Building a RaspberryPi - For Programming and PSX Gaming


Editorial Team
Nov 21, 2005
United Kingdom
I am familiar with them but games and emulation have not really been what I have done (most of that is XBMC, asterisk and raspian).

There are two models
Model a
Model b

Model a is the one aimed at education. You do not want this (no network out of the box for one and less ram for another).
Model b is the one aimed at consumers and is probably about $10 more at $35. There was a revision which means the later models (which most vendors will stock) come with 512 megs of RAM rather than 256.

Strictly speaking the only official vendors are and (together they represent two of the big three electronics suppliers, the remaining one is ). However you can buy them just as easily on Amazon if you want.

"for practicing coding."
Other than them having a bit of IO you can easily play with (harder now computers tend not to come with serial or parallel ports*) you might as well go with a normal computer ( and ) or if you really want a virtual machine. Still they do support most programming languages in common use so you could do far worse.

*things like the arduino and teensy devices do exist for a reason.

Case. Any really. I have not really tried any others beyond the "official" clear one and these black ones. If you plan to hang things off the IO (not something I have done a lot of) read the reviews to make sure you are not getting one that is hard to use with that.

Power supply. I forget the limit offhand but you are supposed to not go above something like 1200mA. This is fine as long as you do not want to add any power hungry devices (indeed you can got quite a lot lower) onto the thing and power it from the Pi (wireless cards, external hard drives that draw power from the USB and so on).

What you need to get going
The pi

A power supply, if you have a microUSB cable and a port willing to provide a bit more than the 500 mA the USB spec calls for or better yet a twin microUSB cable and a couple of powers you have one you can play with. Otherwise you will need one of these.

A SD card. 2 gigs is enough to do a lot with but I like 4 at least and 8 works well if you want to run multiple operating systems off a single card. More is nice but only really if you want to have videos on there (USB, network shares and more are available remember).

You can output via HDMI or a RCA slot (HDMI does audio and there is a headphone jack on the thing if you prefer that instead) so have some of those.

A USB keyboard and mouse works well too as you will probably want to move a mouse and type something.

The starter kit stuff I am not so sold on but I have all this sort of stuff sitting around doing nothing most of the time where you might not. Do give a thought to putting such things together yourself if you do this though.
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executioner angel
Apr 20, 2010
Tucson, AZ
United States
My experience with Pi makes me wish to add.

Getting a high speed SD card makes a significant difference in usability of Raspbian (and probably other Pi optimized OSs that I have less experience with) over using a common Class 4. I got a Class 10 and would recommend getting that as a minimum or going for an UHS (better than Class 10) SD card.

In dealing with the limited USB there is also something else to consider:

1: Rather than using a wall cord dedicated to supplying power to the Pi, use a powered USB hub for efficiency. Then plug the pi (micro USB power) into the hub, and connect the hub to the pi (USB) also, and use the hub's ports for higher-power items like external HDD or WiFi to reduce the amount of juice the Pi draws. (Best for a stationary setup)

2: I purchased a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse which both are compatible with their "Unifying" adapter. However, in order to pair both devices to the single Unifying receiver, I had to install it on my Windows laptop initially. Now both keyboard and mouse require only one port on the Pi which is very helpful.

3: I got a WiFi adapter that worked on a fresh Raspbian install without any updates, you can even see that I mentioned that in my review under the same moniker:

I have a folder of Pi-related bookmarks but I'm not home right now. Be happy to share them later if you want.

P.S. Regarding cases, I can't afford to get this yet, but I've long wanted to get a Pibow case and this:

  • - (May not be available, their site was down at the time of my posting this, but this is the store that I bought my Pi from. Great US-based source but their S&H fees are a bit steep. If you're considering ordering more than one Pi-related item, I recommend you get it all at once to save on postage.)
and I already mentioned this shop because I want the case/VESA mount, but they also sell an assortment of interesting kits:
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