After years of research, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has created a five-dollar computer in its quest to lower the price of hobbyist and educational computing. It is also the smallest of the Pi series of computers.

The founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Eben Upton, says that the five-dollar computer it the lowest it can go, which comes after the successful release of the Raspberry Pi A and B, which cost between $20 and $35. Even so, the five-dollar computer runs 40 percent quicker than these earlier models.

Specifications of the new five-dollar computer

The Raspberry Pi Zero has a 65 x 30-millimeter circuit board, as well as a Broadcom BCM2835 application processor and a 1GHz ARM11 core.

The circuit board can hold 512MB of RAM, and the operating system gets loaded via a micro-SD card. It also has a mini-HDMI socket that is for 1080p video output, and some micro-USB sockets for data and power.

You can expand the circuit board as the 40-pin GPIO header has identical pinouts as the previous versions. However, the circuit board pads are unpopulated, which means any connectors must be soldered on. Also, a connection is available for a composite video output, but that too must be soldered if you need a socket.

Compare new Pi Zero to previous Pi models

If you compare the new Raspberry Pi Zero computer to the previous Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, the previous Pi computer has more memory, as well as a quad-core processor, and audio in/out, along with three additional USB ports, and direct connections if you want to hook up a camera and a display.

Other computer companies have also dabbled in cheap, tiny computers besides the Raspberry Pi Foundation. In fact, there are Linux boards called the C.H.I.P. that came out recently that are priced at $9 each. However, the Raspberry Pi Zero is less expensive and has more capabilities than the Linux model.

Additionally, the Linux model was criticized for costing $20 to ship, something that isn’t expected to happen with the new Raspberry Pi Zero. It is expected to become a very popular little computer, and will be available at vendors such as Element 14, the Pi Hut, Pimoroni, Adafruit, and Micro Center.

In fact, if you can get a copy of the December issue of MagPi, the magazine is including one of the new five-dollar computer Raspberry Pi Zeros with this edition for free.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!