What’s the Difference Between a Raspberry Pi and a Computer?

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi was first launched in the UK in 2012. In the nine years that have passed, this single-board computer has become part of a market that’s grown rapidly, with an estimated worth of $3.8 billion by 2027.

Its definition as a single-board computer implies that the Pi is like a typical computer. However, there are differences between this and the computers that we usually work with. Here’s a look at what those differences are and what makes the Pi the phenomenon that it’s become.

Can the Raspberry Pi be used as a computer?

Before we look at the differences between a computer and the Pi, it’s important to note that the credit card-sized single-board computer can actually be used as a desktop. If you invest in the latest model, the Raspberry Pi 4, along with the kit that includes all the tools you need, you will find that this version is fast enough to operate as a desktop replacement.

While it’s not a full replacement for a standard computer, users have found that the Pi 4 delivers high-quality functionality and is a real contender for use as an everyday desktop for internet browsing, writing notes, and other basic functions.

As with all Pi applications, the operating level depends on the software used. For instance, if you’re using Blender on Buster – the new version of Raspbian – you may find that it’s useful for basic modelling, but advanced projects may require something more robust. It’s here where the differences between a computer and the Pi become apparent.   

The main differences  

So, what are the main differences to be aware of? We’ve already touched on the software potentially being limiting for more advanced desktop applications.

Other differences include some of the more apparent qualities, such as the construction and size of the two. The Pi is much smaller and must be assembled using different tools, while a standard desktop computer is bigger and comes ready-built. However, it’s the building of your own desktop that makes the Raspberry Pi such a rewarding piece of kit.

Other differences to be aware of include the price point. Due to the DIY nature of the Pi, it’s much cheaper than a standard computer. This makes it a more affordable computer for those wanting a basic desktop that suits a limited budget.

Connectivity, storage, and memory, along with components such as ports, screens, storage options, and RAMare significant differences to look out for too. So, if 4GB of RAM is enough for your desktop project, the Pi could be the perfect choice. A standard computer is needed if you need something more robust.

Additionally, while the basic software can be potentially limiting the potential of the Pi, especially when compared with a typical computer, it’s possible to run the Pi 4 as a desktop for many of the functions you will usually use it for. From checking emails to browsing online, you can do everyday tasks all from this small single-board computer. Take the time to work out what you want from your desktop before you go for the standard computer. You might find that a Pi has all the functionality you need at a price that suits you.

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