Simpler Development systems, one notch up from Self Hosted - the new Pi400

For those talking about simpler development systems, there is a new form factor RaspPi - all enclosed in a compact keyboard case - and all connectors in a nice line along the rear edge.

https://www.adafruit.com/raspberrypi400
https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-400/?resellerType=home

1.8GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 CPU with 4GB of DDR4 RAM.
VideoCore VI graphics (OpenGL ES 3.1, Vulkan) and 4kp60 HEVC decode provide the ability to run a 4k monitor at 60FPS or 2x 4k monitors at 30FPS through the two micro HDMI ports.
Ethernet port provides true Gigabit Ethernet support and there's
2 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0 ports
USB-C supports 5V, 3A Power In
Raspberry Pi 40 pin connector is present on the back of the keyboard for HAT support.

The form factor and case are also interesting, unclear yet if the case / keyboard overlay is available an an order item, or if the PCB from this is also a separate item ?

keyboard-lg-ea472ffb3ec4abfece72ef3d87ebb6d3.png

Comments

  • Missing audio except via hdmi.
    Ethernet probably a waste with wifi.
  • The RaspPi is truly amazing and does blur the lines between microcontroller and PC.
    But, when it comes down to it, it's basically a cheap PC. That is great, of course.

    But, there's also something great about the reliability and speed of a microcontroller...
    And, it's the simplicity of the code and not a dependency on huge libraries to get things done...
  • RaymanRayman Posts: 11,504
    edited 2020-11-04 - 01:46:19
    As a development station, it technically works. I've compiled and ran fastspin on a RaspPi.
    I'd guess Catalina would work as well, but don't know for sure.
  • I saw that on the Pi store last night. I almost ordered one. But I was picking up the new 8Gig Pi 4 already and thought I'd wait.

    Looks promising for sure.

  • It's been very interesting watching the evolution of the Pi gear into something fully integrated like this. It's a nice cheap dev system for people, including for P2 development. Boot time off SD might still an issue though faster booting can be probably had from external USB3 storage, or pretty much just leave the thing on standby all the time.

    Their new compute module 4 looks interesting too and now even supports PCIe (at 1x) for possible NVME drives.
  • I love this thing. It is simple, has enough of the basics to get things going.

    Look at the nice 40 pin connector on the back!

    Frankly, the first thing I would do is make a nice pro board that plugs right in. Buffer it, fuse it, do what it takes to allow for mistakes and start making projects on it.

    An option could be legacy audio and video on that connector. Maybe allow for both.

    For me personally, I can get one, load up my dev stuff on it and go! Having a Parallax pro board plug right in would be sweet.

    Ben Eaters 6502 computer? Same deal. Seems like an excellent, very hackable, friendly front end for a lot of interesting things.

    I think it will do very, very well.

    Form matters to a lot of people. This is a great form, and very few misses. I love my analog audio and for that matter, video. It isn't there. No biggie. Can always build a Pi into the same form and put it there, right? Given people have options, this just isn't a big deal.

    Again, what I love most is the sweet form factor, an OS that is not a PITA, open tools, and respectable I/O suitable for a lot of purposes.

    Total win.

    I am getting one.
  • Rayman wrote: »
    As a development station, it technically works. I've compiled and ran fastspin on a RaspPi.
    I'd guess Catalina would work as well, but don't know for sure.
    potatohead wrote: »
    I love this thing. It is simple, has enough of the basics to get things going.

    ............................................

    Again, what I love most is the sweet form factor, an OS that is not a PITA, open tools, and respectable I/O suitable for a lot of purposes.

    Total win.

    I am getting one.

    I agree. Perfect for developing P1/P2 code. Will be placing an order tomorrow.
  • TorTor Posts: 2,003
    Cluso99 wrote: »
    Ethernet probably a waste with wifi.
    The unit has PoE, so with a powered Ethernet connector you don't need separate power. And Ethernet is still nice, I just changed one of my Pi 3 over to Ethernet because the Pi is not *that* sensitive - it didn't have a solid connection at its location. I'm going to move two of my Pi 4 over to Ethernet as well, with an EA-AC87 as a wifi-to-Ethernet bridge (that unit has much better reception than the tiny antenna in a Pi), as 5GHz doesn't pass through the floor very well.
  • Perfect for developing P1/P2 code.

