Is there any published information about how long it took the Raspberry Pi guys to design it to initial production? How many hardware revisions were there? How many engineering hours were involved? What about prototyping costs?

  • 3
    @chenmunka meta is for discussing the stack exchange site itself, not questions like this Nov 18, 2013 at 22:41
  • Point taken. I stand corrected.
    – Chenmunka
    Nov 19, 2013 at 7:23

1 Answer 1


Short answer: roughly 6 years (2006-2012, concept to production).

Long answer (derived from Wikipedia):

There were 4 different hardware revisions to the Raspberry Pi Model B. Prototyping of the first hardware revision started in 2006:

In 2006, early concepts of the Raspberry Pi were based on the Atmel ATmega644 microcontroller. Its schematics and PCB layout are available for public download. Foundation trustee Eben Upton assembled a group of teachers, academics and computer enthusiasts to devise a computer to inspire children. The computer is inspired by Acorn's BBC Micro of 1981. The first ARM prototype version of the computer was mounted in a package the same size as a USB memory stick. It had a USB port on one end and an HDMI port on the other.

First Raspberry Pi prototype

The second hardware revision was a bit larger and had some more features:

In August 2011, fifty Alpha boards were manufactured. These boards were functionally identical to the planned model B, but were physically larger to accommodate debug headers. Demonstrations of the board showed it running the LXDE desktop on Debian, Quake 3 at 1080p, and Full HD MPEG-4 video over HDMI.

Raspberry Pi alpha prototype

Raspberry Pi alpha prototype

Later in the same year the alpha boards were produced, they came out with the model B beta boards:

In December 2011, twenty-five model B Beta boards were assembled and tested from one hundred unpopulated PCBs. The component layout of the Beta boards was the same as on production boards. A single error was discovered in the board design where some pins on the CPU were not held high; it was fixed for the first production run. The Beta boards were demonstrated booting Linux, playing a 1080p movie trailer and the Rightware Samurai OpenGL ES benchmark.

Raspberry Pi beta prototype

Raspberry Pi beta prototype

After the beta boards were launched another hardware revision was introduced:

On 5 September 2012, a revision 2.0 board was announced, with a number of minor corrections and improvements.

On 15 October 2012, the Raspberry Pi foundation announced that all new Raspberry Pi model B's would be fitted with 512 MB instead of 256 MB RAM.

I jumble those two together as the same revision. :P

enter image description here

I don't count the model A board as a different hardware revision.

To answer your other questions, you might have to send an email to the Raspberry Pi team. I couldn't find any documented information on the engineering hours or prototyping costs involved with making the Raspberry Pi. Keep in mind these may be confidential, so they might not give them to you (but I don't see why they wouldn't).

  • 1
    two minor corrections. 1) the actual dev.effort are unlikely to begin in 2006, that was a totally different project, and there's no visible outcome for 2007-2010. 2)some of the pictures you posted depict the genuine Broadcom DEV board, that was most likely used as a design base for RaspberryPi. Therefore I'd mark the beginning of RaspberryPi at the moment the Broadcom DEV boards were available, circa 2010.
    – lenik
    Nov 19, 2013 at 1:08
  • @lenik I mark the beginning of the timeline for the Raspberry Pi in 2006 with the first prototype board. It was only a concept at the time, and no major updates to it were seen until 2011, but I still count it as the birth of the Raspberry Pi. But yes, the Raspberry Pi we know today most likely came from the Broadcom Dev Board (which I believe was produced by the Raspberry Pi Foundation if you read the link for the second revision).
    – syb0rg
    Nov 19, 2013 at 2:57
  • @lenik I did change a bit of the wording in the short answer to reflect your thoughts.
    – syb0rg
    Nov 19, 2013 at 2:59
  • @syb0rg I did attempt to contact the team as you suggested, but have not heard back. Nov 23, 2013 at 20:23
  • @JohannesErnst They took a few days to get back to me as well when I had a question only they could answer. Keep in mind they are a small company, and lots of other people to reply to as well (I imagine they have social lives too)!
    – syb0rg
    Nov 23, 2013 at 21:50

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