Home > Broadcom BCMxxxx, Hardware > Raspberry Pi 2 Gets an Upgrade to 64-Bit Broadcom BCM2837 Processor with PCB Version 1.2

Raspberry Pi 2 Gets an Upgrade to 64-Bit Broadcom BCM2837 Processor with PCB Version 1.2

November 21st, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

With the launch of Raspberry Pi 3 based on Broadcom BCM2837 quad core Cortex A53 processor earlier this year, sales of Raspberry Pi 2 boards have suffering meaning the demand for Broadcom BCM2836 quad core Cortex A7 processor has also been reduced, and it appears the Raspberry Pi foundation has now launched Raspberry Pi 2 V1.2 with the faster BCM2837 processor.

raspberry-pi-2-v1-2-bcm2837The new Raspberry Pi 2 v1.2 runs BCM2837 CPU cores up to 900 MHz, instead of 1.2 GHz on RPi 3, and includes 1 GB RAM. The main difference with Raspberry Pi 3 is the lack of the WiFi and Bluetooth module, which may also prevent some UART issues if you want to access the serial console or use an add-on board with UART.

Since both boards cost the same ($35), most people should probably stick with Raspberry Pi 3, unless you’d rather not have any wireless module on board for security reasons. You can purchase Raspberry Pi 2 v1.2 on Farnell, CPC Farnell, Newark and others.

Via Raspi.TV

  1. willmore
    November 21st, 2016 at 10:10 | #1

    Just when you think the Raspberry Pi foundation has done the craziest thing, they find a whole new type of crazy.

    “It’s slower than the 3! It doesn’t have the wireless of the 3! It’s just as incompatable as the 3! It costs just as much as the 3!”

    Where’s that picture of Jackie Chan…..

  2. tcmichals
    November 21st, 2016 at 11:27 | #2

    Maybe a new zero is going to come out with the BCM2837.

  3. abc
    November 21st, 2016 at 12:27 | #3

    /me waits for raspberry pi 4 with 2GB of ram (quite problematic afaik but well…)

  4. blu
    November 21st, 2016 at 15:05 | #4

    I wonder what the reason for the downclock might be.

  5. tkaiser
    November 21st, 2016 at 15:58 | #5

    @blu
    This is called market segmentation. By crippling cpufreq to just 900 MHz they ensure that RPi 2 remains somewhat slower compared to RPi 3. So clueless customers can choose ‘the right one’ more easily 😉

  6. Bruce
    November 21st, 2016 at 16:05 | #6

    @tkaiser
    but usually market segmentation is also with price segmentation.

  7. blu
    November 21st, 2016 at 17:39 | #7

    @tkaiser, @Bruce
    I have a theory – BRCM were sitting on some 900MHz-graded chips, but since the Foundation would have to take a hit on the PCB if they dropped the price further, and the SoC is essentially fixed price from BRCM, they’re staying the RPi3 price.

  8. Theguyuk
    November 21st, 2016 at 17:44 | #8

    They are trying to stay relevant and failing big time..

  9. manuti
    November 21st, 2016 at 18:24 | #9

    This is is more or less old ► https://raspberryparatorpes.net/hardware/nueva-raspberry-pi-2-b/ from October
    I think there are faulty RPi3 processor under-clocked to be used and to reduce heat dissipation.
    But everybody knows the Foundation goes by mysterious ways (no public roadmap)

  10. Steve
    November 21st, 2016 at 19:51 | #10

    Think everyone here is missing the point. The Pi Foundation have pretty much guaranteed to continue producing all models (apart from the Zero which is a special case) so that manufacturers can embed them in devices, or deploy them in industrial applications with a guarantee of continued production (for new devices or spares)

    The CPU in the Pi 2 Model B has effectively been EOLed – but rather than EOL the Pi 2 Model B – they’ve redesigned it to take the newer SoC. This isn’t about confusing consumers – it’s about supporting industrial customers.

    The Pi Foundation have done the same thing with the Model A+. This used to ship with a SoC with 256MB of on-device RAM. That became a tricky issue, so they now sell it with 512MB RAM, so it has the same SoC as the B+ (or is it the Zero?)

  11. November 21st, 2016 at 20:28 | #11

    @Steve
    That goes with the fact that they didn’t communicate about it much at all. It’s not a “new” feature.

