jamesh
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:39 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:33 pm
Going back to the thread title, I submit that the RPF *does* make an "enthusiasts" Pi product, several of them, in fact. This is not because the RPF *intended* to feed that particular market segment, but because enthusiasts fell all over the Pi even before the initial release. this was--I think--because the price and performance made it usable for a great many projects, even if not ideal in all cases. The result is this very enthusiastic community that does the bulk of the support work for the Pi and allowing the staff of the RPF to do needed hardware and software development while pursuing the educational goals of the foundation.

tl;dr... The Pi is an accidental enthusiasts board.
Indeed.

Also worth noting that the RPF Trading subsidiary, for whom I work, are not solely dedicated to making an educational device. We want to make devices that sell by the millions (so far, so good), so the *profits* can go to the educational side. This is actually a better approach, because as long as we keep to the price points, the educational side massively benefits from the profits, AS well as the cheap devices.
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dirthurts
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:27 pm

Indeed.

Also worth noting that the RPF Trading subsidiary, for whom I work, are not solely dedicated to making an educational device. We want to make devices that sell by the millions (so far, so good), so the *profits* can go to the educational side. This is actually a better approach, because as long as we keep to the price points, the educational side massively benefits from the profits, AS well as the cheap devices.
This is sort of what I was trying to get at with the original post, but things kept getting twisted into things they were not. To me, it seems logical that if you did produce a more expensive product with higher profit margins, this would feed back to the company, allowing them to further pursue their original cause. I sell t-shirts and things locally. I'm not aiming to sell t-shirts. Instead, I'm using this funding to provide operating funds for an entirely free sports organization that focuses on getting people outdoors more. The point being, you don't always have to sell a cheap (although wonderful) product to improve your most affordable products. Sometimes funding for R&D and such can help with that too.

But, either way, the original intent was simply to gain information (which I have to an extent, although much of my post was lost in the wake) on if it's possible,, feasible, or within scope to have something like that.

I've tried coding, and it's not for me. I just never really grasped it like I wish I could teaching myself and I can't afford more college (6 years racked up enough debt already). So, for me, using the wealth of software already developed for the Pi is what makes it attractive. I can tinker without having hours a day to figure things out. There are faster boards available, but without the software behind it, it doesn't do someone like me a lot of good. I'd just like to see these limits pushed back. I'm sure it will happen eventually.

Despite the general vibes given here, not everyone is a programmer. Some, just enjoy the software and the hardware already available, and at this point there really is one easy option and it's so close to being capable of so much more. That's all I was trying to get across in the original post. Thanks to those who actually showed up to help, and/or have a conversation. In the future, I'll likely take my thoughts somewhere a little less hostile.

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:16 pm

dirthurts wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:27 pm
. . . To me, it seems logical that if you did produce a more expensive product with higher profit margins, this would feed back to the company, allowing them to further pursue their original cause. . . .
Balanced against this is that "a more expensive product" in this context puts that product in competition with a great deal more higher end equipment. My current desktop machine was purchased used on eBay earlier this year for your $100 price tag and is a ~5 year old Intel I-5 tower. While I don't use it for gaming, it's far more powerful than anything currently available in the ARM SBC domain.

Producing a product with higher profit margins is of little use if virtually no one buys it and it's doubtful that there is a significant market for a marginally faster RPi at 3x the price. Such (ARM but not RPi) boards exist and they're not exactly dominating the marketplace.

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:35 pm

I'd agree with previous post.

The Pi sells well because of its price point - you get a lot for the money. Raising the price a lot means a much smaller market, and competing head to head with Intel etc. Almost by accident, Eben hits a pretty sweet spot at $35, not too cheap, not too expensive.

Note that if money was no object, we could get to maybe 2Ghz, octocore. But actually, that is not a huge increase, UNLESS your code is 8x multithreaded. Which a lot of code isn't. ARM cores don't really hit the performance figures of high end x86 yet.
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:56 pm

MarkTF wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:16 pm
dirthurts wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:27 pm
. . . To me, it seems logical that if you did produce a more expensive product with higher profit margins, this would feed back to the company, allowing them to further pursue their original cause. . . .
Balanced against this is that "a more expensive product" in this context puts that product in competition with a great deal more higher end equipment. My current desktop machine was purchased used on eBay earlier this year for your $100 price tag and is a ~5 year old Intel I-5 tower. While I don't use it for gaming, it's far more powerful than anything currently available in the ARM SBC domain.

