Raspberry Pi IPO: Selling out?

Raspberry Pi 5 blended into 100 dollar bill USD

Raspberry Pi is looking into an IPO (Initial Public Offering).

But wait, Raspberry Pi's a non-profit! They can't do that? And who would want stock in Raspberry Pi anyway? Their core market hates them—they abandoned hobbyists and makers years ago!

And there are like tons of clones and competitors, nobody even needs Raspberry Pi? Plus, aren't they crazy-expensive? It's like a hundred bucks now, and that's if you can even find one to buy!

Well, hold on a second... there are a lotta misconceptions out there. In this post, I'll walk through what's actually happening, and also through things I see online.

This blog post is a lightly-edited transcript of a video on my YouTube channel, which you can watch below:

Getting RISC-V (again): Milk-V's Mars CM

Milk-V Mars CM with Box

tl;dr: No, it's not a replacement for a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. But yes, it's an exciting tiny RISC-V board that could be just the ticket for more RISC-V projects, tapping into the diverse ecosystem of existing Compute Module 4 boards.

This tiny computer is the Mars CM. It's the exact same size and shape as the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. It should be a drop-in replacement. And on its box it says it supports 4K, Bluetooth and WiFi, and has gigabit Ethernet. It's also supposed to have PCI Express!

Everything I've learned building the fastest Arm desktop

Ampere Altra Developer Platform Hero Shot

This is the fastest Arm desktop in the world, yes, even faster than the M2 Ultra Mac Pro. And today, I made it even faster.

I upgraded everything: Faster RAM, 128 core CPU, 40 series GPU, I did it all, and we'll see how much we can obliterate the M2 Mac Pro.

128 cores—that's five times more cores, I'm also going to upgrade this thing from 96 all the way to 384 gigabytes of RAM. The Mac Pro? Sorry, it only goes up to 192.

And we're just in time for the new Cinebench 2024 benchmark, which—yes—this machine dominates.

Ampere Altra Max - Windows, GPUs, and Gaming

Ampere Altra Developer Platform Workstation

I'm testing Adlink's Ampere Altra Developer Platform. This machine has a 96-core Arm CPU, but now they sell a 128-core version. Apple also recently released the M2 Ultra Mac Pro, so the model I'm testing isn't the "fastest in the world" like I could boast a couple months ago... but it's close, and I actually doubled my performance from last time—I'll show how later.

Testing a 96-core Ampere Altra Developer Platform

If you're tired of waiting for Apple to migrate its Mac Pro workstation-class desktop to Apple Silicon, the Ampere Altra Developer Platform might be the next best thing:

Ampere Altra Developer Platform in Jeff Geerling's workshop

I somehow convinced Ampere/ADLINK to send me a workstation after my now years-long frustrated attempts at getting graphics cards working on the Raspberry Pi. And they sent me a beast of a machine:

RISC-V Business: Testing StarFive's VisionFive 2 SBC

It's risky business fighting Intel, AMD, and Arm, and that's exactly what Star Five is trying to do with this:

StarFive VisionFive 2 Black Background

The chip on this new single board computer could be the start of a computing revolution—at least that's what some people think!

The VisionFive 2 has a JH7110 SoC on it, sporting a new Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) called RISC-V.

Testing Raspberry Pi's new Debug Probe

Raspberry Pi Debug Probe Pi 4 model B and Pico W

Yesterday, in tandem with Raspberry Pi's announcement of their new $12 Debug Probe, I received one in the mail (pictured above).

The Debug Probe is powered by an RP2040, and lets you connect from USB to UART (serial) or SWD (Serial Wire Debug), perfect for debugging most embedded devices.

UART is useful to connect to a device's console when you don't have a display or other means of controlling it, and you can find UART/serial/console ports on almost any device with a processor or microcontroller.