ankith26
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Future of raspberry pi - software related

Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:25 pm

When the next raspberry pi comes out, do you think it will have a Broadcom Soc.
Because as far I know, the one on raspberry pi 4 is their best Soc (I may be wrong here).
I did try to do some research on Broadcom Soc’s but didn’t get much information.
What is the deal with Broadcom Soc, their primary job is not making processors as far as I know.

(I know such type of questions generally receive mild backlash by some members of community, I am just curious on the different types and versions of Broadcom soc, nothing to do with pi 5 or something)

Where is the go to place for info on these soc ( other than raspberrypi website)
Last edited by ankith26 on Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:37 pm

No - they get the IP for an ARM core and bundle it with other IP into a chip for media centers etc.

In the good old days, we'd hand-solder a Z80A, add some RAM, ROM, some IO and have a fairly large circuit board.
We'd not have a PiZero (Z80A Variant) for ~£5, so heavy integration is used to get a lot of functionality with minimal extra components (and a small PCB size).

The Future - I guess many of us would love for 8GB Ram, 8 Core, Dual SATA and a load of other features, but price/power consumption and heat all make that diffucult when the aims of the Pi are for a low-cost device.

I think my minor niggles with the Pi4 are lack of HW accelerated Browser Video (YouTube) and mainly software issues.
I've been using it as a spare desktop (it's next to my main Windows 10 box), so I'll have facebook open on the Pi4.

I expect as the Pi4 is very capable, more pressure can be applied on 3rd parties to support it. There is no Spotify client for the Pi, it can't play NetFlix (Browser limited) and I'm sure other software related issues that are not really down to the rPI foundation.

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:58 pm

ankith26 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:25 pm
When the next raspberry pi comes out, do you think it will have a Broadcom Soc.
Because as far I know, the one on raspberry pi 4 is their best Soc (I may be wrong here).
I did try to do some research on Broadcom Soc’s but didn’t get much information.
What is the deal with Broadcom Soc, their primary job is not making processors as far as I know.

(I know such type of questions generally receive mild backlash by some members of community, I am just curious on the different types and versions of Broadcom soc, nothing to do with pi 5 or something)

Where is the go to place for info on these soc ( other than raspberrypi website)
An interesting question, and not of the usual "I want this in the next Pi" vein. Obviously I cannot comment on specifics, but...

Broadcom do make SoC's, mainly for the set top box market and we capitalised on that with the 2711 on the Pi4 which is derived from that sort of SoC. We do have some influence on their development, as Eben works for them! As for future devices, we don't comment on what they might have in them. We do have a solid roadmap so the future does look sparkly!
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:00 pm

jasonclark wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:37 pm
I think my minor niggles with the Pi4 are lack of HW accelerated Browser Video (YouTube) and mainly software issues.
The Chromium browser is HW accelerated, both for graphics and video. We are constantly tweaking it to improve performance.
jasonclark wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:37 pm
I expect as the Pi4 is very capable, more pressure can be applied on 3rd parties to support it. There is no Spotify client for the Pi, it can't play NetFlix (Browser limited) and I'm sure other software related issues that are not really down to the rPI foundation.
Indeed. One would have thought that having sold 30M devices, these sorts of people would be more interested. Not much pressure can be exerted by us though, we can ask, but that's about it.
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:05 pm

ankith26 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:25 pm
What is the deal with Broadcom Soc, their primary job is not making processors as far as I know.
Broadcom makes a lot of things and SoCs are one of their main product lines. If you go to their website and click on the PRODUCTs drop down then you'll see it listed there.
ankith26 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:25 pm
Where is the go to place for info on these soc ( other than raspberrypi website)
Broadcom doesn't release much public documentation so digging around in the Linux kernel source and experimentation are your best routes to finding out how things work.
jamesh wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:58 pm
We do have a solid roadmap so the future does look sparkly!
Unicorn powered Pi 5U+ confirmed :o

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:08 pm

Oh ok thanks for info.
But I am sure you will stick with Broadcom even when your needs from soc increases in future.
That’s good to know, I hope you continue the good work for many more years to come.

I am sure all will sooner or later support raspberry pi. I see that the next raspberry pi will obviously be the perfect PC replacement(not that pi4 is bad, but it only competes with low-spec pc).
I predict that within 5-6 years you will hit 100 million units sold.
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:13 pm

I actually realise now that the title of this thread is sort of click-baity..
This was not my intention when I posted
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:18 pm

ankith26 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:08 pm
Oh ok thanks for info.
But I am sure you will stick with Broadcom even when your needs from soc increases in future.
That’s good to know, I hope you continue the good work for many more years to come.

I am sure all will sooner or later support raspberry pi. I see that the next raspberry pi will obviously be the perfect PC replacement(not that pi4 is bad, but it only competes with low-spec pc).
I predict that within 5-6 years you will hit 100 million units sold.
Clearly our needs for SoC power will increase over time. I would expect that any SoC manufacturer, including Broadcom, would be improving their range of SoC's over the same time period. So looking at a range of SoC's now is not a good indicator of what will be available in the future.
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:19 pm

trejan wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:05 pm
Unicorn powered Pi 5U+ confirmed :o
We have some cracking stuff in the pipeline...lots of smiley faces in our future!
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:25 pm

But as I see from the current trends each generation of raspberry pi consumes more power than the previous one. If the power requirement somehow jumps to 25 watt in the coming generations, will you still continue usb c (5v @ 5A sounds highly unlikely) or will you consider a power source of more voltage?
(This question may be weird, but it is not impossible)
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:28 pm

As raspberry pi has grown they have gained the ability to be more ambitious. The original Pi was based on a SoC primerally designed for media boxes. For the pi2 and pi3 they persuaded broadcom to do a "cut and shut" job replacing the arm cores but leaving the rest of the SoC alone. For the Pi4 they persuaded broadcom to do a major upgrade on the SoC, moving to a smaller silicon process, much faster cores, a new memory controller, a PCIe controller, an Ethernet MAC and a new core bus system to tie them all tother.

I do not know if the SoC is exclusive to raspberry Pi, but it's obvious it was designed around raspberry pi's requirements and particularly designed to provide as much continuity as reasonably possible for existing Pi users.

i would expect (and this is just an educated guess, I don't have inside information at the moment) Pi5 to be a relatively minor revision, replacing the arm cores, maybe some tweaks to the memory controller (depending on how the ram market goes and whether the theoretical support for larger ram chips on the pi4 actually works in practice) but overall far less radical than the changes from Pi3 to Pi4 were.

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:39 pm

ankith26 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:25 pm
If the power requirement somehow jumps to 25 watt in the coming generations, will you still continue usb c (5v @ 5A sounds highly unlikely)
The USB battery charging spec goes up to 5A at 5V but USB-C only allows up to 3A at 5V. They can implement USB-PD and negotiate for a higher voltage if more power is required. I doubt you'll get any official answer to a question about technical details for a future unannounced product!

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:39 pm

ankith26 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:08 pm
Oh ok thanks for info.
But I am sure you will stick with Broadcom even when your needs from soc increases in future.
That’s good to know, I hope you continue the good work for many more years to come.
Since the Pi is fairly tightly coupled to the Broadcom VC for graphics, and that is proprietary, it is overwhelmingly likely that the Pis will stick with Broadcom. (That also makes it rather unlikely that another company--even with deep pockets--would jump to Broadcom SoCs to compete with the Pi in the SBC market.)

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:45 pm

ankith26 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:25 pm
But as I see from the current trends each generation of raspberry pi consumes more power than the previous one. If the power requirement somehow jumps to 25 watt in the coming generations, will you still continue usb c (5v @ 5A sounds highly unlikely) or will you consider a power source of more voltage?
(This question may be weird, but it is not impossible)
No idea what our plans are with power, but worth remembering that as process nodes shrink, less power is needed, which compensates for the increase in power needed for performance. So there are paths to continue using a relatively low amount of power but with higher performance. Whether we keep within a USB-C 3A power budget is anyone's guess! PD is an option I guess. We'll probably have to read the spec in a little more detail....;-)
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:49 pm

plugwash wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:28 pm
I do not know if the SoC is exclusive to raspberry Pi, but it's obvious it was designed around raspberry pi's requirements and particularly designed to provide as much continuity as reasonably possible for existing Pi users.
Given Broadcom's unwillingness to sell SoCs in small quantities and the closed nature of the VC portion of the chips, it's unlikely that anyone else would try to make a true Pi clone. At the same time, using the VC pretty much locks the RPT into Broadcom. (And, of course, the changing graphics subsystems would mean a truly massive software effort for very little actual result.)
i would expect (and this is just an educated guess, I don't have inside information at the moment) Pi5 to be a relatively minor revision, replacing the arm cores, maybe some tweaks to the memory controller (depending on how the ram market goes and whether the theoretical support for larger ram chips on the pi4 actually works in practice) but overall far less radical than the changes from Pi3 to Pi4 were.
I don't see the RAM controller changing, as we are informed it can handle up to 16GB RAM...but the 8GB or 16GB packages don't exist in the form a Pi can use.

Short term future development might look into changes that could reduce the thermal (and, of course, power) requirements. Otherwise, we're going to be looking at fans or heat sinks as an actual requirement to run. (And, as I've mentioned before, a 5v fan header on the board would become a very desirable feature.)

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:49 pm

ankith26 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:25 pm
But as I see from the current trends each generation of raspberry pi consumes more power than the previous one. If the power requirement somehow jumps to 25 watt in the coming generations, will you still continue usb c (5v @ 5A sounds highly unlikely) or will you consider a power source of more voltage?
(This question may be weird, but it is not impossible)
I suspect trying to compete in the ever decreasing market of power-hungry desktop computers may not be the best or current business plan at all.

