The goal of the Raspberry Pi Foundation has always been to produce an inexpensive computer for everyone, and this tiny, low-cost computer packs a punch for its size and price. The first two models were not designed to be performance pieces, even basic tasks took a time to perform. However, the third version has a much improved quad-core processor, built in wireless and Bluetooth technology. This makes the RaspberryPi 3 viable as a low-cost desktop alternative.
The RaspberryPi 3 is designed to run mainly Linux based operating systems, however, there are versions of Windows 10 IoT Core and RISC OS which also run on the Pi. My system comes pre-bundled with NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software) which I will be using initially but I will probably be using Ubuntu Server for most of my projects. NOOBS is an easy operating system installer which contains Raspbian. It also provides a selection of alternative operating systems which are then downloaded from the internet and installed.
RaspberryPi 3 Specifications
The headlining feature of the Pi 3 is the built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, but it doesn't stop there. Here are the complete specs for the Pi 3:
- SoC: Broadcom BCM2837 (roughly 50% faster than the Pi 2)
- CPU: 1.2 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex A53 (ARMv8 Instruction Set)
- GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 400 MHz
- Memory: 1 GB LPDDR2-900 SDRAM
- USB ports: 4
- Network: 10/100 MBPS Ethernet, 802.11n Wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.0
I have a series of projects I want to build, which I think will suit the Pi 3 perfectly. Here's a taster of some upcoming projects.
- Retro gaming console, running emulators to run old arcade, Atari, Amiga, Spectrum and console games. I have an old, broken, Atari 2600 case lying around and thought it would be a great home to the Pi.
- Home web server / cloud storage alternative- The Pi3 is more powerful and runs on less electricity than my current server so it seems like a cost effective upgrade.
- Weather station - Taking advantage of the GPIO and some DIY sensor to build a functioning home weather station.
- Home media system - Using some open source streaming software to stream video from my NAS to my TV.
I will, of course, be adding write-ups for each of these projects as I build them so stay tuned for updates. In the mean time, here is a video of me unboxing my first RaspberryPi and Ultimate Starter Kit.