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224 of 245 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2012
The Raspberry Pi is an amazing device that packs a lot into a small space. It's simplicity has amazed me at the same time as I have been hit the frustration of the minutia of configuring some of the detail of its Linux system. However, I am having fun, learning a lot of new things and rediscovering skills that I thought I had lost many years ago.

The Raspberry Pi is a learning machine. That does not mean low quality, for example the choice of HDMI as the main AV output is inspired. I plugged my Raspberry Pi into my flat screen TV and was amazed by the clarity of the image. I get equally good results from a monitor with a DVI-D port using an HDMI to DVI cable. However, I've not been able to get the same monitor to detect the VGA output from a HDMI to VGA adapter.

You are going to need some other bits with your Raspberry Pi. It has connectors on all four sides and you are going to be plugging things in on at least three of them. Get a case to protect your Raspberry Pi while you are handling it. You are also almost certain to need a powered USB hub. The Raspberry Pi has to restrict the power to the USB ports to protect itself so your USB devices will need to be powered from another source.

If you have a smart phone or tablet device then you may not need to purchase a power supply. If you do then the power supply needs to be a good quality one. To my surprise I found that the power supply from my Kindle 3G rated at 500mA actually works better than the 1 Amp power adaptor I purchased with my Pi!

I also discovered the hard way that a wireless mouse and keyboard are to be recommended with your Raspberry Pi. The Logitech MK260 Wireless Desktop is a Linux compatible wireless mouse and keyboard set that works well for me.

Be warned that you may well need to start with a wired Internet connection to your Raspberry Pi. Make sure that you have a patch cable to hand. My major frustration has been configuring a wireless network connection that has turned out to be not as simple as I expected.

Be prepared to flash your SDHC memory card as and when needed. This is part of the philosophy behind the Raspberry Pi. When you mess your computer up you simply flash the memory card to restore the system, run an update to get the latest versions of the packages that you are using and start over again.

Remember, this is not a production machine. The Raspberry Pi is a device that is intended for experimentation. You might want to use it to build a media centre to service your TV. You could use it to convert your TV in to a giant photo frame. You might even use it to index your stamp collection. The possibilities are almost endless. The point is that you have the chance to give it a try and if it all goes wrong, then you just flash the memory card and start over on something new.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2013
The raspberry pi is an incredible affordable pc for everyone. It was built for education but can be bought by anyone its purpose is to engages people to be more involved in programming and electronics.

There are two versions model A, and model B, Model A has 256mb of ram, one usb slot and no network interface, Model B, has 512mb of ram, two usb slots and a network interface.

Out of the box you receive a circuit board which for Model B provides 2x usb, a network socket, audio out, component and hdmi, and sd-card slot, and GPIO interface. Other than a few cables and some equipment you probably already have thats all you need to get going.

If you have a DVI monitor, then all you need is a HDMI to DVI cable - for VGA make sure you find the right type of adaptor - either way its pretty simple.

For the cost the rasperry Pi gives you a ARM11 processor, running at 700Mhz, and a videocore 4 GPU capable of 1080p at 30 frames per sec. To get this running you need an OS for a standard linux build go to raspberry pi dot org. Separate to this there are plenty of pre-configured builds for a media player (running xbmc) google raspbmc or openelec

To get started all you need is a 1A micro usb power supply such as the Nokia AC-10c, a SD-Card (which you'll need to copy the OS on to) - i'd recommend a class 10 or higher (the higher the class the faster they are), a HDMI cable (or other video cable), plus a keyboard and mouse :). Case is optional !

If you, your family or children have an interest in programming and/or electronics get one, play with it, at this affordable price its easier than fiddling with your main computer!
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68 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2012
This Raspberry Pi is a bargain for any enthusiast wishing to do a little tinkering with a mini PC and possibly learn some coding. I was no expert when I brought one and certainly aren't now either so I won't try to pretend I am.

I bought this because as soon as I heard about it I thought it would be a very interesting purchase for entertainment purposes. I had many ideas about what I wanted to use it for and it has provided a lot of fun to play around with. Ideas that I have tried so far are using it as a fun mini-desktop and also as a home-theatre PC. Both were fun to set up and play around with though I never expected it to be as good as my actually desktop. The home-theatre option was very interesting though, by far the best use in my household. The model I purchased has 512MB of RAM which makes it seem quite responsive to a 256MB Ram edition I have tried. I loaded XBMC to my SD card and slipped it into the Pi and I was away. As well as this it also has 2 x USB 2.0 ports, RCA Video Out, 3.5mm Jack Out, Ethernet and obviously the HDMI out. Although the speed of the startup isn't as lightning fast as we're used to these days it certainly suffices - and sure enough when all is set up and running it can smoothly play back 1080p movies for your enjoyment.

