$13 Stellaris computer could take a slice of Raspberry's Pi

The price of computer hardware really has dropped significantly in recent years, and there are few representations more obvious than the Raspberry Pi: that single-board PC which is about the size of a credit card and uses an SD card as storage. It seems a bit mad, being able to retail for $25 or so.

If that's mad then the Stellaris Launchpad must be insane, since it is the same concept for $13 a go. It relies on ARM hardware and at the price you could buy them as Christmas gifts for all your friends.

The Launchpad isn't entirely similar to the Raspberry Pi, for the two use different circuit boards and therefore will have different functionality. Tutorials and explanations for doing things with a Launchpad are appearing on the Texas Instruments wiki already, so jumping in without experience shouldn't be too bad.

The Raspberry Pi seemingly can be used as a complete computing setup with ethernet, a keyboard, and all the rest, but the Stellaris Launchpad likely could not. Then again, the Raspberry Pi doesn't have the backing of Texas Instruments, the manufacturers of the TI-83 and TI-84 calculators - which are more expensive than their single-board computer.

Source: Venturebeat

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Some splitting Surface Touch Covers reported [Update]

Next Story

Windows 8-based RetroUI gets update to RetroUI Pro

24 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

To add- with the I2C and other communications abilities of this, and the other items it offers, I could imagine a bunch of these in a cluster would be interesting. You could set up an MSP430 (around $5 US) as a display interface, another as an input processor and one of these as the main processor and have a decent little project for under $25.

Considering at least one fuel injection computer has been built with an STM32F2, this would be more than capable of that as well.

Or you could build one hell of an LED cube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZsjy-TLzSA

Considering it's compatibility with the MSP430 Launchpad's booster packs, if you're a hobbyist, this is one you should pick up.

"32-bit ARM® Cortex™-M4F 80-MHz processor core with System Timer (SysTick), integrated Nested Vectored Interrupt Controller (NVIC), Wake-Up Interrupt Controller (WIC) with clock gating, Memory Protection Unit (MPU), IEEE754-compliant single-precision Floating-Point Unit (FPU), Embedded Trace Macro and Trace Port, System Control Block (SCB) and Thumb-2 instruction set

On-chip memory, featuring 256 KB single-cycle Flash up to 40 MHz (a prefetch buffer improves performance above 40 MHz), 32 KB single-cycle SRAM; internal ROM loaded with StellarisWare® software; 2KB EEPROM

One Controller Area Network (CAN) module, using CAN protocol version 2.0 part A/B and with bit rates up to 1 Mbps

Universal Serial Bus (USB) controller with USB 2.0 full-speed (12 Mbps) and low-speed (1.5 Mbps) operation, 32 endpoints, and USB Device mode

Advanced serial integration, featuring: eight UARTs with IrDA, 9-bit, and ISO 7816 support (one UART with modem status and modem flow control); four Synchronous Serial Interface (SSI) modules, supporting operation for Freescale SPI, MICROWIRE, or Texas Instruments synchronous serial interfaces; four Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C) modules, providing Standard (100 Kbps) and Fast (400 Kbps) transmission and support for sending and receiving data as either a master or a slave

ARM PrimeCell® 32-channel configurable μDMA controller, providing a way to offload data transfer tasks from the Cortex™-M4F processor, allowing for more efficient use of the processor and the available bus bandwidth

Analog support, featuring: two 12-bit Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADC) with 12 analog input channels and a sample rate of one million samples/second; two analog comparators; 16 digital comparators; on-chip voltage regulator

Two ARM FiRM-compliant watchdog timers; six 32-bit general-purpose timers (up to twelve 16-bit); six wide 64-bit general-purpose timers (up to twelve 32-bit); 24 16/32-bit Capture Compare PWM (CCP) pins

Up to 43 GPIOs (depending on configuration), with programmable control for GPIO interrupts and pad configuration, and highly flexible pin muxing

Lower-power battery-backed Hibernation module with Real-Time Clock

Multiple clock sources for microcontroller system clock: Precision Oscillator (PIOSC), Main Oscillator (MOSC), 32.768-kHz external oscillator for the Hibernation Module, and Internal 30-kHz Oscillator

Full-featured debug solution with debug access via JTAG and Serial Wire interfaces, and IEEE 1149.1-1990 compliant Test Access Port (TAP) controller

Industrial-range (-40°C to 85°C) RoHS-compliant 64-pin LQFP "

Not mentioned in the product page is it's supported by several RTOS like FreeRTOS, TI's SYS/BIOS and others, and has hardware float support.

I pre-ordered two back in September for $4.99 each, but that was a promo price.

Here's the TI store page: https://estore.ti.com/Stellaris-LaunchPad.aspx
Here's the datasheet for the processor: http://www.ti.com/lit/gpn/lm4f120h5qr

Edited by abecedarian paradoxious, Nov 11 2012, 8:34pm :

TI's Stellaris line is a series of highly-specialized embedded microcontroller chipsets. They are used mainly for mathematical/floating point operations, digital signal processing, and systems and motion control. They are not application processors like the OMAP/Cortex-A series. This is not a competitor to the Raspberry Pi. As @Guichi said above, it's more in line with Arduino.

http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/arm/...rm_cortex_m4f/overview.page

This is not, I repeat, NOT a competitor to the Raspberry Pi. This is a direct competitor and/or alternative to the arduino platform.

