Raspberry Pi

Powerful Single-Board Computer Running Debian

Raspberry Pi is a full-fledged mini computer. By default, it runs a Debian-based Linux distribution. Often, it is used to host the Python-based software Homeassistant.

If you are looking for practical advice on how to assemble, set up, and run a Raspberry Pi as Homeassistant server, you may want to directly go to Raspberry Pi as HomeAssistant Server.

Generations

Raspberry Pi was released 2012 and targeted primarily towards educational use. It soon was adopted by the community for robotics, automation, and many other use cases requiring a backend server with sufficient performance.

Version Processor Remarks
1 700MHz 32-bit Single-Core ARM11 Raspberry Pi Model B in 2012: The simpler and cheaper Raspberry Pi Model A followed later the same year. An improved Raspberry Pi Model B+ was released in 2014.
2 900MHz 32-bit Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A7 Raspberry Pi 2 B in 2015: featured a 900MHz 32-bit processor and came with 1GB RAM. Revision 1.2 switched to a 64-bit A53 processor that would continued to be used in version 3. It was clocked at 900MHz.
3 1.2GHz 64-bit Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A53 Raspberry Pi 3 Model B in 2016: changed clock speed from 900MHz to 1.2GHz, added 802.11ac WiFi and USB-Boot capabilities. In 2018, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ surfaced: clock speed was raised to 1.4GHz, Ethernet speed was tripled to 300Mbit/s, dual-band 100 Mbit/s WiFi was added. This was followed by Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ with similar enhancements.
4 1.5GHz 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 Raspberry Pi 4 Model A/B in 2019: it added Bluetooth 5.0, throughput-unlimited full Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, from 1 to 8 GB RAM, dual-monitor support via Micro HDMI (Type D) ports with 4K Resolution, plus USB-C power supply. Raspberry Pi 400 was added in 2020 as a keyboard computer: a Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB RAM and a 1.8 GHz clock was integrated into a keyboard housing.
5 2.4GHz 64-bit ARM Cortex-A76 Raspberry Pi 5 in 2023: 4 or 8GB RAM, VideoCore VII GPU, supporting Vulkan 1.1, for better performance (graphics-intensive tasks, 4K video playback), four USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth 5.2, 802.11ax WiFi 6, faster MicroSD card slot, better USB boot capabilities, can be powered via USB C, Power over Ethernet (PoE), improved power efficiency, real-time clock (RTC)

If you own an older model, there is typically no need to immediately upgrade. Given the significant performance boost found in Raspberry Pi 5 and marginal price differences, I would not recommend to buy an older model. Raspberry Pi 5 is future proof with guaranteed support until 2036.

Assembly Required

Typically, Raspberry Pi is sold either as bare board or as starter kits (containing all required parts such as housing, fan, etc.).

While there are vendors offering pre-assembled devices that are ready to run, this is a niche market.

Assembling a Raspberry Pi is part of the intended educational aspect and does not require much special knowledge. A typical assembly takes a screwdriver and 10 minutes of time.

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(content created Jun 02, 2024)