Raspberry Pi to Linux Desktop

You may have bought a new Single Board Computer (SBC), and by any chance, it is the ubiquitous Raspberry Pi (RBPi). You have probably had scores of projects lined up to try on the new RBPi, and you have enjoyed countless hours of fun and excitement on your SBC. After having exhausted all the listed projects, you are searching for newer projects to try on. Instead of allowing the RBPi to remain idle in a corner, why not turn it into a Linux desktop? At least, until another overwhelming project turns up.

An innovative set of accessories converts the RBPi into a fully featured Linux-based desktop computer. Everything is housed within an elegant enclosure. The new Pi Desktop, as the kit is called, comes from the largest manufacturer of the RBPi, Premier Farnell. The kit contains an add-on board with an mSATA interface along with an intelligent power controller with a real-time clock and battery. A USB adapter and a heat sink are also included within a box, along with spacers and screws.

Combining the RBPi with the Pi Desktop offers the user almost all functionalities one expects from a standard personal computer. You only have to purchase the solid-state drive and the RBPi Camera separately to complete the desktop computer, which has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a power switch.

According to Premier Farnell, the system is highly robust when you use an SSD. Additionally, with the RBPi booting directly from an SSD, it ensures a faster startup.

Although several projects are available that transform the RBPi into a desktop, you should not be expecting the same level of performance from the RBPi as you would get from a high-end laptop. However, if you are willing to make a few compromises, it is possible to get quite some work done on a desktop powered with the RBPi.

Actually, the kit turns the RBPi into a stylish desktop computer with an elegant and simple solution within minutes. Unlike most other kits, the Pi Desktop eliminates a complex bundle of wires, and does not compromise on the choice of peripherals. You connect the display directly to the HDMI interface.

The added SSD enhances the capabilities of the RBPi. Apart from extending the memory capacity up to 1 TB, the RBPi can directly boot up from the SSD instead of the SD card. This leads to a pleasant surprise for the user, as the startup is much faster. Another feature is the built-in power switch, which allows the user to disconnect power from the RBPi, without having to disconnect it from the safe and intelligent power controller. You can simply turn the power off or on as you would on a laptop or desktop.

The stylish enclosure holds the add-on board containing the mSATA interface and has ample space to include the SDD. As the RBPi lacks an RTC, the included RTC in the kit takes care of the date and time on the display. The battery backup on the RTC keeps it running even when power to the kit has been turned off. There is also a heat sink to remove heat built-up within the enclosure.