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The revision v1.2 of the Raspberry Pi 2B replaced the BCM2836-SoC (ARM Cortex-A7; ARMv7) with a BCM2837 (ARM Cortex-A53; ARMv8-A) known from the Pi 3 (Source, German website).

It would seem that the BCM2837 is clocked down on the Pi-2 (compared to the Pi-3) to show more or less the same performance and power consumption as the older revision with a BCM2836. According to this and this the revisions can easily be told apart with info obtained from /proc/cpuinfo.

What else - beside the switch from a 32 bit platform to 64 bit - has been changed? Are there any relevant or notable hardware differences between these boards?

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Unlike the Cortex-A7 CPU which is an ARMv7, and is purely 32-bit, the Cortex-A53 is an ARMv8A and has 64-bit instructions as well as 32-bit. The Cortex-A53 executes instructions faster than the A7. Test results that have been posted show that the Raspberry Pi 2 v1.2 is about 20% faster than the v1.1 at the same clock speed. If the program makes heavy use of the NEON instructions, you may see up to a 60% speed boost on the new board. Also most older software that fails on the Cortex-A53 and works on the Cortex-A7 is a result of using the SWP instruction, that is gone with the ARMv8 which is usually simple to patch. More info here.

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