Top positive review
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Slightly different perspective: use as a server
on 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.
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.
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.