The Raspberry Pi is a small micro computer that can fit into the palm of your hand. However, don’t let its small size fool you. The Pi gives you enough power to let you run from a retro emulation station, to home automatic, to a xmbc server, to practically whatever you can come up with.
Buying a Raspberry Pi.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has selected a couple of distributors they deem fit to sell their item. Listed on their frequently asked questions page you will be able to find the official raspberry pi distributors .
Personally, when I purchased my pi I did not want to wait the 2 to 3 weeks which is rumored to happen through the official distributors. I opted to purchase mine through amazon which was 1 dollar higher than the distributors but arrived in 2 days vs 2 weeks.
What do I Need to Get Started?
- Memory Card – The Raspberry Pi does not come with local storage. That being said it is recommended you purchase at least an 8GB class 4 memory card to store your operating system and files.
- Power Supply – You will need a 5v power supply with a micro usb connector. tip: If you happen to have an older cellphone charger you will be able to use that one. Check and double check that it outputs 5v.
- Keyboard and Mouse – Initially you will need to install the operating system directly from the unit itself. If you have a keyboard and mouse from a home computer you might want to disconnect it for the time being. Eventually once the pi is set up you won’t need to have a keyboard or mouse connected to it as you can manipulate it remotely (more on that later).
- Monitor / TV – You will need something to display what you’re working on while you set up the unit. Once you’re done with the initial setup you can remotely view what is going on the unit.
- HDMI cable – You can use other means to display the video of the PI but in this day and age this is the most popular connection.
Recommended Items and Things to Look Out For.
- Wi-Fi Dongle – Depending on your project you may or may not be able to connect your pi to a switch. Adding the USB Wi-Fi dongle will allow you to connect to the internet / network without the hassle of an additional cable.
- Battery Pack – Again depending on your project you may want to consider purchasing a battery pack. Normally the ones they sell for cellphone use will work flawlessly. either way to be safe make sure the output is 5v.
- Generic Accessories – Peg board, male to male jumper cables, male to female jumper cables, and an led or two.
These are definitely set in stone and depending on your project you may or may not need any or all of them. I do however recommend that you have at least 1 project or idea you wish to do with your pi. Planning out your project in advance will save you from having to buy useless accessories you will not need. ie: A heatsink for your pi. Tests by other members of the pi community have shown that these do no disipate heat as they would on a standard computer. Do not purchase one!