  12. November 21st, 2016 at 20:56 | #12

    Since the BCM43438 WiFi/BT chip on the Pi 3 is now effectively made by Cypress – who probably don’t partake on Raspberry Foundation’s creative accounting frolics – we may see some price increase for it in the future – or some sort of change.

  13. Jan de Boer
    November 21st, 2016 at 21:23 | #13

    @JM
    On the plus side, now we have a reasonably detailed datasheet for BCM43438, courtesy of Cypress:

    http://www.cypress.com/documentation/datasheets/bcm43438-single-chip-ieee-80211-bgn-macbasebandradio-bluetooth-41-and-fm

  14. Mic_s
    November 21st, 2016 at 23:19 | #14

    @tkaiser
    Pi2B ver 1.2 is not intended for new developments. It is produced only in (relatively) small numbers for existing customers. The current model (pi3B) is produced in much larger numbers (more than 100000 pieces / month).

  15. tkaiser
    November 21st, 2016 at 23:40 | #15

    @Mic_s
    In the meantime I also thought about the 900 MHz from another perspective: When exchanging the SoC with another one at least thermal and consumption behaviour should remain the same. The old RPi 2+ increased consumption by 1135 mW when running sysbench while RPi 3 needed 2385 mW more @ 1.2GHz compared to idle. Maybe also lower dvfs operating points can be used which helps RPi 2 ver 1.2 remaining compatible here with the predecessor?

  16. Kleer Kut
    November 21st, 2016 at 23:56 | #16

    If they are already buying it in large quantities with bulk pricing then it is probably just cheaper for them to go this way. It is an ‘upgrade’ that lowers their BOM. This should also help streamline things for them so they can release a new A+ model with the same chip.

  17. Benjamin
    November 21st, 2016 at 23:59 | #17

    This should be the midrange model for 20$. Then it would sorta make sense.

  18. Slackstick
    November 22nd, 2016 at 00:36 | #18

    @Steve
    So they keep the name and break compatibility? For the industrial market, they will fail miserably!

  19. tkaiser
    November 22nd, 2016 at 01:17 | #19

    @Slackstick
    Why should compatibility be concerned? One of those RPi jokes is that they run code ‘optimized’ for ARMv6 even on ARMv8 CPU cores, that simply remains the same with this new RPi 2 1.2. But of course you need new ‘firmware’ since the Linux running on the ARM cores is under VideoCore IV control: https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware/commit/ad8608c08b122b2c228dba0ff5070d6e9519faf5

    BTW: BCM2837 clocked with 900 MHz is slightly faster than BCM2836 clocked at the same clockspeed. As soon as ARMv8 code could be used it might be significantly faster. But hey why not using code for ARMv6 instead? Helps slowing things down 🙂

  20. WerewolfC
    November 22nd, 2016 at 02:16 | #20

    Rpi2B on steroids. Fine with me. I’m still rocking on RPI1 model B and thinking on upgrading, but for 35$ it should include a case, at least.

  21. Steve
    November 22nd, 2016 at 03:47 | #21

    @Slackstick
    By not implementing the Bluetooth and WiFi element of the Pi 3 B the new Pi 2 B retains hardware compatibility (hardware UART is important for some) with the old Pi 2 B (LEDs are in the same place as the old 2B too) – so hardware compatibility is better than the 3B would be.

  22. abc
    November 22nd, 2016 at 04:04 | #22

    @Slackstick

    What do you mean by breaking compatibility? Afaik old and “new” rpi2 is compatible.

  23. tkaiser
    November 22nd, 2016 at 04:13 | #23

    @abc
    Needs a bunch of proprietary blobs in version ad8608c08b122b2c228dba0ff5070d6e9519faf5 (also called ‘firmware’). But apart from that there shouldn’t be any compatibility issues.

  24. Slackstick
    November 22nd, 2016 at 04:44 | #24

    @Steve
    Pi 2 B is compatible with Pi 3 but not with Pi 2 A. Industrial users of Pi 2 A have to support a new kernel. User applications can’t use SWP and SWPB instructions any more. At least up to now, that’s not what industrial users require.

  25. memeka
    November 22nd, 2016 at 06:59 | #25

    @tkaiser

    I think the primary reason for the underclock is maintaining the thermal and power properties of the old rpi2.
    At 1.2Ghz, rpi3 needs way more power (rpi2 power sources won’t work) and gets way hotter. I’m not entirely convinced 900Mhz would be enough of an underclock tho`.

