A computer for under £150 is an ambitious project. A computer for under £100, moreso. A computer for under £50? Madness, right?
What about a computer for under £25?
Meet the Raspberry Pi. For just £16 to £22, you can have a computer the size of a credit card that can do what most of us use computers for; word documents, spreadsheets and games. And run HD video. It won’t run Crysis, but it’ll certainly pass the Doom test.
So, what are the specs? Well, the SoC is a Broadcom BCM2835. This contains an ARM1176JZFS, with floating point, running at 700Mhz, and a Videocore 4 GPU. The GPU is capable of BluRay quality playback, using H.264 at 40MBits per second, and it has a fast 3D core accessed using the supplied OpenGL ES2.0 and OpenVG libraries.
Not sure what that means? Let me put it this way. It’ll play games to an Xbox original level. This means Steam Favourites such as Team Fortress 2 will be playable.
There is one restriction. You’ll need an SD card with the operating system on it to start it up. Beyond that, you just plug it into an HDMI TV, plug in your mouse and keyboard, and off you go.
The reason for the price and simplicity? Raspberry Pi is a charity, aiming to help with education. Having it so simple and cheap to use means that many schools can grab these computers instead of shelling out for much more expensive desktops or netbooks.
You can pick one up at www.raspberrypi.org. If you’re interested in computers at all, this is not something you’ll want to miss.