The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B with a 900MHz Quad Core CPU, VideoCore IV 3D graphics core and 1 GB RAM is one of the most affordable $35 desktop computers in the world which is good to use as an affordable everyday desktop PC which has good performance for the extremely low price, and power usage. It is also easy to replace and upgrade parts, and accessories like the Pi 2’s MicroSD Memory Card, Micro-USB power adapter, HDMI cable, monitor, speakers, USB wifi adapter, Ethernet wired networking cable, keyboard, mouse, Pi 2 case, and other parts, and accessories which work for the Pi 2. The easiness of replacing, upgrading, and removing parts and accessories for the Pi would make it very affordable to fix since when a part like the Micro SD card breaks, you can just buy a new one to replace the broken SD card, and other parts like mouse, keyboard, mouse, and usb wifi adapters can be bought for a few dollars online. The Raspberry Pi 2 is also inexpensive to replace when it breaks, and you can re-use your parts and accessories from your broken Pi 2 on your working Pi 2. The Raspberry Pi 2 also seems pretty durable when installed in a Pi 2 case because the Pi 2 has no moving parts since it uses MicroSD memory cards, and don’t need fan air cooling because it is unlikely to overheat since it does not get very hot when it is powered ON.
The Raspberry Pi 2 has faster performance than the original Pi which was released a few years a go because the Pi 2 has faster parts like a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU, 1GB RAM, and VideoCore IV 3D graphics core. It is also possible to overclock the Pi to CPU to 1000 MHz, and 500MHz for the RAM, and video chip, so the Pi 2 runs faster. But, you may need to use a better Micro-USB power adapter rated at 2 Amps of current, and buy a small heatsink to stick on the Pi 2’s CPU chip on the circuit board, so the CPU runs cooler. Most programs like Web Browser, the Pi Store, Kodi media center, and office programs load pretty quickly in a few seconds, and rarely freezes. It also starts up in under a minute, and shutdowns in a few seconds.
The Pi 2 also now has 4 USB ports instead of 2, and uses MicroSD Memory Cards instead of regular SD cards. It also has a full size HDMI port, 3.5 mm audio and composite video port, Ethernet wired networking port, 40 GPIO pins, Camera Interface (CSI), and Display Interface (DSI).
The Raspberry Pi also uses very little electricity because it can be powered by a Micro-USB charger from a smartphone or tablet. The Pi 2 uses a few Watts of power according to a post I read on the Pi 2 power consumption. Using the Raspberry Pi 2 as your main computer, and also using a low powered LCD monitor with LED back light for doing certain tasks like watching video, listening to music, etc can save you a few dollars in electricity per month because the Pi uses less power compared to laptops, desktops, and some tablet PCs which uses more power when turned on. It is also easy to unplug the power adapter for the Pi from the wall, so it uses no standby power after you shutdown the Pi 2. You can also plug in the Pi 2, your monitor, and speakers into a separate power bar, and turn off the power bar when you are not using the Pi 2, so you stop your monitor, speakers, and Pi 2 power bar from using standby power, and to make turning on your Pi 2, monitor, and speakers faster by just switching on the power bar’s on/off switch on the power bar.
The Raspberry Pi 2 also does not need extra cooling from a fan, or heatsink unless you plan to overclock its CPU and video chip to a very high frequency setting. The Raspberry Pi 2 is also very quiet because it does not need fan cooling when you use it. The Raspberry Pi 2 also won’t heat up your room like more powerful, and power intensive computers like Desktop PCs, and file servers which sometimes generate a lot of heat which warms up a room, so a Pi could be good if you live in a hot climate, and you do not want your computers to heat up your room when on.
The Raspberry Pi 2 can be used as a low powered computer for doing tasks like word processing, browsing the web, watching videos, and listening to music.
The Raspberry Pi 2 is also very fun to use because there are a lot of cool and useful computer programs which you can run on it. I can turn the Raspberry Pi into a media streaming device to listen to my music file collection, and streaming music, watch HD YouTube videos, and watch regular offline video files when you install Kodi/XBMC onto your Raspberry Pi 2 by installing OpenElec, Raspbmc, or Xbian Kodi themed operating system on your SD card to launch Kodi Media Center. It is also possible to install Kodi on Raspbian by following a tutorial on installing Kodi on Raspbian which is easy to find online when you use a search engine to search for it.
If you are more tech savvy, you can use the Pi 2 as the computer for a robot, digital camera, phone, and wi-fi router. There are also a lot of cool monitors and accessories you can buy for the Pi 2 which turns the Pi 2 into a touchscreen tablet, or mini laptop.
The Raspberry Pi 2 is also compatible with other operating systems like Ubuntu Mate, Snappy Ubuntu Core, Windows 10 IOT Core, OSMC, OpenElec, PINET, RISC OS, Firefox OS, Android, etc, so you are not stuck running Raspbian when you want to try other operating systems on the Pi 2. You can use the Noobs microSD installer to install multiple operating systems on one larger size SD card like a 32GB MicroSD card, or you can install the operating systems on seperate Micro SD Cards, and change the SD cards out when your Pi 2 is off to start up in different operating systems by changing Micro SD Cards with different operating systems installed on them.
I mainly use Raspbian because it is stable, reliable, easy to learn how to use compared to other Linux operating system, and run very smoothly on the Pi 2. I can use Raspbian for many hours without experiencing any annoying problems like random restarts, full computer freezes where the whole pc is frozen, and error messages. There are also a lot of computer programs which are compatible with Raspbian. Raspbian also only uses about 58 MB of RAM, and 1% CPU when it is idle, so it is very lightweight. Raspbian is also based on Debian Linux which is one of the most popular Linux operating systems in the world.
