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Raspberry Pi: $25 computer

Old 08-28-11, 11:40 AM
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Raspberry Pi: $25 computer

Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

By Stephen Chapman | August 28, 2011, 2:28am PDT

Summary: The Raspberry Pi is a new ultra-low-cost computing solution thatís making waves ó especially now that itís running Quake 3! Read all about it here.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation, a UK-registered charity that is developing two models of an ultra-low-cost computer, posted a video this past weekend of Quake 3 running on one of the miniature devices. See the video below:

o really grasp how impressive of a feat that is, check out the specifications of the system theyíre developing, which is about the size of a credit card, though thicker:

* 700MHz ARM11
* 128MB or 256MB of SDRAM
* OpenGL ES 2.0
* 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
* Composite and HDMI video output
* USB 2.0
* SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
* General-purpose I/O
* Optional integrated 2-port USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller
* Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)

If youíve yet to hear about Raspberry Pi, itís quite an ambitious project that seeks to get a fully-functional computer down to the form factor of a credit card and for an inconsequential cost. Slated for a November 2011 release date, the Raspberry Pi will come in two models: a $25 model and a $35 model, with the more expensive model containing the noted optional 10/100 Ethernet controller. To note, the pricier model is a bit larger in form than the $25 model.

s you can tell from the specs noted above, this device isnít really meant to run something like Quake 3, but the fact that it does is a testament to what this little marvel is theoretically capable of in the scenarios the foundation hopes to land the device in. For added clarity, here are some notable points of interest from their FAQ about the device:

Why doesnít the Raspberry Pi include piece of hardware or sort of port?
Our main function is a charitable one Ė weíre trying to build the cheapest possible computer that provides a certain basic level of functionality, and this means weíve had to make hard decisions about what hardware and interfaces to include.

How do I connect a mouse and keyboard?
Mice, keyboards, network adapters and external storage will all connect via a USB hub.

What display can I use?
There is composite and HDMI out on the board, so you can hook it up to a digital or analogue television or to a DVI monitor.

Does the device support networking? Is there Wi-Fi?
The Model B version of the device includes 10/100 wired Ethernet. There is no Ethernet on the Model A version (which we expect to be taken up mostly by the education market), but Wi-Fi will be available via a standard USB dongle.

What are the power requirements?
The device is powered by an external AC adapter, and the Model A consumes around 1W at full load.

Can I run power Raspberry Pi from batteries as well as from a wall socket?
Yes. The device should run well off 4xAA cells.

Will it run ?
In general, you need to look to see whether the program you want can be compiled for the ARMv6 architecture. In most cases the answer will be yes. Specific programs are discussed on our forum, so you might want to look there for an answer.

Will it run WINE (or Windows, or other x86 software)?

What Linux distros will be supported at launch?
Ubuntu, Debian and hopefully Fedora and ArchLinux will be supported from the start. We hope to see support from other distros later. We will be selling SD cards with the distros preloaded.

What happens if I brick the device?
You can restore the device by reflashing the SD card.

Interesting of note is the device running on ARM. That means no x86 binaries (i.e. you canít install Windows on it) will run on the system, but there may be a catch to that! With Windows 8 being developed for ARM, there may indeed be hope for a Windows OS to run on it after all.

However, even if Windows 8 will run on it, such a feat would completely defeat the low cost factor and ultimately make the venture little more than a geeky project ó although, it might make for one heck of an admin/hacking tool. With that said, Iím curious to see how the extremely low amount of RAM will perform for people as they purchase these units and put them to the test in real-world scenarios....
Looks pretty cool. Would be nice if most cell phones worked like this soon but with windows 8 and more power.
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Old 08-28-11, 12:05 PM
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Re: Raspberry Pi: $25 computer

I think if you are going the windows route and starting from scratch, a netbook would be better for around $200. This unit is $25 plus windows $100 plus monitor,keyboard,mouse, you're at about the same price point.
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Old 08-28-11, 06:29 PM
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Re: Raspberry Pi: $25 computer

I've read about this project earlier this year, and while it's an interesting project, at this point it's still just a prototype. The realities of releasing a finished product for their projected price is likely to be pretty difficult.

Remember that the OLPC project started with a goal price of $100, yet shipped the finished product for twice that price. Another project in India is a tablet that was originally going to be $10, but is now projected to be $35, and still hasn't been put into production:

Interesting interview with one of the Raspberry Pi developers:
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Old 08-28-11, 07:10 PM
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Re: Raspberry Pi: $25 computer

Off topic, but i've heard of a lucky soul who got a HP Touchpad for less than the price of the "low priced" tablet. Of course, it was a one off type of deal. I think it's great on paper but like you say, getting it into production is another thing. I really do hope he can do it as this can really help people who are less fortunate.
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