Some of the accessories I use with my Pi is a Logitech Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Set,SanDisk 16Gb SD Card and a standard Micro-USB power adaptor as well as A small Raspberry Pi case. All of these complete my experience as I already had a large USB stick to put my movies on. I haven't tried any live TV services or anything like that but I can recommend this fully for a HTPC to anyone! Such low power consumption and silent activity for a mere £35!

- Cheap
- Fun!
- Great Gift
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2014
Some time back I bought a new Acer Revo to run XBMC, I also bought more memory and eventually a ssd drive. It ran great but as it was running in the background of windows it was sometimes a pain, freezing, crashing taking its time to start up, having to reboot etc. plus having to wake it up just to play some music etc. It was situated behind my tv and did what it was meant to do. I knew about Rasperry Pi and the following it had especially XBMC but I didnt believe it would be as good as the revo which in total cost me nearly £300.
Sometime back I was contemplating getting an ouya as that had good reviews as a HTPC but upon reading many forums the Pi kept popping up as a good little bit of kit so in the end I bought one, I only needed the board and case and it cost me £32.
The kit arrived, the board was a RS Components one so a UK board. Placed it in the case, powered it up and plugged it into my TV accessed the free noobs software on the sd card and within minutes it was up and running and what a surprise I got, wow it was good. Eventually I ended up with raspbmc and it runs perfect, I stream from my phone, it easily plays from my networked drive and I use yatse as a remote and I leave it on 24/7 unlike the revo and when I need it its there ready to do what i want it to do.
I also stream showbox to it and it plays flawlessly.
So in comparison after paying nearly £300 for the Revo and £32 for the Pi this wipes the floor of the revo when just using xbmc. If you are in two minds like i was dont be, just get it.
By the way this is also behind my TV and you cant see it again unlike the revo
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
Let's get this straight. I'm a long time Acorn addict. I still have my BBC Micro (though I haven't started it in years) and there are two Risc PCs sitting under my desk (if I mention the names Madoka and Miyuki, both former Argonet stalwarts) so to see the ARM chip finally being put back into this sort of project really brings back plenty of memories for me. Since I spend much of my time mucking around with American dross (PCs, Windows and the like), it also gives me a chance to return to my roots.

A credit card sized computer using a "System on a Chip" is nothing really new, but for something this good, this powerful and this cheap to be putting the wind up so many other companies is something of a giggle for me. Suffice to say, however, that a RasPi is not going to replace the desktop or the laptop. It's good, but not that good! Actually, I should mention that this is my second RasPi - what they are really good for is projects. I have my first machine which was set up for use as a replacement for my previously mentioned Risc PCs (well, both have double-digit ages!) and the second was something I bought to try setting up a small domain controller. The number of different operating systems out there, either already available or on the boil, is pretty staggering, from the standard Debian Wheezy variant (known as Raspbian) to RISC OS, you can use one of these for so many different things. Certainly it has inherited the swiss army knife approach of the original Beeb!

I put this unit in a Cyntech case (see elsewhere) which screws down and fits the board well. What that leaves you is a double USB socket, an RJ45 network outlet (10/100Mb/s), a really powerful video setup with HDMI availability and a whole host of extra I/O pins which have already been put to use with a number of add-on devices. It's almost like going back to the days when Acorn, Sinclair and the like were about!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2013
I bought this to see what the big deal was. I had seen the VideoCore chip in action when it was being developed, and knew it was a powerful device.

The VideoCore chip was designed for mobile multimedia. That means it has to run off battery power, yet provide enough graphics processing power to decompress video data in real time.

To do this, the CPU, ROM, RAM, display controller and an array of Graphics Processor Units have all been packed onto a single chip.
This removes the power required to drive signals between them on separate chips, and the time delays.

One disadvantage is that there is less room on one chip than on several, so this Pi has half a gig of RAM compared with my desktop PC's 3 gig.
A desktop PC has memory to spare for caching many web pages and many large images, and feels quicker when flipping between them.
The Pi cannot, so don't expect a desktop PC replacement. It is completely adequate for reading the web, so long as don't open too many pages at once or pages with too many large images in them.
It isn't suited to memory-intensive applications.

