- Speed and features The processor, while equivalent to a PII, the GPU is more than up to the task. 256MB RAM is limiting however.
- Design and form factor The board is small and will fit in just about everything (except an Altoids tin).
- Expandability It can be expanded through the GPIO pins and USB.
- Noise No noise! Hallelujah!
- Size and weight Very small device that weights very little.
- Power consumption Consumes 5 watts, don't be afraid to leave it running through the night.
For the DIY crowd, the Raspberry Pi is a great, little, hackable device that can do a lot for its price. By running Linux it can be versatile in many things, but it is limited in RAM and CPU processing power. A great buy for anyone wanting to delve into Linux or playing/experimenting with hardware (especially using the GPIO pins).
Speed and Features
For $35 you get a computer, with ethernet networking. All you need is a microUSB cable to power and an SD card for the OS (Operating System). There are two images available, one for Debian that comes with a GUI and is set up for you to get started quickly, and an Arch Linux image for those who would rather run the Raspberry Pi headless. Since the Raspberry Pi runs Linux, what it can do is up to you. The possibilities are endless, though due be aware that this is not a speed demon. With a slow CPU and 256MB RAM, you won't be playing intensive games or doing crazy database work. What this can do is a small, home VPN server, file sharing, among other things that are easy and quick to set up. Both images come with the SSH daemon running automatically at boot so a monitor is not needed to access the Raspberry Pi, which is convenient.
Design, Form Factor, Size, and Weight
The design of the Raspberry Pi is elegant and yet extremely small in size and weight. It does not come with a case, but various other companies have risen to fulfill that void, for example, ModMyPi, sells some nice, custom fitted cases for the Raspberry Pi in many different colors and combinations.
The board comes with GPIO pins, which can be programmed however you like. The Raspberry Pi Foundation provides information on the pins, as well as many DIYers who have taken their time to write guides on how to utilize the pins for some really fun, custom projects. You can also hook up devices to the USB ports like keyboards, mouse, and even USB-HDDs. What this means is you can even have all the main stuff on the HDD, with only the OS on a small SD card. Also, in terms of OS, Linux is officially supported, but a team is trying to port Android to the Raspberry Pi as well.
This is an ARM based computer, there are no fans and no noise.
Due to the fact that this is an ARM based computer, the power requirements are extremely low. The device is powered by a microUSB cable and only draws up to 5 watts, which is downright nothing to be worried about. The low power draw is convenient for those who want to leave the Raspberry Pi on 24/7 to serve as a VPN or file sharing or even as a security camera.
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Edited comment on Expandability
Updated detailed review