Whether you’re a youngster with an interest in coding or a self-described tech geek, the chances are that you own or have considered purchasing a Raspberry Pi device.
After all, this compact, single-board computer has sold a staggering 31 million units globally since its launch in 2012, with a number of models and iterations now widely available on the market.
But which Raspberry Pi device is right for you? Here’s a shortlist to help you make a more informed decision.
- For the Tech Savvy – The Raspberry Pi 4 (2GB)
We’ll start with the newest and fastest Raspberry Pi device, with the 4B powered by a 1.5-GHz quad-core processor and equipped with up to 4GB of RAM.
The latter feature represents a significant step-up from prior generation Pis, which typically topped out at 1GB or RAM and offered considerably less capability in terms of memory.
The Raspberry Pi 4 also features both 3.0 and 2.0 ports, whereas older models tended to incorporate dual-HDMI portals for slower multi-monitor support. This specification is ideal for tech savvy users, who like to use Raspberry Pi kits to build out their own devices and program relatively complex processes and robots.
Despite this, the device still has a starting price of just $35, which is tremendous given its versatility and range of potential applications.
- For the Beginner – The Raspberry Pi Zero (W)
At the other end of the spectrum is the tiny Raspberry Pi Zero, which boasts minimal dimensions of just 2.6 x 1.2 x 0.2 inches. It also weighs a mere 0.3 ounces and is classed as the smallest device within the range.
This certainly isn’t the fastest Pi, as it utilises a modest 1-GHz, single-core CPU and has just 512MB of RAM (which is the same spec as the initial Raspberry Pi model launched back in 2012).
Despite its basic spec and rock-bottom price, however, the Pi Zero is more than capable of undertaking basic tasks, such as driving lights or operating motors. This makes it the ideal choice for beginners who want to learn the fundamentals of coding or similar computer science basics.
- For the General User – The Raspberry Pi 3 B / 3B+
These last generation models are typically slower than the 4B, while they also lack some key features such as dual-monitor support and a USB 3.0 port.
They also utilise relatively standard HDMI cables, which can draw power from standard phone chargers and USB ports on a laptop or desktop computer. This means that buyers will probably already have the necessary cables to operate the device, potentially saving money in the longer-term.
This model is definitely viable as an affordable general purpose computer, and one that can perform a wide range of everyday tasks.
Interestingly, the Pi 3 B and B+ also generates considerably less heat during extended use, making it ideal when working on projects that require passive cooling.