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What is the Raspberry Pi?
Or should I say: “What are the Raspberry Pi’s?”
As there are now many versions of the Raspberry Pi the second question will be more correct and with this and future articles I will explain what each of them are.
I will be listing the features of each version with comparisons with other versions.
For this article I will be starting with the Raspberry Pi 4 as it is the latest available.
Raspberry Pi 4

Additional items you will need, some of which will be included in a Starter Kit:
• A 15W USB-C power supply
• A microSD card loaded with NOOBS or if you know you will be using Raspian software then you will need a blank card and download and install the software to it.
• A keyboard and mouse. One of the retailers I reviewed provides these with their starter kit. I would recommend on getting a wireless one as the USB dongle uses only one USB port whereas if you get a wired keyboard from the above link it will have 3 additional USB ports built in so you can plug the mouse into it and will still take only one port on the Raspberry Pi. If you use other keyboards and mice they will then require 2 ports, 1 each.
• Cables to connect to one or two displays via Raspberry Pi 4's micro HDMI ports.
• For more detailed documentation on configuring your Raspberry Pi visit this official Raspberry Pi site.
• To discover a whole range of projects for your Raspberry Pi visit this official Raspberry Pi site. The instructions for some of the projects are designed for the Raspberry Pi 3 but should also work on the Raspberry Pi 4.
• The Raspberry Pi 4 originally came with 3 versions of Random Access Memory (RAM). These were 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB.
• Recently I read the 1GB option has been dropped and the price of the 2GB has been reduced to the price of the former 1GB which is USD 35.00. This was because the price of RAM chips has also been reduced. I also noticed when I was doing the "where to buy chapter" most retailers no longer offered it.

Raspberry Pi 3 A+

Technical Specifications
The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ extends the Raspberry Pi 3 range into the A+ board format.
• Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.4GHz
• 512MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
• 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2/BLE
• Extended 40-pin GPIO header
• Full-size HDMI
• Single USB 2.0 ports
• CSI camera port for connecting a Raspberry Pi Camera Module
• DSI display port for connecting a Raspberry Pi Touch Display
• 4-pole stereo output and composite video port
• MicroSD port for loading your operating system and storing data
• 5V/2.5A DC power input
Obsolescence Statement
Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ will remain in production until at least January 2026

Raspberry Pi 3 B

Technical Specifications
The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is the earliest model of the third-generation Raspberry Pi. It replaced the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B in February 2016. See also the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, the latest product in the Raspberry Pi 3 range.
• Quad Core 1.2GHz Broadcom BCM2837 64bit CPU
• 1GB RAM
• BCM43438 wireless LAN and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) on board
• 100 Base Ethernet
• 40-pin extended GPIO
• 4 USB 2 ports
• 4 Pole stereo output and composite video port
• Full size HDMI
• CSI camera port for connecting a Raspberry Pi camera
• DSI display port for connecting a Raspberry Pi touchscreen display
• Micro SD port for loading your operating system and storing data
• Upgraded switched Micro USB power source up to 2.5A
The dimensions of this are 85 mm X 56 mm X 21 mm as are all of the B and B+ models.
Obsolescence Statement
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B will remain in production until at least January 2026

 

Raspberry Pi 3 B+

Technical Specifications
The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is the final revision in the Raspberry Pi 3 range.
• Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.4GHz
• 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
• 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE
• Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0 (maximum throughput 300 Mbps)
• Extended 40-pin GPIO header
• Full-size HDMI
• 4 USB 2.0 ports
• CSI camera port for connecting a Raspberry Pi camera
• DSI display port for connecting a Raspberry Pi touchscreen display
• 4-pole stereo output and composite video port
• Micro SD port for loading your operating system and storing data
• 5V/2.5A DC power input
• Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) support (requires separate PoE HAT)

Obsolescence Statement
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ will remain in production until at least January 2026
Raspberry Pi 2 B

Technical Specifications
The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is the second-generation Raspberry Pi. It replaced the original Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ in February 2015.
Compared to the Raspberry Pi 1 it has:
• A 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU
• 1GB RAM
Like the (Pi 1) Model B+, it also has:
• 100 Base Ethernet
• 4 USB ports
• 40 GPIO pins
• Full HDMI port
• Combined 3.5mm audio jack and composite video
• Camera interface (CSI)
• Display interface (DSI)
• Micro SD card slot
• Video-core IV 3D graphics core
Obsolescence Statement
Raspberry Pi 2 Model B will remain in production until at least January 2026

