Product Type: Rasberry PC desktops
Newest Review: ... can be trouble for non-techies. Without going into much detail (Full details can be found on the Raspberry Pi website), you need to format... more
Full Computing Functionality Without Leaving Your Wallet Empty!
Member Name: NotMyToothbrush
Advantages: So much power for the price!
Disadvantages: Requires either knowledge or a little extra time reading to set it up to begin with, fragile.
The Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized personal computer designed to give you all the functionality of a standard household computer without the price tag associated with it.
There are multiple "boards" available, however I will be basing this review on the current (at the time of writing) board B with 512MB of RAM.
I got my Raspberry Pi for £30 including shipping from Farnell Element 14, one of the Raspberry Pi's two official suppliers. It arrives in minimal packaging - a static-free bag within a card box. Although this does not sound like much protection, as this computer is non-mechanical and fully solid-state, it is perfectly sufficient. With a traditional computer you must worry about the moving parts inside such as the hard drive even when the computer is not powered up.
This computer is a direct substitute for a traditional tower minus a storage device. This means that you still need to supply a monitor, internet connection, mouse, keyboard, storage device (An SD card) and all of the cables associated with these. For a techie such as myself, this is no hassle as I can find all of these lying around the house. However, for many people, this can be an issue as they may not have these and could have to buy them all separately - soon building up the cost.
The next step involves setting up the device which once again can be trouble for non-techies. Without going into much detail (Full details can be found on the Raspberry Pi website), you need to format the SD card and then transfer and configure the Operating System before you can begin to use the device.
As the computer itself is just an unprotected circuit board unless you spend extra money on a case for it, robustness can be an issue and there is a high chance of it becoming broken. You must take extra care where this is placed during operation adn usage especially to reduce the chance of it being stood on or to reduce the chance of something being put on it - either of which will snap the computer into two.
For the price however, the cost of just £30 is amazing value and it is fully understandable how it has taken years of planning to finally release the final product:
*Specifications as listed by Farnell*
SoC Broadcom BCM2835 (CPU, GPU, DSP, and SDRAM)
CPU: 700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S core (ARM11 family)
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV, OpenGL ES 2.0, 1080p30 h.264/MPEG-4 AVC high-profile decoder
Memory (SDRAM): 512 Megabytes (MiB)
Video outputs: Composite RCA, HDMI
Audio outputs: 3.5 mm jack, HDMI
Onboard storage: SD, MMC, SDIO card slot
10/100 Ethernet RJ45 onboard network
Storage via SD/ MMC/ SDIO card slot
Once up and running the Raspberry Pi can handle any of the general task a home user will throw at it; web surfing, email and even watching HD video. Some people have chosen to go to extremes and even use a Raspberry Pi to power a private mobile network, with the help of some additional equipment - this really shows the true power and potential of the device!
There is really nothing I can really complain about concerning this device, it is perfect for both casual computer users, to reduce cost, and for more advanced users, for the pure techieness, alike!
Summary: Buy it and see, this computer is priced so low that it is almost disposable!
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