Which Raspberry Pi should you buy for your project?

Which Raspberry Pi should you buy for your project? There are a lot of single-board computers out there, aimed at makers, hobbyists, and education. From tiny Arduinos to NVIDIA’s AI Jetsons, they can be used for almost anything you can think of. There’s one brand that stands out, though: Raspberry Pi. (Similar postTop 5 DIY Electronics Project Ideas For Engineering Students)

Although the Raspberry Pi has sold 31 million units since its launch in 2012, if you don’t already own one – or are in the market for a new one for a specific project – the selection can be a little daunting. When legacy models are included, more than a dozen different Raspberry Pi models are available for purchase. (Similar post – 3 simple Ways to Edit the boot/config.txt File on Raspberry Pi in 2022)

At the very least, every self-respecting tech geek should own a Raspberry Pi. While any Raspberry Pi can be used as a secondary computer for email and web browsing, even the fastest model, the Raspberry Pi 4, will be slower than a low-end Windows P.C. The real fun begins when you start building projects with your Pi, which can include anything from robots to retro arcade machines to home media servers, security cameras, and even fart detectors.

Which Raspberry Pi model is best?

The best general-purpose Raspberry Pi for the money is the Raspberry Pi 4 B. It is powerful enough for almost any project you throw at it and even for some light web surfing.

What is the most current Raspberry Pi?

The latest generation of devices is the Raspberry Pi 4 series, with a significantly upgraded processor and up to 8GB of RAM. The Pi 4 still has the same set of 40 GPIO pins for working with your own or third-party hardware, as well as a set of USB 2 and USB 3 ports and a pair of micro-HDMI video outputs.

How many Raspberry Pi models are there?

There are three series of Raspberry Pi, and several generations of each have been released.

How do I get Pico 8 on my Raspberry Pi?

Head to the Downloads section of your new account on the website and download the Raspberry Pi version of PICO-8. To get it on the Raspberry Pi, use Chromium to download the . zip file directly to your Raspberry Pi. The PICO-8 license also includes builds for Windows, macOS, and Linux

Recent developments have included its own silicon, the RP2040, at the heart of the Raspberry Pi Pico board, as well as custom hardware from many maker vendors. That’s been followed by a new silicon package design, squeezing Raspberry Pi 3 hardware into a new version of the tiny low-cost Raspberry Pi Zero.

There are a number of different models and versions of the Raspberry Pi computer. But which one is best for your project? Here’s a summary of the Raspberry Pi should you buy for your project:

Raspberry Pi 4

Launched in 2019, the Raspberry Pi 4 remains the company’s flagship. Built around the BCM2711 microcontroller, it comes in four versions. These have 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB of RAM, respectively, with gigabit Ethernet, USB 3, and dual micro-HDMI ports. Recent releases have a new CPU revision, which allows it to run faster and cooler, so you don’t need a processor fan for most loads.

If you’re buying a Pi today, the Raspberry Pi 4 is likely to be your first choice. It has plenty of connectivity, with wireless and wired connections, and with an 8GB option, enough memory to power a 64-bit desktop Linux like Ubuntu as an alternative to its own Raspberry Pi OS. The familiar 40-pin GPIO plug works with a wide selection of HATs, including plug-in displays and the popular AstroPi educational maker board.

Raspberry Pi’s official case, mouse, and keyboard let you quickly turn your Pi 4 into a desktop Linux PC, though you may prefer to use a third-party case with a built-in fan and support for SSD hard drives.

The Raspberry Pi 4 ranges in price from $35-$75.

Raspberry Pi 3 A+ and B+

The venerable Raspberry Pi 3 remains a force to be reckoned with, providing a surprising amount of bang for your buck, even after all these years. If your budget doesn’t stretch to the Pi 4, then the Pi 3 B+’s 1GB of RAM and its single full-size HDMI port should work well enough for you. Four USB ports, Ethernet and Wi-Fi work alongside the standard 40-pin GPIO port to give you plenty of connectivity. If you’re building a sensor array that needs a lot of local computing, the Pi 3 is still worth a look.

However, if you don’t need Ethernet, the new Raspberry Pi Zero 2 with the same processor, for $20 less, is probably a better choice. As a result, you should expect to see the Pi 3 join the list of legacy industrial-only hardware in the next year.

The Raspberry Pi 3 A+ is $25, and the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is $35.

