Raspberry Pi Pico 'Pi Silicon' Heading Out To Partners

RP2040 SoC
(Image credit: Future)

In a tweet from Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton, we see trays of RP2040 'Pi Silicon' chips destined for board partners to build their own models of RP2040 boards. Each of these trays holds 1200 chips, but these latest chips are a little different to those that have come before.

The Raspberry Pi Pico has been with us for nearly a month, and from day one we have been aware of alternative boards from partners such as Arduino, Adafruit, Pimoroni and SparkFun. With Upton's tweet indicating that these partners will be imminently receiving their stock of RP2040 chips we should shortly see their boards coming to market. The alternative boards are not "clones" of the Raspberry Pi Pico, rather each brings extra features to the table. Notably the Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect comes with WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 9-axis IMU sensor and microphone. Boards from Adafruit come in a range of Feather (large) Itsy Bitsy (small) and QT Py (tiny) and all come with an RGB LED and STEMMA QT connections for use with external components.

These latest RP2040 chips carry a "B1" marking, different to the original RP2040 used on the Raspberry Pi Pico. But what is the difference? We asked Eben Upton "Some more floating point support functions I think. Moving these to ROM frees up a little more RAM in applications that use them. Checking the datasheet, there are no errata fixes in this stepping." Upton later said that newer Raspberry Pi Picos will ship with the newer B1 chip, and that all partner boards will use the B1 chip. We have already received a Tiny 2040 for review, an RP2040 B1 based board which has four times the storage, fewer GPIO pins in a smaller form factor. 

The news of RP2040 chips shipping to board partners has also been confirmed in a tweet by Alasdair Allan, Technical Documentation Manager at Raspberry Pi Trading and the person responsible for the Raspberry Pi Pico documentation.

Now that board partners are receiving their chips, it is just a matter of time before the community can start to integrate the RP2040 into their own projects, such as Arturo182 who has designed an RP2040 based board which looks remarkably like a Raspberry Pi Zero W.

Les Pounder

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".