Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

Summary: The Raspberry Pi is a new ultra-low-cost computing solution that's making waves -- especially now that it's running Quake 3! Read all about it here.

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The Raspberry Pi Foundation, a UK-registered charity that is developing two models of an ultra-low-cost computer, posted a video this past weekend of Quake 3 running on one of the miniature devices. See the video below:

 

To really grasp how impressive of a feat that is, check out the specifications of the system they're developing, which is about the size of a credit card, though thicker:
* 700MHz ARM11 * 128MB or 256MB of SDRAM * OpenGL ES 2.0 * 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode * Composite and HDMI video output * USB 2.0 * SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot * General-purpose I/O * Optional integrated 2-port USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller * Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)
If you've yet to hear about Raspberry Pi, it's quite an ambitious project that seeks to get a fully-functional computer down to the form factor of a credit card and for an inconsequential cost. Slated for a November 2011 release date, the Raspberry Pi will come in two models: a $25 model and a $35 model, with the more expensive model containing the noted optional 10/100 Ethernet controller. To note, the pricier model is a bit larger in form than the $25 model. To see both models, click the image below to view the Raspberry Pi image gallery:
The Raspberry Pi Image Gallery

The Raspberry Pi Image Gallery

As you can tell from the specs noted above, this device isn't really meant to run something like Quake 3, but the fact that it does is a testament to what this little marvel is theoretically capable of in the scenarios the foundation hopes to land the device in. For added clarity, here are some notable points of interest from their FAQ about the device:
Why doesn’t the Raspberry Pi include <insert name> piece of hardware or <insert name> sort of port? Our main function is a charitable one – we’re trying to build the cheapest possible computer that provides a certain basic level of functionality, and this means we’ve had to make hard decisions about what hardware and interfaces to include. How do I connect a mouse and keyboard? Mice, keyboards, network adapters and external storage will all connect via a USB hub. What display can I use? There is composite and HDMI out on the board, so you can hook it up to a digital or analogue television or to a DVI monitor. Does the device support networking? Is there Wi-Fi? The Model B version of the device includes 10/100 wired Ethernet. There is no Ethernet on the Model A version (which we expect to be taken up mostly by the education market), but Wi-Fi will be available via a standard USB dongle. What are the power requirements? The device is powered by an external AC adapter, and the Model A consumes around 1W at full load. Can I run power Raspberry Pi from batteries as well as from a wall socket? Yes. The device should run well off 4xAA cells. Will it run <insert name of program here>? In general, you need to look to see whether the program you want can be compiled for the ARMv6 architecture. In most cases the answer will be yes. Specific programs are discussed on our forum, so you might want to look there for an answer. Will it run WINE (or Windows, or other x86 software)? No. What Linux distros will be supported at launch? Ubuntu, Debian and hopefully Fedora and ArchLinux will be supported from the start. We hope to see support from other distros later. We will be selling SD cards with the distros preloaded. What happens if I brick the device? You can restore the device by reflashing the SD card.
Interesting of note is the device running on ARM. That means no x86 binaries (i.e. you can't install Windows on it) will run on the system, but there may be a catch to that! With Windows 8 being developed for ARM, there may indeed be hope for a Windows OS to run on it after all. However, even if Windows 8 will run on it, such a feat would completely defeat the low cost factor and ultimately make the venture little more than a geeky project -- although, it might make for one heck of an admin/hacking tool. With that said, I'm curious to see how the extremely low amount of RAM will perform for people as they purchase these units and put them to the test in real-world scenarios. Personally, I love devices like this. I'll definitely be picking one up to tinker with -- especially with such a low cost associated. For that matter, I may just go ahead and pick up one of each model once they're ready to ship! What about you, though? Do you see any benefits to such an ultra-low-cost device, be it for yourself or otherwise? Let us hear from you in the comments below! -Stephen Chapman SEO Whistleblower

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Topics: Windows, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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  • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

    I wish they went with one of the 1 GHz ARM CPUs and at least w Gig of RAM as it might have been slightly more money but a much smoother operation over all.
    slickjim
    • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

      @Peter Perry It'd cost a bit more than $25/$35 though...
      TGM_1979
      • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

        @TGM_1979 Yes but even double is worth the cash... They should also offer different size SD Cards.
        slickjim
      • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

        @Peter Perry

        Well, that depends. Worth it to you I'd imagine. But you aren't their target customer.

        They are going after the group for which $35 is still a significant chunk of change. That is still about 20 days worth of wages for the average employee building an iPhone for example.

        Taken in the context of what they are trying to do (functional computer at absolute minimum cost), this is AWESOME!
        SlithyTove
      • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

        @Peter Perry - I agree with you... I'm not a huge Linux fan but at that price I may become one.

        @SlithyTove [b]They are going after the group for which $35 is still a significant chunk of change. That is still about 20 days worth of wages for the average employee building an iPhone for example.[/b]

        Really? Can you not make a post that does not somehow negatively reference the iPhone or Apple? Nor do you take into account things like cost of living, comparative salaries, etc. However this particular post has not one damn'd thing to do with Apple, iPhone, Steve jobs, Tim Cook, or the whole piss'ng match so let's stay on topic shall we?
        athynz
    • You and I ...

