David Papp Blog

Raspberry Pi: The Credit-Card Sized 35 Dollar Computer With Amazing Possibilities

I’ve been playing with these tiny little computers for over a year and very pleased & amazed with the capabilities. The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer selling for about $35. You can run it without a case or buy one for $10-$20. All you need is a $10 SD memory card and your set.

This tiny computer sports USB ports, Ethernet networking, HDMI display, sound, 512 MB memory (there is also a 256 MB flavour which is about $10 cheaper), and a general purposes input/output (GPIO) header block if you want to connect/control other things.

There are a variety of linux distibutions you can download and image to an SD card resulting in an instant server with a large number of possibilities for uses. (Google “Raspberry Pi” and “LEGO” for fun.)

If you are a hobbyist and want to have some fun, get yourself a Raspberry Pi and see what your creative juices can conjure up!



39 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi: The Credit-Card Sized 35 Dollar Computer With Amazing Possibilities”

  1. I remember when I first heard about this I considered it, but when I went to get one they were sold out everywhere. Looks like they are in stock now, so I might consider picking one up as to use with a USB-HDD as a home server type device.

  2. What can this device do? Without a cover, is it very easy to damage? If the size is so small, it seems as it can be applied to a number of future uses.

  3. Seems quite nice, will be handy if you want to use a computer for emergency and your normal everyday computer is giving troubles, However it seems quite vulnerable with being open exposed to static and all other kinds of mishaps, like dropping cofee or any liquid on it. I do however like mini-gadgets. I would sure try it out. Its quite cheap.

      • What I do is use the 3D printer at work to make myself custom cases for all the new fun COM devices that are out there. But david is for sure right, there are a bunch of cheap cases available and each have pluses and minuses about them depending on how or where you are going to take you Pi.

        It is honestly amazing what these guys can do and how cheap it is. It will bring embedded hardware to the next level for new generations to come. I have used everything from Arduino’s, BeagleBoards, PandaBoards to Gumstix’s. COM’s are a great way to make your custom gadget and allow it to be relatively powerful.

        Heck I even built my own custom car tracker/alert system with a modified board design of an arduino mega, added a gyro, gps and a sim900 to send the text messages and receive commands πŸ™‚

  4. This looks very interesting. hard to imagine that it is the size of a credit card! That’s really tiny but I’m sure you can do a lot a lot with it. I’m also amazed that its only 35 dollars.

  5. Wow, 512mb of processing power in the size of a credit card for $35? That’s pretty amazing. Here’s a video of it playing Quake 3: http://youtu.be/e_mDuJuvZjI

    Although it kinds of struggles with the FPS, for that low of a price and that size that’s pretty awesome.

    • Woah I found this to be pretty cool. I’ve seen this on the Minecraft Forums and it being able to run games like Quake 3 is pretty amazing. Seems too complex for me though but maybe it’s easier than I think.

  6. This is PC vic can do lots of things for cheap.
    I’ve seen someone make an emulator that could be run multiple consoles old gent.

    It is a good idea to me. There should be more such inventions with Radberry Pie.
    I expect to see more.
    In addition, it is not really expensive …

    • I agree, I always thought that the Rasberry Pi is an excellent idea. I still have an old PC from 2004 and it can’t match the performance of the PI. It’s the perfect toy to experiment on. Also considering how many poor countries lack school computers this should be an amazing solution.

  7. If only my country isn’t too corrupt, then maybe our schools would be able to make use of the Raspberry Pi.

    I might get one when I can but I’d mostly just play with it. Any recommendations on what linux distro to use?

    • If you want a small footprint, I have used Occidentalis. Though I really like pwnpi which has a lot of programs I use already installed.

      • Omg, so many choices! Pwnpi looks nice. I might want to play with more distros and this might help http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/4100 especially for noobs like me. I’ve always wanted to try different flavors of Linux but never tried on my netbook. Maybe it will be easier with the Raspberry Pi.

  8. This is a pretty nifty idea. However I could also see where this could be both a powerful tool and foe. Imagine being able to walk-in some where and deliver fairly quickly a virus or other malicious content without needing to even look like your doing so. Of course I am sure most mobile platforms can be hacked to do the same. On the other hand there is definitely some cool hobby possibilities out there now.

  9. I had no idea that things like a Raspberry Pi computer even existed! I didn’t know technology was there yet but it seems I was mistaken! And so cheap! How is it even possible to build such tiny machines and sell them for only $35 and still make a profit? This is mind baffling!

  10. I love how the Raspberry Pi makes it possible for anyone to play around with hardware. I remember seeing a tutorial, on reddit, of someone turning a Pi into a NES or it could have been a SNES. I wanted to make one myself. I’m glad I stumbled on your article, now I actually remember and will order parts, now. πŸ˜€

  11. I’ve had my eye on the Raspberry Pi for a while and im still amazed at it, it has so much potential and I hope somewhere sees that. Its a great device as it can be used for all forms of media its great for gaming as it is so portable.