According to the tests I've done here, compared to a single core on the Raspberry Pi 4B, the cores in the
  • Amazon EC2 A1 Graviton ARM cloud are 1.6 times faster.
  • NVIDIA Denver ARM processors are 1.9 times faster.
  • Intel E5-1650 x86 Xeon processor are 4 times faster with HT off.
At the same time, according to this report
Top 500 wrote:There are now two Arm-based supercomputers on the list: the Astra system deployed at Sandia National Laboratories, which is equipped with Marvell’s ThunderX2 processors, and Fujitsu’s A64FX prototype system, a precursor to the Fugaku (Post-K) exascale system destined for RIKEN in 2021.
so somebody must have created a faster ARM-core design.

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:00 pm

plugwash wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:28 pm
I do not know if the SoC is exclusive to raspberry Pi, but it's obvious it was designed around raspberry pi's requirements and particularly designed to provide as much continuity as reasonably possible for existing Pi users.
There is a closely related BCM7211 which is meant for set-top box usage. No idea what the differences are between the Pi 4 BCM2711 and the BCM7211 though.

The BCM72xx range has other SoCs as well like the BCM7218X which integrates WiFi 6 and the BCM7216 which has SATA + 2x PCIe.

According to Twitter, BCM7211 is called Hudson and BCM7218 is Inuvik. No idea how legitimate those GeekBench scores are or how they worked out what the codenames referred to.

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:22 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:49 pm
I don't see the RAM controller changing, as we are informed it can handle up to 16GB RAM...but the 8GB or 16GB packages don't exist in the form a Pi can use.
I don't see it radically changing, but I could see there being tweaks to it if bugs show up during testing with larger ram chips. IIRC the original BCM2835 theoretically supported 1GB of ram, but turned out to have a bug that meant it could not work properly with 1GB ram chips (said bug being fixed in the BCM2836).

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:25 pm

ankith26 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:25 pm
When the next raspberry pi comes out, do you think it will have a Broadcom Soc.
Because as far I know, the one on raspberry pi 4 is their best Soc (I may be wrong here).
I did try to do some research on Broadcom Soc’s but didn’t get much information.
What is the deal with Broadcom Soc, their primary job is not making processors as far as I know.

(I know such type of questions generally receive mild backlash by some members of community, I am just curious on the different types and versions of Broadcom soc, nothing to do with pi 5 or something)

Where is the go to place for info on these soc ( other than raspberrypi website)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadcom_Inc


If you want more detailed information you will need to be interested in buying their products and signing an NDA.


The Broadcom SoC used in the Raspberry Pi SBC is a Video Core multimedia processor with an attached ARM CPU, so it is quite feasible the next iteration will just update the CPU:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VideoCore
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:18 pm

jamesh wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:19 pm
trejan wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:05 pm
Unicorn powered Pi 5U+ confirmed :o
We have some cracking stuff in the pipeline...lots of smiley faces in our future!
No more magic blue smoke?


Personally I'm quite content with the Pi4 hardware.
I'm personally hoping for software improvements over more raw power.
55:55:44:44:4C
52:4C:52:42:41

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:31 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:18 pm
jamesh wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:19 pm
trejan wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:05 pm
Unicorn powered Pi 5U+ confirmed :o
We have some cracking stuff in the pipeline...lots of smiley faces in our future!
No more magic blue smoke?


Personally I'm quite content with the Pi4 hardware.
I'm personally hoping for software improvements over more raw power.
We have a HW team and a software team. We can do both!

But what areas would you like improvements in? We are already doing work on VLC and Chromium, 64 bit support, bug fixing, power improvements, USB boot and general all round bug fixing.
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:47 pm

Sorry, I wasn't meaning anything in particular needed work, rather I was trying to compliment the device as is as being good enough for my future use for the foreseeable future and that the only improvements needed for the future of Pi would be software, the hardware as it is doesn't really need to be more powerful, in my opinion.
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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:57 pm

For me, software: 4k 10b H.265 playback reliability from console. I'm still having trouble with it. I have no doubt you'll get around to getting things as stable as they should be soon.

Hardware: I have a wishlist -- who doesn't? -- but posting it here wouldn't be helpful. They're not useful for the Foundation's aims, I suspect. I do love the new UARTs and I2C buses on the 4 -- I really wasn't expecting those.

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:11 pm

jamesh wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:31 pm
But what areas would you like improvements in?
You have a team improving the GLES stack and bringing it up to 3.2, so that’s being taken care of. I suspect a full 64-bit user land image is on the way.

Maybe take on OpenCL, or some other easy way to get general compute out of the GPU (on VC4 as well as VC6)?

Hmm, can I pin this and get back to you on it? :)

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Re: Future of raspberry pi

Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:12 pm

No particular "wish list" for me
as even the RPi3B satisfies my "desktop requirements"

will be happy what the RPF guys "throw at me" :mrgreen:

oh... as much as possible.... maintain the current form factor..... ;)
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