.50
Raspberry Pi B+ Case – Black $14

Expansion GPIO Cable

The GPIO cable allows for expansion and special applications. The one pictured below is expensive considering that others are available at lower prices. It’s an IDE cable, so any other should work. This one looks nice in black.

GPIO Ribbon Cable for Raspberry Pi Model B+ (40 pins)
GPIO Ribbon Cable for Raspberry Pi Model B+ (40 pins)


Alternatives to the Raspberry Pi

With the popularity of the Raspberry Pi, other manufacturers are creating similar devices. The MIPS Creator CI20 is similar to the Raspberry Pi, but reportedly more powerful and it comes pre-loaded with Debian7 Linux. Learn more on the CI20 information page. Visit the registration page to inquire about purchasing a MIPS Creator CI20. PC World has a nice article on the CI20.

MIPS Creator CI20
MIPS Creator CI20

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