Feeds
90%
Raspberry Pi ARM PC

Review: Raspberry Pi

Bare bones computing

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Clock this...

In terms of processor specs, the Rπ is built around a Broadcom BCM2835 32-bit system-on-chip clocked at 700MHz, a VideoCore IV GPU running at 250MHz – hence the 1080p full HD support – and 256MB of LPDDR memory shared between them.

Raspberry Pi ARM PC

HD ready

The RAM split is determined at startup with an appropriate armX_start.elf file, so for different splits you need to reboot the Rπ. For those into their bare metal, there's also a config.txt file that allows you adjust the settings to overclock the CPU, GPU, and memory. Some brave souls out there are claiming to run it at over 900MHz, but we only have the one board to test, so good luck with that...

The Rπ ships as just a circuit board, although the proposed Autumn Educational release promises a case for the same money. But either way, you'll still need to cough up for a list of peripherals. How much extra are you going to need to spend? At a minimum you're looking at a mouse, keyboard, HDMI cable or RF cable, a power supply, and an SD card.

Raspberry Pi ARM PC

Capable of playing Blu-ray streams and a match for Apple TV perhaps?

The supply is from a USB cable, so you need a decent powered hub, or USB charging socket. In testing I found that an iPhone or even a Kindle charger did a fine job, and once I could prise my kiddiewinks away from CBBC, the 22in family LCD telly was perfectly adequate.

Admittedly for most households these days it should be a 5-minute job to scrounge up what's needed, and it may seem nit-picking to go on about the cost of peripherals. But given that the most important fact about the Rπ is that it's priced at $25. OK, so in UK it'll be nearer £29 with delivery and VAT, but who's counting? Still, it's instructive to realise that the board itself may cost less than splashing out on the power supply & cabling.

And yes, sorry, must stop calling it a board; it really is a PC. Indeed the Rπ Foundation could rightfully claim the title of cheapest bare-bones PC on the market. There are other contenders that can at least see the ballpark, but none actually within reach of the target markets' spending limit. Or as it's more commonly known, pocket money.

Raspberry Pi ARM PC

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: Soft options

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
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
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'
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?