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The Raspberry Pi Foundation Announces Pi Zero, A $5 Microprocessor To Power Computers

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The non-profit Raspberry Pi foundation today announced a brand new microprocessor that it hopes will further its aims of providing inexpensive computer and programming skills across the globe. Christened Pi Zero, the processor, which may just be one of the cheapest chips capable of powering a computer comparable to your average desktop, costs a mere $5.

As per Eben Upton, via a blog post


Of all the things we do at Raspberry Pi, driving down the cost of computer hardware remains one of the most important. Even in the developed world, a programmable computer is a luxury item for a lot of people, and every extra dollar that we ask someone to spend decreases the chance that they’ll choose to get involved.

Hence the Pi Zero.

The foundation has been tirelessly working to reduce the price of microprocessors, so that almost anyone would be able to purchase one of these chips, plug it to their old — or new — telly, attach a mouse and a keyboard and voila! Own a computer. The previous silicons put forward by the company were also quite inexpensive and cost around $20-$25. However, realizing that for many — particularly in the developing countries — even that much money is hard to come by, the foundation came up with the brilliant idea of launching a $5 Chip.


Despite its single digit price and tiny dimensions, the chip is quite capable of handling anything you throw at it — Provided the stuff you are throwing is not particularly heavy-duty — its processors are perfectly capable of running things like Minecraft, Sonic Pi and the Scratch visual programming language.

Here is what you get when you purchase the made in Wales, Zero.

  • A Broadcom BCM2835 application processor
  • 1GHz ARM11 core (40% faster than Raspberry Pi 1)
  • 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • A micro-SD card slot
  • A mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
  • Micro-USB sockets for data and power
  • An unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header
  • Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
  • An unpopulated composite video header
  • Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm

You really have to give it to the folks over at the foundation. It’s actually quite difficult to understand how they managed to make available a chip this powerful, for about the cost of an average dinner. But there you have it.

From what we have been able to gather, the dramatic decrease in price from the next cheapest Model A+ ($20) has been possible because of various factors including the economies of scale, reduction in component costs and how everything that wasn’t absolutely vital has been kicked off-board.

The not for profit foundation is giving away the Pi Zero chip for free with each copy of the December issue of The MagPi magazine which itself is loaded with “everything you need to know about Zero, including a heap of project ideas, and an interview with Mike Stimson, who designed the board.”

You can also browse the net for heaps and heaps of ideas about using the Pi Zero — There are a myriad of potential uses, really — from plugging into your old Tv to watch videos or work on Excel, to program, in robotics and on and on and on.

Starting today, the Pi Zero is available in the UK at element14, The Pi Hut and Pimoroni, and in the US via Adafruit and Micro Center. The Foundation has also promised to make them available to other countries too, albeit with some delay.


A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

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