Producing a product with higher profit margins is of little use if virtually no one buys it and it's doubtful that there is a significant market for a marginally faster RPi at 3x the price. Such (ARM but not RPi) boards exist and they're not exactly dominating the marketplace.

Somewhere in the desire for a "Desktop PI" the actual cost of developing the product has not been factored in, which would be $$$$$$$$$$$$



CompuLab sell "high end" ARM MiniPC starting at around £200.00 UK:

http://www.compulab.com/products/embedded-pcs/

Though it is still feasible to buy CompuLab's last generation TrimSlice ARM Tegra2 MiniPC:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Trim-Slice-H- ... 2405592684


So yes not a market space the RPT need to be investing in considering the likely poor profit margin.............



Considering that the RPF have released x86-32 Debian Jessie with Desktop Linux Distro it is ideal for installing on a brand new PC Tower which are around £115.00 in the UK:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BRAND-NEW-2-x ... 2537514408




As you can see from my SIG I bought a ChromeBit which is useful for the occasions when need something more akin to a ""Desktop PC""
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:07 pm

And there are jetson tx2 dev kits from nvidia for "only" ~600$ . :D

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:33 pm

dirthurts wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:27 pm
I've tried coding, and it's not for me. I just never really grasped it like I wish I could teaching myself and I can't afford more college (6 years racked up enough debt already). So, for me, using the wealth of software already developed for the Pi is what makes it attractive. I can tinker without having hours a day to figure things out. There are faster boards available, but without the software behind it, it doesn't do someone like me a lot of good. I'd just like to see these limits pushed back. I'm sure it will happen eventually.
"Adult education" and community/junior colleges. Very low cost compared to a full 4-year college or university and with courses that will cover the first couple of years of the same material. If you really do want instruction in programming...it's available at modest cost.

One of the key things about the software on the Pi is that it *wasn't* developed for the Pi. Recompiled to run on it, yes. Packaged together, yes. But the development is the general Linux base not specifically the Pi. The Pi, like so much else, "stands on the shoulders of giants". It is mostly, I think, a matter of knowing which giant to climb.

What truly sets the Pi apart from other low-cost SBCs is the amount of community support. That is something that is very hard to put a dollar value on, but without it, it's a "ho hum" product that would cater to a very small niche market...which is where the SBCs were prior to the Pi.

The other thing to bear in mind, especially in light of your proposal for a higher cost (if more capable) board is that, prior to the introduction of the Pi, the biggest selling SBC in the maker/tinkerer/DIY space cost $90. The Pi pulled the rug out from under that pricing model and the flood gates opened for less expensive boards. Less expensive boards meant that they could be used in many places where fear of losing or destroying the board was considered an unacceptable risk. The Pi0 changed that equation yet again, though the supply problem has held that back. What it all comes down to is that a major reason *why* 15+ million Pis have been sold is *because* they cost no more than $35 each.
Despite the general vibes given here, not everyone is a programmer. Some, just enjoy the software and the hardware already available, and at this point there really is one easy option and it's so close to being capable of so much more. That's all I was trying to get across in the original post. Thanks to those who actually showed up to help, and/or have a conversation. In the future, I'll likely take my thoughts somewhere a little less hostile.
I am truly sorry to see that you feel that you're being chased away. In the defense of some of the sharper posts, I would point out that you appeared to come in with a bit of a chip on your shoulder about how Pis are actually used and what you thought was the solution to wider use in that particular niche. Perhaps some questions about how to get the most out of Retro Pi (or related packages) instead of just going for "throw more hardware at the problem" might get you information that you'd find useful. (I"m afraid that I can't help you on that front, nor would I comment in a thread about it for that reason.) Still...future Pis will almost certainly be more capable in various directions, including faster CPU cores. I sit here impatiently waiting to see just what sort of rabbits Eben Upton will pull out of his hat. I'm sure I'll be surprised and pleased with future Pi developments...even if the next Pi or the ones after that don't have features that I really, really want.

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:37 am

I did try Retropie, just to scare the kid with Doom :lol: Very impressive piece of software.

But I use Pi's for projects, usually one off embedded projects and so far I have used nearly every version.
The Zero's have been harder to use until recently, they needs a software support system like the CM's, which also need a hardware support Motherboard. I would regard myself as a Pi enthusiast, just not a games on Pi one.

