The High Tech Society

Top 5 Reasons You Should Buy a Raspberry Pi

Gadgets & Gizmos

If you haven’t heard of the Raspberry Pi by now, you have obviously been living under a rock somewhere for the past couple of years. Simply put, the Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer, about the size of a standard credit card. But don’t let the Pi’s small size fool you. People have done great things with the Pi, and it seems as if every day more and more projects are popping up on the Internet. That being said, you may be wondering exactly why you need one? Well, here are 5 great reasons to buy a Raspberry Pi.

It’s a $35 Computer

Seriously, it’s a 35 dollar computer. Where else are you going to find a computer that cheap, except for maybe an old Commodore PC sitting unused and collecting dust in some guy’s basement? Granted, the Raspberry Pi does not compete with a traditional computer. It only has 512Mb onboard RAM, and an ARM-based processor, but it’s still quite powerful for a range of things.

It’s Tiny, and Cute


Because of the small size, you can’t help but get blurry eyed and say “Awww” when you see it. The Raspberry Pi, as mentioned earlier, is literally the size of a credit card in width and length, and only about an inch thick. The Pi does not come with a case (Cases can be bought separately. See the accessories section below), so all of the parts are clearly visible, which only serves to add to its beauty.

Utilize a Variety of Different Operating Systems


Ever want to learn a new operating system? Linux, maybe? What about having a set-top Android device, without having to spend a small fortune? With the Raspberry Pi, you can do just that. Since the Raspberry Pi uses open source code, a variety of third-party programmers have released various operating systems for the device:

  • Pidora (Based on Fedora Linux)
  • Archlinux
  • Rasbian (Raspberry Pi Debian)
  • OpenElec
  • RetroPie (Specialized game emulation OS)
  • Firefox OS
  • Plan 9 (Unix-like OS)
  • Android

Lots of Fun Projects


When it comes to doing things with the Raspberry Pi, the sky is, literally, the limit (Go check out the Pi-in-the-Sky project, which launched a Raspberry Pi, complete with a webcam and GPS unit, 40km high with a hydrogen balloon). Regardless of your level of technical expertise, age, or familiarity with gadgets, there is something for everyone. Here are some popular usage ideas:

  • HTPC (Home Theater PC) running OpenElec and XBMC
  • Web browser Kiosk
  • Old-school Gaming via RetroPi
  • Build a robot
  • Learn a programming language
  • Miniature web server
  • Personal cloud server
  • Build your own drone
  • Set up a weather station
  • Home automation (with additional components)
  • Play Minecraft
  • Cluster multiple together to create a Super Pi

Cool Raspberry Pi Accessories


Because of the popularity of the Raspberry Pi, a large number of manufacturers now make a range of accessories for the device. One of the most popular, the PiBow, is a rainbow colored plastic case that simulates a stack of Lego blocks. Other cases can be had as well, included models that incorporate VESA standards, which allow you to attach the Raspberry Pi directly to the back of an HDTV. Don’t forget charger cables, tiny monitors, or WiFi adapters.

For the more technically advanced, a range of addon modules and electronic parts can be used to add functionality to the Raspberry Pi, including entire kits that contain a myriad of servos, resistors, and blank breadboards. Grab a kit and play around. Who knows what you may come up with? Of course, The High Tech Society takes absolutely no responsibility if you burn your fingers with a soldering iron, accidently knock out the power for half of the country, or inadvertently damage your Raspberry Pi. But hey, if you do, they’re only $35.