Hackers and tweakers and computer-fiddling enthusiasts of the world, rejoice. There's a new Raspberry Pi out, and it makes a bunch of improvements that followers have been asking for. The new Raspberry Pi B+ has more RAM, uses less power both at idle and under load, and the redesign stacks on more USB inputs. Even better, you can buy it in Australia right now.
The $38 Raspberry Pi B+ hits the same price point as the Model B it replaces, and it's being sold in Australia through official distributor element14. Like the Model B, the B+ has a single-core 700MHz Broadcom BCM2835 system-on-chip processor and 512MB of 400MHz SDRAM, although it swaps out the clunky push-fit SD card for a more modern click-to-lock microSD card slot.
The B+ also doubles the number of full-size USB host ports it offers to four, and the composite RCA video connector has been abandoned for a four-pole 3.5mm jack that supports stereo audio and composite video output simultaneously. The number general purpose input/output (GPIO) pins also rises from 26 to 40 -- this should open up applications for the new Pi that the old one didn't support.
Most interestingly, the B+ uses only 600mA compared to the B's 750mA, which should reduce its power consumption from around 4-4.75 Watts to as little as 3-3.5W. When you're talking about a microcomputer that is already barely sipping electricity, a 20 per cent energy efficiency improvement is amazing stuff. This will be "the final version" Pi based on the existing platform; the next iteration should be a complete redesign.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation will be running a webinar in a fortnight to introduce the new B+, with Pi inventor Eben Upton talking about the new things that tweakers should be able to do with the updated single-board computer. [element14]