A Palm-sized Desktop Computer for $35 – Raspberry Pi 4

By Jim Shimabukuro
Editor

Officially released today, 24 June 2019, is the Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer that fits in the palm of your hand. It’s made by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a UK-based charity (nonprofit) that works to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world. They do this so that more people are able to harness the power of computing and digital technologies for work, to solve problems that matter to them, and to express themselves creatively.

The foundation provides low-cost, high-performance computers that people use to learn, solve problems and have fun. They provide outreach and education to help more people access computing and digital making. They develop free resources to help people learn about computing and how to make things with computers, and train educators who can guide other people to learn.

For more on this palm-sized computer, click here.

The base price for the 1GB RAM computer is $35.00. For $55, you can get the 4GB model.

Here’s a two-monitor setup with the Pi 4. For information on how to set it up, click here.

What you’ll need to run the Pi 4 as a desktop computer:

  • A 15W USB-C power supply – the foundation recommends the official Raspberry Pi USB-C Power Supply
  • A microSD card loaded with NOOBS, the software that installs the operating system (buy a pre-loaded SD card along with your Raspberry Pi, or download NOOBS to load a card yourself)
  • keyboard and mouse
  • Cables to connect to one or two displays via Raspberry Pi 4’s micro HDMI ports
  • One or two HDMI monitors

Additional information:

For a list of places to order a Pi 4 and a list of accessories/products that were designed for it, click here. Scroll down to the “Buy” section.

Is the Pi 4 for you?

No, if you simply want a Windows-type desktop that’s ready to run out of the box.

No, if you’re looking for a powerful desktop for intensive apps, media, games, etc.

No, if you’re looking for a portable computer. The Pi 4 is tiny, but it’s primarily designed for use with desktop accessories.

No, if you’re uncomfortable with “raw” technology such as circuit boards.

No, if you’re not prepared to work with an OS (operating system) that’s different from Windows and apps that are unfamiliar and less user-friendly.

No, if you’re not prepared to spend a bit more than the advertised $35 price tag for required or handy accessories.

No, if you’re not prepared for a learning curve that may be steep in the early going.

Yes, if you’re interested in exploring low-cost alternatives to hardware (and software) prices that are dictated by a handful of powerful companies.

Yes, if you’re intrigued by and curious about this tiny wonder.

Yes, if you’re willing to spend about $100 (for the computer and accessories) for an opportunity to play with this amazing innovation. This $100 estimate is based on the assumption that you already have monitors, a keyboard, mouse, HDMI cables, memory cards, and portable hard drives.

Yes, if you’re willing to accept the fact that it may not be able to do all that you need or want to do with a desktop.

Yes, if you’re aware that the Pi 4 will become obsolete when newer and better versions are released in the coming years.

Final Note

The Pi 4, officially released today, is already out of stock in the list of U.S. suppliers. If you want one, you’ll need to get on the waiting list.

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