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rpdom
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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:35 pm

Agree with jamesh. You'd be better off configuring a swapfile/partition on a USB device - nowhere near as fast as main memory, but faster than any method using GPIO pins and fully supported by default in Linux. You could have many GB of virtual memory using that method.

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:59 pm

ShiftPlusOne wrote:I think we'd all love a beefed up pi, but if the Foundation can't do that and retain the price point, then it's no longer a cheap throwaway educational computer, but yet another dev board.

From what I understand, in order to upgrade, they'd need to source a new SoC. That means throwing out all of the hard work that went into developing the firmware, optimising software, the camera, the display board that's in development, etc. Then there's all the third party stuff people have developed, like educational material, shields/plates/add-ons, cases and so on. I don't think it would be smart to change the hardware unless it can retain compatibility with the current software and hardware. If (when) Broadcom comes up with another chip that is similar enough, then there might be something to speculate about.
This is indeed a conundrum; where will the Pi be in a couple or more years time ?

The Foundation appear to have recognised the issue; as Eben has said, "I think it would be really sad, and probably fatal for us, if we were still shipping the same Raspberry Pi in 2016, say", but it's acknowledged that it's not clear what the alternative could be at present.

I am not sure I would consider it so fatal if there were no evolution as the current models will do no less than they do now and the Pi will continue to be a capable little computer used by kids all over the world to learn programming. I cannot see the world of computing changing so drastically that the Pi would become irrelevant or useless in a few years time.

I can however understand the desire to be even better and more capable with no change in cost. And a lot of Pi users do not use it as an educational computer but as an application platform. How well the Pi fares if it does not evolve is really an unknown quantity. It greatly depends on what one thinks a Pi is and/or what it should be.

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:54 pm

CopterRichie wrote:I often wondered if it is possible to access more memory via the SPI port?
that's been done (in a fashion):

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/72 ... erry-pi-ex
jamesh wrote:It technically possible IIRC but would have worse performance that a USB flash stick and would be a nightmare to program with as it wouldn't appears as 'main memory'
I guess around 3Mbyte/sec is the limit for SPI
Last edited by mikerr on Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:15 pm

hippy wrote:
ShiftPlusOne wrote:I think we'd all love a beefed up pi, but if the Foundation can't do that and retain the price point, then it's no longer a cheap throwaway educational computer, but yet another dev board.

From what I understand, in order to upgrade, they'd need to source a new SoC. That means throwing out all of the hard work that went into developing the firmware, optimising software, the camera, the display board that's in development, etc. Then there's all the third party stuff people have developed, like educational material, shields/plates/add-ons, cases and so on. I don't think it would be smart to change the hardware unless it can retain compatibility with the current software and hardware. If (when) Broadcom comes up with another chip that is similar enough, then there might be something to speculate about.
This is indeed a conundrum; where will the Pi be in a couple or more years time ?

The Foundation appear to have recognised the issue; as Eben has said, "I think it would be really sad, and probably fatal for us, if we were still shipping the same Raspberry Pi in 2016, say", but it's acknowledged that it's not clear what the alternative could be at present.
Assume the NRE costs of a RAM change are lower than a GPU change, this then defers the change to the RAM chip. options are:

1) A triple PoP, with the middle one BGA top and bottom, with a control register which pages in and out memory from either the top or bottom memory chip. Then the kernel page loader can be altered to this modified RAM swap. In some ways it maybe better to have the extra quadruple of memory half non paged and half 7-way paged, just on the peculiarities of locked pages and page tables.

2) Go all out and make a different thing!

3) Suck with SD swap!

4) Learn multiprocessing distributed over a network.

5) Shrink the geometry to 1/4 and have a 4 way SMP, and diddle the IO sections of the video chip in each quarter copy for extra features. This implies 4 times the pins on the memory chip and 4 DRAM copies on the one die.
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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:03 pm

hippy wrote:And a lot of Pi users do not use it as an educational computer but as an application platform. .
Yes that is the key. I am curious to know what percentage of people here use it to learn programming vs
a low power always running desktop for simple tasks.

I do understand the Foundation's view to keep it simple for the kids+programming cause, but if a lot of the customers
want other uses, they risk a sharp drop in volume with these quadcore qual/broad com chips getting cheaper.

