Cost Benefit for Raspberry Pi

by Troy Scott

2014/02/19

Four days ago i ordered a Raspberry Pi Model B from Amazon. In hindsight i probably should have purchased a kit.   But since i wanted to start using the pi the day it arrived it probably cost an additional $100 to get it up and running:

  • 8 GB SD Card: $10
  • Micro USB: $20
  • 4 Port USB Hub (5V): $30
  • Extra Keyboard/Mouse: $40

However, I only consider the the SD Card and the Micro USB to be the only two real additional costs. The Raspberry Pi was designed for the DIY community. Its a multipurpose device and is much more than a PC. Being no more than the size of a deck of playing cards you can use it as a Media Centre, small web server, file share and even for educational purposes like teaching students how to program (Scratch).

There are many articles that try to position the Raspberry Pi as inexpensive PC with many hidden costs. But this is not the case. Articles like these provide some value in educating consumers of what it would cost if you tried to use the pi as a PC (mouse, keyboard, monitor, cables). But if you want a computer to check e-mail, play games and surf the web then the Raspberry Pi is not the device for you.

If you want to build your own embedded system or create a farm of small web servers to test and build new software applications, then the Raspberry Pi is a great option. Cloud based servers or even shared hosting is going to run you at least $5 to $10 a month and your data is remote. The Raspberry Pi is a great alternative to using cloud based service depending on the scale of your projects. Even as a media centre it is a good deal if you want an alternative to Apple TV or Roku. I admire the flexibility of the device. During the day it can be used as a web development server and in the evening i can use the same device as a media centre with a quick reboot.