Raspberry Pi 400

While the Raspberry Pi 4 was the first Pi that could really run a Linux desktop, the Raspberry Pi 400 went a step further and became the first true home computer from the organization. Based on the familiar Raspberry Pi keyboard, the Raspberry Pi 400 uses a new circuit board to embed a variant of the 4GB Pi 4. With most of the same ports as a Pi 4, it’s easy to use the Raspberry Pi 400 as a development PC or to run most of the tools you’ll find on a Linux desktop—and with popular distributions like Ubuntu available, it makes an effective alternative to a Chromebook without resorting to locked-down hardware.

As they use a recent version of the Raspberry Pi 4 firmware, all Pi 400s can boot from SSD drives over USB. That comes in handy when using them as educational computers when all you need is a monitor and USB mouse to quickly kit out a small classroom. With budgets constrained, delivering a full desktop experience for around $200 is a good deal, especially when the software it runs is the same as you’ll find on any Linux PC.

The Raspberry Pi 400 sells for $70.

Raspberry Pi CM4

Not all projects need a full-size Raspberry Pi 4, especially if you’re building hardware for resale or designing compact systems for deployment on the edge of the network. Raspberry Pi’s compute modules are designed to be at the heart of custom hardware, with standard socket connections to deliver the full suite of Raspberry Pi connectivity.

The CM4 is the latest compute module, building on the Raspberry Pi 4, using the same processor and memory options. Built-in eMMC storage options mean there are 32 variants of the CM4, including several that remove the wireless connectivity features. A standard board pin-out makes designing hardware easy, and Raspberry Pi and partners make a series of development boards.

One big change between the Raspberry CM4 and the Pi 4 is the removal of the USB 3.0 ports. Instead, they’re replaced with a PCIe interface, suitable for use with storage, networking, or even graphics cards. Compute Modules are ideal for compact edge hardware and can be used to build small Kubernetes clusters.

The Raspberry Pi CM4 sells for $25-$90.

Raspberry Pi Pico

The RP2040 is Raspberry Pi’s first silicon, a microcontroller-class device based on the ARM Cortex M0 core design. Two cores and 264KB of RAM give it most of what you need to build all kinds of projects, and the Raspberry Pi Pico adds 2GMB of flash storage. 26 GPIO pins connect your code to the world, with programs loaded over the same USB port that powers your device. An onboard temperature sensor helps you get started.

You can write code in C++ or MicroPython, making it ideal for both experts and beginners. Code loads over USB and runs as soon as you restart your device. A partnership with Microsoft ensures that plug-ins and tooling are ready for use with the free cross-platform Visual Studio Code development tool.

The Raspberry Pi Pico is perhaps best thought of as Raspberry Pi’s Arduino equivalent. It’s designed to become the heart of hardware projects, with a board that can solder into other hardware. The RP2040 is being used by third-party vendors to drive custom keyboards and programmable lighting among other hardware projects.

The Raspberry Pi Pico sells for $4.

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is the latest member of the Pi family and a new edition of the tiny Raspberry Pi Zero. A $15 device, it takes a familiar design and supercharges it with the same processor as the Raspberry Pi 3. Projects that used to need a full-size Pi can now be built in less than half the space, with enough power to run a desktop environment. Your only limit is memory, with 512MB of RAM.

You’ll need to solder on a header to use the GPIO port, but that doesn’t require too much soldering skill and there are solderless third-party options. Other ports include a USB power port, a USB-OTG connector, a standard CSI-2 camera port, and a micro-HDMI port. They’re all in the same place as on the previous Raspberry Pi Zero releases, so you won’t need to invest in new cases or power supplies.

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is available for $15.

Raspberry Pi Zero

Designed to deliver an entry-level Pi experience, the Raspberry Pi Zero took the basic Pi software and hardware and built it into a small form factor board. While memory is limited, it’s an effective low power system suitable for many projects. The basic Raspberry Pi Zero has no connectivity, only a set of USB ports. You will need to add your own header for the GPIO ports.

A second version, the Raspberry Pi Zero W, added wireless connectivity for an extra $5. This was followed by the WH version, which added a pre-soldered GPIO header for use with HATs. The Raspberry Pi Zero WH is probably your best choice for a low-cost PI currently, as it’s suitable for most projects and needs very little work to set up.

The Raspberry Pi Zero is available for $5-$15.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+

Raspberry Pi’s compute modules turn the familiar Pi into pluggable boards. The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ is based on the familiar Pi 3+ and uses the same processor and has the same connectivity options, all accessed via a single edge connector. Plug it into a suitable carrier board and you can take Raspberry Pi 3 code and run it on custom hardware. Popular options include carrier boards for network-attached storage and the Turing Pi high-density compute systems.

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ is available for $25-$40.

