Raspberry Pi $35 vs a $35 x86 Regular PC


 
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by ahmedfarazch » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:35 pm
Hello!

If I have to make a decision to buy another device, can you help:

I basically want multimedia hub like xbmc and I want to learn to program as well and run a linux distro or two as well! I already have the peripherals like keyboard, mouse and more importantly a monitor! So, I have:

1. Raspberry Pi Model B $35 bare board probably gonna cost $6 to $8 to ship for me, a 8 GB sd card for about $8~12, a case for negligible cost and a power adapter for $2

2. An x86 PC:

a. an AMD Athlon64 X2 4200+ upto 6000+, 1GB RAM, Super Drive, Casing + PSU for $60 (for 4200+) to $90 (for 6000+), a $10~15 HDD additional

b. a P4 2.8GHz , 1GB RAM, 40GB HDD, Super Drive, Casing + PSU for  $60

So, apart from HD 1080p playback which option 2a can also handle, the HDMI output and low power usage, I think the Raspberry Pi makes no sense to me whatsoever to have a ... how do you say ... a cut down version of the full experience!!! Though I am open to your guidance and suggestions to suggest otherwise
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by toxibunny » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:45 pm
There are pros and cons for each. If you haven't got a proper PC already, then I'd get that first, personally...

My PC is kindof similar to the ones you're describing, and it gets used for surfing, watching movies, occasional games.

The reason I'm getting a Raspi is so I can mess with different installs without buggering up the main PC, easily carry it room-to-room (and have fun putting it in a case), and the hardware is fixed, known, and seems to have a sizable band of enthusiastic techies I can call on for help.

:)
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by RaTTuS » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:45 pm
2) is going to cost a lot more than $100

HD are more pricy than an RPi ATM

how are you going to learn anything

you can get an RPi - as an additional unit for your PC or just wait a couple of months and get 3 or 4 ...

10 + 10 iundeed
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by jamesh » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:55 pm
This is about as cheap as you can get for a small already made device running Linux

http://www.ebuyer.com/319554-a.....-sj4ec-001

About $350

So only ten times the price. But, it's a nice piece of kit, and probably could do everything you say above.
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by carlosfm » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:56 pm
It really depends what you want to do with it.

I would not want fans blowing air and making noise (and HDDs too) on my living room.

The Pi is small, silent, sexy.
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by grumpyoldgit » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:01 pm
The Pi is for playing about with. It's not meant to be your main PC. It's for fun.
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by spamel » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:02 pm
I think you should pick option c which is:

C - I am missing the point of the RasPi completely.
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by richardp » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:14 pm
ahmedfarazch said:


Hello!

If I have to make a decision to buy another device, can you help:

I basically want multimedia hub like xbmc and I want to learn to program as well and run a linux distro or two as well! I already have the peripherals like keyboard, mouse and more importantly a monitor! So, I have:

1. Raspberry Pi Model B $35 bare board probably gonna cost $6 to $8 to ship for me, a 8 GB sd card for about $8~12, a case for negligible cost and a power adapter for $2

2. An x86 PC:

a. an AMD Athlon64 X2 4200+ upto 6000+, 1GB RAM, Super Drive, Casing + PSU for $60 (for 4200+) to $90 (for 6000+), a $10~15 HDD additional

b. a P4 2.8GHz , 1GB RAM, 40GB HDD, Super Drive, Casing + PSU for  $60

So, apart from HD 1080p playback which option 2a can also handle, the HDMI output and low power usage, I think the Raspberry Pi makes no sense to me whatsoever to have a ... how do you say ... a cut down version of the full experience!!! Though I am open to your guidance and suggestions to suggest otherwise


Power consumption is a major issue... the PC based solution WILL drink lots of electricity. It will cost more than $2 a month to run a PC based system. Another point is FAN noise.. you wont get away with using the stock fans that come with the case.. (Ultra-Quiet fans are not cheap)

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by rmwebs » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:27 pm
JamesH said:


This is about as cheap as you can get for a small already made device running Linux

http://www.ebuyer.com/319554-a.....-sj4ec-001

About $350

So only ten times the price. But, it's a nice piece of kit, and probably could do everything you say above.


Actually you'll find that every couple of months eBuyer do a model very similar to this (but made by Acer's eMachines brand) for £99. Another option is a SheevaPlug.
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by jamesh » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:30 pm
rmwebs said:


JamesH said:


This is about as cheap as you can get for a small already made device running Linux

http://www.ebuyer.com/319554-a.....-sj4ec-001

About $350

So only ten times the price. But, it's a nice piece of kit, and probably could do everything you say above.


Actually you'll find that every couple of months eBuyer do a model very similar to this (but made by Acer's eMachines brand) for £99. Another option is a SheevaPlug.


