Interesting. Site looks legitimate. 512MB Model B is listed as "coming soon", and price difference is reasonable. When people were whingeing about 256MB being too small a year ago, the RasPowersThatBe explained that 512MB was a lot more expensive. But that was a year ago, so the differential may be a lot smaller now.
I wonder if this is something that slipped through and au.element14 was supposed to keep mum so that people wouldn't cancel current orders, leaving distributors stuck with 256MB inventory? Personally I'm quite content with 256MB -- hey, it's twice the size of my BeagleBoard rev B4.
Fergus, I think you're onto something with the 512MB discovery and your question about the Model A. My guess is there's something afoot, to coincide with the Raspberry Pi Foundation US Hackspace Tour which begins 18 September. I'm planning to go to the San Francisco event on 29 September, mostly for the talk by RasPivangelist Rob Bishop, described thusly:
RaspberryPi: Past, Present & Future - An introduction to the RaspberryPi, including an overview of its history and development, details on the technical specification and an outline of future developments. Followed by a Q&A session.
The timing of the tour combined with your 512MB discovery jumps me to the conclusion that RasPi will be announcing a Model B upgrade to 512MB combined with availability of the Model A, ending the "please Liz, may I have some more RAM" whingeing at the high end and the "GNU/Linux box for $25 -- some day" whingeing at the low end. This is similar to what BeagleBoard did by introducing the more expensive XM while reducing the price of the BeagleBoard rev C.
This is all light-hearted SWAG based on the facts outlined above and I have no other information to confirm or deny whether this is going to happen. In any case, I'll be nice to Rob :-)
A 512MB model is consistent with the 31 July announcement
that Android 4.0 is being ported. It seems all the recently
announced ARM devices have at least 512MB, and Eben's
recent interest in benchmarking against these devices indicates
he is paying attention to what the competition is doing.
There seems to be a recent pattern where RPF is paying attention
to issues that previously they said were inconsistent with their
educational mission, such as MPEG-2 decode, polyfuses,
and now 512MB ram.
we don't know anything for sure, but apparently the ram can be upgraded
to 512MB simply by replacing the 256MB PoP ram chip with a 512MB chip.
So no board redesign is needed.
There have been some hints of board redesign, such as to align the USB
connectors, to move the capacitor that tends to fall off, to achieve
residential FCC/CE compliance, and to fix the 1.8v power issue.
But any such redesign would presumably work with either 256MB or
I don't know whether 512MB is the maximum that the SoC can support,
or how difficult it might be to modify the SoC to support more ram.
A lot of the competing ARM devices appear not to use PoP ram.
Instead, they use DDR3 ram, typically two 256MB chips, for a total
The RasPi forum has just twigged to the 512MB version: see this thread. On 31 August jamesh said that 512MB is the limit for the current board. He didn't give away any RasPi Foundation plans.
It may be that the Ohmless F1+F2 and 512MB are the only changes. I expect these can be done without recertifying. Any significant board change like moving connectors generally requires recertification, which is painful and expensive. It's also a pain to deal with multiple board versions, so if most people are able to survive "as is" there's a lot of incentive to wait on major changes.
Back at the RasPi Forum thread, liz has denied RasPi is releasing a $50 512MB model and explains the au.element14 product page as follows:
... we are NOT releasing a $50 512MB model... that supplier has read that it's a frequently requested thing, and had put a placeholder on their site in case because they wanted to talk to us about whether we wanted to do it.
We don't, and you will notice that there is no longer a placeholder on their site!
We do encourage speculation and discussion of what future Pis might be like - but we will ANNOUNCE them when they happen. Promise.
Edit: the element14.au "2191863" link still works for me.
well, kudos to element14 then for taking the initiative on this issue.
512MB PoP chips have been in mass production for quite a while now,
and since no board redesign is necessary, it's a no-brainer upgrade.
The quantity prices I've seen for DDR3 ram are about $1 for a 256MB
part and about $3 for a 512MB part. If PoP prices are similar, it would
add about $2 to the BOM cost, and about $10 or more to the profit.
Liz promises to announce the 512MB board when it happens, but
we saw what happened with the polyfuse and D14 issues, where you
heard about the changes first from actual customers.
JamesH said recently that even if the 512MB part was only $0.10 more
than the 256MB part, it wouldn't be an obvious choice.
Perhaps this startling bit of value-engineering wisdom is what convinced
element14 to take matters into their own hands.
I wish we knew more about the supposed 512MB limit, and what would
be required to increase it. There was a brief discussion on that here:
We don't know much about the contract element14 has with RPF.
Does it prevent parts substitutions, such as 512MB ram?
Does it prevent surveying potential customers for what they
would like to see in future versions of the product?
we also don't know if the polyfuse fix was initiated by element14
or by RPF. I haven't seen any reports of 0 ohm boards other
than from element14 customers.
Since element14 is at the point where it has neither a large
backlog of orders, nor a large inventory of completed boards,
this would be the ideal time to offer a 512MB version, since
there would be no worries about large numbers of customers
cancelling existing orders, or about warehouses full of completed
boards becoming unsellable.
I just wanted to update all of our forum members who have joined the discussion on the 512MB Raspberry Pi today.
As you know there has always been talk of increasing the RAM size on the Model B and we had this part created (but hidden) on our system a little while ago as part of the initial product roadmap. I must stress that the part should have remained inactive but a flag was removed in error from the part last Friday which caused the part to be visible, in error, on our web site in a number of countries globally today.
The part is now removed from most of our sites and will be finally removed from all sites by around 10.30 UK time this evening and in the meantime the part has been made “un-orderable” on the sites where it is still visible (i.e. our UK site).
I apologise for any confusion this error has caused
Director of Product & Supplier Management
Is this a raspberry pi with 512Mb RAM or is this a joke.