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Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new, small-and-modular form factor

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced a forthcoming addition to the Pi lineup, the "Pi Compute Module," which is "a Raspberry Pi shrunk down to fit on a SODIMM with onboard memory, whose connectors you can customise for your own needs." The form factor is intended for those who are going to create their own boards on which to attach the module, although there will be a breakout board designed by the Foundation as well. The module includes the same System-on-Chip as the original Pi and the same eMMC flash storage module; in addition the SODIMM connector will apparently expose more pins than the credit-card form factor, so that "the full flexibility of the BCM2835 SoC (which means that many more GPIOs and interfaces are available as compared to the Raspberry Pi)." The expected release date is sometime in June.


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Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new, small-and-modular form factor

Posted Apr 12, 2014 15:19 UTC (Sat) by yann.morin.1998 (subscriber, #54333) [Link]

s/the same eMMC flash storage module/an additional eMMC flash storage module/

The original RPi does not have flash storage. The 4GiB eMMC is wired such that it is seen from the SoC as an SDcard (like in the current RPi.)

However, the *RAM* module is the same as the one in the model B, i.e. 512MiB.

Regards,
Yann E. MORIN.

Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new, small-and-modular form factor

Posted Apr 13, 2014 12:19 UTC (Sun) by fghorow (subscriber, #5229) [Link]

Cool! We appear to have come full circle back to the S100 bus era! ;-)

Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new, small-and-modular form factor

Posted Apr 13, 2014 22:52 UTC (Sun) by PaulWay (subscriber, #45600) [Link]

/me remembers slocket boards with some pain.

What I really wonder here is whether we'll actually see this used in parallel computing. My first thought was of a row of compute modules all plugged into a backplane with a front-end controller marshalling massed parallel computing. Important stuff, you know, like BitCoin Hashes or Mandelbrot sets or MD5sums.

The cynic in me suggests that this will never happen. Most of the tasks that require mass computing power already get done with much larger units - GPUs on graphics cards or Beowulf clusters. OTOH, companies that need really specialised computing already just design their own boards from scratch. And on the gripping hand most 'parallel' computing systems are really just distributing disparate workloads across many machines, rather than trying to coordinate computation on one task.

Still, I live in hope.

The other main application I see for this is to separate the compute board from the peripherals board, so that each can be customised. Yet how many hobbyist Raspberry Pi projects are finding that they don't have enough GPIO? Most of the people that have bought a Pi that I know (myself included) have simply used it as a tiny Linux server and haven't touched its GPIO pins at all. Maybe having a board that doesn't have any GPIO pins and just has nice network interfaces and a reasonable quantity of USB ports would be a Good Thing. Maybe we'll see dual-processor compute boards? Or compute boards with more memory and/or flash, for beefier applications? Lots of options - will they sell? If this is aimed at the business and industrial users, are these the options they want?

Have fun,

Paul

Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new, small-and-modular form factor

Posted Apr 14, 2014 4:10 UTC (Mon) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

Is this the thing you were thinking of?

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/03/mee...

Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new, small-and-modular form factor

Posted Apr 14, 2014 10:42 UTC (Mon) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

I'd see it as mostly industrial uses, where SODIMM is a convenient and well-accepted interface. Embedding a standalone-board Raspberry Pi inside a larger system is both fragile and tedious, and things like the USB connector make it pretty much impossible to connect in any automated way. Plus, it's one more thing to break and go wrong.

The other answer to that is to manufacture your own board and embed the SoC yourself, but at that point the cost and required expertise goes through the roof.

Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new, small-and-modular form factor

Posted Apr 24, 2014 11:14 UTC (Thu) by ssokolow (guest, #94568) [Link]

Yeah. For example, using RasPi boards to renovate the control systems in the aging mail-sorting machines at the main Portugese postal sorting office. (Allowing them to replace banks of nearly-dead monochrome character LCDs with LCD monitors)

It was briefly mentioned, including photos, on the RasPi blog, as something done with traditional RasPi boards before it had to be taken down because the person who reported it hadn't gone far enough up the chain of command when getting permission.

The only non-removed bit I've been able to find is this smaller copy of the photo of the old LCDs that got copied by various sites linking to it.

http://www.crazy4pi.com/industrial-applications-going-pos...

(It also seems to be one of the few pages I forgot to archive via Firefox Scrapbook but at least they didn't take down the image uploads, so I was able to archive the article after the fact using my RSS reader's history system.)

Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new, small-and-modular form factor

Posted Apr 15, 2014 0:51 UTC (Tue) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

Your proposal reminds me of Orion and SiCortex systems.

Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new, small-and-modular form factor

Posted Apr 18, 2014 19:49 UTC (Fri) by hamjudo (guest, #363) [Link]

Every interface on the chip is brought out to the edge connector with correct impedance matching. This is an easy way to get a system with 2 high speed camera interfaces for stereo computer vision projects.

I can only see one application for these for parallel computing, but it is a big one. Imagine a classroom or teaching lab where every student has their own 4 node cluster for developing and testing homework. Advanced parallel projects can be tested on larger clusters. It would be easy to experiment with different network topologies and performance levels (just not the highest performance levels).

Students could write and test fault tolerant parallel code, as it is easy to create an environment where network links, and processor nodes can be enabled and disabled at will.

Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new, small-and-modular form factor

Posted Apr 22, 2014 11:09 UTC (Tue) by ssam (guest, #46587) [Link]

The raspberrypi is great for somethings but will never be competitive for HPC. It takes a lot of raspberrypis to get the performance of a single high end CPU and you add all the extra complexity of communication between nodes. Its only 32bit and has very limited memory per core. It can be useful for learning about some of the issues encounter in real clusters though.

I imagine this will be more useful for embedded projects. Suppose you want to build a quadrocopter or phone or whatever, and need a raspberrypi level CPU. You can make a breakout board with just what you need, rather than carry around a whole pi.


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