A couple of weeks ago I received my Raspberry Pi and put it to the test, but first some information about this device.
The Raspberry Pi is a ARM based computer with the size of a credit card (actually tested that and it did fit completely over my card!) and has the current specifications:
MODEL B (currently the only one available, priced around 35 euro’s)
CPU: Broadcom BCM2835 (ARM1176JZFS, which is ARMv6)
RAM: 256 Mb DDR400
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV
USB: 2 x USB2.0
LAN: 1 x 10/100 USB LAN
CON: 1 x HDMI with audio output, 1 x Composite output, 1 x 3,5mm stereo jack for audio, 1 x 26-pin GPIO header, 1 x LVDS connector and 1 x Camera connector via ZIF connector, 1 x SD cardreader and 1 x Micro USB 5V power input.
There is also a MODEL A announced that will be produced at the end of this year, it is the same as MODEL B, but lacks the Ethernet connection. In an earlier development state the MODEL A was supposed to have 128 Mb of RAM instead of the new 256 Mb, that was later upgraded to promote this model as well seen that most of the interest went to the B model.
The Raspberry Pi was originally invented for children to learn the art of programming and therefore a simple and cheap computer like this would let parents buy this device much faster than a full-sized desktop which is much more expensive.
However, the Raspberry Pi drawed that much attention from enthousiasts that indeed people started programming on it and some even started porting software like XBMC to it’s platform.
XBMC might sound a bit strange seen the low specs, but it’s the VideoCore IV GPU that is the real killer here, this GPU is able to playback 1080p movies encoded in H.264 with DTS streams in it and therefore is simply able to play Bluray movies with no hassle!
Should I buy it?
If you are a enthousiast that likes to play with these kind of devices (like NAS systems, beagle boards etc) then this is definitely worth buying, for the 35 euros you basically have a full-blown XBMC media center which should entertain you for a while, but if you like programming, then it’s still something for you.
The distribution of the Pi’s is currently handled by RS Components and Farnell, you have to register yourself on the order list and when batches are released you might have a good chance to buy one, you’ll get an invitation from one of the companies (you registered at) with a personal link to their shop.