Asking a non-techy person about Raspberry Pi(e) will probably get their mouth watering. However, asking a tech enthusiast about Raspberry Pi will likely spur different cravings. With the recent announcement of Raspberry Pi 4, its makers are pushing the limits of bare-bones computing even further.

Since the minicomputer brand first debuted in 2012, it has powered home gadget hacks, business operations, and classrooms. Now, the tiny device could realistically replace a simple desktop computer. What’s most intriguing about this is the fact that Raspberry Pi 4 starts at just $35.

More Powerful Than Ever

From a specs standpoint, the latest edition of Pi is a pound-for-pound beast. It also features a surprising number of upgrades over the previous generation. These enhancements mean the small computer is powerful enough to serve as a web browser and an email checker right out of the box.

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Most notable among its new features is the option to upgrade its 1GB of RAM to either 2 or 4GB. The top tier costs just $55, which still puts the Raspberry Pi 4 in practically everyone’s price range. Overall, the robust memory gives the computer enough power to carry out the browsing tasks of a basic desktop while running a more user-friendly operating system.

Plus, Pi 4 ships with an updated 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A72 quad-core processor that is significantly more powerful than before. The tiny thing is powered by a USB-C power supply, a step up from the now antiquated Mini USB.

Perhaps Microsoft should take a lesson from Raspberry Pi before releasing a new Surface Pro.

Another surprising feature on the new computer is a pair of micro HDMI ports that are capable of powering dual 4K displays. While users won’t be gaming on the Pi 4, they could undoubtedly enjoy clear web browsing and even some light streaming on a high-resolution monitor. Thanks to upgraded dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi support and Bluetooth 5.0, this is very realistic.

Limitless…Sort of

While previous Raspberry Pi computers are perfect for making a remote control car or a media gallery, the newest version has far bigger applications. Considering the amount of power on the tiny board, the Pi 4 could easily replace budget desktops that cost more than five times as much.

Seeing exactly how the device transitions from a tinkerer’s tool to a commonplace computer will be interesting. It may be terrific for computer labs in school settings and could give casual browsers a cheap desktop option.

Still, Raspberry Pi isn’t a plug and play option. Users have to install their own operating system and work with unfamiliar applications that accommodate the scale of the board. While doing these tasks may be too daunting for some potential buyers, it shouldn’t drive everyone away. As using Pi 4 computers becomes more common, the trend might start to catch on.

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