Guichi said,
This is not, I repeat, NOT a competitor to the Raspberry Pi. This is a direct competitor and/or alternative to the arduino platform.

I 1000% agree with this. Can't WAIT to get my hands on one. I've had some custom stuff I've wanted to do in my car that an Arduino wasn't fully suited for and a full computer was too expensive to put in a 38 year old rust bucket.

I'm gonna buy 3 of these.

I think the whole "race to the bottom" thing has gotten out of hand. This market will be truly saturated when Acer releases a competitor for $1, and just when you think it's over, Apple will release exactly the same thing in a shiny box called the Apple iPie, which people will line up to buy for $250 for "no reason".

IronChef75 said,
I think the whole "race to the bottom" thing has gotten out of hand. This market will be truly saturated when Acer releases a competitor for $1, and just when you think it's over, Apple will release exactly the same thing in a shiny box called the Apple iPie, which people will line up to buy for $250 for "no reason".


Good one IronChef. I was waiting for an unnecessary Apple Troll comment all morning!

On topic: This race to the bottom is good. Cheap computers for hobbyists to create custom hardware and software solutions? I'm excited! You don't need an i3 or i7 to run a network clock that syncs with a mobile app for alarms and maybe news. A cheap board would work perfectly.

Of course you could say "Why would I need that" but some people would buy something like that.

Eli said,
This race to the bottom is good.

Yeah, the Raspberry Pi really needs competition like this. Without something like the Stellaris, the price gouging ******* at Raspberry Pi Foundation would be free to continue overcharging people who only want to learn. $35 is just insane for what they're offering.

And you completely overlooked the Acer troll.

IronChef75 said,
Yeah, the Raspberry Pi really needs competition like this. Without something like the Stellaris, the price gouging ******* at Raspberry Pi Foundation would be free to continue overcharging people who only want to learn. $35 is just insane for what they're offering.
Are you being sarcastic?

People complaining about 80mhz being uselessly slow ? I remember my Windows 98 machine (with Office 97 and games and internet) ran on..133mhz cpu and 32 mb ram and 1 gb hdd ?

kInG aLeXo said,
People complaining about 80mhz being uselessly slow ? I remember my Windows 98 machine (with Office 97 and games and internet) ran on..133mhz cpu and 32 mb ram and 1 gb hdd ?

i don't think speed is the issue, i think its too early to be comparing. blank piece of paper vs a piece of art.

kInG aLeXo said,
People complaining about 80mhz being uselessly slow ? I remember my Windows 98 machine (with Office 97 and games and internet) ran on..133mhz cpu and 32 mb ram and 1 gb hdd ?

You can't just compare the clock speed of two completely different CPU architectures.

ZakO said,

You can't just compare the clock speed of two completely different CPU architectures.

I know, but still it is pretty capable CPU. I think we should begin making new classes of applications/programming languages/OSs which could exploit the power of such CPUs, instead of trying to run linux and play HD movies on them.

kInG aLeXo said,
People complaining about 80mhz being uselessly slow ? I remember my Windows 98 machine (with Office 97 and games and internet) ran on..133mhz cpu and 32 mb ram and 1 gb hdd ?

The raspberry pi at 700Mhz on armv6 with hardware float is equivalent to an x86 chip at 300Mhz. So this board is ~ equal to a 40Mhz x86 and doesn't have hardware float, so probably more like a 10Mhz X86. It's not even remotely similiar.

n_K said,

The raspberry pi at 700Mhz on armv6 with hardware float is equivalent to an x86 chip at 300Mhz. So this board is ~ equal to a 40Mhz x86 and doesn't have hardware float, so probably more like a 10Mhz X86. It's not even remotely similiar.

Sorry, I didn't know how to calculate the equivalence between them. Yup, I think I get it now.

n_K said,

The raspberry pi at 700Mhz on armv6 with hardware float is equivalent to an x86 chip at 300Mhz. So this board is ~ equal to a 40Mhz x86 and doesn't have hardware float, so probably more like a 10Mhz X86. It's not even remotely similiar.

The LM4F120H5QR processor has hardware float.

abecedarian paradoxious said,

The LM4F120H5QR processor has hardware float.

"IEEE754-compliant single-precision Floating-Point Unit (FPU)"
I guess for something like this single precision is OK, but it's not the full hardware float programs are used to.

yeah i have to agree, i don't mean to be rude but as the article says.
"The Raspberry Pi seemingly can be used as a complete computing setup with ethernet, a keyboard, and all the rest, but the Stellaris Launchpad likely could not. "

They aren't even remotely similar, this is an incredibly slow computer with usb. This is only really for hobbyists as you can't run linux on it in a usable manner.