Look contained in the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W and the RP3A0-AU

In the present day, Raspberry Pi launched their new Zero 2 W, and it features a new Raspberry Pi-branded chip, labeled RP3A0-AU.

I used to be capable of get early entry to the Zero 2, and I've a full review of the device on my YouTube channel, however I wished to share extra of the X-ray pictures I took of the system to disclose its internal workings, and since I simply assume they appear cool. Additionally, I paid a bit of cash to get these footage, so may as properly share!

First, here is what the Zero 2 W seems like in individual:

Look contained in the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W and the RP3A0-AU

And here is what it seems like through X-ray:

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W - X-ray vision

You may already see just a few of the easter eggs hidden inside, however let's first get the fundamentals out of the way in which. This board has the very same bodily format as the sooner Pi Zero W, with the identical I/O, which means it should slot in virtually each accent and challenge designed for earlier Pi Zero fashions.

For I/O, it options:

  • 1x mini CSI connector on edge for Pi Digital camera modules
  • 1x microSD card reader for boot volumes
  • 1x micro USB energy enter
  • 1x micro USB information port
  • 1x mini HDMI show port
  • 40-pin GPIO (following customary Pi format)

However trying extra intently on the X-ray picture reveals what's inside the brand new Pi chip:

Xray picture of side of Pi Zero 2 W SoC chip with RAM package on top RP3A0-AU

You possibly can distinctly see two units of bond wires—on this case, gold bond wires, as indicated by the -AU chip suffix—with one resulting in the 512MB LPDDR2 RAM on high, and the opposite resulting in the BCM2710A1 clocked at 1 GHz on the underside.

So this isn't customized silicon, but it surely is a customized 'package deal'. Older Pi Zero fashions (and among the older Pi A/B fashions) used a package-on-package format, however the BCM2710 used right here did not are available a range that was stackable. So Raspberry Pi determined to make their very own, and put all of it inside one easier-to-mass-produce chip.

However I used to be trying by extra angles through digital X-ray when one thing else caught my eye:

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W BGA Xray pattern with mini Raspberry Pi Logo

Do you see that little sample in the midst of the BGA ('Ball Grid Array') on the primary chip? Does it remind you of something? How about we zoom and improve:

Raspberry Pi Logo in BGA ballout on Pi Zero 2 W

And there it's! I caught a clear Pi emblem on there in case it is nonetheless onerous to see. I really like seeing little design particulars like this, because it jogs my memory of the signatures inside the Macintosh case—slightly mark of satisfaction from the {hardware} designer that additionally reveals a spirit of playfulness... and in a spot the place vanishingly few individuals will ever discover!

I needed to know extra, so I requested Gordon Hollingworth in regards to the design, and he referred me to Simon Martin, who was precept designer of this chip. He was glad to see somebody observed, and had a bit to say:

The BGA ballout is only a little bit of enjoyable. The balls on the skin of the package deal include the I/O alerts and must be fastidiously positioned. The balls within the center are simply energy and floor (and assist with cooling) so will be positioned in any association.

I additionally requested a bit extra in regards to the chip design since, properly, he designed it! And he talked about that the SoC and DRAM have a silicon spacer to verify the bond wires aren't crushed throughout manufacturing. And he additionally talked about why they selected gold bond wires:

It is a busy trying factor if considered underneath X-Ray. Over 800 gold bond wires [...] We acquired a bit fearful of utilizing cheaper copper wires within the package deal and selected the gold model to make sure a protracted life.

So there you may have it! I additionally wished to take a peek underneath the WiFi/Bluetooth module cowl, to see what's inside, and it is similar to the older board, simply encased inside a metallic defend:

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W WiFi Bluetooth undercover X-ray shot

I will get extra into this subsequent week, however the precise chip used right here is the SYN43436, made by Synaptics. It's extremely near the BCM43438 used within the 3 mannequin B and Zero W, but it surely does require dedicated firmware, and that threw me for a loop whereas engaged on a RetroPie construct for the Zero 2 W!

In any case, that about sums up the 'inside look' on the Zero 2 W—please try my YouTube review of the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W for extra juicy design particulars.


To assist those that do not take pleasure in sitting by movies, I am additionally posting the efficiency benchmarks right here:

x264 Encode phoronix benchmark results on Pi Zero 2 W

I ran all these benchmarks utilizing my pi-general-benchmark script, and this primary one was fascinating—because of the truth the Pi Zero W and Zero 2 W have 512 MB of RAM, it was onerous to even get the benchmark to finish. The OOM (Out Of Reminiscence) Killer was ruthless in killing the runs till I gave the Pi no less than 512 MB of swap area on the sluggish microSD storage.

It is not displaying a ton of velocity, however one other factor to notice is the Pi Zero 2 can take an overclock of 1.2 and even 1.4 GHz with satisfactory cooling. I get extra into thermals and effectivity in my video, however shifting on to the subsequent benchmark, the next turn out to be obvious:

  • The Pi Zero 2 W is 2x sooner at base clock on 32-bit Pi OS.
  • The Pi Zero 2 W can lastly run 64-bit Pi OS.
  • The Pi Zero 2 W will be 3-4x sooner (or extra!) working 64-bit Pi OS with a slight overclock.

This is the results of an MP3 encode take a look at:

MP3 Encoding Phoronix test benchmark results for Pi Zero 2 W

And at last, phpbench:

phpbench phoronix benchmark results on Pi Zero 2 W

You possibly can count on every little thing to run no less than twice as quick, typically 3-4x sooner, on the Pi Zero 2 W with it is quad-core A53 chip. However RAM is certainly a limiting issue for a lot of makes use of.

Two different issues I examined have been networking efficiency—because the upgraded CPU could make a distinction there—and energy consumption:

WiFi and Wired LAN networking performance on Pi Zero 2 W

WiFi is about twice as quick, and Wired LAN efficiency with a Gigabit USB Ethernet adapter is about 25% sooner. I ought to observe that it nonetheless pales compared to the Pi 4, which doubles WiFi efficiency once more, and has built-in 1 Gbps Ethernet!

Lastly, here is energy consumption as measured by a PowerJive USB power meter.

Pi Zero 2 W Power Consumption Benchmarks

For those who turn off almost everything on the Pi Zero to reduce power consumption, you may get the Zero 2 W all the way down to about 100 mA, or 0.52W. The unique Zero W may get all the way down to about 80 mA, or 0.42W.


The Zero 2 W is a pleasant improve over the Zero W, and makes some makes use of—like retro gaming or gentle responsibility duties—quite a bit much less painful. It is nonetheless no efficiency champ in comparison with the Pi 4, but it surely is available in with good options for a still-low value, and I can think about it's going to be onerous to search out one in inventory for a while!

I will be again subsequent week with particulars on how I built-in the Pi Zero 2 W in a Null 2 RetroPie gaming handheld construct, so be sure you subscribe on YouTube and subscribe to this weblog's RSS feed!

And if you have not but, go watch the full YouTube review of the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

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