If you are wondering what the Raspberry Pi is, it is a small computer board based on a Broadcom System On Chip (SoC). The SoC is ARM-based, so the operating systems offered so far are Linux distributions. The board has a CPU, GPU, 256MB of Ram, an SD card interface, a USB host interface, audio output, Ethernet network port, and video output via composite or HDMI interfaces. And it costs $35.
The Raspberry Pi is the brainchild of a United Kingdom non-profit organization that aims to make a low-cost programming platform to re-invigorate interest in computer science among students. Since computers have turned into consumer devices rather than primarily being programming platforms, students don’t have a low-cost way to spark an interest in programming itself. Until, the Raspberry Pi folks hope, now.
But the Raspberry Pi is just now starting to be distributed in quantity. As the device comes, it is just a computer board a little bigger than a credit card. It doesn’t even have a case. So there is some shopping to be done to trick out your Raspberry Pi once you order it.
The first order of business is power. The way I’ve seen this discussed is to get a powered USB hub and micro-USB power cable. The Raspberry Pi’s power plug is a micro-USB interface. That port only hooks up power, so there’s no problem hooking that into a powered USB hub that you’ll also use for peripherals.
You’ll need an SD card and a downloaded image of an operating system to run. I see people talking about 4GB or larger SD cards. I found a SanDisk Class 4 8GB for less than $3:
Getting something on-screen requires either an RCA composite video card and monitor, or something that you can hook up via the HDMI output. I’ve got two DVI-equipped monitors here, so I’m looking to link my Raspberry Pi with a cable that goes from HDMI to DVI.
The rest of the items are peripherals that hook up via the powered USB hub discussed above. If you don’t have a USB keyboard and mouse, or if you prefer a trackball, or if you want to add audio recording capability, that all happens by adding USB devices. Here are some items I located:
I’ve put the Amazon links in the sidebar.