Yes, bought one for the father in law, but had Windows, so a bit more expensive. Works OK. They are a good buy at £99. Not as good as a Raspi at £22 though...!
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by ahmedfarazch » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:26 pm
Thank you all for your opinions and suggestions! But, I have decided to go for another cheap PC ... maybe I don't even need one as I can run a VM or two ... because RasPi seems to be for kids who easily get 'distracted' by the PC i.e., they are more interested in running software rather than do some programming on it! I know you are gonna say about real world interaction but I think the cost of sensors and other equipment is gonna be about same regardless of the 'base' system be it the Livebox (less than $10) or a much more expensive Siri Proxy VM plus iPhone 4S plus a communication protocol project!
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by NucWin » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:32 pm
:o Acer are responsible for eMachines :@ those things have made me life a misery at times with the hunt for drivers etc.... now i will have to hate Acer too

P4 wont run x264 .mkv > 4GB not sure the minimum for < 4GB but seems to work on most systems including my HTC Desire HD (BS Player, HW Accelerated), 8GB gives HW mode error and switches to SW (which cant keep up). R-Pi has better GPU than my phone & 10/100 LAN which is better than WiFi.

Curious to see what the R-Pi can do and at that price i will defiantly be getting one to see. It can always double as a low power Archlinux based personal web server \o/
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by rmwebs » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:33 pm
ahmedfarazch said:


Thank you all for your opinions and suggestions! But, I have decided to go for another cheap PC ... maybe I don't even need one as I can run a VM or two ... because RasPi seems to be for kids who easily get 'distracted' by the PC i.e., they are more interested in running software rather than do some programming on it! I know you are gonna say about real world interaction but I think the cost of sensors and other equipment is gonna be about same regardless of the 'base' system be it the Livebox (less than $10) or a much more expensive Siri Proxy VM plus iPhone 4S plus a communication protocol project!


Fair enough. I'm a bit baffled though. You originally stated you want to run it as a media server and to learn how to program, and to run a couple of distros.

For the price of a standard PC you could buy 2 pi's to allow one to stay as a media server, and one for programming & playing with distros.

That being said, even with just 1 Pi, you can still run it as a VERY reliable media server given tat XBMC works on it, and it has AirPlay server working on it. It's already shown it can handle HD video well.

You can then easily switch out the SD card for another to boot up another distro.

Obviously its your choice, and I completely respect that...but I'd urge you consider trying the Pi over a standard system. Its certainly not a toy for kids to get distracted with...
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by toxibunny » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:11 pm
You can get refurbished PCs dead cheap nowadays... mine was only 40 euros, including mouse, keyboard and screen...
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by aperry » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:13 pm
I am amazed by this decision.  Given that you want an XBMC computer capable of 1080p, you're choosing a standard PC which is twice the cost, probably more than 10x the size, and likely more than 20x the power consumption, and requires fans (noise)?  Do you have a link/model for the motherboard and GPU?

You could run XBMC on raspi, silently, and it's small enough to velcro to the back of your TV.  In fact, you could probably use as an HDMI dongle, powered by a USB-power converter.

You're choice, but a baffling one indeed!

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by ahmedfarazch » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:56 pm
I think that the first priority as explained in the mandatory read-this-first is getting this type of device into the hands of needy children (though I have the right to my opinion that this is a total waste of time and effort as it further adds to the fragmented approach to build a modern classroom all across ... as a whole its another me too device)!

So its not right for me to judge it based upon my needs currently! If somebody can, then, please delete this thread entirely or close it here just as well!
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by rmwebs » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:01 pm
ahmedfarazch said:


I think that the first priority as explained in the mandatory read-this-first is getting this type of device into the hands of needy children (though I have the right to my opinion that this is a total waste of time and effort as it further adds to the fragmented approach to build a modern classroom all across ... as a whole its another me too device)!

So its not right for me to judge it based upon my needs currently! If somebody can, then, please delete this thread entirely or close it here just as well!


I think you've completely misread the project and its goal here. For starters, the goal for the first batch is not to give it to 'needy children', its to give it to enthusiasts, hackers and people who want a tiny computer as a web server, media center or other similar project.

I'm a little confused how you came to the conclusion that the Pi is me-too device. Its an educational tool....well, its actually just a very powerful, very small and very cheap computer, but the projects goal is to help bring back propper computer education in the classroom instead of just teaching how to open an Excel spreadsheet.

