Raspberry Pi VS. Netbooks

raspberry pi board

A Raspberry Pi board.

The Raspberry Pi was released in February after a development period where it was touted as being an affordable computer for schoolchildren, and immediately sold out to a horde of greedy neckbeards. The two companies doing the manufacturing are still making batch after batch to sell to all of the people who backordered it, myself and my scruffy neck included. Nearly half a year later, and the only place you can buy a 35$ Raspberry Pi is eBay, and it will run you over a hundred dollars.
This product’s novelty is rapidly waning. At a minimum, it will need means of supplying power over USB, keyboard, HDMI cord, and SD card, which would add at least 20 dollars to the price (then there is shipping charges). For over 50 dollars, you have to consider how devoted you are towards the novelty of this device versus the functionality that could be obtained through other options.

Netbooks have held the same price point and similar specs for the past two years, due to increased demand for tablets, hard drive prices being driven up from the flooding in Thailand, and an overall push towards ultrabooks. The Acer Aspire One’s newer models have barely changed from those released two years ago, aside from costing about 30 dollars more and having a larger hard drives. Although the price is no longer as amazing as it was 2 years ago, it still offers itself as a good alternative to the Raspberry Pi in numerous regards.
Check out the sexy comparison regarding those regards;

  Raspberry Pi Netbooks
Price Model A base price: 25$
Model B base price: 35$
Additional costs from shipping, keyboard, mouse, power cord, HDMI cable, 4 Gig SD card (class 10), and case: 50$
Between 220$ and 280$ for most 10 inch models
Processing Power 700MHz ARM processor roughly equivalent to a Pentium II 233MHz 1.66GHz dual-core Intel Atom processor roughly equivalent to a Pentium 4
Graphic Power Capable of high definition video. Will probably shit itself with mkv files and highly compressed H.246 Capable of high definition video. Struggles with mkv files at any resolution and shows more artifacts than Lara Croft’s trophy room, but does a decent job with other files.
Graphic Output HDMI output HDMI output on newer models, VGA on older models. Most have 1200×600 resolution screens, which are too low of resolution to handle most of Windows 8’s Metro apps.
Storage Standard SD card with support up to 64 Gigs, two USB ports for thumbdrives/externals 5400 RPM drives between 160 and 320 Gigs in most cases. In rare instances, solid state drives. Generally 3 USB ports.
Power Consumption 2.5 Watts for Model A (no ethernet port) or 3.5 Watts for Model B. This doesn’t include a screen, but 19 inch monitors add approx 30 Watts *At 15 cents per kilowatt/hr the Raspberry Pi running non-stop with moderate use will cost about 1 cent per day. Approx 20 Watts during regular use, and approx 35 Watts when the battery is charging. With the screen turned off, power consumption drops below 10 Watts. *At 15 cents per kilowatt/hr netbooks running non-stop with moderate and its screen turned off use will cost about 5 cents per day.
Memory 256 Megs, shared with GPU Typically 1 Gig, shared with GPU
Battery Can run for approx 2 hours on 4 AA batteries. Can also run from battery packs such as this one here. There is a great comparison at www.fanjita.org Approx 3 hours on a 3-cell, 8 hours on a 6-cell. More with wireless turned off.
As a Web Server Extremely cheap, and you don’t need to worry about it starting fires. With specs similar to most bargain VPN services, could likely handle 30 simultaneous connections all accessing a database. Makes a very, VERY good alternative to a bargain VPN, as you will nearly recoup any expenses within a year. Has an onboard emergency power supply, and is more powerful than the Raspberry Pi. Also would make a fine home server.
As a Game Server Just about perfect for a Quake 3 server.
Can run a Counter Strike 1.6 server with 4 people connected. This is good news for people in 2001 who don’t like to play 24 player games with more than 4 people.
It is possible to run a 6 person Killing Floor server without any issues.
It is possible to run a Minecraft server off of a netbook, but as soon as you get around 6 concurrent users the netbook begins to double as a space heater.
As a Console Emulator Can handle emulators up to Genesis and Super Nintendo. Can handle emulators up to Playstation. Both N64 and Saturn emulator’s minimum requirements are beyond the capability of most netbooks.
Weird/Extras Doesn’t have a BIOS, system clock, onboard battery, or a power button. Atheros cards found in many netbooks lead to lots of wi-fi fun.

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4 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi VS. Netbooks

  1. Well, I’m a dumb fucking idiot. The bit about running it as a game server was based on specs required for the games….on x86 processors. The Raspberry Pi uses an ARM processor, which means that you probably aren’t going to be using it as a game server.
    Java exists on ARM, but there is no way in hell the Raspberry Pi is going to function as a Minecraft server…. but I haven’t tried that either, and I’m likely to be wrong about that as well.

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