TechSpot: Raspberry Pi Review & How-To Setup

Six years ago, Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton set out to reignite programming in schools with a cheap, compact computing platform. Despite targeting students, his foundation's $35 computer captured the imaginations of tinkers worldwide, resulting in overwhelming demand. Interest was so high, that distributors Premier Farnell and RS buckled under the strain of preorders in February. The former outfit later said demand was 20 times greater than its supply, with orders hitting 700 a second at one point.

When the first 10,000 devices shipped in mid-April, the organization graciously sent us a sample for coverage. Along with a hands-on review of the Pi, today we'll be covering basic steps for setting up the computer and other elemental post-installation tasks to get you up and running with applications. In other words, this should serve as a starting point no matter what you want to do with your Raspberry Pi.

We received a Model B ($35), which is powered by a Broadcom BCM2835 SoC that includes a 700MHz ARM1176JZF-S CPU core, 256MB of RAM and a Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU with OpenGL ES 2.0 that supports 1080p at 30FPS as well as H.264 and MPEG-4 high-profile decoding for smooth Blu-ray playback. Connectivity includes two USB ports, Ethernet, HDMI, RCA video, an SD card slot, a 3.5mm audio jack and two rows of 13 General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) pins for further expansion.

Read: Raspberry Pi Review & Initial How-To Setup Guide

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19 Comments

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Is there a distro that allows a media centre type experience? Including watching live tv. This would be the ultimate if there was.

simplezz said,

Is there an ARM build of Chrome OS?

Well on the official Raspberry Pi Forum there was a link to installing Chrome OS. There's some additional "coding" (very basic) needed.

It's a great little system. Perfect for a cheap HTPC/Smart TV box. Or just to play around with for programming and stuff.

I think this device is designed for the inventors and artists of the world. I mean there are really unlimited possibilities and you don't have to be a chip or I/O maker & designer. For example this could be used to make new and different versions of Sixth Sense. Not to mention moding the device it's self. Want all the connectors on one side? Make it and so on.

This is too little too late, all the chinese clone manufacturers have devices like these on the way.

Im keeping my eye on the one with the Allwinner A10, Cortex A9 1Ghz CPU, with Arm Mali400 GPU (from the Galaxy S2).

The only issue I have with it, is that the cables come out of it in every direction. I wish It was setup differently, like a single ribbon cable that came off the board with each connector tied to it . I dunno just a thought.

Been playing with mine, I was one of the lucky ones to get theirs first. It's really nifty! For the cost, the potential is incredible. And XBMC is really starting to take shape on it!

Kushan said,
Been playing with mine, I was one of the lucky ones to get theirs first. It's really nifty! For the cost, the potential is incredible. And XBMC is really starting to take shape on it!

That's great to know as I plan on using mine as a sole XBMC box. Any idea if you can preload the OS with VNC or synergy so it can be manipulated via a laptop/smartphone?

Hollow.Droid said,

That's great to know as I plan on using mine as a sole XBMC box. Any idea if you can preload the OS with VNC or synergy so it can be manipulated via a laptop/smartphone?

I don't see why not, it IS essentially a linux PC. However, there's already an XBMC smartphone app that lets you do all that out of the box, except it has direct library access and such.

Kushan said,
Been playing with mine, I was one of the lucky ones to get theirs first. It's really nifty! For the cost, the potential is incredible. And XBMC is really starting to take shape on it!

FYI I hate you as you have yours, I am still waiting lol

Kushan said,

I don't see why not, it IS essentially a linux PC. However, there's already an XBMC smartphone app that lets you do all that out of the box, except it has direct library access and such.

It was more so that it could be setup without the use of an external mouse and keyboard. As a laptop only user I'd have to hunt out some very dusty hardware

How does XBMC perform on it? I tested the android app using the windows counterpart and its very slick, it'd be nice if it had the power to keep everything slick.

That does seem remarkably simple to set up for an end user. Maybe I should think about getting one for my mum and the tv, since she only uses the computer at the moment for browsing the internet and checking her emails. And of course, I'll also consider getting one for my apartment. I'm just not sure what I would use it for though.

Intrinsica said,
That does seem remarkably simple to set up for an end user. Maybe I should think about getting one for my mum and the tv, since she only uses the computer at the moment for browsing the internet and checking her emails. And of course, I'll also consider getting one for my apartment. I'm just not sure what I would use it for though.

That's what I'm using it for. A cheap smart tv box. it's great for retrofitting existing HDTV's. That and the fact I can install Arch Linux on it