The mission of RPF is well defined and is still only really in the first few years with very low penetration into their stated market- Education.
The education market is huge and will require many, many more Pi's, not just 10's of millions but 100's of millions.
The good thing with Pi's is they do have longer lives than most mobile phones and are cheap.

That it plays games at all is just a bonus and only made possible by enthusiasts who spent years getting those Retro games working.

Crystal ball gazing - one day in the future (not that far away) we will have Games on Pi's made for and sold for Pi's running Vulkan?
But in the meantime use them to learn to code, the future will require coders and lots of them.

Even old hardware guys like me have faced this fact and are learning to code, slowly :oops: .
In a half dozen years I have gone from 8bit 16MHz to 32bit 50MHz cpu's to cheaper 1GHz cpu's with HDMI and gpu's.
If that is not a revolution in processing power then you are not paying attention to the right things.

Sure the Pi's are just a little behind state of the art and they may never be able to catch up and will always be a year or two behind.
But who cares at that $35 price :lol:
When RPF are at 100million sold Pi's or 1Billion sold Pi's they may have funds to actually lead the technology curve but that is dreaming big.
Hopefully by them I will know how to programmer the pesky little things well.
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:24 am

10 raspberry Pi's here, last time I took a head count. A+'s, Zero's, 3B's. Sometimes its all about who you hang out with. The group of Pi enthusiasts I hang out with have similar interests. That's not to say every Pi owner has those same interests though. ;)
Here is what I have done with my Pi's, https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjOYwiwlwDtpgUMsp2qnevKpGEHb
Enthusiast Raspberry Pi products can be found here, https://shop.pimoroni.com/ and here https://www.adafruit.com/category/105 and other well know suppliers are just a Google search away.
My group of friends have done similar projects with their Pi's. If all you buy is a Pi, your limiting yourself somewhat with what it can do. Once you start adding bits to it a whole new world opens up. Robotics, Weather monitoring, IoT. If I was going to recommend any one bit of kit it would be the Pi Foundations Sense Hat. It has so much built into it for the price.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/sense-hat-projects/ Also have a look around here, https://www.raspberrypi.org/community/ and https://www.raspberrypi.org/education/

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:51 am

dirthurts wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:27 pm
Thanks to those who actually showed up to help, and/or have a conversation. In the future, I'll likely take my thoughts somewhere a little less hostile.
I think you might have accidentally hit a tender spot - a bit like asking a Glaswegian why Rangers aren't doing very well. In one pub, you'll get a reasonable conversation, but go next door and you'll need full body armour.
Fortunately, in this pub, the landlord (aka JamesH et.al.) keeps a tight ship. Even Celtic supporters can get a decent glenmorangie.

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:12 am

Sure, there are things a PC can do that a Pi struggles with. But there are things you can do on a Pi fairly easily, that are darn near, if not, impossible to do on a PC. It's all in picking the correct device for your project. ;) I use 3B's where I need the processing power. I also have projects with A+'s and Zero's in them because that's all I need. :)

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:59 pm

Burngate wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:51 am
Even Celtic supporters can get a decent glenmorangie.
Steady on....that's fighting talk.

i hope that the attitude of some posters haven't frightened the OP away. If anyone does have issues with comments here, or feels they are being treated badly, please report the posts. The mods do not see all posts on here, so everything is reactively moderated.
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:26 pm

dirthurts,
In the future, I'll likely take my thoughts somewhere a little less hostile.
Please don't be offended by any posts here. Well not mine anyway. It's nothing personal. We all have half-baked ideas from time to time that get shouted down. I should know, I feel like I have more than most. That is the nature of discussion on forums. Or life in general for that matter.

I am curious though about your definition of "enthusiast".

I count myself as I Raspberry Pi enthusiast, though I never play games on it. Nor on any other machine as it happens. I'm sure there are millions of Pi enthusiasts out there that don't consider it primarily as a games machine.

It's odd to think they are not enthusiasts after all.

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:15 pm

One of the Pi's big advantages is it can do so many different things. It can play games, if that's what your into, and a multitude of other things, if your not. I have one dedicated to just playing my music, it runs LibreElec/Kodi. Repurposing it for something else is just an SD card swap away. :D Others have Hats and pHats on them to let me do specialized things. Sense Hats to monitor the weather for example. I have an Explorer pHat to make a rover, a work in progress at this point. The sky's the limit, or outer space even, https://www.raspberrypi.org/education/p ... astro-pi/ :D

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:55 pm

jamesh wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:35 pm
Note that if money was no object, we could get to maybe 2Ghz, octocore. But actually, that is not a huge increase, UNLESS your code is 8x multithreaded. Which a lot of code isn't. ARM cores don't really hit the performance figures of high end x86 yet.
Actually I suspect you're wrong here. The latest Apple A11 performance figures appear to be higher that at least mid-range i5 x86s. It may be that (as is so often the case) the benchmarks are not adequately representative of 'real world' usage and don't give a proper picture, but whatever.