--

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:11 pm

1pi2much wrote: Yes that is the key. I am curious to know what percentage of people here use it to learn programming vs
a low power always running desktop for simple tasks.

I do understand the Foundation's view to keep it simple for the kids+programming cause, but if a lot of the customers
want other uses, they risk a sharp drop in volume with these quadcore qual/broad com chips getting cheaper.

--
I think the cat is out of the bag now, aka Pandora's box is open. I believe many are looking to the Pi for many out of the box applications both in robotics and Drones flight controllers just to name a few. The low cost HD camera/dv once known about, will excite the FPV community and there is just no end to the possible applications in that area.

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:14 pm

mikerr wrote: that's been done (in a fashion):

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/72 ... erry-pi-ex
jamesh wrote:Not really. It technically possible IIRC but would have worse performance that a USB flash stick and would be a nightmare to program with as it wouldn't appears as 'main memory'
Thank you, will have to keep watch. :)

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:40 am

jackokring wrote:
hippy wrote:
ShiftPlusOne wrote:I think we'd all love a beefed up pi, but if the Foundation can't do that and retain the price point, then it's no longer a cheap throwaway educational computer, but yet another dev board.

From what I understand, in order to upgrade, they'd need to source a new SoC. That means throwing out all of the hard work that went into developing the firmware, optimising software, the camera, the display board that's in development, etc. Then there's all the third party stuff people have developed, like educational material, shields/plates/add-ons, cases and so on. I don't think it would be smart to change the hardware unless it can retain compatibility with the current software and hardware. If (when) Broadcom comes up with another chip that is similar enough, then there might be something to speculate about.
This is indeed a conundrum; where will the Pi be in a couple or more years time ?

The Foundation appear to have recognised the issue; as Eben has said, "I think it would be really sad, and probably fatal for us, if we were still shipping the same Raspberry Pi in 2016, say", but it's acknowledged that it's not clear what the alternative could be at present.
Assume the NRE costs of a RAM change are lower than a GPU change, this then defers the change to the RAM chip. options are:

1) A triple PoP, with the middle one BGA top and bottom, with a control register which pages in and out memory from either the top or bottom memory chip. Then the kernel page loader can be altered to this modified RAM swap. In some ways it maybe better to have the extra quadruple of memory half non paged and half 7-way paged, just on the peculiarities of locked pages and page tables.
Don't think a triple layer PoP has ever been attempted. I assume because of heat dissipation issues. Since no-one actually does it, would cost many millions.
jackokring wrote: 2) Go all out and make a different thing!
Probably the best option for single device
jackokring wrote: 3) Suck with SD swap!
jackokring wrote: 4) Learn multiprocessing distributed over a network.
Good idea.
jackokring wrote: 5) Shrink the geometry to 1/4 and have a 4 way SMP, and diddle the IO sections of the video chip in each quarter copy for extra features. This implies 4 times the pins on the memory chip and 4 DRAM copies on the one die.
Approximate cost $4M ish Then design a new Pi on which to put the chip.



Most people who post Raspi wants and desires have no idea of the costs involved. Which is fine, it's not their industry, but always worth realising that the Foundation is never standing still, they are always looking out, considering what the next 5 years is going to look like. There is no 'head in the sand' here. Just because the Foundation does not say what it's plans are, doesn't mean they don't have any! There are certainly going to be some interesting announcements this year (but not necessarily related to the title of his thread, they could be anything!)
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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:02 am

AIUI
the SOC can make use of 1GB RAM - you just need to find the right 8Gb POP module which again AIUI has not been made as it is old tech and thing have moved on.
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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:14 pm

Well, with all due respect, but it DOES seem the foundation isn't going forwards much.

Other SOC or not, it seems to me it ain't all that impossible to do. Even if it costs 'millions'; in that case, the original raspberry pi (development) will have costed millions too. They got more than double their money back, imho. So why not invest some of that money in either an upgraded or new Pi?

