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VINE VOICEon August 6, 2014
WHERE AND WHAT TO BUY
I wanted to address this first: a few reviews here recommend to "just get the kit instead". I would think that this depends on what one really needs and/or already has lying around! Personally, I only needed the Raspberry and a microSD card - not only did I get these two items for under fourty bucks total, but my SD card is a 16GB model with higher speed ratings than the 8GB cards usually in the kits. So, shop around, and keep in mind that the B+ is supposed to cost 35 bucks, just like the B before.

Feb 2015 Update: A new "Raspberry 2 B+" was just announced, with twice the RAM and a quad- core CPU, at the same price. May want to hold off this item if you're interested in RAM/throughput.

WHAT IS THIS NEW "B+" MODEL
It's a moderate update to the now obsolete model B. The highlights are: 4 USB ports instead of 2, more I/O pins, better efficiency. The main takeaway for the buyer is that the Pi now needs a microSD card, and old cases for the B won't fit anymore (same size, slightly different layout).

CPU PERFORMANCE AND POWER
My use case is probably a bit exotic, as I'm putting the Pi to work as a nano (femto?) server. I don't currently need the video circuitry, or the IO ports. But because of the amazing price tag and enthusiastic support community, it still seemed like a good choice. The only thing I had to figure out: how much raw CPU "oomph" does this thing have to run my applications, and how much power does it require?

I came up with what is probably the most unfair benchmark ever, but it did give me the number I needed: the Pi's CPU runs about 200 times slower than an Intel Quad- Core for my intended purposes. Details of this "Spartan army against kid with a stick" comparison in the comments. But the amazing thing is, that it did run! The app uses a relational database, a Java JVM, and complex libraries, and it still was able to compute financial indicators for 200 yearly timeseries per second!

Best of all, it did all this drawing somewhere near 1 Watt of power. I wish I could give more precise numbers, but that's all my Kill-A-Watt would display.

OVERCLOCKING
The config tool has an overclocking option built right in. I tried the "Turbo" setting and it was no joke: my CPU- intensive app from above went from 207 timeseries/second to 341 timeseries/second - a cool 65% boost. The Pi did draw more power this way (the Kill-a-watt said "2") and got quite warm. I feel like heatsinks would be called for in that mode, but it's nice to know it's there. In total, there are 5 performance levels to chose from.

VERDICT
I'm very happy with this little marvel. It serves my intended purpose as an ultra-low-power server, and while I wish it came with a better CPU and perhaps power over Ethernet (PoE), I don't see The Raspberry as having any competition pricewise or in terms of community support.
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on October 15, 2014
my sega genesis died.
i bought a "new" one and life continued as normal.

then i remembered i had seen a video on the internet about game emulation of ultra compact computers. i did a quick search and discovered the raspberry pi. it looked like it would do everything i wanted and more.

i tested it out when i got it and found that i can emulate the genesis perfectly, as well as master system and NES. super NES emulation is hit (70-80%) and miss.

i gutted my dead genesis, leaving the small controller board that operates the power/reset buttons and has the controller ports on it. i modified the case to mount the r-pi inside. then i wired the buttons and controller ports to the GPIO pins on the r-pi. i needed to write some custom python scripts to operate the buttons how i wanted, but there are lots of tutorials online.

i now play games with a genuine sega controller. (for SNES games that need more buttons i can plug some wires into the controller end and use my genuine SNES controller, or a usb gamepad.)

after that i started to see what else i could do with this toy computer.

i found software that lets me stream audio and video from my computer and phone to the device.
it works better as a media server than my dedicated WD TV Live Media Player, which cost close to $100.
i even found that i can use my old windows media centre usb infrared receiver and remote.

things for me to still do:
acquire SNES controller ports so that i can wire them permanently into the side of the case.
install a small infrared sensor in the front of the case so that i don't need to use a usb one.
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on September 29, 2014
Met my expectations and more. I bought this device mainly to test out using it as a home theater before dropping hundreds on a new computer to do just that. I figured that if this failed at what I needed it for in regards to the home theater, that I'd be able to find use for it in a number of other areas given it's flexibility and ease of programming.

Installed the Raspberry Pi XBMC version and started messing with the config, themes & plug-ins and realized that it does amazing work with all my video files. 1080p MKV? Worked for me. Paid for the decoder licenses (like $6) for WMV & MPG files. Those also work awesome. The HDMI out is more crisp & clear than the WDTV Live box I was using. It is almost like having a new TV.

For this setup I have a NAS with all my video files, which stream to the Pi on my big screen. There is no stutter & all video files I've tried to stream have streamed no problem. I haven't watched all 700 movies in my library, but I'm going to assume that they will all work out just fine. I have not tested a DVD ISO yet, so I can't speak to how well those work, but I have used AVI, MKV, MPG, WMV, etc. All with success.

After that exceeded my expectations, I went out and bought a second microSD card and loaded up the retro video game emulator on that. It was able to play all my NES & SNES ROM files without a problem. The only hangup was getting my USB Xbox 360 controller to work how I wanted while in game, but that's not the Raspberry Pi's fault. Once that was completed though, I was playing NES games on my big screen in a way I would have loved to do as a kid. Crisp clear HDMI graphics despite the simpleness of the NES games. SNES work great. Up next will be the N64.

