The Raspberry Pi 2 was released yesterday, arriving with faster performance and the same low price of $35, but what exactly is the Raspberry Pi 2?
That credit card-sized circuit board that you see below isn’t just a component that goes into a much larger computer. It’s actually its own computer altogether, and it’s called the Raspberry Pi.
You may think that in order for something to be a full-functioning computer, it needs to be much larger, but you’d be wrong. The Raspberry Pi comes with a processor, memory, storage, and the necessary ports, including USB, HDMI, ethernet, an audio jack, and microUSB for power.
That’s all you really need for an entry-level computer of sorts. However, the Raspberry Pi isn’t aimed at regular consumers who need a basic computer. It’s really meant for tinkerers and DIYers to experiment with electronics and make more complex circuits using the Rapsberry Pi as a main source, especially since users have to flash their own software, and the company offers its own OS, called Raspbian, that users can take advantage of if they want. However, Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will be free for Raspberry Pi 2 users.
The Raspberry Pi 2 is the latest model from the UK-based company, coming with a 900MHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It also comes with a microSD card slot for storage, and the HDMI port allows you to connect a display to it, with the USB ports used for keyboard and mouse input. From there, it’s a full-on PC for only $35 (plus the costs of everything else).
The Raspberry Pi project originally started as a way to get kids educated about computer science, and the low cost of Raspberry Pi components allowed schools to bring that opportunity inside their classrooms without spending a lot of money — a win-win situation.
However, the Raspberry Pi has turned into so much more now, as both casual and hardcore tinkerers are buying up Raspberry Pi computers to play around with in their home.
The Raspberry Pi first released about three years ago and arrived with a 700MHz single-core processor with 256MB of RAM. It also had only one USB port and an SD card slot for storage, which looked huge compared to the small size of the entire board. The first model also didn’t include Ethernet capabilities, so it’s safe to say that the technology has evolved greatly over the last couple of years.
The Raspberry Pi also has optional accessories that you can buy from the company’s website, like a camera module that can produce 1080p video and expansion boards that give you more room and more options to do cool stuff with the handheld computer.
What can you do with the Raspberry Pi exactly? While it’s not on par with a MacBook or anything like that, it can do quite a bit of stuff, including using it as a home theater PC or just a basic computer for web browsing. You can even use it to play retro video games using emulators.
Furthermore, the Raspberry Pi can make for a great server, or use it for home automation and get it work with various door and window sensors. There’s just a lot you can do with and the possibilities are endless, but it requires some computer science know how for sure.
Still, if you’re interested in getting your hands dirty with circuitry and programming, the Raspberry Pi is a good place to start, and there are a ton of online resources to take advantage of, thanks to the huge community of Raspberry Pi users who are more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise.