Raspberry Pi – What is it?

What is a Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. (Source, http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs)

 RaspberryPiAs you can see from the picture (A Model ‘B’), the board is crammed with connecters:

  • Composite Video out
  • 2.5mm Stereo Out
  • 2 USB Ports
  • 10/100 LAN Port
  • HDMI Out (Including HDMI audio)
  • 5v Mini USB Power input
  • SD Card Slot

The Pi comes in two flavours at the moment, Model A has 256Mb RAM, one USB port and no Ethernet (network connection). The Model B has 256Mb RAM, 2 USB ports and a 10/100 Ethernet port – as the network is driven by the USB 2 controller, the throughput isn’t there for gigabit networking.

The first thing that gets you when you remove it from the box is how small this thing actually is, it measures 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 17mm – try marking this out on a piece of paper and you start to realise what an acheivment this is!

At the heart of the device is a Broadcom BCM2835. This contains an ARM1176JZFS, with a FPU, running at 700Mhz, and a Videocore 4 GPU capable of high definition playback, using H.264 at 40MBits/s.

Because it runs an ARM processor (similar to those found in many mobile phones), has limited RAM and storage, the Pi has to boot specially compliled versions of Linux, the most popular version being Debian ‘Squeeze’, a version of Debian that has been compressed down to fit into a very small foorprint, fitting onto a 2Gb SD Card

 A view of the GPIO Pins


 Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation

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