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Raspberry Pi – the $25 Linux box – enters alpha production

According to the Raspberry Pi blog, the alpha boards for this ARM-chipped Linux device are now in production.

This board is intended to be identical to the final device, with the resulting units being used to validate the schematic design and serving as Raspberry Pi’s interim software development platform.

Key differences between the alpha and final boards are:

  • The alpha board is roughly 20% larger than the credit-card-sized final board. As you can see, our size is already dominated by the area of the various connectors.
  • The alpha board has six layers rather than four and uses a variety of expensive HDI features (blind and buried vias, via-in-pad) which Raspberry Pi wishes to eliminate from the final board.
  • The alpha board has various test and debug features which will not be present on the final board.

The ICs used in the design are an ARM-based application processor (centre) and an SMSC LAN9512 USB 2.0 hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller (right and down from centre). The SDRAM is mounted on top of the application processor in a PoP configuration.

Following the example of the BBC Micro, Raspberry Pi intends to launch both a Model A device (lacking the LAN9512 and with 128MB of RAM) at $25 and a Model B device (including the LAN9512, and with 256MB of RAM) for an additional $5-10. These models should be available before the end of 2011.