Raspberry Pi Connectivity
Connectivity is truly superb for such a tiny device, especially on the B version of the Raspberry Pi. There are two USB 2.0 ports that can be used to hook up peripherals or adapters, and this can be further expanded with a powered hub. It’s worth noting that both ports already share the bandwidth of a single channel to the system bus.
For video, there’s a full-size HDMI port, making the Raspberry Pi compatible with practically every monitor, TV and other display out there. For older displays that don’t support digital connectivity, the Raspberry Pi even has an analogue composite/RCA video output, which can be used with SCART via an adapter.
Stereo audio can be output over a 3.5mm jack, or you can get the full 5.1 surround sound package through the aforementioned HDMI. There are headers for further expansion, including the ability to hook up a camera or screen. Keep in mind that the microUSB port is for power rather than data. All of these ports are found at the top of the board, while the SD card reader is located at the bottom.
Raspberry Pi Specifications
As you would expect given its price, the Raspberry Pi’s specs are quite modest. The Broadcom SoC includes a 700MHz ARM11 processor and VideoCore IV graphics unit with dedicated video decoding. Incidentally the latter is why the Raspberry Pi will happily breeze through 1080p video while slowing to a crawl with a few browser windows open.
In fact, the Raspberry Pi Foundation claims the CPU performs similarly to a Pentium III 300MHz, and that’s being generous if anything. On the other hand, the VideoCore IV GPU was designed with multimedia in mind and rivals the performance of many current smartphones. It offers so much graphics power the CPU simply can’t keep up.
It’s all backed by 256MB of RAM, which is shared by both the system and GPU. Interestingly, you can set the amount you want available to each. If, for example, you’re going to be using the Raspberry Pi for desktop tasks, you’ll want to allocate the majority to system, while running a graphically intensive shell like XBMC will have you reserving the majority for the graphics.
Currently, memory can be allocated in predefined splits as follows: 128MB CPU/128MB GPU; 224MB CPU/32MB GPU; 192MB CPU/64MB GPU. Permanent storage is what you make it, with Class 10 SD cards of up to 32GB working without issue – at least the one we tried.