Which Raspberry Pi Should I Use?

Which Raspberry Pi or RBPi you will use is getting more and more difficult to answer as the family keeps growing. It was simple and straightforward when the RBPi first launched – there was only one model. Since then, with four major models to choose from, things are more complicated. However, this versatile beast comes in different specifications and you should select the one most fitting your requirements. Among the models available, here is a summary to help you decide:

RBPi Zero

This is the latest addition to the family. Although it is ultra-cheap, the RBPi Zero is definitely a fully functional single board computer. Compared to the first model of family, the processor used in the RBPi Zero is more than 40% faster. However, purchasing this variant compels you to make major compromises.

To start with, you will need adapters to use the mini HDMI and micro USB ports on the device. As there is no on-board Ethernet port, you need to use the single USB port. Although you can expand its functionality by adding a powered USB hub, the additions begin to detract from the major selling point of the Zero – its tiny footprint.

If the application does not require a fair amount of connectivity, is low-powered and for single-use, you may consider using the RBPi Zero.

RBPi Model A+

Although a full-sized version, this model also lacks the Ethernet port and has only one USB port. Moreover, it has only 256GB RAM that goes with the 700MHz processor. The price and lack of power makes it difficult to recommend the RBPi Model A+ for any application other than for specific ones.

RBPi Model B+

If performance is not a criteria and price is the only consideration, then the RBPi Model B is hard to beat. The model offers good connectivity as it has on-board Ethernet, four USB ports and a full sized HDMI connector. That makes the RBPi Model B+ more versatile than either the Model A+ or the RBPi Zero.

You can use it for any project that requires good connectivity, less than top-notch performance, and low power.

RBPi Model 2

This is the top-of-the-line model in the family and a surprisingly capable beast. With an updated chipset, a quad-core processor and 1GB RAM, the RBPi Model 2 makes a major difference in the large variety of Single Board Computers available in the market.

You can use the RBPi Model 2 as a media server for your network or use it for tasks of more intensive nature such as running a home surveillance system or playing games. It also allows you to explore platforms other than Linux – you can run the IoT version of Windows 10.

Even though the total power consumed by the RBPi Model 2 is below 1W, it uses significantly more power as compared to its predecessors. For example, RBPi Model 2 consumes more than 33% power drawn in by the RBPi Model B+ and five times more power than what the RBPi Zero consumes. Use the RBPi Model 2 for anything where you need good performance.

Check our other guides for information on Model 3.