  12. This is the first time I’ve heard of this. This is great! I can be useful for “not so heavy” tasks. I doubt if this is sold in my country though and if ever I do get one, the shipping might be more expensive than the cost of this product. I think this has great potential.

  13. I consider myself as a well-informed person when it comes to IT but I didn’t know about that little thing. Would be nice to play around with it a bit but isn’t 512 MB memory not too low for any linux?

    • 512 MB does look very small compared to my other devices. I don’t know but I feel like this device is more for exploring the possibilities of a cheap computer than for more complicated processes. People have been doing some amazingly cool stuff with it though, I just checked by googling fun things to do with the raspberry pi.

    • They have a 256MB version and 512MB version. 512MB is plenty. Depends on what you want to run. Linux doesn’t need much for memory. I have run many servers on 128MB. 512 is actually a fair amount.

  14. This is a really cool device. It’s a perfect computer to learn programming and Linux on. It has so many potential uses as well.

  15. I bought one of these devices to play around because of saw them being talked about in Reddit one day. It really cheap device that you could program small thing and also to practice your coding or start learn how to code. However, nowadays there are cheaper and more cost efficient devices out there that can do the same thing as the raspberry pi.

    • I would love to know what you feel is cheaper and more cost effective. Can you please share what these are, thanks.

  16. My friend recently just water cooled his raspberry Pi and by far it has to be the coolest thing i have ever seen. I cant believe they made a PC the size of a credit card its truly amazing what technology can do these days.

  17. Check out Google’s Project Loon.

    Basically Raspberry Pi’s launched in weather balloons to create a meshed Wifi network to provide Internet connectivity to remote locations.

    Here are their videos:

    Here is a trial done in New Zealand with about 30 balloons:

    Here is the google site:

    Also check out this BBC News story of a pi-powered teddy bear that went to the stratosphere (39km) and went down with recordings.

    • Wow, how amazing is that? This is why Google’s been doing great, and would likely to continue getting bigger. Still, from a credit card-sized computer to providing internet to places that can’t afford good internet connections, it’s so cool.

    • This is very interesting. I know raspberry PI has been out there for sometime and have already been developed to do a lot of cool things but did not know about this one. I’ ll check out the links you provided.

      I have heard this quite some time ago and have considered buying one. Although my main concern is that I dont know how tou use Linux. Well, I know I can always learn new things. πŸ™‚

      I am also getting the idea of using this for thesis projects in our school. I might as well introduce this to the students there, πŸ™‚

  18. The Raspberry Pi is without a doubt something truly innovative. I have heard about these “micro-computers” used in several projects and experiments. It may not be the specs but its the size and compact components that is mind blowing. I believe that will not only continue to capture everyday customers but people who want to take this to the next stage by tinkering with it to perform other tasks. Just as you mentioned with Google’s Project Loon. This will be a stepping stone for many other things soon to come.

  19. Wow, this is amazing. I googled the lego ones and they are cute as hell!

    Who could have thought we could have such inexpensive computers with such capabilities? Amazing, thanks for this article.

    • Yes, I also googled the lego ones and I love them. I am going to get one for my teenage son who is still into legos. Hell, I am still into legos and I am a grown adult! I put this on my christmas wish list. I hope it ends up in my stocking. You can’t beat the price!

    • Are you talking about the BrickPi? Because it does look cool and it looks like it’s way cheaper than what I think studying robotics would cost. I’m gonna go check more on how one can get one to tweak around with.

  20. This is so cool and it looks like it is more than a novelty item. It sort of reminds me of my asus EEE PC that beat all the other tiny micro notebooks to the market scene. I’d love to buy one but I’d like to see how functional it is before paying for it. I just checked around and they are all sold out. Darn!

  21. Wow I have just learned something here. I have already gone online to look for the price of this product and I do realize that it will certainly come in handy. I notice that there were cases available for it. How comes I did not hear about this product before? Anyway thank you David for the great information which is very useless, please continue to share them with us.

  22. These are pretty amazing computers, and honestly, I’ve seen a lot of uses for it. There are many projects that can be made with these, and with the multitude of accessories available from Adafruit, you can make things like point-and-shoot cameras, portable arcade gaming, or even a PirateBox. There are so many uses for this, and also, it’s a pretty cheap way to start a multi-node hadoop cluster.

  23. These computers are very neat, and definitely have a variety of uses. I know they’re commonly used as a budget HTPC, and people love to make custom cases for these. I read in a magazine that the GPU processing power is something like the original Xbox. I’m not quite sure though. I think these PCs were originally made to allow kids to learn coding for cheap.

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