      @Peter Perry .... look at $50 as petty cash. In many developing countries, $25 is a month's salary. As a thought experiment, it would be the difference (for us) of paying ~$3,500 or $7,000 for a little bit more functionality. Also, looking at it from the perspective of people who do not have many of the resources you and I take for granted (like electric power, flushing toilets, & clean water): Would another bit of memory enhance the "experience" enough to be able to support a doubling of cost and power requirements?
      rock06r
    • If you want one, they are already available:

      @Peter Perry

      www.pandaboard.org
      Joe_Raby
    • That's like asking for an air conditioned donkey cart ....

      @Peter Perry
      .... for a third world market!
      kd5auq
    • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

      @Peter Perry <br><br>check out Marvell's plug computer, $100 and a lot more umph!<br><br><a href="http://www.plugcomputer.org/development-kits/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.plugcomputer.org/development-kits/</a><br><br>I have the basic but looking into getting a server plus soon. $129 (the kirkwood is an ARMv6)<br><br><br>1.2GHz Kirkwood 88F6281 processor<br>L1 Cache: 16K Instruction + 16K Data<br>L2 Cache: 256KB<br>DDR2 800MHz, 16-bit bus 512MB 16-bit DDR2 at 800MHz data rate<br>NAND Flash controller, 8-bit bus 512MB NAND Flash: 4Gb x8, direct boot<br>128-bit eFuse memory<br>Linux kernel 2.6.32<br>Wi-Fi 802.11b/g<br>Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR<br>7x GPIOs for user application- 5 with 3.3V I/O, 2 with 1.8V I/O<br>Optional with SPI Flash + SD card boot up<br>UBIFS Flash file system support<br>NAND Flash boot up<br>One eSATA 2.0 port, 3Gb/s SATA<br>Two USB 2.0 ports<br>One internal MicroSD socket for optional kernel system<br>One external MicroSD socket RTC with battery<br>Power input: 100-240VC/50-60Hz max. 20W<br>DC consumption: 5V/3.0A max.<br>High-efficiency POL DC-DC converters
      aiellenon
  • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

    Looks like a perfect netflix client.
    Scubajrr
    • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

      @Scubajrr exactly what I was thinking. What is the highest bitrate the 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode can handle?
      hmmm...
      TheShawnThomas
    • Raspi running netflix web client

      If you have any ideas here I would love to hear of them. I tried accessing Netflix (as a web client) on my Ubuntu desktop running firefox but no joy. Looking at the h/w minimums it looks liek even if the Netflix client could run on linux the Raspi might be too slow?

      Get a - "Complete System Requirements" advisory as follows

      To watch instantly, you''ll need a computer that meets the following minimum requirements:

      Windows
      Windows XP with Service Pack 2, Vista or Windows 7
      Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher; or Firefox 3 or higher; or Chrome 7 or higher
      1.2 GHz processor
      512 MB RAM
      Mac
      An Intel-based Mac with OS 10.4.11 or later
      Safari 3 or higher; or Firefox 3 or higher; or Chrome 10 or higher
      1 GB RAM
      Chrome OS
      A Google Chromebook with Chrome OS 13 or higher
      raspiboy
  • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

    reminds of that ol' timex-sinclair computer, touted to be the smallest pc back in the early 80's.
    databaseben
  • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

    WoW
    MoeFugger
  • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

    Can you imagine how awesome Raspberry Pi is gonna be in 3-5 years if it does well initially (it will give the organization a stream of income so as to be able to continue developing better versions of Raspberry Pi over the years as technology progresses).
    josh92
  • Is this really news? Comparable x86 around for a while already...

    There has been x86 boards around for a while in the form factor. Granted they cost more, but do more too.

    The OQO2 had a similar size motherboard, and the following company makes an x86 board as well:

    http://www.toradex.com/En/Products/Robin
    croberts
    • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

      @croberts
      "cost more" is the pertinent part of your reply. At $25 dollars, the interest in these devices is more about price than size (though size is important too). At $25 dollars these things are nearly disposible tech (you pay that much for 2 people to go see a movie these days).
      NetAdmin1178
      • RE: Raspberry Pi: A $25 ultra-low-cost computer that can run Quake 3

        @NetAdmin1178 Exactly. Techs think power. The rest of the world thinks price. Cell phones didn't take off until you got the price so low that you could get them practically for free. In fact, these could be installed in special dedicated devices. You could build it into a backpack for kids to take to school with them and if they broke it or lost it, well, it was only 25 bucks. It it has wi-fi then you could save everything in the cloud and do all your word processing etc. there.

        You could build it into the top of a breif case., Just slide back a panel have a touch pad keyboard and LCD screen. Lots of possibilities. Even small tech companies could innovate because the cost would be low.
        webservant2003@...
    • Just don't try Windows on it

      @croberts

      The Z series Atom's suck. Bad. Aero is unusable (Windows even recommends you turn it off).

      My advice would be to wait and see what the ARM requirements are going to be for Windows 8, and look for a dev board that matches it. The PandaBoard is the closest one that matches what they previously said (1GHz, 1GB RAM), but it lacks SATA, and it looks like ARM may require a UEFI firmware for Windows 8 to boot.

      Wait until BUILD, and we'll hopefully get some more info. Maybo somebody will mass-produce a dev board that will work too.
      Joe_Raby
    • Cost &quot;more&quot;??

      @croberts - the Raspberry Pi costs about the same as one of the <i>heatspreaders</i> from Toradex. Totally different goal.
      daboochmeister