There are also many programs for Raspbian for word processing like FocusWriter which is a lightweight word processor program for typing out documents. I used FocusWriter to type out this entire Raspberry Pi 2 article which you are reading. If you need to create spreadsheets, presentations, and type out documents, you can install LibreOffice on the Pi from the Pi store. LibreOffice is a free office suite program for Raspbian, and other operating systems like Windows, and Ubuntu Linux.
The main benefit of the operating systems for the Raspberry Pi is that most operating systems don’t need antivirus programs like Windows, and Mac because Linux operating systems are more secure.
I can also use the Raspberry pi 2 for playing games like Quake 3 on it. Raspbian also comes with a few games which are made with Python. If you know how to program games, and programs, you can use Python on the Pi to make your own games, and programs to play on the Pi. There are also custom Raspberry Pi operating systems, and programs which turn your Pi 2 into a retro gaming console.
Before you can use your Raspberry Pi 2 like a desktop computer, you’ll need to get a MicroSD memory card (I recommend a 8GB or larger MicroSD Card). There are also 8GB and larger MicroSD Memory cards with the Raspberry Pi NOOBS installer pre-installed on it, so you won’t need to use a Windows, Linux, or Mac computer with a MicroSD card reader to manually setup your MicroSD Card by copying the NOOBS files, or to format the card to FAT32, image/clone an operating system like Raspbian to the MicroSD Memory card with a SD imaging program like Win32DiskImager which is also useful for backing up your Pi 2’s MicroSD when you fully setup your Pi 2. If you just plan on using one operating system, and need a lot of free space, I recommend you use Win32DiskImager to image an operating system like Raspbian onto your MicroSD Card. You would need a USB MicroSD card reader or a converter to convert a MicroSD card into a SD card if your computer does not have a MicroSD card reader. If you are using a Windows tablet, you maybe able to use the MicroSD card reader on it to image a Raspberry Pi 2 Operating System onto the MicroSD memory card.
You will also need a Micro-USB power adapter, keyboard, mouse, HDMI video cable or composite video cable, speakers with a 3.5 mm audio plug if you are not using a display with HDMI audio, and monitor with HDMI or composite inputs to use the Pi as a desktop computer. There are also touchscreen monitors which work on the Pi 2, so you won’t need a keyboard or mouse if you plan to use the Pi 2 as a tablet/smartphone. If you want to use the Raspberry Pi to go on the internet, you will need a USB Wifi adapter, or wired Ethernet cable to connect your Pi to your router or modem.
You can also buy affordable adapters which cost a few dollars online. There are video adapters which convert a HDMI video connection to VGA and DVI to use the Pi 2 on a monitor with only VGA, and DVI connections. The 3.5 mm audio jack also supports composite video, but you need to get a composite video cable which is compatible with the Pi 2. Composite video is the round yellow video port found on the back of most older tube TVs, VCRs, and other types of cheaper, and older displays. Composite video is lower resolution like standard definition TV, so your picture quality won’t be as good as HDMI, DVI, and VGA which supports higher video resolutions like 720P, and 1080P.
If you do not own an HDMI monitor, and plan on buying or already own a older monitor, I recommend you use the DVI port, and a HDMI to DVI cable on the monitor if the monitor has a DVI port. DVI is the same as HDMI because they are both digital, but DVI has no sound, so you need to use the Pi 2’s 3.5 mm audio port, and a pair of speakers with a 3.5 mm audio jack for sound. a HDMI to DVI cable cost about $10 or more online, and there are cheap adapters for HDMI cables with turn one side into DVI, so you can use it on your monitor with a DVI video port.
A HDMI to VGA adapter would be the next best option if your older monitor does not support DVI video. But the video quality maybe not as good because VGA is analog video which may not be as sharp as digital video like HDMI, and DVI. HDMI to VGA adapters also sometimes don’t work properly, or maybe more likely to break because they have parts which convert the digital signal to an analog signal to work on older CRT tube style monitors, and older LCD monitors which uses VGA to connect to a computer.
A lot of the accessories for the Pi like a MicroSD card, keyboard, mouse, HDMI video cable, speakers, HDMI monitor, and Micro-USB power adapter are affordable to buy, and sometimes you may already own these accessories, so you just need to buy the Raspberry Pi 2, and use your computer accessories you already own before you bought the Pi 2.
I also recommend that you buy a case for the Pi 2, so it is protected from dust, dirt, and damage. Cases for the Pi 2 are not very expensive, and can be bought for under $10. You can also make your own case out of building blocks like Lego, or other materials like wood, plastic, and other non-metallic materials.
The Raspberry Pi 2 is one of the best affordable computers to use as a mini desktop computer because it cost only $35, and the accessories, and parts for the Pi 2 are also very affordable, and easy to install, and replace as they break. The Pi 2 also uses very little electricity compared to a regular desktop or laptop computer which uses more power. The Raspberry Pi 2 is also a lot faster to use than the Raspberry Pi 1, and other mini computers in the $35 or less price range. There are also a lot of great programs, parts, accessories, and cases for the Pi 2, so you can use the Pi 2 for many different tasks. It is easy to find help on how to use the Pi 2 because of the large community of Raspberry Pi users who posts on Raspberry Pi 2 related forums, and blogs.