Our recommendations for which Raspberry Pi to buy

  • For education: The Raspberry Pi 400 is a low-cost and capable desktop Linux computer. Add a mouse, a USB SSD and a screen… it’s a 21st century ZX Spectrum!
  • For hobbyists: The various Raspberry Pi 4s are a powerful and capable development system for all your maker projects. Choose the 4GB or 8GB versions.
  • For business: The Raspberry CM4 is an easy way to build embedded computer hardware, with pre-certified modules that drop into your own circuit boards.
  • For the beginner: The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is a $15 computer that does everything you want.

Why You Use Raspberry Pi

1. You just want to check Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi 4 B is the most affordable general-purpose Raspberry Pi (2 GB). It is capable of almost any task you throw at it and even some light web browsing. However, if you have an extra $20 to spare, you can’t go wrong with the 4 GB model.

2. You want Use Raspberry Pi to as Game simulator

The Raspberry Pi 4 B (2 GB) is more than capable of running any popular emulation platform. However, if you can find a Raspberry Pi 3 B or 3 B+ for a lower price, RetroPie will also work with those.

3. You are interested to build a security camera / smart home device.

Numerous people use Raspberry Pis to create home automation devices. Perhaps it’s a motion-activated security camera, an internet-connected radio, or an air quality sensor equipped with a small display that displays the temperature and other critical data points. A Raspberry Pi Zero W may be the best option for these projects because it is small and lightweight enough to fit inside a small gadget or hang on the wall. Even better, the Pi Zero W consumes very little power, frequently less than 200 mAh, enabling it to run for an extended period on battery.

4. Running a web server.

It’s incredibly simple to convert your Raspberry Pi into a web server, and even a Pi Zero can run Apache, the most widely used server software. However, if you want users to download content without having to wait all day, consider purchasing a Raspberry Pi 4. (2 GB). If you have many concurrent users, 4 GB will help. Additionally, if you’re running a large database on the server, the 8 GB model may be advantageous.

5. Build a robot.

The answer here is highly dependent on the project’s complexity. If you’re sending a simple robotic vehicle around the living room, you can probably get away with a Pi Zero W / WH with GPIO pins attached (you’ll need the wireless to control the robot). However, if you want to add a bunch of sensors or any machine learning to the project, you should purchase a Raspberry Pi 4 B with 2 or 4 GB of RAM.

6. Image recognition or machine learning.

While you could probably get away with the Raspberry Pi 4 B (2 GB) model, you’ll almost certainly benefit from the additional RAM on the 4 GB model, though the 8 GB capacity is probably overkilled. Additionally, you may wish to consider connecting The Coral USB Accelerator to improve A.I. performance.

7. You Want to use Raspberry Pi the same way that I would a P.C.

If you intend to spend significant time in the windowed environment of Raspberry Pi O.S., whether browsing the web, writing Python programs, or multitasking, the 4GB Raspberry Pi 4 B is your best bet. While the 2 GB model is sufficient, it’s easy to exceed that amount of RAM, especially if you’re using a Chromium-based browser with multiple tabs open. The Raspberry Pi 4 (8 GB) is an excellent choice, but you’ll be hard-pressed to use more than 4 GB with current software.

8. Building a wearable device like smartwatch etc.

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is the smallest and most energy-efficient option. Additionally, it’s much easier to conceal in a pocket or wristband. Due to its low power consumption, it is also ideal for wearing all day.

9. Watching videos

You can install Kodi, a popular home theatre platform, on Raspberry Pi and use it to stream video to your television. You can use Kodi to access popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as to play local video files from a storage drive or another location on your home network.

The Raspberry Pi 4 B (2 GB) is the best model to use for this purpose because it supports 4K video output, has 802.11ac Wi-Fi / Gigabit Ethernet, and can connect via USB 3.0 to an external drive containing videos. A Raspberry Pi 3 B or 3 B+ is adequate for this task, but it does not support a 4K output.

10. You want to Use Raspberry Pi as a webcam

We’ve discussed using your Raspberry Pi as a security camera and for machine learning, but what if your primary goal is image quality rather than image recognition or motion sensing? You can even use the Raspberry Pi as a Webcam for your P.C.; in this case, the Pi Zero or Zero W may be the best option, as they connect directly to your P.C. via USB, reducing latency between the two devices.

However, if you want the best-looking images, you should consider purchasing the Raspberry Pi High-Quality Camera module, which works on any Pi Zero but benefits from the increased memory in the Raspberry Pi 3 or higher.

11. You want to gift Raspberry Pi

The answer here is entirely dependent on the budget available for the gift. If your recipient is unfamiliar with Raspberry Pi, your best bet is to purchase a kit that includes the board and several accessories, such as a power supply, an HDMI cable for video out, and a protective case.

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