The Raspberry Pi's GPU doubles the performance of the iPhone 4S

The Raspberry Pi's GPU doubles the performance of the iPhone 4S

The Raspberry Pi seems to be a computer with incredible potential: the size of a credit card and sold at a price of 25 dollars, it could be the nano-revolution that everyone was waiting for. In terms of video capabilities it can beat the GPU of an iPhone 4S by a factor of around two to one. This is according to the statements of the producer interviewed in the Digital Foundry reported by

Executive producer Eben Upton discussed the graphics capabilities of the Broadcom BCM2835 chipset that drives the device and how these compare to other mobile devices.

"I was on the team that designed the graphic core and therefore I feel biased, but I am genuinely convinced that this is the best mobile GPU in the world", is Upton's opinion, confirming the rumors that they would make it a piece of hardware that tears apart Nvidia's Tegra 2 in terms of pure performance.

"What is striking is the poor performance of the Tegra 2 even with simple applications using Imagination Technologies (TI and Apple) or ARM Mali (Samsung) graphics. In short, BCM2835 uses a" tile mode architecture " "which completely changes the device's approach to fill-rate: since we decided to configure it with a large amount of shaders, it manages to achieve high scores in the most compute-intensive benchmarks, doubling the performance of an iPhone 4S in a vast range of applications. "

Since the Raspberry Pi is based on a mobile device that uses the Roku2 video streaming player it should easily meet the favor of media device enthusiasts, also thanks to the fact that it is able to run open source applications without problems like the popular XBMC front-end. The hardware acceleration developed by the Broadcom chipset allows the display of video content encoded h.264 at 1080p at the speed of 30 frames per second. A great extra for a device that's meant more for developers than casual users.

"While all the media-orented features are a bonus, they have been part of our strategy ever since I joined Broadcom five years ago: trying to build a PC from low-cost parts like Atmel microcontrollers is was the logical development of this design philosophy, "explains Eben Upton.

"Surely there is a lot to discuss about a useful device for doing something different as well as programming: the purely multimedia features are a great way to draw in fans who do something other than simple programming."

The Raspberry Pi will be available in two versions: the Model A and B priced at 25 and 30 dollars respectively. The only differences are the system RAM, 256 MB vs 128, and an extra Ethernet port. The first 10,000-unit production batch is currently in production and will be on sale shortly.

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