How exactly THAT can be classed as a waste of time I dont know. What kind of responses did you expect exactly? It seemed like you had made your mind up well before you even posted this topic.
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by spamel » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:05 pm
As I said, option c!
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by TheEponymousBob » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:05 pm
Well I think he"s right, and in fact would urge anyone reading this to buy something else too. Meanwhile, since the RPi"s will have to be bought by someone, I guess I"ll just have to step up and do my bit. You"re welcome. ;)
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by hyena » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:07 pm
sounds like you need one of the excellent ebuyer dual core atom Acer Revo or emachines type thingy ... ive seen them with linux on as low as £110 for a dual core atom 2GB RAM and 300ish GB HD .. as its an x86 you get xmbc nice and stable and easy to install and its great for you to learn to program as well .. bear in mind though this is going to suck power if you have it on 24/7 .. the beauty of the little arm devices is they sip a few watts of power (and power down their GPU etc when not used) so they are great for something left on 24/7

personally i use an elderly iconnect (ARM plug computer gubbins inside) bought cheap as chips sans psu from fleabay and now hacked and running debian for my squeezebox server/dlna server/openvpn server ... which is just perfect and which i will probably replace with a hacked Allwinner A10 settop box (again hacked to run debian) as soon as some kind unix techie has got some nice easy instructions to get uboot/kernel on to it so i can boot from usb/sd card.
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by Jongoleur » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:14 pm
I've got a couple of old x86 PCs in the attic (haven't had the heart to throw the poor buggers out) that are probably worth about 10-15 quid a head at a car boot sale, and they're running Win98 or one of the retro'ed Linuxes designed to work on slow old PCs with limited memory.  Thats when I get around to booting them to check they still work!

Modern anti-virus programs won't work on them, modern web browsers won't work on them, making them an ideal target for attack and subversion and if you want an integrated productivity package, Microsoft Works is probably the bees knees.

They certainly wouldn't be competition for a RaspPi!
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by Lynbarn » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:19 pm
ahmedfarazch said:


... because RasPi seems to be for kids who easily get 'distracted' by the PC i.e., they are more interested in running software rather than do some programming on it!



No, RasPi is for kids who want to (even though they may not know it yet) get a good solid grounding in, and enthusiasm for, the principles of computer software (and hardware) engineering, producing efficient, effective code, and enjoying the mental stimulus that these tasks can bring.

By "Kids", I mean anyone from 9 (or less) to 99 (or more). :)
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by v12cat » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:30 pm
ahmedfarazch said:


I think that the first priority as explained in the mandatory read-this-first is getting this type of device into the hands of needy children (though I have the right to my opinion that this is a total waste of time and effort as it further adds to the fragmented approach to build a modern classroom all across ... as a whole its another me too device)!

So its not right for me to judge it based upon my needs currently! If somebody can, then, please delete this thread entirely or close it here just as well!


The 'Modern' approach to computers in schools isn't fragmented at all. It is bordering on single line corporate indoctrination. M$ and Adobe AFAICS. Not, I would imagine, at the choice of the better teachers.

Home computers in the early 80's were a very fragmented bunch. Most totally incompatible with each other. MSX tried and IIRC failed to standardise. Yet that era spawned a wealth of computer literate school leavers (totally independent of the massively outdated teaching of the time) . Most having done at least rudimentary command line stuff, quite a few complex machine code programming.

IMHO the Raspi is both current and interesting. If it isn't both of these how do you expect 10 year olds to find it interesting? An 8 year old coffee stained lump of a PC is like blackboard dictation. Tedious.
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by hyena » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:36 pm
ideally its NOT just for "kids" but for real world applications as well .. if it has real world applications its less likely to descend in to a fringe downmarket beagleboarder item .. and were likely then to see a pi2 .. pi3 etc

.. it has about the same cpu power as the plug computers - pogoplug/iconnect/dockstar which have a substantial  community  that have hacked the devices (like me) to run debian and a variety of applications 24/7 (so mine runs a squeezebox server/openvpn server [so i can use my ipad on wifi hotspots without being hacked] and dlna server [so i can stream movies to my TV] )

the pi unlike the plug computers also has a FPU (floating Point Unit) and a GPU as well so it does video and fancy maths  .. it also doesnt need to be hacked as its open ;-)

theres no incentive for me to replace my iconnect by the pi becuase it has no more memory or cpu grunt than the plug but if i were doing it again from the start the pi would be perfect and a far better choice and would be running 24/7 doing something damned useful ...  or if i needed to transcode audio or video then the FPU the pi has would make it a lot more useful than the plug computers

so you might see some enterprising hackers creating lovefilm or netflix clients for xmbc on pi .. etc  ... PLEASE !
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by ahmedfarazch » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:42 pm
If you kindly go through the FAQs (which you are often reminded to do so), you shall be able to realize that:

- its a charitable organization, charity as I understand is to serve the needy

- they also plan to launch buy one give one free program ... I think we heard it before somewhere ... :)

- they are giving these first to enthusiasts to see what (educational) software and tools you come up with ... they'll follow with an educational launch later for kids

Yes anybody is welcome to buy it, I am not stopping anyone! I am just voicing my opinion that this project is a waste of time and effort as its going to cause more fragmentation in a much too fragmented environment of technology in education!
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