With a range of Raspberry Pi’s to choose from, you can be forgiven for asking yourself “Which Raspberry Pi do I need?” especially when planning a new project. Whilst each Pi is affordable and very capable, you do not always need the latest model for your project.
Which Raspberry Pi Do I Need?
Since the Raspberry Pi was first launched in 2012, there have (to date) been 9 different models released (not including revisions, e.g. including mounting holes). These models include:
I won’t go into too much detail here, as there is a great article on Wikipedia which gives very detailed information on the differences between models and revisions, but with all this choice it can be a challenge deciding what model to use!
As an early adopter of the Raspberry Pi, I have owned pretty much every Model (with the exception of the A, A+ and Compute Module) but during that time I have used different Pi’s for different projects.
Below is a quick overview of the projects I personally tried on the different models of Pi and should help you answer the question, “Which Raspberry Pi Do I Need?” :
- Home Theatre PC (HTPC) running Kodi (formerly XBMC) using both OpenELEC and OSMC (formerly Raspbmc)
- Always-on Automated Usenet Downloader running Sickbeard, Couchpotato and SABnzbd+
- Home CCTV system running MotionEye OS (formerly MotionPie)
- Retro gaming system running RetroPie / EmulationStation (including versions 1.0 and 2.0)
- Simple touchscreen online radio streamer using PyGame and Adafruit’s PiTFT Touchscreen
- HD Audio Player running MoOde Audio with IQaudio’s Pi-DAC+
- Always-on Automated Usenet Downloader running Sickbeard, Couchpotato and SABnzbd+ with Pimoroni’s PiGlow add-on board for a headless system monitor
- Retro gaming system running RetroPie / EmulationStation (version 2.0)
- Home CCTV system running MotionEyeOS
Model B 2:
- Always-on Automated Usenet Downloader running Sonarr, Couchpotato and NZBget with Pimoroni’s PiGlow add-on board for a headless system monitor
- Retro gaming system running RetroPie / EmulationStation (version 3.0), capable of running PlayStation One games and some N64 games.
- HTPC running Kodi (OpenELEC) – much snappier and responsive throughout
- IoT home automated lighting system using Energenie’s PiMote Control Board
- Hand-held retro gaming system running RetroPie / EmulationStation (version 3.0) inside a replica SNES controller (currently work in progress and based on Russell Barnes’ of The MagPi Magazine project)
Model B 3:
- Yet to decide!
- Would be ideal for a more powerful RetroPie setup, especially with the integrated Bluetooth and WiFi modules. Extra power should be interesting for the more modern retro games, such as N64, Dreamcast and PS One.
- Maybe well suited for a Raspberry Pi powered webserver / IoT set up?
As I said, this is a quick summary of the projects I have personally tried on the variety of Raspberry Pi models available. The list would be very long indeed if I included what they are actually capable of, but I would love to hear from you on what you have used your Pi for.