Saturday, April 18, 2020

Raspberry Pi - fully working computer at the cost of RM300++ (best for home use during and beyond MCO period)

During current Movement Control Order (MCO) period, there are quite a lot of schools have resorted into online teaching and learning mechanism. There are also quite a lot of companies practicing work-from-home (WFH) concept.

However, this raised a question: what if the family does not have a computer at home? And, what if the family only has one computer at home, but needs to be shared by parents who need to WFH and also multiple children who need to learn from home?

Well, you can buy a fully working computer online, including additional computers needed for all your family members, at the cost of RM300++ each, in the condition that you have a screen (either computer monitor or TV) at home, and Internet access (either phone's hotspot sharing or broadband Internet).

The full set Raspberry Pi (recommended for Version 4 model B with 2GB RAM) with all its required accessories, is a fully working computer at the cost of about RM300-RM360 only. Beside its low cost, it also consumes minimal amount of electricity and requires minimal storage space due to its small size.

It is good enough for normal online learning, doing assignments with office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation slides, database, etc.), and some entertainment including games.

With about RM360, you can buy the following full set of computer:
  • Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with Quad core CPU and 2GB RAM - RM174
  • Casing for the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B - RM25  (*1)
  • Official Raspberry 15W power adapter - RM35
  • Micro-HDMI to HDMI cable - RM10
  • Wired earphone - RM15 (*2)
  • 16GB micro SD card preinstalled with NOOBS - RM36 (*3)
  • Logitech MK220 wireless keyboard & mouse - RM65 (*4)

*1: The casing is an optional item. Without the casing, the Raspberry Pi will be a naked computer board as shown in the image above. With the casing, it will look like below:

*2: If you connect the Raspberry Pi to your TV using HDMI cable, you can make use of the audio output from your TV. You need an earphone or speaker, either wired or Bluetooth, to listen to the audio from Raspberry Pi if you are using a monitor without audio output.

*3: Raspberry Pi makes use of micro SD card as its "harddisk". You can also buy a blank micro SD card, which is much cheaper, and download NOOBS for free from Raspberry's website. That will require some basic computer knowledge to download and install NOOBS into the micro SD card. NOOBS is an installer that will prepare the SD card for Raspbian (including partitioning, etc.), and automatically download and install the operating system into it.

*4: Alternatively, you can also use cheaper USB wired keyboard & mouse to further reduce the cost.

The recommended operating system will be Raspbian, a scaled down version of Debian Linux. It has fully functioning Chromium or Vivaldi web browser, LibreOffice resembling the Microsoft Office, and tonnes of installable free softwares in Raspbian repository. This is good enough to access to Google suite of applications (Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Hangout, ...), watch online & offline video, listen to online & offline music, access to learning portal and other websites, attending audio/video conferencing, etc.

There are also programming tools and graphic design software available in Raspbian for learning purpose.

In fact, you can install a full LAMP stack in Raspbian and turn your Raspberry Pi into a web application server as well.

The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B also supports webcam and voice input with additional module, which will need additional cost to buy and some technical skill to assemble.

Beside Raspbian, there are other choices of operating system that works with Raspberry Pi too, including Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Edition, which you can explore if you are enthusiastic with them.


Asta said... Reply To This Comment

Tqvm for sharing. U making me happy :)

Post a Comment

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.