A very large advantage is that the Pi is very well suited to computationally-intensive and graphics-intensive tasks. For example, video decoding, image processing, video file processing, 3D games, etc. I recall the VC chip converting video file formats very much faster than a desktop PC (which had to run overnight). So there are applications where the Pi will beat a PC, and for only a few watts of power.

Practical points are that you will need a powered USB hub to give the Pi a practical number of USB ports. I had to buy a USB keyboard, because the old spare ones I had are PS/2. I bought a small Bluetooth keyboard with a touchpad, for £30. You'll also need an SD card - I bought a 32G one for £30. At this point it was half the cost of my Nexus 7 tablet. Add the cost of wi-fi and a touch-screen display, the Nexus is better value if you just want a gadget for viewing multimedia and the web.

But of course, the Pi was designed for gadgeteering, so it is a solution looking for a problem. Make sure you have some idea of what you could use it for before you buy.

Do buy a box for it. Electronic circuits are extremely small, so tiny charges of static electricity look like lightning bolts at that scale. And are just as damaging. A box will keep charged fingers off the circuit board.

I am pleased with this product, it will be useful as a spare computer for guests to use when they visit or my main PC breaks down. And I shall think of projects for it soon...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2013
I recently purchased one of these to sit under my TV as a small media centre. It does the job perfectly. You download and install XBMC on it. You can then put media files on a memory stick or stream them through the network.

There are a lot of programs out there being built. There is a 'Pi' version of Minecraft being developed. There are even videos of this thing running Quake III! You can also choose to install just a simple Linux OS and use it as an actual computer. But you will need a powered USB hub to maintain all the peripheral connections as this board cannot power too many USB devices.

I support the idea of using this in schools to teach kids how to program and so on. I wish that such an idea had been out when i was young.

It may not be the most powerful computer around. But that is why its so affordable. But its a great little machine that will teach future generations to get into computer science courses in the future. But for now, it happily sits under my TV as my Media Centre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2013
Although the base system is pretty much useless until you at least spend its price on accessories, this is a great little machine. I bought it to be used as an HTPC not expecting it to run great, but I am impressed by its performance.
OpenELEC's XBMC is smooth and as feature packed as any desktop version is.
1080P videos stream off a network drive flawlessly with no skipping, no frame dropping, no buffering! Even though the network drive is on a wireless connection (The RPi is on wired).
I'm looking forward to build other SD cards with other systems and play more with this cool little device.
Extremely recommended but only if you like to fiddle with computer configurations, Linux environments and the like. Definitely NOT aimed at absolute n00bs or 100% end users. You WILL need to mess around with settings and do a bunch of nerdy things to get your unit up and running and doing what you want it to at good performance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2014
I own three of these, for multiple uses as they are so versatile.

One runs a Tor relay server - doing my bit for online privacy.
One runs an XBMC Media server behind my TV, linked into my NAS on my wired LAN provides media capabilities on my non-smart HDTV, excellent for TV Catchup services, online streaming and local streaming.
The last one runs Minepeon with a powered USB hub attached running multiple bitcoin miners.

May sound like a lot, but when these use about £1.60's worth of electricity each year from my old iPhone USB Charger plugs, its peanuts for the services they provide.

There's a huge online community that has already done what your idea is, documented it and wrote tutorials and how-to's along with youtube video's so no matter what you want a Raspberry Pi for, what are you doing? Order one today and enjoy your projects for months and years to come!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2014
I use this as an XMBC machine (using raspbmc), and it suits its purpose flawlessly. I power it off my TV, control it with my TV's remote control and connect it to my network using a powerline ethernet solution. It plays full HD content without missing a beat, and this is over a network mid you. Raspbmc also allows you to overclock the cpu/gpu on it, in case you are finding it slow.

If you want to hook it up to your tv and turn it into a media box, It only needs a micro usb cable(99p), an HDMI cable (£1) and a decent USB flash drive/SD card (£8-£9) in order to run, but I would strongly recommend buying a case (around £3-£5, depending on design). If you decide not to run it off a TV, you can use a phone charger to power it (£3 or so).

It can get a bit hot sometimes, but this is normal for electronics. For this price, there is currently no alternative.
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