Possible features:

- more RAM (or, alternatively, dedicated RAM for the GPU)
- basic integrated ROM, so it at least can start up without an SD
- integrated Wifi
- some non-volatile memory
- usb 3
- 1 GB ethernet
- newer/faster ARM CPU

One or more of these things should/could be incorporated into it, even if it costs 'millions' to make a new design (which, depending on the features chosen, would definitely be needed). And all that for around the same price. Which brings me to the next gripe:

OR the current RP could be sold for less. Which is why I think the explanation why nothing new came up isn't really the actual cause of the lethargy one can perceive with the foundation. It's like a chicken sitting on its golden eggs, unwilling to move one bit. Let's face it: when the RP came out, it was a neat little thing, that was fairly capable and sold for a cheap price. Years later, however, it hasn't improved one bit and it's STILL SOLD for the same price. This does not make much sense. It's clear the cost/benefit is going downwards, like this. And taken together, the RP was never 35-45 EUR, because you still had to buy a cable and SD card if you hadn't got one. When the RP started, even the cheapest tablets were around 200 EUR. Now, you can get the cheapest around 50 EUR. And for that you get a better ARM CPU, better/more RAM memory, non-volatile memory, a 7" touch-screen, all the cables, more ports, an OS, etc.

It's actually LESS expensive to buy a complete tabled WITH a touchscreen and a battery and all the other things I mentioned, then a raspberry pi, currently. Sure, the RP has another target-audience, but that doesn't change the fact that the discrepancy is getting wider and wider. One is not only left wondering why no new RP has been build, but also why the current one hasn't dropped considerably in price, which one would expect. This sort of stagnation doesn't bode well, even if the prime target is giving students some hardware to tinker with: the more that price matters, then. Model B should have gone to a sub-20 EUR price-range since long ago, to be honest. I hate to think that the RP has become a milkcow instead of a cheap learningtool with lofty ideology. It's time to up the game, if one is wanting to remain significant.

Now, don't get me wrong: I like the RP, as HW and as concept. And I have no complaints about my purchase of it. But it seems to me things are standing still, and saying that 'because we don't see anything new, that doesn't mean there is nothing new', is a bit too easy: with that sort of argument, you can rebuke everything (and nothing). As long as nothing new shows up, or we get no info they're working on something, it amounts to the same to the end-user as if nothing is going on. There is no difference noticeable between the two, and it amounts to blind faith or wishful thinking, then. Also, it shouldn't have stopped them from lowering the price. Components have dropped considerably since when it launched, yet we do not see that reflected. Maybe this is due to high production costs (isn't it located in the UK?) but then one should consider moving somewhere else, like China. After all, if the purpose is to provide cheap IT hardware to all students around the world - including those of third world countries, one may presume - it's that goal one should pursue, not creating jobs in the UK. For a poor African student, it already makes a huge difference whether he has to pay 19 dollar or 35 dollar.

This is meant as constructive criticism to ponder about, nothing personal to any member of the foundation.

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:27 pm

I don't get your "But a tablet is cheaper" argument.

I'd point out that a candy bar is cheaper too. Makes as much sense.
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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:34 pm

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:38 pm

RaspLearner wrote:Let's face it: when the RP came out, it was a neat little thing, that was fairly capable and sold for a cheap price. Years later, however, it hasn't improved one bit and it's STILL SOLD for the same price.
Apart from the work that has been done on improved software, doubling the size of the memory, changing the IO pins, removing the current limiting fuses on the USB sockets... no, it hasn't improved a bit :roll:

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:41 pm

In terms of bangs for the buck the RPi is the cheapest 700Mhz computer I've ever owned. Anyone moaning about the £35/$35/€35 price tag needs to look at whether they can find anything better, faster, smarter at that same price.

I had a look the other day. The first two computers I played with 35 years ago cost £49.95 (ZX80) & £80 (Microtan 65, not including the expansion card that gave it 8K of RAM, a BASIC ROM, an assembler ROM and some GPIOs). That was a kings ransom for machines running Z80 and 6502 processors with 1K or RAM on the main board.

You can feed the numbers in to http://www.measuringworth.com/ukcompare ... evalue.php to get a range of what it would cost today allowing for wage increases and price inflation. My £80 Microtan would cost between £250 & £500+ (depending on which calculation you use). My £50 ZX80 solder it yourself kit would cost between £180 and £300. The ZX80 was a joint purchase with my twin brother so I only stumped up for half of the original price. He bought a Acorn Atom as his 6502 based machine.
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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:53 pm

Joe Schmoe wrote:I don't get your "But a tablet is cheaper" argument.

