Feeds
90%
Raspberry Pi ARM PC

Review: Raspberry Pi

Bare bones computing

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

No review is ever written in isolation, absent from context. Usually, you can guess the reviewer's bias within a few paragraphs, and compensate accordingly. He hates LCD display quality, she dislikes proprietary software, they yearn for the days of full bandwidth vinyl. You get the idea.

Raspberry Pi ARM PC

Raspberry Pi Alpha board – a work in progress

So here's some context up front. This July, I'll have been writing hardware and software reviews for 22 years and, for me, reviewing the Raspberry Pi (Rπ) is a first on two counts: one, I've never had to review what amounts to a physical manifesto before, and two, as a 43-year-old father of two wee boys – squarely pegged in the reliving-my-youth demographic – I so so so want this pocketmoney PC to succeed.

But understand, this is neither pure nostalgia, nor am I alone. The stated aim of the Raspberry Pi Foundation is to provide a modern, inexpensive counterpart to "the Amigas, BBC Micros, Spectrum ZX and Commodore 64 machines that people of an earlier generation learned to program on." As if you were in any doubt, even the naming of the Rπ itself tips the hat to the stalwart of that bygone era: Model A (one USB port, no Ethernet) and Model B (two USB ports, 10/100MBps Ethernet).

Raspberry Pi ARM PC

Rπ production model has a few component positioning changes but the concept remains intact

So what do you get for your money? The Rπ is a credit-card sized GNU/Linux computer with RCA video out, 3.5mm audio out, the appropriate aforementioned USB/Ethernet setup, HDMI out, and an SD card reader for OS and userfile storage. The SD is of course down to cost, but it's worth pointing out that using an SD for the OS offers a number of benefits; replacement media is relatively cheap; it's pretty difficult to brick an Rπ in software; image restore is just another SD card away; and pupils can take their drives home with them.

And whilst the Rπ does need to boot from an SD card, it's possible from the command line to switch post-boot so that the OS and filesystem run from an external USB drive.

Raspberry Pi ARM PC

Source: Paul Beech @guru

Additionally, despite no software support as yet, there's a DSI connector for hooking it up to LCD panels, and the Model B has a [CSI MIPI connector] for adding a camera down the line. There are also GPIO pinouts (though limited to 16 mA according to spec), which could make expansion and hobbyist extras a distinct possibility; projects to tie Arduinos into an Rπ, or use Arduino shilds on an Rπ are already off the drawing board.

Boost IT visibility and business value

Next page: Clock this...

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Leak: Intel readies next round of NUC
Cheap boxen to get a refresh
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?