We’ve come a long way since the first Raspberry Pi hit the shelves. The entire electronics and DIY community were delighted at the sight of a miniature, low-cost computer that had the potential to do wonders.
Several editions later, the Raspberry Pi has evolved immensely. The hardware is now much better and the boards, a lot faster. There’s more RAM, faster CPUs, better connectivity and the Raspbian OS keeps getting better with every update.
There’s no doubt that the Rasberry Pi is indeed one solid little computer. But is it capable enough to replace our everyday computers?
Can Raspberry Pi replace your PC?
Well, if you were to do the bare minimum with your PC, why not? I mean, you can browse the web, edit documents (using LibreOffice though), listen to music and browse around files. You can do everything that a basic computer will allow you to do.
Anything more than that and you’ll face some problems. For example, the Pi isn’t a lot in terms of graphics performance so anything more graphics intensive than playing movies might be a problem. Also, since you don’t really have a lot of RAM, don’t expect to be running a million chrome tabs.
Even for doing basic tasks, you’ll have to adapt to the Raspbian OS, which is Linux based. If you’re coming from Windows and aren’t necessarily a tech geek, that can be a problem. Raspbian, though quite easy to use even for complete beginners, still does have a learning curve.
Also read: Is gaming possible on a Raspberry Pi?
Should you use the Raspberry Pi as your primary computer?
As mentioned above, if you’re only going to be doing basic everyday tasks, you might be able to work on a Raspberry Pi. Anything more advanced than that and the Pi might fail to perform. So the decision here really lies on user discretion and what would you aim for the computer to do eventually.
There are indeed other operating systems available for the Pi, but most of them are Unix based. The Windows 10 IoT edition which is the only officially supported version of Windows for the Pi, is nothing but a bare bone stripped down version of Windows 10 that can run simple UWP apps. As you would have guessed, that’s not quite enough for the everyday user.
Some developers have had success running a desktop version of Windows 10 on their Pi’s but the performance is nowhere near the usual desktop experience. The process involves a bunch of hacks and allows you to run Windows 10 ARM on the Pi. You might as well give it a trial run, but it’s just not worth the hassle.
For more advanced users the idea of using a Raspberry Pi as their main PC is still a far fetched dream.
For instance, you can’t really run a lot of software on it. Even if the Pi is powerful enough to run it, the software might not be available in an ARM package for the OS you’re running.
Then comes the setup procedure. Most PCs nowadays come preloaded with an operating system and all essential apps. This means that all you need to do is press the power button and you’re good to go.
The Pi, however, takes things differently. You’ll have to manually flash the SD card with whatever operating system you would want to use and then set up the whole thing yourself. Again, while the process is quite simple and quite elaborately covered by a lot of online guides, it’s still a bit of work for newcomers.