    Indeed, I think it is too.

    Did anyone in the US find a reasonable source?

  • potatohead wrote: »
    Perfect for developing P1/P2 code.
    Did anyone in the US find a reasonable source?

    https://www.canakit.com/raspberry-pi-400.html

  • Orderd one already with German keyboard layout. I plan to use it like my C64 years ago
  • Negative Nelly chiming in: One spilled drink and you lose the whole thing.

    I prefer my tablet and separate mechanical Bluetooth (CK62) keyboard. :smile:
  • Mickster wrote: »
    Negative Nelly chiming in: One spilled drink and you lose the whole thing.

    I prefer my tablet and separate mechanical Bluetooth (CK62) keyboard. :smile:

    That's doubtful. Watch a teardown video as to how it's constructed.
  • My RPi 400 arrived today. Plugged mouse, monitor, and power in and fired it up. Downloaded and installed updates. That took a bit of time and took up most of the space on the 16GB sd card. Decided to copy the OS to a 32GB card. Transferred all the Prop files from my laptop to a USB drive. Replaced the 16GB SD card with the 32GB one and transferred the Prop files from the USB drive to the 32GB sd card.

    Downloaded and installed PropellerIDE, plugged my PAB-WX USB cable in to the RPi, and downloaded a led blinker program, and got a blinking led. Tried a few more programs which also worked. Speed wise it seemed to be about the same as my laptop.
  • Wow! The '80s all over again. If anyone's interested, I've got a TRS80 I'd be willing to part with cheap. :)

    -Phil
  • Wow! The '80s all over again. If anyone's interested, I've got a TRS80 I'd be willing to part with cheap. :)

    -Phil

    It's funny how the 80's era that I and no doubt many others here experienced was a great time to get into computing. Prices had dropped sufficiently such that home computers had become affordable enough to be accessible to more people, though it still wasn't especially "cheap". I recall prices in the $500-800 AUD ballpark for a reasonable Z80 system in the mid 80's, so maybe ~$1.5k-2.5k in today's money? Back then we were information starved (all I really had were a couple of printed manuals and some magazine articles etc), but the best things was you could totally learn it from the ground up, probably starting in BASIC then moving to more advanced things including assembly code, Pascal, C and other languages etc while also understanding how the CPU hardware/system worked at the same time.

    These days things are the opposite, hardware is dirt cheap, processors almost impossibly more complicated and online information is abundant. Think of the total complexity of the ARM SoC on the RasPi. Great feature set and amazingly cheap but how the hell does anyone new really learn that thing? It's just another Linux PC underneath. You need a team of experienced embedded SW engineers reading thousand page ARM manuals to figure it out and make it all work from scratch, so much of it now depends completely on prior existing code such as Linux kernel and drivers etc. Somewhat ironically it was developed to try to get more people into computing as desired by it's founder Eben Upton, and while it has been successful there in many ways (eg. you could outfit many classrooms with lots of machines for very little cost) I still wonder how many beginners would think to attempt the bare metal stuff in order to really learn it, without getting discouraged away from it. I'd praise anyone with the drive and perseverance for doing so.

    This is where the P1 and P2 and other simpler micro-controllers in general can still shine for education. They are somewhat more complex than an 80's era Z80 of course but at least given some time and information there is still a chance for someone starting out to fully understand what it can do on their own, and then more importantly, how it actually works. The P1V codebase is a great resource there as well for those who want to take things even further.
  • rogloh wrote: »
    ...
    This is where the P1 and P2 and other simpler micro-controllers in general can still shine for education. They are somewhat more complex than an 80's era Z80 of course but at least given some time and information there is still a chance for someone starting out to fully understand what it can do on their own, and then more importantly, how it actually works. The P1V codebase is a great resource there as well for those who want to take things even further.
    Actually I disagree. The Z80 (and 8080, 6800, 6502) were a lot more complex than the P1, and even P2.

    The Z80 is a good chip for reference.
    The z80 needed a clock generator chip(s), memory (RAM and EPROM - UV erasable then), and peripheral chips to make it do anything! So there was the bus you needed to understand so you could interface peripheral chips - nothing inside the micro chips back then!