  26. tkaiser
    November 22nd, 2016 at 13:45 | #26

    @Slackstick
    LOL, ‘The use of SWP and SWPB is deprecated in ARMv6 and above’ 🙂

    @memeka
    Agree, to get compatibility with the older RPi 2 variant this is a must. Maybe those 900 MHz are really sufficient given the ‘firmware’ contains new dvfs operating points so they can lower the VDD_CPUX voltage to a point where consumption with full load remains the same and no undervoltage occurs. When they launched RPi 3 the first ‘firmware’ revision showed exactly that problem with the highest dvfs operating points: voltage too low, maybe they do it now better?

    Also if they simply continue to cheat on their users as they currently do with RPi 3 (as soon as throttling occurs the cpufreq clockspeed reported below /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/ is a number without meaning, you would’ve to query the ‘firmware’ to get the real clockspeed) they can simply switch to sane values in the background to stay within thermal limits and fight undervoltage and users still think the SoC would run at 900 MHz. So using efficient instructions (NEON for example) the ‘firmware’ decides to downclock even more while the usual lightweight stuff might be allowed to run at 900 MHz: https://github.com/raspberrypi/linux/issues/1320#issuecomment-191754676 (vcgencmd command needed to talk to ‘firmware’).

    Who knows? I won’t test with such a device again since all RPi are sooo slow when the use case involves IO and networking bandwidth, even the cheapest H3 devices are magnitudes faster here.

  27. blu
    November 22nd, 2016 at 14:44 | #27

    @Slackstick
    There was a patch for emulating SWP et al on armv8 a couple of years ago. /searching…
    Here it is: http://lists.infradead.org/pipermail/linux-arm-kernel/2014-August/281914.html

  28. gnasch
    November 22nd, 2016 at 16:11 | #28

    They deserve a lot more credit than you give them. They silently put the arm 8 soc in their offerings, so in few years they will phase out arm 6 painlessly. Simplifies logistics too.

  29. November 22nd, 2016 at 16:29 | #29

    @tkaiser
    It’s not crippled though. You can overclock it easily in the config.txt
    It’s just clocked to 900 MHz by default.

  30. Stefan
    November 22nd, 2016 at 17:35 | #30

    But there is a mistake in the article. It says: “includes 1 GB PoP RAM”. Thats not right. Neither the RPi2 nor the RPi3 ever had a PoP (like the RPi1). The RAM is sitting on the back of the PCB.

  31. November 22nd, 2016 at 17:42 | #31

    @Stefan
    Thanks for pointing this out. It’s been a while since I’ve actually used my Raspberry Pi 2.

  32. tkaiser
    November 22nd, 2016 at 22:02 | #32

    @Alex Eames
    Ah, that’s good to know. So the 900 MHz default is just a precautious measure to protect customers 🙂

    Do you by any chance know whether same is true for GPU and video engine (slightly downclocked ‘just in case’) and whether the new RPi 2 also can be brought up in aarch64 execution state?

  33. Harley
    November 22nd, 2016 at 23:19 | #33

    Wonder if future Raspberry Pi wll ever get Gbps Ethernet, SATA and/or USB 3.0?

    I know it does not fit the Raspberry Pi Foundation purpose, but they would sell a lot more of them if they had better specification at the same price point, AND if they could sell more to continue to manufacture if massive bulk then they would be able to keep the cost down, even with better specifications.

  34. tkaiser
    November 23rd, 2016 at 02:06 | #34

    Harley :
    Wonder if future Raspberry Pi wll ever get Gbps Ethernet, SATA and/or USB 3.0?

    I would already be happy if the Raspberries would get a real Ethernet port (not hanging off the single USB2 port) even if it’s just 100 Mbits/sec and at least one more USB2 host port. 🙂

    But as far as I understood nothing can change here as long as the the SoCs are based on outdated VideoCore IV (and only CPU cores are exchanged) and as soon as the latter changes compatibility is gone (one of the two good arguments pro RPi).

  35. November 23rd, 2016 at 21:28 | #35

    @tkaiser
    Actually I don’t know if the GPU clocking is the same between BCM2836 and BCM2837, but I have been told the VC4 GPU itself is identical in all three BCM283x.

  36. Ted
    December 2nd, 2016 at 10:19 | #36

    PI 2 V1.2 are so funny, due to BC2836 L/T, that factory take BC2837 to replace BC2826, for overheat issue, de-rating to 900Mhz, when i use base on BC2837 CPU PI2, it still can’t resolve my maintain inquire.

  1. No trackbacks yet.