Raspberry Pi 1

Technical Specifications
The Model 1 B+ is the final revision of the original Raspberry Pi. It replaced the Model B in July 2014 and was superseded by the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.
Compared to the Model B it has:
• More GPIO pins. The GPIO header has grown to 40 pins, while retaining the same pin-out for the first 26 pins as the Model A and B.
• More USB ports. It comes with 4 USB 2.0 ports, compared to 2 on the Model B, and better hot-plug and over-current behavior.
• Micro SD. The old friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a much nicer push-push micro SD version.
• 100 Base Ethernet (same as the original Model B)
• Lower power consumption. By replacing linear regulators with switching ones we’ve reduced power consumption by between 0.5W and 1W.
• Better audio. The audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply.
• Neater form factor. We’ve aligned the USB connectors with the board edge, moved composite video onto the 3.5mm jack, and added four squarely-placed mounting holes.
Obsolescence Statement
Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ will remain in production until at least January 2026

 

Raspberry Pi Zero

Technical Specifications
The Raspberry Pi Zero is half the size of a Model A+, with twice the utility. A tiny Raspberry Pi that’s affordable enough for any project as it is priced at ONLY $5.00.
• 1GHz single-core CPU
• 512MB RAM
• Mini HDMI port
• Micro USB OTG port
• Micro USB power
• HAT-compatible 40-pin header
• Composite video and reset headers
• CSI camera connector (v1.3 only)
Obsolescence Statement
Raspberry Pi Zero will remain in production until at least January 2026.
Raspberry Pi Zero - W

Technical Specifications
The Raspberry Pi Zero W extends the Pi Zero family. Launched at the end of February 2017, the Pi Zero W has all the functionality of the original Pi Zero, but comes with added connectivity, consisting of:
• 802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN
• Bluetooth 4.1
• Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Like the Pi Zero, it also has:
• 1GHz, single-core CPU
• 512MB RAM
• Mini HDMI and USB On-The-Go ports
• Micro USB power
• HAT-compatible 40-pin header
• Composite video and reset headers
• CSI camera connector
Obsolescence Statement
Raspberry Pi Zero W will remain in production until at least January 2026.

 

Dimensions of the various models.
1. The Raspberry Pi Model A measures 65 mm X 56 mm.
2. The B and B+ models measure 85 mm X 56 mm X 21 mm.
3. The Zero models measure 65 mm X 30 mm X 5.4 mm.
Raspberry Pi models
The other day I was looking on the Raspberry Pi web site and found this neat table that listed all of the current Raspberry Pi models.
Model
SoC*
Speed
RAM
USB Ports
Ethernet
Wireless
Bluetooth
PSU current capacity **
Price in US
Dollars
A+
2835
700 MHz
512 MB
1
No
No
No
700 mA
$20
B+
2835
700 MHz
512 MB
4
Yes
No
No
1.8 A
$25
2 B
2836/7
900 MHz
1 GB
4
Yes
No
No
1.8 A
$35
3 A+
2837B0
1400 MHz
512 MB
1
No
Yes
Yes
2.5 A
$25
3 B
2837A0/B0
700 MHz
1 GB
4
Yes
Yes
Yes
2.5 A
$35
3 B+
2837B0
1400 MHz
1 GB
4
Yes
Yes
Yes
2.5 A
$35
4 B
2711
1500 MHz
1 GB
2xUSB2,
2xUSB3
Yes
Yes
Yes
3.0 A
$35 ****
4 B
2711
1500 MHz
2 GB
2xUSB2,
2xUSB3
Yes
Yes
Yes
3.0 A
$35
4 B
2711
1500 MHz
4 GB
2xUSB2,
2xUSB3
Yes
Yes
Yes
3.0 A
$55
Zero
2835
1000 MHz
512 MB
1
No
No
No
1.2 A
$5
Zero W
2835
1000 MHz
512 MB
1
No
Yes
Yes
1.2 A
$10
Zero WH***
2835
1000 MHz
512 MB
1
No
Yes
Yes
1.2 A
$15
* SoC stands for System on Chip
** PSU means Power Supply Unit
*** The Zero WH is the same as the Zero W except it has a professionally soldered header.
**** The 1 GB model has been discontinued and the price of the 2 GB has been lowered form $45 to $35 due to the price of memory chips being reduced.


Additional hardware you will/may need:
◦ A Power Supply Unit (PSU) that has the current capacity as shown in the above table for the model of Raspberry Pi that you purchase. {Required}
◦ A case for the model you purchased. All of the B & B+ models are the same size so one size case fits all. (Optional)
◦ A HDMI Monitor and HDMI cable. (Optional)
◦ A keyboard and mouse. I recommend a wireless model. The reason for this is that there aren’t any cables interfering with your desk. Another reason is if you get a keyboard and mouse set there is only one dongle to control both items, whereas if you get a separate keyboard and mouse each will require its own USB port. Since I wrote the above paragraph I discovered the there is now a wired keyboard that has additional USB ports so a mouse could be connected to the keyboard instead of the computer. (Optional)
◦ External SSD or hard drives. However if these drives are not getting their power from the mains a powered USB hub should be attached to the computer and the drives connected to the hub as some drives require more power than the computer can provide. (Optional)
Summary
This chapter has listed most of the currently available Raspberry Pi computers. There are also some called Compute Modules but I do not have any experience with them. I believe these are designed to be incorporated in other projects.

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