Pi Zero - the $5 computer


Mr_Loon

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Very nearly posted this in absurdism corner, but you can now get a computer given away for free with a magazine, or buy it for £4 / $5.

From the official website :
 


The Raspberry Pi Zero is half the size of a Model A+, with twice the utility. A tiny Raspberry Pi that’s affordable enough for any project!


1Ghz, Single-core CPU
512MB RAM
Mini HDMI and USB On-The-Go ports
Micro USB power
HAT-compatible 40-pin header
Composite video and reset headers



No idea at the 'computing power' of such a system but my guess is we'd be looking at something like a rebirth Pandora with a bit of overclocking.

What a time to be alive.
 

pmprog

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Actually, you can't buy it for £4, it's out of stock - and at Element 14 it's ~£11.


Still, looks quite nice
 

Fzero

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I bought one today, with the MagPi magazine :)


Going to get RetroPie onto it later but not sure which version image to put on the microSD, as they provide one for the Pi 1 and another for the Pi 2.  Not sure which the Pi Zero would need to use. I posted on the forum there so hopefully will have a reply by this evening so I can give it a try
 

gadgetoid

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I bought one today, with the MagPi magazine :)


Going to get RetroPie onto it later but not sure which version image to put on the microSD, as they provide one for the Pi 1 and another for the Pi 2.  Not sure which the Pi Zero would need to use. I posted on the forum there so hopefully will have a reply by this evening so I can give it a try



You'll need the image for the Pi 1, but I'm not 100% sure even that will work due to the 512MB RAM package on the Pi Zero being possibly incompatible with some of the boot images.


So far I've only had time to test it with Raspbian Jessie/Wheezy and I know it won't boot from a NOOBS card.


Reckon it would fit right into a Retrode and the USB OTG port is hard-wired to the Pi Zero's input power so it can crank out a lot of downstream juice to a non-powered hub. I've had wifi, SD card readers and a wireless mouse/keyboard combo dangling off it with no problems whatsoever.


In short: it's ace! And we'll hopefully have more stock soon.
 

Fzero

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Yeah I used the Pi 1 image and it boots OK.  Get the RetroPie boot screen and prompts to connect control pad ... but I can't find my USB female to USB Micro adapter so can't hook up my control pad...doh!


Just went shop to get one but they don't have so I will get tomorrow.


But someone on the RetroPie forum has confirmed that it all runs fine and just like does on his Pi B board... so that's good news eh 
 

WizardStan

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If it had wifi it would be perfect. Having to add on an OTG adapter and a wifi dongle reduces its perfection
 

gadgetoid

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Definitely good news. I'll be looking to squeeze one into my Retrode 2 now! Although I totally butchered my Gold Brick Retrode already to fit it into a Megadrive 1 alongside a full-sized Pi.


So much potential and I'm hung up on retro gaming :D


edit: we'll be selling an OTG adapter that fits inside the USB connector of a Wifi dongle. Yeah it's bonkers and will probably end in tears, but it solves the massive flappy adapter cable problem.

image.jpeg
 
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Pritchy

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I bought one today, with the MagPi magazine :)


Going to get RetroPie onto it later but not sure which version image to put on the microSD, as they provide one for the Pi 1 and another for the Pi 2.  Not sure which the Pi Zero would need to use. I posted on the forum there so hopefully will have a reply by this evening so I can give it a try



How much was the mag? Thinking of picking one up :)
 

ekianjo

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This could be a serious basis to make a Pandora-like device in terms of form factor. 


The pyra should be massively more powerful, but size wise this should make small portable consoles a lot easier to make now. 
 

Exophase

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This post might ruffle some feathers and get me some negative backlash, but I personally will not buy an RPi Foundation product so long as they use public blocklists on their official Twitter account that block people based on who they follow (https://spacemidget.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/raspberry-pi-use-scattershot-blocklist-and-put-hands-over-their-ears/)

This could be a serious basis to make a Pandora-like device in terms of form factor. 


The pyra should be massively more powerful, but size wise this should make small portable consoles a lot easier to make now. 



Really, even Pandora is more powerful. This is an overclocked RPi 1. The problem is that without proper L2 cache that ARM11 will not scale terribly well in performance to 1GHz. I expect the CPU performance to be something like half that of 1GHz Pandora's, although it'd vary a lot depending on what you're running. Lack of ARMv7a (NEON mainly) is also a big downside.


I doubt you could come anywhere close on price, but size-wise Gumstix had products that outdid this 6 years ago.
 

pmprog

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This post might ruffle some feathers and get me some negative backlash, but I personally will not buy an RPi Foundation product so long as they use public blocklists on their official Twitter account that block people based on who they follow (https://spacemidget.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/raspberry-pi-use-scattershot-blocklist-and-put-hands-over-their-ears/)

I've never heard of that before, but I guess that's not surprising as I've never used Twitter (and have no intention). Don't know why anyone would give you backlash over that though, entirely your choice.


Gumstix' Geppetto looks like it could be pretty neat tool for custom boards :)
 

Exophase

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Another alternative got posted here before but here it is again in case anyone's interested:


http://getchip.com/



(if you order it on Monday it's $8 instead of $9)


So vs RPi Zero, it has advantages like:


+ A faster processor


+ 4GB onboard storage


+ Integrated WiFi/BT


+ Populated GPIO and composite headers


+ Battery charger built-in and battery available that you can plug in directly


+ A neat little handheld keyboard device expansion thing is available


But disadvantages like:


- A little larger in one dimension (60x40mm vs 65x30mm for the RPi Zero.. so a little smaller in the other dimension)


- No uSD expansion


- Needs expansion board for HDMI


- Isn't actually out yet and some speculate that the price will go up later


- RPi will have a bigger software and hardware ecosystem, even with ARMv6


- Is a little more expensive at $8 vs $5.. if you can buy RPi Zero for $5 anyway. They do appear to have some at a Microcenter near me for that price.
 

ekianjo

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The problem is that without proper L2 cache that ARM11 will not scale terribly well in performance to 1GHz. I expect the CPU performance to be something like half that of 1GHz Pandora's, although it'd vary a lot depending on what you're running. Lack of ARMv7a (NEON mainly) is also a big downside.



I was not saying this would be as powerful as the Pandora - my point was simply that at this kind of size, it would be easier to integrate in a shell like a Pandora's and have it connect to a screen and a keyboard  in a reduced space. With the Raspberry Pi it was too big and bulky to make this form factor possible, but now that's basically feasible even for amateur projects.
 
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levi

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That's probably true (though whether anyone would bother is another question), but hasn't the compute module fulfilled that role for some time now?  You'd need to design a small PCB to split out the USB signals and GPIOs, while theoretically with this you could use off the shelf hubs and USB peripherals, but since you'd need to design a case anyway, is making a small PCB that much extra work?


Edit: I suppose the compute module costs rather more than $5, although that's yet another discussion.
 
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levi

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It's the way of anything that's got limited release that's in demand.  Prices inflate as people try to make a quick buck before the device comes in stock at sensible prices everywhere.
 
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