About 6 years after the first 5$ computer (Raspberry PI Zero) and about 4 years after the wireless-integrated Raspberry PI Zero W, the Foundation has announced another new family component: the Raspberry PI Zero 2 W
Let me be honest: I deeply love RPI Zero W, so the announcement of a new Raspberry PI Zero 2 W is somewhat exciting for me and I can’t wait to buy it. My love for this board is because this board is so tiny that you could think of it as a gadget when looking for the first time. But once powered on and starting with first projects, you will soon understand how powerful and versatile it can be. You can use it as a small portable desktop computer that can be attached to whatever monitor, but you can also use it as a server, thus taking with you your small data centre. Something incredible for me, until I get the first Zero W in my hands. And With the RPI Zero W on hand, I started the very first posts in this blog. Exciting memories.
Back to the news, let’s see what we’ll find in the new board.
Following are the main hardware specs:
- Broadcom BCM2710A1, quad-core 64-bit SoC (Arm Cortex-A53 @ 1GHz)
- 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
- 2.4GHz IEEE 802.11b/g/n wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE
- 1 × USB 2.0 interface with OTG
- HAT-compatible 40 pin I/O header footprint
- MicroSD card slot
- Mini HDMI port
- Composite video and reset pin solder points
- CSI-2 camera connector
- H.264, MPEG-4 decode (1080p30); H.264 encode (1080p30)
- OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0 graphics
According to what can be read from Eben Upton announcement, keeping the same form factor has been a must for this new board. And I personally approve of this. The 6.5 cm x 3 cm offers portability which has become a goal for many other external “PI” boards but rarely reached. And this makes Raspberry PI Zero 2 W really cool.
The biggest update resides in the new Core. Also, this board finally moved to a 64 bit ARM CPU. This will enable a lot of applications to run now also on PI. And maybe this could finally move to a stable 64-bit Raspberry PI OS, which is still a beta from a too long time.
This added problems in power dissipation, as more power means a hotter board and a so small board hasn’t many thermal exchange points. The Foundation tells how they addressed this problem: “Zero 2 W uses thick internal copper layers to conduct heat away from the processor. If you hold a Zero W and a Zero 2 W in your hands, you can really feel the difference in weight. All this extra copper translates into higher sustained performance: we’ve found that in a 20C ambient environment, an uncased Zero 2 W can run our favourite LINPACK linear-algebra stress test indefinitely without throttling.“
RAM amount hasn’t changed and remains still to 512MB. And will remain this for two reasons (already precides in the announcement): “1GB LPDDR2 monodie RAM are not available, and producing a SiP with two stacked SDRAM dice would be very challenging.“
The Low-Power Double Data Rate 2 (LPDDR2) SDRAM will be installed just upon the CPU:
It isn’t a new RAM assuring the latest technologies evolution (at least checking from LPDDR versions article from Wikipedia). But The RPI Zero isn’t made for RAM consuming apps, and its lovers already learned that RAM is the most precious resource for this board and how to save it.
No important news from the networking side for common users. I personally use the PI Zero W with a simple WiFi connection and I rarely need also the Bluetooth connection. However, the new board keeps a 2.4GHz wireless LAN, moving Bluetooth from 4.1 to 4.2
The common 40 pin I/O header footprint remained. Differently from other Raspberry PI boards, a historical feature has ever been the unpopulated footprint. This makes the board fascinating when you don’t need them as the board appears really slim. But as a user, I would also suggest the Foundation to add a solder-less GPIO header into the base packaging: soldering 40 pins is never a simple job for people doing this once in their life and many times a bad soldering job could give many problems in their usage.
The RPI Zero 2 kept the single USB interface (upgraded to USB 2.0) with OTG (On The Go). This is can be used as a common USB host port, by the use of simple adapters available from common e-commerce sites.
Here is a very strange thing: with the new Raspberry PI 4 Model B they moved from USB micro-B connector to the newest USB-C connector. With Raspberry PI Zero 2 W the Foundation keeps USB Micro-B and doesn’t move also this new board to use USB-C for power. Also, the new “official” power supply they are going to sell has a fixed cable which, differently from the common power supply, doesn’t allow changing the final cable from USB micro-B to USB-C. In my opinion, this is a great lack, as well as a button to switch on/off power on the PSU.
The complete Foundation announcement can be found in following link: https://www.raspberrypi.com/news/new-raspberry-pi-zero-2-w-2/
I hope to enjoy soon the new board!
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