Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Will Have Fast GPU For The Price

Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 26, 2012 - 11:45 AM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, linux, htpc, hd, gpu, broadcom

As reported earlier, the Raspberry Pi is a small computer intended to run Linux and is made to be portable and able to be powered by USB. The small board is based on the Broadcom BCM2835 chipset, which includes an ARM 11 CPU and a dual core VideoCore IV graphics card co processor. The Raspberry Pi further includes connections for HDMI, component output, and USB ports. The higher tier $35 model will further feature an Ethernet jack and twice the RAM (512 MB).

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The Raspberry Pi will soon be available for sale and if the company behind the device- The Raspberry Pi Foundation- is to be believed, the GPU in the little Linux computer will pack quite a punch for its size (and cost). In a recent Digital Foundry interview with Raspberry Pi Executive Director Eben Upton reported on by Eurogamer, Upton made several claims about the Raspberry Pi’s graphics capabilities. He explained that the Broadcom BCM2835’s VideoCore IV GPU is a tile mode architecture that has been configured with an emphasis on shader performance. Upton said “it does very well on compute-intensive benchmarks, and should double iPhone 4S performance across a range of content."

The comparison to the iPhone 4S relates to his further claims that the Raspberry Pi GPU is the best on the market and can best both the iPhone 4S’s PowerVR (Imagination Technologies) based graphics and even the mighty Tegra 2 in fill rate performance. Rather large claims for sure; however, we do have some independent indication that his claims may not be wholly inflated. The coders behind XBMC, open source media center software that allows users to play a variety of media formats, have demonstrated their XBMC software running on the Raspberry Pi. They showed the Raspberry Pi playing a 1080p blu ray movie at a smooth frame rate thanks to the Broadcom GPU being capable of 1080p 30 FPS H.264 hardware accelerated decoding. You can see the Raspberry Pi in action in the video below.

The little Raspberry Pi is starting to look quite promising for HTPC (and even light gaming) use, especially for the price!  At $25 and $35 respectively, the Raspberry Pi should see quite the following in the modding, enthusiast, and education community.

Source: Eurogamer
January 27, 2012 | 12:11 AM - Posted by Lou (not verified)

I keep reading about this little system. I want to buy like, 3 of these things now, just to play around with and check out the capabilities!

I hope they are building millions of these things, because it looks like a big hit to me and it would be a shame if they turned out to be hard to find. And word on release date?

January 27, 2012 | 02:49 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Indeed! I'm not even sure what I would do with one, but I still want to get one :). I'm not sure how many they are going to have on release, the last number I heard was someone in the ballpark of 40,000 of the high end model in the first manufacturing run. Looks like they are going to need to order a lot more by the general interest people are showing!

January 27, 2012 | 02:50 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Oh, and nope, I have not heard any solid release date, only that they are currently being manufactured.

January 27, 2012 | 08:42 AM - Posted by Reginald (not verified)

I cannot wait to see what comes out of this project as a whole but especially with XBMC, I am huge fan and long time XBMC user. I am using an Acer Revo (running OpenELEC - XBMC) for my media center and I couldn't be happier it runs a lot more smoothly than Windows with XBMC and Eventghost. This will be a fantastic fit for minimalist Home Theater users and work great for satellite spaces (bedrooms, kitchen and so on).

Like the user above I hope we see the foundation release a ton of these as I am sure they will sell like hot cakes (I know I will be trying to pick at least 1 up)

January 27, 2012 | 11:32 PM - Posted by MrWhiskers (not verified)

i've been looking at this for a good bit now. I'm going to get one or three. I'm hoping that it can stream media from my win7 pc to my tv's.

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