I'd point out that a candy bar is cheaper too. Makes as much sense.
uhuh. So a candy bar is a computer too, nowadays? I hope you don't mistake it with your RP too often. :lol:

It makes no sense that it wouldn't make sense to you, unless you're being deliberately obtuse. I clearly indicated that the computer components got a lot cheaper, which is reflected in the dropping price of a tablet (which also uses an ARM CPU and other components similar to that of the RP). And which isn't reflected in the price of the RP.
Last edited by RaspLearner on Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:05 pm

DougieLawson wrote:In terms of bangs for the buck the RPi is the cheapest 700Mhz computer I've ever owned. Anyone moaning about the £35/$35/€35 price tag needs to look at whether they can find anything better, faster, smarter at that same price.

I had a look the other day. The first two computers I played with 35 years ago cost £49.95 (ZX80) & £80 (Microtan 65, not including the expansion card that gave it 8K of RAM, a BASIC ROM, an assembler ROM and some GPIOs). That was a kings ransom for machines running Z80 and 6502 processors with 1K or RAM on the main board.

You can feed the numbers in to http://www.measuringworth.com/ukcompare ... evalue.php to get a range of what it would cost today allowing for wage increases and price inflation. My £80 Microtan would cost between £250 & £500+ (depending on which calculation you use). My £50 ZX80 solder it yourself kit would cost between £180 and £300. The ZX80 was a joint purchase with my twin brother so I only stumped up for half of the original price. He bought a Acorn Atom as his 6502 based machine.
While a walk through memory lane is always nostalgic, it has little relevance to what I was saying. Yes, PC's used to be more expensive back in the time. Which was exactly my point. They drop in price and become cheaper, and you get better for less bucks nowadays. Hence, my remark about the price of the RP NOT dropping during the years.

About finding something better for less bucks: actually, shops in Europe don't sell it for 35 euro to start with; most sell it in the 45-50 EUR range. That's bare-bone; if you have to buy a cable and SD card and optionally a case, you're talking about 70+ EURO. For that money, you CAN get better and faster computers, namely tablets, and those even include a screen and batteries! (and, ofcourse, also have a casing. And a camera. And...)

But, they have another target-audience, so they are not suited as a learning tool for students. Point being, if tablet PC's can drop below the price of a RP, why didn't the RP drop in price? This has nothing to do with 'moaning', but is a rationally substantiated and valid question.

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:11 pm

Code: Select all

Components have dropped considerably since when it launched
Not so sure all computer components are cheaper. I don't know about the price trend of the Broadcom SOC, as far as I know it's not on the open market. Price drops happened on the RAM at first, but have they continued? I think those packages may even be considered obsolete now, prices for such things sometimes go up as suppliers drop out of the market. In any case I'm not sure how much of the final purchase price comes from the BOM, how much manufacturing labor & overhead, and how much goes to the distributors, I have not seen that published. Also, I believe the retail selling price (not including tax/shipping) was fixed by the original contracts with the distributors- R-Pi has never been a "commodity" computer. (Resellers, of course are free to add whatever markup they can get away with.)

Meanwhile I believe the Foundation is indeed getting some income from hardware sales, and they are doing things with it; notably funding software development as well as curriculum development. That has been disclosed in various updates from time to time on the main blog page raspberrypi.org

As far as I know the original hardware design was entirely pro-bono by a few engineers. The motivation to work for free to create a $25/$35 computer where none existed, may have been much greater than the hypothetical motivation to make an incrementally improved computer when the already existing one is very popular with proven track record, large user base, and steady sales. There are still relatively few people actually running the R-Pi Foundation and from what I read, I think they are more interested in pushing the original educational goal, than pursuing the latest/greatest hardware, given they've got already something that works.
Last edited by jbeale on Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:14 pm

jamesh wrote: Don't think a triple layer PoP has ever been attempted.
Actually OMAP chips were regularly used as POP with nand on top of ram on top of cpu, or is it dual layer?

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Re: Raspberry Pi with more RAM

Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:16 pm

stormsoul's question has been answered, and the resulting debate has gotten a little out of hand.

This is a topic that's been beaten to death. It also doesn't belong in Beginners.

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