UK tech publication “The Register” recently had the honor of revealing that the followup to everyone’s favorite Linux single board computer, the Raspberry Pi, has finally been released. Officially dubbed the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (to leave the possibility for an as of yet unconfirmed model A), the new Pi is supposedly 6 times as powerful as its predecessor, but still costs the same $35 and keeps more or less the same form factor. The Pi 2 is intended to be more or less a drop in replacement, so projects making use of the existing Pi should be easily upgradeable.
While certainly not the Raspberry Pi’s most common use, its effectiveness as a rogue device cannot be ignored. With the upgraded processing power of the Pi 2, it’s likely that we’ll see even more rogue devices being built around this highly available board.
The original Pi wasn’t terribly fast, but for $35, nobody really complained. While it was more than capable for many basic tasks, and perfectly suitable for its intended goal as a low-cost educational tool, it left something to be desired when it came to things like encryption or man-in-the-middle attacks. But the upgrade to a quad-core 900 MHz processor with 1 GB of RAM promises to make such concerns a thing of the past.
Head of the Raspberry Pi Foundation Eben Upton belies this iteration of the Pi is even good enough to serve as a proper desktop computer, “I think it’s a usable PC now. It was always the case that you could use a Raspberry Pi 1 as a PC but you had to say ‘this is a great PC in so far as it cost me 35 bucks’. We’ve removed the caveat that you had to be a bit forgiving with it. Now it’s just good.” Upton says the increased performance of the Pi 2 was validated through several synthetic benchmarks such as Sysbench, which may not be 100% comparable to real-world use, but at least give an idea of the system’s computational capacity.
In relation to computationally intensive security applications such as modifying network data in real time, however, synthetic benchmarks are actually quite useful. In other words, while using the Pi 2 as your desktop computer may still be impractical, there’s no question that this new Pi will be cracking encryption a whole lot faster than the old model.
The original Pi was such a runaway success that lead times of several weeks were not uncommon from many retailers. But this time around, Upton claims there should be more than enough for everyone.
The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is available immediately with 100,000 units ready to go and a production rate of over 1,000 per day at their Pencoed, South Wales factory. It may take some time for all of the electronics suppliers to get it in stock, but it sounds like anyone who wants one will be able to get one in short order.