The Power Platform Chap

Benjamin Crowe

An Introduction of sorts for the Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi

In this post, we delve into the Raspberry Pi 3, the newest addition to the Raspberry Pi single board computer lineup by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Much like the BBC Micro:bit, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s primary objective is to provide school children with an affordable and user-friendly computer, fostering basic computer programming education in classrooms. However, the versatility and affordability of the Raspberry Pi extend far beyond educational settings, captivating makers worldwide who utilize it in a plethora of projects.

The journey of the Raspberry Pi began on February 29, 2012, with the launch of the first model featuring an ARM v6 Broadcom CPU clocked at 700 MHz, 256 MB of on-board RAM, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a single USB port. Despite its modest specifications, the original Raspberry Pi Model A quickly sold out within hours of its release, with over 100,000 pre-orders flooding in on the inaugural day.

The Original Raspberry Pi board

The Original Raspberry Pi board.

Since its inception, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has tirelessly refined its beloved platform, introducing four distinct boards: the A, B, B+, and the groundbreaking Raspberry Pi Zero, which made history as the first personal computer to grace the cover of MagPi magazine, a publication dedicated to Raspberry Pi enthusiasts.

Personally, it took me some time to venture into the world of Raspberry Pi. Despite being aware of its existence, I finally took the plunge and acquired a Raspberry Pi 3 single board computer, the latest iteration in the series. Although its size mirrors the original Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi 3 boasts a 50% performance boost, courtesy of its quad-core 1.2 GHz ARM v8-A Broadcom chip. Additionally, it features expanded 1GB SDRAM, Ethernet connectivity, four USB ports, HDMI output, and integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi alongside Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities.

Front of the Raspberry Pi 3

Front of the Raspberry Pi 3


The Raspberry Pi’s flexibility stems from its 40 GPIO pins, enabling seamless integration with various peripherals. Whether you’re crafting a scrolling message display, building a retro gaming arcade with RetroPi, or conducting scientific experiments aboard the International Space Station like AstroPi, the possibilities are endless.

Beyond its maker appeal, the Raspberry Pi serves as an ideal introductory personal computer for children, running on the secure Linux platform, providing a conducive environment for exploration.

To embark on your Raspberry Pi journey, you can acquire a Raspberry Pi 3 for as little as £32, excluding postage. For beginners, additional essentials such as an SD card with NOOBS, a micro USB power supply, and input devices like a keyboard and mouse are necessary. Consider investing in a protective case to safeguard your Pi from static and mishaps.

Raspbian Desktop

Raspbian Desktop

Programming on the Raspberry Pi

Programming on the Raspberry Pi

Upon setup, you’ll encounter a familiar desktop layout, reminiscent of Windows or macOS. Pre-installed software grants access to the OpenOffice suite and a plethora of programming IDEs, including Sonic Pi for music creation, Scratch for block programming, and BlueJ for Java development.

Ubuntu Mate Pi edition

Ubuntu Mate on the Raspberry Pi

RetorPie a retro game emulator

RetorPie a retro game emulator

If you crave more than standard computing tasks, Raspberry Pi Hats, or shields, equipped with LEDs, sensors, motor controllers, and displays, expand your Pi’s capabilities, transforming it into a versatile IoT device or homemade tablet.


In conclusion, the Raspberry Pi 3 epitomizes the platform’s evolution, boasting enhanced performance and features while maintaining affordability. Whether you’re a seasoned maker or a novice enthusiast, the Raspberry Pi offers a gateway to endless possibilities. Join the vibrant Raspberry Pi community and share your projects in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Raspberry Pi Models

Some more Raspberry Pi models from right to left: A, 2B, 2B+, Zero and 3B

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