Annoyingly, I hadn’t been paying close attention to the Raspberry Pi world so any hints of what was to pop up on my Twitter feed one cold, October morning regarding a new Pi Zero model (the Pi Zero 2) with a fair chunk more horsepower caught me well and truly off guard.

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 launches at $15USD, with The Pi Hut in the UK selling it at £13.50 and Electrokit here in Sweden retailing at 180SEK. Both seem to be out of stock, though Electrokit didn’t seem to impose a limit on pieces per order and The Pi Hut did. Perhaps a conscious decision just to make things a little more fair on their own. Though I’m glad I was able to get 2 in a single order!

Overview

It’s based on a new chip in the sense that it’s a new package, though in reality it’s the Raspberry Pi 3’s CPU sitting on top of the 512MB of LPDDR2 RAM it’s coupled with. Due to the form factor though, it’s clocked at 1GHz but still, a Pi Zero form factor with a quad core processor? Grab yourself a heatsink and I’m sure you’ll be able to squeeze some more life out of it still..

Anyway, less babbling, more information. The “new” chip is named RP3A0-AU (the -AU a nod to the fact they’re using Gold instead of Copper) and retaining the same form factor and I/O placement means that your old Pi Zero/W case is likely to fit just fine (I only have the official Zero case but can confirm it fits!). Speaking of the old Pi Zero/W though, here’s how the new specs match up.

Head to Head Tech Specs

  Pi Zero 2 W Pi Zero W
CPU 1GHz Quad-Core Cortex-A53 - RP3A0-AU 1GHz Single-Core ARM1176JZF-S - BCM2835
  BCM2710A1 - 32/64bit - ARMv7/ARMv8-A BCM2708 - 32bit - ARMv6
     
RAM 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
     
GPU VideoCore IV VideoCore IV
  H.264 MPEG-4 decode (1080p30) H.264 MPEG-4 decode (1080p30)
  H.264 encode (1080p30) H.264 encode (1080p30)
     
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n WLAN (2.4GHz) 802.11 b/g/n WLAN (2.4GHz)
  Bluetooth 4.2 / Bluetooth Low Energy Bluetooth 4.1 / Bluetooth Low Energy
  USB 2.0 OTG (1) USB 2.0 OTG (1)
  Mini HDMI (1) Mini HDMI (1)
  CSI-2 Camera Connector (1) CSI-2 Camera Connector (1)
  microSD Card Slot microSD Card Slot
  40 Pin Raspberry Pi GPIO 40 Pin Raspberry Pi GPIO
     
Power Micro USB Micro USB
     

Not that I’ll be planning to use it for anything GPU intensive myself (or at all) but the VideoCore GPU on the chip is also capable of H.264 encoding/decoding at 1080p30fps and features OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 graphics.

Pi Zero W / Pi Zero 2 W Front Comparison

Comparison of the front of both boards

Pi Zero W / Pi Zero 2 W Back Comparison

Comparison of the back of both boards

Benchmarks

The Raspberry Pi foundation boasts 5x faster performance over the original Pi Zero (W) with this new mode but is it? Naturally, it will depend on the use-case but I’ve gathered some of the most well-known benchmarking suites available (and some not so well known ones..) and I’ve begun compiling the results so we can take a look in a separate post. I’ll be looking to perform more tests and updating the page with as many as I can find that may prove to be useful in some way.

The benchmark results are now available so do check them out and see how the new device lines up against its older brother. It really is quite a difference!

Summary

I bought the Pi Zero 2 W knowing that I’d have a use for it. Gaining an extra 3 cores will alleviate the stress my UK-based ADS-B tracker (check out my soon to be refreshed post about ADSB-Exhange) and give it some headroom. The 2nd though? Not a clue. I’d rather it didn’t sit gathering dust with the other Orange/Raspberry Pi units in the cupboard but it is what it is..