Raspberry Pi's new RP2040 chip is now on sale–for just $1

Raspberry Pi has kicked off sales of individual units of its tiny custom chip.

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The RP2040 is Raspberry Pi's first custom chip and is designed with microcontroller-class products in mind.

Image: Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi has kickstarted individual sales of the PR2040, the company's new custom CPU and the silicon beating heart of the recently launched Raspberry Pi Pico. And it's yours for just $1.

RP2040 chips are now available from Raspberry Pi's approved resellers in single-unit sales, allowing device-makers to build their own hardware projects on products using Raspberry Pi's diminutive, 2mm2 of 40nm silicon.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Raspberry Pi fans will be aware that the company debuted the Raspberry Pi Pico using the RP2040 back in January. It marked the launch of a brand-new class of device for the British board maker, being the first microcontroller board from Raspberry Pi, as well as the first device to be built on a chip designed in-house by Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi Pico is the fifth device to be launched by Raspberry Pi in the span of twelve months, with company co-founder, Eben Upton, recently speaking to TechRepublic about the challenges the company faced in meeting the surge in demand for its products in 2021.

Availability of the PR2040 has so far been hampered by a backlog for Raspberry Pi Pico devices. Upton told TechRepublic that Raspberry Pi had so far shipped a little under 600,000 units and has an additional 700,000 on backorder.

Now the company has decided to pull some 40,000 RP2040 units out of that supply chain to get single-unit sales moving around three months earlier than it had initially intended.

"This will give people time to develop their projects and products, while we clear out the rest of the Pico backlog and scale up production of RP2040. In the autumn we'll have some serious volume available to serve any resulting demand," Upton said in a post on the Raspberry Pi blog.

SEE: Raspberry Pi: After launching five devices in less than a year, here's what they're doing next (TechRepublic)

Raspberry Pi is also looking at selling RP2040 by the reel: Upton said the company is still figuring out what this will look like, but should have a figure to mind by autumn. It'll work out a "significantly lower" price than buying units at $1 a pop.

To recap on TechRepublic's previous coverage of Raspberry Pi's latest products: the RP4040 packs a 133MHz dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ CPU, with 264KB of on-chip RAM and support for up to 16MB of off-chip Flash memory, along with USB 1.1 and 30 GPIO pins.

Users can use one of the chip's CPU cores to run application code, and the other to supervise hardware. Alternatively, they can run application code on both cores with FreeRTOS or MicroPython.

A fully connected switch connects ARM cores and DMA engines to six independent RAM banks, allowing users to maximise performance. Meanwhile, the programmable I/O (PIO) subsystem supports SDIO, DPI, I2S and DVI-D.

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