Converting Pi to PC

What will you do with a Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a neat little gizmo. For about $35, you can buy the 3rd generation Raspberry Pi 3, a single board computer or SBC. Essentially, it consists of a motherboard, CPU, memory, and ports (Ethernet, USB, HDMI). However, it doesn't come with a case, hard drive, or power source.

In this TechRepublic article, Nick Heath reports that UK-based Premier Farnell, the manufacturer of Raspberry Pi, has just released the components necessary to convert the Pi into a small, but versatile, desktop computer. Sold under the element 14 brand name, the Pi Desktop includes a case, a solid-state drive (SSD) interface, a heat sink (to protect the CPU) and a power switch, and costs approximately $50. The Raspberry Pi can run Linux from an SD card, but can also be connected to an external SSD. For less than $100 you can experience the fun of building your own computer. While it isn't as powerful as a high-end computer, there are still plenty of things you can do with a Raspberry Pi, including building your own media server, using it to run a 3D printer, or creating an old-school gaming console.

Supporting Web Links
 Discussion Topics/Activities
  1. Are students familiar with the Raspberry Pi? As a class, discuss the cost and features of this type of computer. Would students be willing to buy one of these SBCs? Why or why not?
  2. Divide the class into small groups. Each team should research at least two computers or mobile devices that can be purchased for less than $300. Teams should create a presentation comparing and contrasting the features of the computers they located with those of the Raspberry Pi, as discussed in both the main article and in the articles found in the Supporting Web Links section. Each group should identify their recommended purchase and explain their reasons for their choice.
  3. There are a number of uses for the Raspberry Pi. As an individual project, students should research some of the projects for which these devices are being used. The Supporting Web Links section has some ideas. Students should attempt to develop their own project for one of these devices, or find an existing project that they think they can do. Students should create a brief presentation outlining the project, its purpose, and how it would be done.

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