Most likely the biggest performance boost one could get and still stay on-price for Pi is finding a way to address more memory and getting more i/obandwidth, the usual wishlist stuff and nothing startling (though still a lot of damn hard work) but I can't help thinking that for a $70 limit you could get quite a bit more oomph. As an example, the 96Boards 'ROCK960' (http://armdevices.net/2017/09/30/96boar ... ent-board/) is US$99 and offers quite a lot of what one might fantasize about having in a future Pi. If made in the sort of quantities the Pi manages I imagine it might be a fair bit cheaper and certainly a few of the claimed features might well be forgettable. I reckon I could get Scratch running pretty fast on that...
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Heater
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 pm

Nah, ARM cores are history.

My fantasy is a Pi 4 (or 5 or 6) that is RISC-V based.

Let me dream. Stranger things have happened.

asavah
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:01 pm

Heater wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 pm
Nah, ARM cores are history.

My fantasy is a Pi 4 (or 5 or 6) that is RISC-V based.

Let me dream. Stranger things have happened.
Nah, the next Pi will be a quantum computer built into a VR headset, fully autonomous, will gather energy from the environment. :roll:

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:25 pm

asavah wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:01 pm
Nah, the next Pi will be a quantum computer built into a VR headset, fully autonomous, will gather energy from the environment. :roll:
According to sources in the Pink Unicorn Department at Pi Towers, the spec for the Pi after next calls for
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:47 am

MarkTF wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:16 pm
... Producing a product with higher profit margins is of little use if virtually no one buys it and it's doubtful that there is a significant market for a marginally faster RPi at 3x the price. Such (ARM but not RPi) boards exist and they're not exactly dominating the marketplace.
There is a very good reason that those "other" boards aren't dominating the market, and that is poor support. The Raspberry Pi is not successful only because of its price point, it's also the great support and stable software. If RPF/RPT could make something like a ROCK64 with the support and stability of the Pi3+Raspbian, people would buy it. Currently the ROCK64 with USB 3.0, GigE and 4GB of RAM sells for only $10 more than a Pi3. If Pine can build it at that price point, I don't see why RPT couldn't, and you can't tell me that people wouldn't pay $10, or even $20 more for a machine that is running benchmarks an order of magnitude faster than the Pi3. The same thing could be said about the Tinker Board and many other similar products. Reviews are pretty much all the same, great hardware, crappy support and software.

If Raspbian was finicky and unstable, and RPF didn't offer all the support and resources they do, the Pi would not be anywhere near the success it is today. People who say it's all price-point are grossly over-simplifying things.
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Gavinmc42
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:32 am

There is still some way to go before you can call Pi's mainstream and no longer just an enthusiasts toy.

Look at pics of them being used in Pi Jam's and schools etc.
What do you notice? A laptop or desktop is used with Pi's.
Keyboards and Mice can be got for $5.
Old monitors/TVs can be used and recycled for Pi use.

But to get Pi's into all schools, that is huge number of screens for Education.
But for education desktop/laptop the only thing close is the Pi Top/Pi Ceed.
Deployed to 1500 schools, not sure what market penetration that is?
Pi tab next? Tablets are the next desktops.

Just my opinion, but what is missing is a cheaper, high volume display.
Considering the display market that could be a hard one to solve.
A nice DSI display without the adapter PCB?
But I understand the reasons why RPF went that way ;)

At the moment we have one official display (expensive) and lots of enthusiast's DPI/SPI/HDMI/SDTV displays.