    Once you understood how to connect to the micro's bus, or if you were lucky enough to buy an existing board, you needed to understand the registers within the peripheral(s) you were going to connect and use. For example, the common PIO (parallel i/o chip), the serial SCC (serial async and/or sync), and possibly a video chip (6845) plus the character generator ROM. Of course EPROM (2708-2732 back then) and Static RAM (2102 1Kx1 and later 2114 1kx4) or DRAM (Z80 supported 16Kx1 upwards if I recall properly as my designs all used static).

    Sure, you could get to the bare bones of the boot code. I think CPM source code was released too. There was a lot of fun in getting the boards to do basic things back then.

    The P1 and P2 remove the whole bus concept and complexity. Peripherals in the most part are done with software, and mostly that software is available to look at and modify. It is easy to drive I/O pins with the P1 and P2. Its' architecture makes it easy to program, without the need to understand interrupts, and even tho we have them on P2, they are not necessary for most jobs, and when they are they are likely within their own cog/core which doesn't affect most user code.

    Now, don't get me wrong. The P1 and P2 are not typical micros. They are sooo much simpler than the others! Much easier to understand, and master!
  • I meant complex in the sense of the overall capabilities of these chips vs a Z80 CPU on its own. The P1 and P2 include more capabilities such as counters/timers, cordic, multiple cores, smartpins, IO pin settings, video generation, streamer, etc, etc. That's a whole lot more than just the Z80 CPU core was, so there is more to learn if you want to know everything about these micros. Despite these extra features, the P1 and P2 should remain easy enough to learn, particularly the P1.
  • rogloh wrote: »
    I meant complex in the sense of the overall capabilities of these chips vs a Z80 CPU on its own. The P1 and P2 include more capabilities such as counters/timers, cordic, multiple cores, smartpins, IO pin settings, video generation, streamer, etc, etc. That's a whole lot more than just the Z80 CPU core was, so there is more to learn if you want to know everything about these micros. Despite these extra features, the P1 and P2 should remain easy enough to learn, particularly the P1.
    Yes, some of the smartpin modes are quite complex.

    But the basics of reading and writing I/O pins is waay simpler than initialising a PIO chip.

    The P2 smart async UART is sooo much simpler than the SCC, and even the P1 UART while just using the FDX object was waay simpler than the SCC.

    And driving a video is much simpler too.

    With the P1 and P2, the user can actually get down into the pasm code easily. I don't think the Z80 assembler really compares to the P1/P2 instruction simplicity. Of course there are some extra P2 instructions that make the exercise more difficult.
  • hinvhinv Posts: 948
    edited 2020-11-21 - 02:02:58
    The thing that made the 80's computers shine is self hosting dev environment. Yeah, it was primitive but it was free from distractions other than games that showed you what could be done on the computer. I think soon enough we will have something very similar on P2. Sure would be nice if Parallax developed a P2 Demo board and manual similar to how they provided the P1 Demo board with the Propeller Manual. That box was awesome at getting me started. It reminded me of the days when I would pour over my C128 manual and type in the example programs in high school.
  • Cluso99 wrote: »
    And driving a video is much simpler too.

    Not really? On a Z80 system you'd have to have some video ASIC do it. Something like a V9938 just needs some RAM wired up and a few registers written and then it just does it. Not too different from including a video object on a Propeller. I think the adjective you're looking for is "more flexible". A video ASIC is hardwired to render some tiles, maybe some sprites, maybe there's a bitmap mode. On a Propeller you can do literally anything you want.
  • The fact that there were known hardware configurations helped squeeze the last bit of performance out of those systems in the 80's as well. Media formats needed to be standardized like they are today, but to be able to boot up bare metal right into the app (games mostly) with the assumption of exactly what the hardware was capable of without all of the hardware extraction layers that are both unreliable sometimes and bloated most always, really made for a good experience.
    Nowadays there are so many options and so many standards that it is really amazing that operating systems can make it all work together, even if it is a bit clunky. I long to go back to the real simple and well known hardware. That's what the Propeller Demoboard was to me, and at the same time an awesome upgrade from the Basic Stamp.
Sign In or Register to comment.