true value of raspberry pi The Raspberry Pi is a small, compact and versatile computer capable of handling HDMI and MPEG-2. the centerpiece of any number of weekend projects, from retro gaming stations and media centers to smart TVs, internet radio stations and low-budget space programs.

Since its release in 2012, the Raspberry Pi has proven something of a phenomenon. We’ve covered it in detail here on , and even talked to its creator, Eben Upton . The Raspberry Pi costs less than $40 and is a hugely successful computer, thanks in large part to its low price. But is it really as low budget as you think? Could it be that the true cost of the Raspberry Pi is actually much more?

I decided to take a look at how much I’ve spent on this mini PC since I bought it — and the results are pretty amazing.

Raspberry Pi Basic Package

Perhaps the real reason the Raspberry Pi costs more than you think is because of what you get in the box.

The Raspberry Pi base board is a small motherboard with a resolution of 3.370 x 2.125 inches, consisting of a 700 MHz CPU, 250 MHz GPU, 512 MB RAM, and various USB, Ethernet, HDMI, RCA, audio, USB, and powered GPIO connectors, padded with one SD card slot.

true value of raspberry pi

The Raspberry Pi is $35 for the 512MB version in the US and under £25 in the UK, giving you power cables, storage, a case and possibly more.

Things can get a little expensive here…

What it takes to make it work

It’s a useful kit, but the Raspberry Pi is pretty much useless on its own. To get mine running I bought the following items:

  • Micro USB power adapter
  • USB keyboard
  • USB mouse
  • 8 GB SD card
  • network cable
  • HDMI cable

raspberry price pi

I may add that some of these items were not originally purchased. For example, I had a USB keyboard, but it died. Similarly, I gave away my old USB mouse, so I had to take a new one. I also used a microSD card with an SD card adapter to start with, resorting to a full card when I decided to look for something more stable and reliable for storage.

Other equipment you may need

The above collection of hardware should be all you need for basic use of your Raspberry Pi — perfect for using the device as a programming learning tool (it was an original idea after all…!).

However, over time, and you decide to start trying a few projects, you may just find that you need to start adding a few more hardware components to the mix.

raspberry price pi

For example, I bought a pair of Nintendo Entertainment System game controllers with USB connectors, a webcam, a USB card reader for «writing» Raspberry Pi operating systems to an SD card, and even a case. I also added an external hard drive to my collection, as well as a couple of strips of sticky Velcro to keep the device secure while in use.

So how much have I spent on my Raspberry Pi so far?

Summing up

Let’s list the items noted so far and their current prices (via and

  • Micro-USB power adapter — $9.91 or £3.54
  • USB Keyboard — $8 or £4.99
  • USB Mouse — $4.11 or £1
  • 8 GB SDHC card — $8 or £11.99
  • Ethernet cable — $1.87 or £2
  • HDMI Cable — $3.99 or £3.99
  • 2 game controllers — $14.52 or £15.98
  • USB Webcam — $22.49 or £14.99
  • USB card reader — $6.73 or £3.99
  • Raspberry Pi case (although there are free alternatives) – $13.49 or £7.99

This adds up to a total of $93.11, or $70.46 if you’re in the UK. Add in the price of the Raspberry Pi itself and you’ve only spent $128.11 (or £95.46).


Now I’ve seen some online discussions where people are a little angry at the cost of a complete Raspberry Pi installation. But in fact, under $130 and under £100 for a general purpose computer that can be used for anything from running a microbrewery to a carpentry shop is a fantastic value.

true value of raspberry pi

I started this article thinking that maybe I spent a lot more than expected. Maybe it would be more profitable to buy a tablet or a netbook?

Fortunately, I was wrong. Yes, a complete Raspberry Pi kit costs a bit more than the starting price of a computer, but you can still create a desktop, retro gaming station. media center and a home security system with motion detection that costs less than a quality budget tablet.

Forget dedicated media centers and retro slot machines built from old desktop PCs. The low price of the Raspberry Pi makes the cost of the project affordable.

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