This guide shows you everything you need to know and how to start using the Raspberry Pi 3. Raspberry Pi 3 is one of the most powerful “single-board-computers” around (or SBC for short).
Use this article to educate yourself on what Raspberry Pi 3 is, what it does, how it works, how to use it, and how to get started:
Raspberry Pi Uses
RPi works in various electronics projects. Use Raspberry Pi as a Kodi media player, as well as for other basic tasks. A few of these tasks include creating Excel / Google Sheets spreadsheets, word processing, gaming, internet browsing and a lot more.
See our full list of Top 10 Raspberry Pi Uses.
RPi Original Purpose
Its primary purpose is to teach children and adults how to program and code.
The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero
The earlier version, Zero, currently costs as little as 5 dollars.
Higher-Powered Raspberry Pi Models
Get upgraded versions of the Raspberry Pi models for as little as twenty bucks:
- The A+ Model is $25
- B+ model for $25
- Or $35 for the most recent Pi 3.
- Raspberry Pi Zero costs $5, and debuted as the lowest powered of all RPi models (“versions”)
- RPi Zero W (with WiFi + Bluetooth) is $10
The new Raspberry Pis come with some upgrades and a more refined design, although the very affordable zero version is perfect to perform many tasks.
Raspberry Pi 3’s Lineage
The Raspberry Pi 3 was released on February 29th, 2016. But the original concept behind this little pocket-sized unit goes a long way back.
In the early 80s, the unit was conceived as a way to provide a simple, efficient, yet very affordable computer for people to learn coding skills.
Size of Raspberry Pi 3
The Raspberry Pi 3 is basically a computer the size of a credit card. So, we need to keep the size limitations of the unit in mind when we go to use it. Therefore, the larger Raspberry Pi units (like Raspberry Pi 2 and 3) have a full-size HDMI port. The smaller Raspberry Pi Zero only has a mini-HDMI port. So you’ll need a mini-HDMI-to-full-HDMI adapter to use the RPi Zero. Check out the details below.
Also, it’s best to “go wireless” when you control the Raspberry Pi units. So plan on spending $20 or so on a decent 2.4GHz wireless keyboard / mouse combo from Amazon. Here is some more info on Raspberry Pi’s input and output technical details (or “specs”):
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How Does Raspberry Pi 3 Display to Screen?
Connect the HDMI port of your Raspberry Pi 3 to a monitor or TV with HDMI port. Also, connect your RPi to a keyboard / mouse in order to operate your RPi.
- The monitor / TV with HDMI port is pretty much essential, unless if you’re the super-hacker type that wants to install a “headless” operating system via console (which almost nobody does, so you’re gonna need a monitor or TV that has an HDMI port, since Raspberry Pi outputs video using HDMI.)
How Do I Control My Raspberry Pi?
Here are the details about connecting your RPi to a monitor and keyboard / mouse:
- Mouse and Keyboard are more or less essential. Generally, you need at least 1 of the 2 to get things going. Most likely you’ll need a mouse and keyboard to install a decent operating system and use the Raspberry Pi at its fullest potential. Here are the best / easiest / cheapest options for RPi input devices:
- A) Get a cheap wireless keyboard / mouse combo from Amazon for $15. Plug the “nano” receiver into your Raspberry Pi’s USB port and your keyboard / mouse issues are over, dude!
- B) Or use a Wired mouse and Wired Keyboard
- C) One great option for using Raspberry Pi 3 as a home theater PC is to get a $12 keyboard/mouse-in-one handheld unit, like this one. It’s basically a full keyboard with a touchpad in the middle, and it’s shaped kind of like a controller. So it’s perfect for HTPC stuff, like navigating through Kodi and Kodi’s system / TV Addons menus!
Other Raspberry Pi Models (before 3)
In the world of today, where the demand for coders is higher than ever before, this little piece of technology is actually enjoying great popularity. So much so, that in just a few years, various different versions released independently of one another.
- The oldest, Raspberry Pi 1
- Raspberry Pi 2 was a significant upgrade to hardware
- Then Raspberry Pi 3 came along and upped the ante, so we can now even play N64 games on Raspberry Pi 3 using Nintendo 64 emulators.
- Most recently, Raspberry Pi Zero (and Zero W for Wireless) were released as the cheapest Raspberry Pi so far, at $5 and $10 respectively.
There are various iterations of the earlier models (A and B) inspired by different iterations of the older design. Also, a plethora of different Raspberry Pi cases are available for purchase at dozens of retailers online.
Raspberry Pi 3 Cases: Where to Buy
Try Etsy or eBay for custom RPi cases to make your Retro Pie emulation station stand out. Additionally, you can make your own RPi case out of just about anything. People have even made RPi cases out of old SNES controllers!
So what can you do with a Raspberry Pi? The possibilities are endless. From browsing the internet and streaming media, to emulate vintage console games and more.