What Is Raspberry Pi? How To Use It? All Questions Answered

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What Is Raspberry Pi? How To Use It? All Questions Answered

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You have heard the term Raspberry Pi at several occasions and are curious to know what’s the deal with this palm-sized PCB (printed circuit board). Worry not, after reading this comprehensive article you will know the basics, features and applications (uses) of this modern marvel that has had a major impact on the world of computers.

To begin with, we will answer the question ‘ What is Raspberry Pi? ‘. In simplest terms, it is a single-board computer that can run a variety of operating systems ranging from Windows to Linux. You must be thinking that’s it, Yes it literally is. Notwithstanding, now you are confused about what is a single-board computer. Here you go, this is some brief information about this fancy keyword that you have just stumbled upon. Raspberry Pi W

A single-board computer including the Raspberry has all the necessary components that a conventional PC or notebook computer has, which incorporates a RAM, ROM, CPU and I/O Ports (Input/Output). However, all of these are soldered onto just one PCB rather than being spread in a CPU enclosure.

You might be thinking there must be several other single-board computers in the market but why is Raspberry Pi is so popular. The concise answer to the question is that it was developed to be affordable and this factor alone is one of its biggest success mantras. Besides, there are several other reasons as well which will discuss later in this article. 

History Of Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi W

Raspberry Pi W

The original Raspberry Pi was released in the year 2012 by a UK based charity funded organisation called the Raspberry Pi Foundation. According to its founders, it was designed and developed to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing nations which it has been highly successful at.

Not only that, but it has also become the go-to choice for DIY enthusiasts who need a robust solution for their electronics projects. Over the last 7 years, the organisation’s foundation has launched numerous generations of this tiny computer which are listed below.

Raspberry Pi Generations And Price

Family Model Form Factor Ethernet Wireless Released Price
Raspberry Pi 1 B Standard

(85.60 × 56.5 mm)

Yes No 2012 US$35
A+ Compact

(65 × 56.5 mm)

No 2014 US$20
Raspberry Pi 2 B (65 × 30 mm) Yes No 2015 US$35
Raspberry Pi Zero Zero

(65 × 30 mm)

No No 2015 US$5
W/WH Yes 2017 US$10
Raspberry Pi 3 B Standard Yes Yes 2016 US$35
A+ Compact No 2018 US$25
B+ Standard Yes 2018 US$35
Raspberry Pi 4
B (1 GB)
B (2 GB)
B (4 GB)
Standard Yes Yes 2019
Raspberry Pi 4 Specifications

While the previous generations were worthwhile, the latest Raspberry Pi 4 has lifted the bar to another level which is reflected by its specifications. 

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC, 1.5GHz
  • 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-2400 SDRAM 
  • 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 USB 2.0 ports.
  • Micro-SD card slot for loading operating system and data storage
  • Raspberry Pi standard 40 pin GPIO header 
  • 2 × micro-HDMI ports (up to 4kp60 supported)
  • 2-lane MIPI DSI display port
  • 2-lane MIPI CSI camera port
  • 4-pole stereo audio and composite video port
  • H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)
  • OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics

Due to RAM capacities as high as 4 GB and powerful CPU it even supports dual 4K output.

Raspberry Pi Uses

  • Desktop Replacement: Right of the bat, the Raspberry can be used to run a full-fledged operating system that can perform all the basic computing tasks like browsing the web, watching videos or editing documents. As previously mentioned, it can run operating systems like Windows and Linux. However, running a certain OS like Windows 10 on models like the tiny Raspberry Pi zero or some of the older generations could turn into an unenjoyable experience. 

    Nevertheless, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has developed its very own OS called ‘Raspian’. It is a lightweight operating system which is optimised to run smoothly on the ARM-based architecture. Noteworthy, the credit card-sized computer does not have inbuilt storage therefore, device owners must use a microSD card with a pre-installed operating system installed. 

  • Media Center/ HTPC (Home Theater PC): Although smart TVs are all the rage nowadays, users need to shell a considerable sum of money to purchase them. Besides, dealing with an existing TV could be another challenge. A Raspberry Pi with the help of softwares like OSMC and Kodi media player can easily convert any LED or LCD display into a full-fledged media centre.

    Besides playing media from a thumb drive or hard drive, users can also stream content from popular services like Amazon Prime or Netflix. 

  • Robotics and Home Automation: Being an affordable computer which supports a wide variety of input/output ports and pins. This single board computer has become a preferred choice of engineers and DIY enthusiasts who are incorporating into Robots and smart home devices.

Mentioned above are just a handful of uses of this tiny marvel. While its applications and uses are endless. 

Also Read: Xiaomi Mi A3 Android One Smartphone Launched In India

To wrap things up, next time somebody questions you ‘What is the Raspberry Pi and What are its uses?’. You will be equipped with all the details.

However, if there are any questions or details we might have missed out, you can ask them in the comments below.

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Sahil Kapoor
Boot Camp Ref, Still Doesn't Like Pizza !