How to build a Raspberry Pi-based desktop PC

Build your own under-$100 desktop Linux PC with Raspberry Pi; just don’t expect it to be a true PC

Premier Farnell, a distributor of Raspberry Pi, has created a kit that turns Raspberry Pi into a full-fledged desktop PC, running Linux.

What value does the Pi Desktop box bring to Raspberry Pi? Can’t you just use the Pi and use it as a desktop? Not really. First of all, there are no start, reboot or reset buttons on the device. Which means you can’t turn the PC off via a button.

“The built-in power switch makes the Pi Desktop easy to operate. An intelligent and safe power controller means that users do not have to remove the power adapter from the Pi board; they simply turn the power on or off like a desktop or laptop,” said Premier Farnell in a press release.

The second problem is that Pi uses a MicroSD card for the operating system and storage, which limits the usage. With SSD not only you get faster boot time, but also more flexibility in terms of storage capacity.

“The enhanced capabilities offered by the extended SSD memory capability (up to 1 Tbyte) makes the system highly robust and reliable, and the ability to boot the Raspberry Pi directly from the SSD leads to a high-speed start-up experience for users,” said the press release.

The result is an Intel NUK-like box, at a fraction of the cost.

However, there is a caveat. As exciting as it may sound, bear in mind that Raspberry Pi is a low-powered device. Even if it can run a full-fledged desktop operating system, it can’t handle regular workloads, especially web browsing or HD video playback. Don’t get it if you plan to use it as a mini PC.

However, it’s a great device in certain use cases. It can be used in education to teach kids about computers. It’s an amazing under-$100 device that can be used in schools in developing countries. There can be dozens of applications of this device, you just have to explore them.

You can pre-order it from Premier Farnell.


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