Raspberry Pi - Size matters

What’s a Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.

What are the dimensions of the Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi measures 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 17mm, with a little overlap for the SD card and connectors which project over the edges. It weighs 45g.

Basic setup

The setup described here is the simplest one, using just the USB ports on the board and a television or digital monitor. If you’re a total beginner, please visit the beginners’ section of our forums, where there are photos of what all the cables you’ll need look like, and more hints and tips to get you started - our community’s very friendly, and if you dive in, someone there will be happy to help you with any questions or problems you might have.
You will need:
  • USB keyboard and mouse.
  • Prepared SD card (see below).
  • HDMI or composite television, OR a monitor with DVI or HDMI input, and an HDMI/composite cable.
  • Micro USB power supply – make sure you use a good quality one, capable of providing at least 700mA at 5V. Do not attempt to power your Raspberry Pi by plugging it into a computer or a hub.
  • Ethernet LAN cable (optional).

Diagram by Paul Beech
You will need an SD card with an operating system preloaded before you can boot the Raspberry Pi. A brand-name (not generic) Class 4 card of 4GB or more is recommended. To obtain an SD card image, and for instructions on how to flash an SD card from a Linux or Windows PC, please refer to http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads. We recommend that developers use the Debian “squeeze” image, which includes Python, gcc, and a range of example applications.
Digital audio is available via the HDMI connector. Analogue stereo audio is available from the 3.5mm jack. To boot the Raspberry Pi, connect the monitor, mouse and keyboard, insert the preloaded SD card and plug in the power. If you have inserted the Ethernet cable, the device will attempt to acquire a DHCP lease at startup. You can login with the username and password on the downloads page. For superuser privileges, “sudo” does not require a password. Once you are logged in, you can start the X window system using the “startx” command.

Kernel sources and a cross-compiling toolchain for use on an x86 Linux PC are available at https://github.com/raspberrypi.
Example code for OpenGL ES, OpenMAX and other multimedia APIs is available in the directory /opt/vc/src/hello_pi.

Forthcoming updates

New SD card images are released regularly at http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads. Major areas of on-going optimisation include offloading the X window system to the GPU, which will speed it up considerably. None of the browsers for Debian “squeeze” support HTML5, and there is currently no Flash support, so unfortunately you cannot watch YouTube videos; we’re investigating HTML5 solutions. There is currently no Java Virtual Machine (JVM) included in the default file system; we will address this in a future release. If you want to get a Raspberry Pi for yourself, you can find more information at its distributor element14.


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