Raspberry Pi Now On Sale

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Raspberry Pi, the $35 computer-on-a-board developed by a team from Cambridge, UK, went on sale at 6am GMT this morning.

Although the Raspberry Pi team went to great lengths to ensure their own website was prepared for the traffic spike, its two retail partners Farnell and RS Components found their websites struggling to cope under the strain within minutes of the launch.

Initial sales – for those who can get through – are limited to one per customer. They were also limited to the higher-spec Model B board, which has an Ethernet port and two USB ports, compared to Model A’s no Ethernet and one USB.

The full specs are:

  • Broadcom BCM2835 700MHz ARM1176JZFS processor with FPU and Videocore 4 GPU
  • GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
  • 256MB RAM
  • Boots from SD card, running the Fedora version of Linux
  • 10/100 BaseT Ethernet socket
  • HDMI socket
  • USB 2.0 socket
  • RCA video socket
  • SD card socket
  • Powered from microUSB socket
  • 3.5mm audio out jack
  • Header footprint for camera connection
  • Dimensions: 85.6 x 53.98 x 17mm

One of the aims of the Pi is to re-invigorate computer science teaching in British schools. A generation of kids has grown up thinking that learning computers means learning how to make spreadsheets and do formatting in Word documents. The next generation, it is hoped, will grow up with a better understanding of what a computer is, how it works, and how to program for it.

Why are we mentioning the Pi here? Partly because it will interest a lot of keen computer users, and we think a lot of Cult of Mac readers fall into that category.

Also because the Pi reminds of something… the original Apple I, which was basically a fully assembled computer-on-a-chip with broad appeal, to hobbyists and others. The Pi is many thousands of times more powerful, as Moore’s Law predicted; but in many other respects, it’s very similar.