The enthusiasts market for Pi's will never be satisfied, that is just the nature of the beast.
The education market is getting much closer.
I just hope it makes it down under before my kid leaves school :lol:
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:38 am

HawaiianPi wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:47 am
Currently the ROCK64 with USB 3.0, GigE and 4GB of RAM sells for only $10 more than a Pi3. If Pine can build it at that price point, I don't see why RPT couldn't, and you can't tell me that people wouldn't pay $10, or even $20 more for a machine that is running benchmarks an order of magnitude faster than the Pi3. The same thing could be said about the Tinker Board and many other similar products. Reviews are pretty much all the same, great hardware, crappy support and software.
I can see why the RPF/RPT holds the line on price. It's a "slippery slope" issue. If it was decided that people would pay $10 more, why not $20 more? If $20 more, why not $30 more... And so on. Pretty soon, it's a $100 board and not nearly as many will be sold. As it is, I think you'd find that a higher priced Pi would also lead to higher priced "competitor" boards... Hey, it's only $10 more than a Pi... Remember that the Beaglebones were $90 before the Pi hit the market, and the following model from Beagleboard was $45 (since crept up to $55). Part of what the RPF/RPT has done is get "good enough" hardware out there at a price that permits much less concern about what happens to the hardware is in a sticky situation. I'm definitely on the side of the RPF/RPT on this. Pis may not be the fastest CPUs, most memory, or fastest I/O boards out there...but they're "good enough" for many uses and the will only get better. In the mean time, the RPF sets the Gold Standard for support in the SBC field *and* forces everyone else to keep their prices down.

On a completely different issue, the RPF/RPT have created a de facto standard for a 40-pin GPIO header. Ever notice all the boards that copy it? Now *that* is market domination that would probably persist even if the RPF disappeared tomorrow.

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:52 am

I'm not saying that they should give up on the $35 price point. I think there is room for a higher end model as well.
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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:02 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:32 am
There is still some way to go before you can call Pi's mainstream and no longer just an enthusiasts toy.

Look at pics of them being used in Pi Jam's and schools etc.
What do you notice? A laptop or desktop is used with Pi's.
Keyboards and Mice can be got for $5.
Old monitors/TVs can be used and recycled for Pi use.

But to get Pi's into all schools, that is huge number of screens for Education.
But for education desktop/laptop the only thing close is the Pi Top/Pi Ceed.
Deployed to 1500 schools, not sure what market penetration that is?
Pi tab next? Tablets are the next desktops.

Just my opinion, but what is missing is a cheaper, high volume display.
Considering the display market that could be a hard one to solve.
A nice DSI display without the adapter PCB?
But I understand the reasons why RPF went that way ;)

At the moment we have one official display (expensive) and lots of enthusiast's DPI/SPI/HDMI/SDTV displays.

The enthusiasts market for Pi's will never be satisfied, that is just the nature of the beast.
The education market is getting much closer.
I just hope it makes it down under before my kid leaves school :lol:
That's true, it's that thing that is fun to have a play with.
My kids primary has removed it's PCs and just bought in Chrome Books for the IT room, as they do everything they need them to do (afaik). The Pi's would not even have been considered as supporting (backend) and ease of use are just not there compared to a PC or Chrome book (w.r.t. the school).

My son's senior school is of course some old Windows setup that never quite works (and it's an new build but a large senior and I guess its the old IT setup half modernised came into the new building).
As far as so know they don't use Pi's as they find no benefit for thier teaching, that was the reply when I asked.


Where I work, it's Win10 PC all the way as they just do everything needed very well.
Yes there are some iPads but they're just for in class pupil use.
There is/was a nice old Pi setup, but used very little and since taken apart.
We'll see how they are used as it a new IT teacher running it this year.
Of course the micro:bit have been used a fair bit as it's easy and quick and can all be programmed from a browser or tablet.

At our Pi Jam though...

The PiCeed puts it into the price bracket of cheap laptops, tablets etc and will not be high on a school budget. Great for portable setups teaching Pi's.

I'm a Pi enthusiast. I don't use RetroPie/Kodi.

My kids are Pi users, they use RetroPie on one of them.

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Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:10 am

make it as close to $0 as possible ,
then use coding to make things better,

more RAM is good , more speed is good , faster comms is better , but not needed for 99% of use

in fact if you where to replace the USB2 module on the SOC with a USB3 module then a lot of the perceived problems would go away , but that is a redesign and will cost $$$$ who knows

[off topic I know]
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Covfefe

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 20687
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: Why no enthusiast Raspberry Pi products?

Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:46 am

Heater wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:13 pm
Nah, ARM cores are history.

My fantasy is a Pi 4 (or 5 or 6) that is RISC-V based.

Let me dream. Stranger things have happened.

RISC-V based 64-bit quad-core application processor

https://www.sifive.com/products/coreple ... ip/u54-mc/

Now how does one attach that to VC4 ??
Retired disgracefully.....

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