Over the past few years computers have become much smaller and cheaper. The machine which was placed in a huge room few decades ago now softly resting on your lap. Still, computers aren’t cheap enough that you spontaneously buy while grocery shopping. Usually, you carefully plan your next PC, because you have to use it for at least a couple of years.
Here Raspberry Pi comes to the limelight as a single board computer costing only $35 (The Raspberry Pi Model-B). You can directly connect it to the internet, and it will be able to display high-definition videos. Even cooler is that the Pi is powered by Linux. So you don’t have to pay for an operating system.
How this tiny creature got its birth?
The Raspberry Pi was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, an organization founded in 2009. The organization is supported by the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and tech firm Broadcom, whose system-on-a-chip powers the device. In February 2012, Model-A was released to the market followed by a more powerful the Model-B released on May 2012.
What’s Model-A & Model-B?
There are two different models of Raspberry Pi in the market as Model-A and Model B. Though the architecture of the two models looks similar, there are some differences in memory capacity and the connectivity functionalities. Model-B is equipped with 10/100 Ethernet port and has a 512MB SD memory, much faster comparing to the 256MB RAM in Model-A.
How’s this happening?
Not a miracle. Just a clever arrangement of electronics. It’s equipped with a System on Chip (SoC) that is widely available in mobile phones. It drags less power but is super powerful. This chip integrates a processor and a graphical processing unit. The processor runs at 700MHz; Just as a Pentium III machine!
Model-B also has two USB 2.0 ports to add keyboards, mouse, external hard drive and many more. A micro USB port is used to supply power. You can use a mobile phone charger or a USB charger for this. A great plus point in Model-B is the Ethernet (LAN) adapter which allows you to connect this sweet little thing with internet or for a LAN.
With the HDMI output you can easily connect this to your TV. Don’t worry if the TV doesn’t have HDMI, there’s a composite video output and a 3.5mm audio output. The expansion header in the Raspberry Pi port will surely draw your attention if you are an electronic geek. These general purpose Input Output pins (GPIOs) allow you to connect this device with various devices such as game controllers etc. The Raspberry Pi has no persistent internal memory. Don’t worry, just a simple plan is provided with a SD MMC adapter.
About the OS?
No worries. It’s Linux. That’s partly because it’s free; But mainly because Pi’s ARM processor doesn’t support all operating systems running in the Intel architecture. Furthermore all the Linux distributions are not going well with Pi. So you cannot have Ubuntu Linux with Raspberry Pi. But don’t worry. You have the chance to have a choice from Debian Linux, Raspbian OS, Fedora, Arch Linux ARM, RISC OS, Free BSD and many more. Can easily download from http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads
Why this for me?
I’m sure you’ll love to have this tiny gadget on your hands to test its power and the potential. For just $35 you’re getting a PC to test your codes. Easily execute your Python, because by default Raspberry Pi supports it as an educational language. Any other languages that supports ARMv6 can be executed with this.
Here you can find out how this single board computer has been utilized in various real world applications. Even to feed your pet cat.
The GPIO pins can lure you into interesting electronic experiments. The unit can be powered with 4 AA batteries. It has a USB input, HDMI and LAN support. The imagination is yours; Time to step in to your lab!
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