The Raspberry Pi Pico (opens in new tab), based on the RP2040 microcontroller, has proved pretty popular as it celebrates its first anniversary. Just how popular, though, wouldn’t become apparent until the maker world faced a chip shortage, and Raspberry Pi was deluged with requests to buy 10,000 chips at a time. To address this, you can now buy RP2040 chips by the reel from a new online store called Raspberry Pi Direct (opens in new tab).
And a reel gets you a lot of chips. Buy 500, and you’ll pay $0.80 per chip, but raise that to 3,400 and the price drops to $0.70. It’s a great bulk saving, given that the Pico retails for $4, and the RP2040 can be found for $1.
“We've been helping maker businesses who have run short of other microcontroller silicon migrate to RP2040 on an ad hoc basis,” writes Raspberry Pi supremo and friend of the Tom’s Hardware The Pi Cast (opens in new tab) Eben Upton in an email. “And with the silicon shortage now into its second year, it felt like we should roll this out more widely."
The RP2040 is at the heart of some of the best Raspberry Pi projects (opens in new tab), and as it’s built on TSMC’s 40LP process, makes an efficient use of scarce silicon. Each 300mm silicon wafer yields 21,000 RP2040 dies, and the company claims to have enough wafers to produce 20 million of the chips. Let us know in the comments what you’re making with them.