For a few months now I’ve been following a fascinating project that aimed to build a tiny, cheap computer. They wanted to design it for kids to use in schools as a way of learning how to program. Lets face it, the most computer education kids get in school is how to hit Control, Alt and Delete to restart Windows XP.
The project is known as Raspberry Pi, after a few years of planning and development, Raspberry Pi now have two single board, credit card sized computers fully developed. The first (Model ‘A’) is priced at $25 and features 128MB RAM. For an extra $10 you can get the ‘B’ model, which ships with 256mb RAM and on board ethernet.
Both models use a Broadcom BCM2835 chip. This is basically an ARM11 700mhz CPU but with a dedicated 1080p Dual Core ‘VideoCore’ co-processor built in. This basically means that this tiny little computer is able to playback video at full HD without any problems from its limited memory, due to the on-board video decoder.
So whats the point in it for the average user? Well, there’s a number of great things that can be done with it. Because its so cheap, you could buy 6 of these and it’d work out the same cost as 1 Sheevaplug. 6 Raspberry pie’s all hooked up together in a nice cluster would give you a great, low power linux system to work on. Myself, I’m planning on purchasing a couple of these as soon as they are released. Initially I just want to have a play with them, however I’m quite interested in hooking them up to the TV to use as a UPNP client to stream to the TV, and maybe even as a replacement for the AppleTV assuming I can get an AirPlay based server up and running.
Another great usage would be as a homeserver. The on-board SD card slot supports SDHC (unfortunately not SDXC) cards, so you can theoretically get a 32 or 64 GB card and use it to run a super fast LAMP system, all using just 5v of power via a microUSB plug!
Why not take a look at Raspberry Pi – for $25 its a fantastic project and worth checking out!