Raspberry Pi : The Tiny Computer

The Raspberry Pi is a series of low cost, credit-card sized computers that plug into a computer monitor or TV, and use a standard keyboard and mouse which are developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools. This has so far been a highly successful and critically acclaimed initiative with over 5 million Raspberry Pi computers being sold as of February 18th, 2015. While most of the gadgets we use are very powerful, we cannot alter their functionality. Raspberry Pi gives hobbyists this advantage.

Raspberry_Pi_-_Model_A

Hardware Specifications

The original Raspberry Pi was launched in February 2012 with a single-core ARM11 CPU clocked at 700MHz (Performance roughly equivalent to a  300MHz Intel Pentium II processor), 256 MB RAM and SD slots for storage and was priced at US $25. Since this configuration is inadequate to run heavy operating systems such as Windows or even full-fledged Linux, custom builds of Linux such as the Raspbian, RISC-OS etc were designed as the Operating Systems for the Raspberry Pi.main-qimg-c60c9bc4a42c210ae829743f2e65a194

The second generation of Raspberry Pi released in 2015 however features a 900MHz Quad core Cortex A7 CPU and up to 1 GB of RAM, while keeping the price same, which represents a huge leap in performance. All models of Raspberry Pi come with USB ports which allow them to connect any USB enabled device for storage or connectivity purposes. The Raspberry Pi 2, like its predecessor features a VideoCore IV 3D processor.

Overclocking

Raspberry Pi gives an option to overclock the processor. However, this can heat up the device more that usual. The Raspberry Pi 2 can be overclocked to a whopping 1500MHz. In Linux, the processor can be overclocked by running commands at boot time. Also, this will not void the warranty.

how-to-overclock-raspberry-pi-2

Connectivity

Raspberry Pi Model B has inbuilt Ethernet port. Users can also connect external adapters to the device. The Pi 2 features 4 USB ports, a HDMI port, a 3,5mm audio jack and a micro SD card slot. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? As of 2014, Infrared cameras and extension boards(Hardware on Top) can also be connected to the Raspberry Pi.

pi_modelb+_infographic

Software

The main intention of Raspberry Pi is to introduce people to programming. However a lot of useful apps come pre-installed on the device. This includes games, Libra office and Python programming tools. Second generating of Raspberry Pi is capable of booting Ubuntu and Windows 10(upon release).

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Comparison 

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Limitations

  • Memory constraint
  • Graphics rendering
  • Open circuit board prone to damage

Conclusion

With necessary components like Wi-Fi adapter, the Raspberry Pi is a dragon in your hands. If you’re new to programming, then there is no better platform than Raspberry Pi to start off. At $35(approx Rs.2,500), you have a powerful device, you get to learn and you get to build. What more does an engineer want?

-Animesh

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