You are interested in buying a Raspberry Pi, but once you start looking, you run into a problem: why are there so many models?
Here’s what you need to know about each Raspberry Pi model, and what project they’re best suited for.
3 flavors of pi
As you probably know, there are several major Raspberry Pi models available. At the time of writing, eight raspberry pis can be purchased, but they fall into three types.
Model A: First released in 2013, the second iteration (A+) arrived in 2014.
Model B: Having appeared with the very first Raspberry Pi in April 2012, the «+» model appeared in July 2014. A few months later, the Raspberry Pi 2 was launched in February 2015. It was succeeded by v1.2 Raspberry Pi 2 in October 2016. The Raspberry Pi 3, meanwhile, arrived in February 2016.
Each of these Raspberry Squeaks uses a B board, as opposed to the smaller A board.
Zero: Finally, there’s the Raspberry Pi Zero board, a scaled-down version of an already tiny computer. It was first launched in November 2015 for just $5 and was replaced by the 1.3 board in May 2016. A third board, Zero W, hit store shelves in February 2017, while Zero WH was introduced in early 2018.
Although they may seem very similar, these boards only have a few identical components. For example, they all use the same graphics: Broadcom VideoCore IV, OpenGL ES 2.0, MPEG-2 and VC-1 (with license) and HDMI support with a high performance 1080p30 H.264/MPEG-4 AVC decoder and encoder.
Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+
The A+ model measures 65mm × 56.5mm × 10mm and weighs 23 grams. It is a revision of the discontinued Model A. Smaller than its predecessor, it uses the ARMv6Z (32-bit) architecture with Broadcom BCM2835 System-on-a. -Chip (SoC). This includes a 700MHz single-core ARM1176JZF-S processor, 512MB of RAM, and the same graphics found on every Pi model to date.
The device has one USB port and a 15-pin MIPI camera serial interface connector. This can be used with the Raspberry Pi camera module and its NoIR variant. A MIPI display interface is provided for LCD panels, while a 3.5mm TRRS connector is provided for composite video and audio output. A standard HDMI output is also on the board. Unlike the original Model A, the A+ has a microSD card slot.
There is also a 40-pin array — 28 of them for GPIO, and the rest for I2C, UART and SPI. They are designed to connect various types of equipment.
Best use: Model A+ limitations make this Raspberry Pi especially suitable as a security camera with motion detection. Consider this also for a robot brain, a NAS controller, or even the center of a high altitude balloon.
Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+
Using the same architecture and SoC as the A+, the Raspberry Pi Model B+ features a larger size of 85.6mm×56.5mm, providing space for additional connections. This increases the weight to 45 grams.