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Raspberry Pi Model B+ targets schools

Raspberry Pi Model B

New version of Raspberry Pi has four USB ports and can power an external hard disk

Raspberry Pi Model B+, the first major update to the barebones computer, has gone on sale with four USB ports and enough power to run an external hard disk. The Model B+ has the same processor and core specs as the Model B but power and connectivity have been improved.

The SD card socket has been replaced by a micro-SD card version, while the 26-pin GPIO has been expanded to 40 pins with fully backwards compatibility. Its creators said that the Model B+ was a realisation of what Pi should have been since launch. Its launch coincides with preparations for the new school term in the UK, with a new computing curriculum being taught from September.

By far the most important upgrade is extra USB power, with the Raspberry Pi Model B+ able to run an external USB hard disk. In a technical demonstration engineers showed the Raspberry Pi running a 2TB hard disk, pointing out that this opened up the Pi to more exciting projects.

The Raspberry Pi B+ is based on the same Broadcom BCM2835 Chipset and 512MB of RAM as the original Model B and is powered by a micro USB with AV connections through either HDMI or a new four-pole connector. This new port replaces the analogue audio and composite video ports.

The people behind Raspberry Pi said that the Model B+ was the version they wanted to create in 2012, adding that its launch now had the potential to create huge new demand for the computer amongst engineers, hobbyists and computing newcomers.

Raspberry Pi said they would continue manufacturing the Model B for as long as there is demand for it. The Model B+ has been described as the “final evolution of the original Raspberry Pi”.

Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi, said he hoped the new board would see wider adoption of the barebones computer:

“We’ve been blown away by the projects that have been made possible through the original B boards and, with its new features, the B+ has massive potential to push the boundaries and drive further innovation.”

Since it launched in February 2012 more than three million Raspberry Pi boards have been sold. At $35 (£27.44) the new Model B+ is exactly the same price as the previous Model B with its developers keen to point out complete backwards compatibility. It is on sale now from element14 but is currently listed as out of stock.

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