Guide by Michael; Raspberry Pi Pico W vs. Pico | What's the difference?

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Leaving the memory at 2MB is a big mistake in my book.
WiFi is nice but more memory please.

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Thanks a lot. It’s often confusing.

Annoying when you find something don’t mark it then you cannot find it again.
I remember a few days back looking at pic of the memory chip on the Pico W and it had 1P132 label, I think.
Looking at the Pico it is 1P116. 2MB vs 4MB ??

This makes me think the Pico W has a larger memory but not available for general use as it lists only 2MB. The extra may be used by the WiFi chip, just guessing here. LOL


You did not mention that some of the PIO system is used for WIFI so you have a bit less of the PIO available. The PIO is not cleared in the same way, because the WIFI needs to work. I believe a reset re-initializes it, but not simply restarting your program. Finding the details of this information has not been easy, and it is sketchy to me at this point as I am looking for a good reference on this just now.


Hi Rob,

Thanks for posting what you’ve found here. This has parallels to some other stuff like the way micropython does garbage collection that can get in the way of continuous stuff like playing sound or writing to lots of addressable LEDs, but isn’t documented.

PIO is a bit of a double edged sword hey?

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In my opinion the video by Michael is excellent and covers the differences in enough detail for most people.

The Programmable Input Output of the RP2040 is a level 99% of users will never access. I looked briefly at the PIO of the RP2040 and it explains the flexible design of the microcontroller and why almost any GPIO can be programmed to be any interface, sort of.

If you want more information on the PIO, you may have to contact the hardware designers of the RP2040. It is at a level most people will never deal with.


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PIco W has a built-in wifi module, pico has none. That’s the most important difference.

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Raspberry Pi was forced to bring out a Wifi version pretty quick as other manufactures released WiFi versions about the same time Raspberry Pi released the non WiFi version. Other things such as larger memory and Ethernet also came out. But no WiFi would have affected their sales.
And agree WiFi is the biggest difference.