This device with both it's cost & ease of use make it worth much more than what you have to pay for it. If you have a little bit of technical knowledge and a go-getter attitude you can make this little machine do just about anything you want it to.

Anytime I need a standalone machine for a future task, I will be looking at one of these first.

** 2015 update **
I now have 2 of these. Kodi (XBMC was rebranded) wasn't bad, but it was a bit of a pain in terms of features (not marking off TV shows you had watched so that you can go to the next episode for example), so I started evaluating more options. Plesk is the OS I decided to go with. My wife loves the UI, it has an On Deck feature that puts the next episode of a TV show on the screen to select, so I can't complain.

It also supports CEC functionality, so I don't need a keyboard or mouse for the Pi, the TV remote does the trick. Also makes it so you don't have to try and get an IR receiver to work. I did try to do just that at one point, but the documentation and functionality of those add-ons are not quality and so it was a waste of money.

I still highly recommend a Pi as the core of your home theater. I will be ordering another one in the next month or so.
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on October 29, 2014
Used this to make a retro gaming system - it works wonderfully. I doubt I'll find the time to tinker with it further, but for now, it's great.
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on November 15, 2014
The Raspberry Pi we've all come to know and love, now with twice the usb ports. But the current delivery is still limited, as is the bandwidth.
Also, it now uses a micro-sd card instead of the standard sd card, so I had to buy some new ones. Don't bother buying the fancy super fast ones though, as it still caps at ~20MB/s on the card...
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on January 5, 2015
The Raspberry Pi has given me the most fun I've had programming in quite a while. I originally got this along with the camera module to work as a "doggie cam" server to keep an eye on our dog while we're at work. But the possibilities are pretty much endless. I've installed a Nintendo emulator on it, I've attached an external hard drive to create a NAS for our home, I've installed DLNA software to stream movies from it to our PS3. You name it, someone's probably thought of it, and has a package ready to go for you.

There are some horsepower concerns when it comes to actually playing video from the device, as the X GUI doesn't have enough memory (even when jumping the GPU RAM to its max) to load YouTube (just my example, as I had hoped to use this unit to play video from another web-based streaming video service) via Chromium. I haven't tried any sort of command-line playing of video, but I imagine that's a possibility.

All in all, if you have a bit of Linux know-how and an "what if" attitude, you can do a lot of cool thing with this li'l guy.
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on July 27, 2014
Fantastic device. It works with my off-the-shelf cell phone charger, connected to the HDMI port on my TV, and an ethernet cord to my router. I downloaded NOOBS offline installer to a micro SD card and installation was very straightforward. The download and installation did not take long and the device was up and running. I expect to do many projects with this device.
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on January 22, 2016
It's a Raspberry Pi! This is my fourth Pi that I have purchased. The first one I bought I tried to bypass the power input and use the GPIO pins for power. Not a good idea. I use the second one for a Christmas light display. Coupled with a Sainsmart Solid State Relay I can control up to 16 outlets to flash our lights in time to the music. The third I use for our irrigation control. Our controller died and I figured out how to use this instead of spending $200 on a new controller. And the fourth, I am using for a VPN server. I can't buy enough of these little computers!
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on March 2, 2015
I have had the Pi B+ for about a week and a half and have been using it with Rasbmc for a media center with my old TV, and to be honest, I really do like the B+... I did overclock it (in Rasbmc settings) just one notch higher and it did really well. The video playback was never an issue .. .I tried playing videos from a Windows share over my router to the Pi (wired connection to the router) and it didn't skip or have any real issues.

I DID notice sometimes when "going forward" in a video that was in say an AVI format on the network .. the audio and video would go out of sync ... JUST for a second or two but then it'd correct itself. I did notice sometimes adding addons or navigating meus was .. a "tad" laggy at times but nothing too bad ..I could (I am getting to that) live with it no problem. I also had a few restarts, but I am sure that was due to a RasBMC hiccup and NOT the pi B+ itself having any problem.

I really already knew how to hook stuff up when I got it and had no issue once everything (say my external keyboard and mouse) came in the order, so I could control it.

I AM returning this B+ ... NOT BECAUSE I have any issue with it really (I want to make that clear) ... I just opted for $7.5 more + $7.5 Shipping for the Pi 2 ... I have only started playing with that one (Openelec ... sort of like Raspbmc) and it is A BIT more responsive ... I have not had any of the (no matter how little it was) lag doing anything on it. I guess it depends on what you want the B+ for but even as a media center ... I'd just tell people about the price of the Pi 2 and how much faster it seems ... but still "recommend" the B+ 100% ...

I have thought of doing a firewall (just for the learning experience) or even a retro game console with the B+ ... and to be honest if i didn't need to get another power adapter, another case, ANOTHER memory card) to use the B+ ... I would NOT be returning the B+ I have here now..

I could (depending on the use I'd think of for it) see myself getting a B+ sometime in the future.

note: the only reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars was due to the slight lag doing different tasks and MAINLY because the Pi 2 is not that much more in price and is a bit faster. ... otherwise (mainly the Pi 2 part) I'd have no reason not to give it a 5 out of 5 .
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on January 20, 2015
It works. Considering the things are fully tested prior to leaving the Sony factory in UK, there's not much else to say about them.

Oh, when you buy one, the beginner asks, "What can I use this for?" After having one for a week, you will begin to ask, "What CAN'T I use this for?"
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