$35 Raspberry Pi is selling at a record 700 per second

By Lee Kaelin on March 6, 2012, 8:30 AM

The Raspberry Pi finally became available for purchase last week, and literally sold out within minutes of officially going on sale.  In fact, there's so much interest from those eager to grab the credit card sized computer that it crashed the company's website, forcing the developers to switch to a static site to try and deal with the huge influx of traffic. Thanks to deals with British companies RS Components and Premier Farnell, those unable to grab the first batch were thankfully able to preorder the computer.

The project, which has been under development for the last six years, features an ARM-based processor typcially used in mobile phones. The model B features an ethernet port, 256MB of RAM, two USB ports and uses a Broadcom BCM2835 running at 700MHz, as well as offering HDMI and RCA video out capabilities.

One of the distributors, Premier Farnell, has spoken out, claiming that orders were still running at 700 per second at the end of last week and showing no slowdown in demand. That’s an incredible 42,000 Pi sales per minute. Harriet Green, CEO of Premier Farnell said demand was 20 times greater than their supply.

She gave her thoughts on why she felt it was such a success. "It's interesting to look at why there's so much excitement around Raspberry Pi," she commented. "I think that a lot of teachers, parents and children are worrying that they're becoming just consumers – taking something out of a box and plugging it in. There's a lot of points of concern about children being just consumers rather than creators and innovators."

Those not lucky enough to get one from the first batch might be in for a bit of a wait though. According to the Inquirer, the foundation has not long received the first small batch, after a last minute change was made due to a design bug that needed rectifying before the final reference design was set for the Chinese manufacturers.

Eben Upton, executive director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation said that the first couple of thousand are imminent, with volume shipments expected next month: "the big new volume tranche of around 10,000 units will arrive in mid to late April. So anyone who ordered more than about an hour after the launch will get their unit then."

Despite record sales, the charity that developed the Raspberry Pi promises there will be no price hike, with the price set at $35 for the model B, but varying only slightly due to local exchange rate differences.

User Comments: 17

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VitalyT VitalyT said:

Q: What do you do with one of those?

A1: Who cares?! - it's only 35 bucks anyway!

A2: You buy a whole bunch of them and set up a home network to debug your viruses

A3: You buy a ton of them, connect each other and tell your mates that you assembled Skynet at home, all by yourself!

Guest said:

Currently waiting to be able to order a few myself. Hmm..

rvnwlfdroid said:

Answer 3 sounds good to me. Although it might take 4-5 years to get enough in-stock for a project like that..

Guest said:

I order a couple of them, but unfortunetly it is looking like I won't be getting one until at the earliest April. But what am I going to do with them... I am using them to build front ends for media distribution. At least that is the original purpose, but if demand continues to be this high I will be selling mine on ebay.

Puiu Puiu said:

I hope they eventually make an even better one; maybe an 1ghz CPU or wifi. I'd pay 50$ for better specs.

captainawesome captainawesome said:

I really thought this project was gonna be a dud. I'm now very keen to see what the world at large does with this. Looking forward to some Kinect-style creativity here

treetops treetops said:

Do they come with a hard drive?

I love this thing so I can just slap windows xp or a low resource linux or unix on this and im good to go? (iv never used linux or unix but iv heard some of them can run on very low resources)

oh i guess it has a sd card slot, i wouldnt mind putting some old console emulators on it, it would be cool to be able to put a snes nes, seg in my pocket with every game, even a nint 64 and all its games if you brought along a external hd, it has 2 usbs for controllers, i bet you could split the usbs to so you could still use a mouse, i have a usb that splits into a 3 ps3 controller plugin i got from china off ebay that works on pc

edit heck with a external hd you could get any console up to the current generation and run it on this thing with all the games

Leeky Leeky said:

No, they use a SD card for the OS, as it has to be specially compiled to run on the hardware. You won't be able to run x86 software on it natively, or via an emulator, but that said, to a large degree, the limit to what can be made for it is limited only by the hardware capabilities and your imagination.

That said, the model B versions have 2 USB 2.0 ports, so adding more shouldn't be difficult. I actually plan to use one as a lean terminal based torrent box, but I also have a few other uses for them -- we'll see how it gets on.

I'll wait for orders to settle first though, I wouldn't want to order one now and have to wait months for it to arrive. I'd rather get it next day!

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I will be watching this with great interest, I don't really have a reason to get one but since it has had such interest maybe a killer app for it will be just round the corner? Time will tell.

TJGeezer said:

@Leeky - if you can't run x86 software such as a low-resource Linux and it has a unique OS of its own, how will you run a terminal or a torrent-managing program? How could you even write it yourself if you don't know the OS? I'm confused about how these could be made useful, I guess.

Guest said:

@TJGeezer : You know, Linux kernel and some distributions exist in ARM version... There is already Debian and Archlinux avaiable for the Pi, and Fedora should follow soon.

Leeky Leeky said:

@Leeky - if you can't run x86 software such as a low-resource Linux and it has a unique OS of its own, how will you run a terminal or a torrent-managing program? How could you even write it yourself if you don't know the OS? I'm confused about how these could be made useful, I guess.

You can use scripting language, like Python to code applications for it.

It uses ARM SoC's in the same way Android phones do, that's perhaps the easiest comparison to make in a way that makes sense.

Given the hardware limitations, it will be surprisingly effective. For example, the hardware is enough to run LXDE desktop environments -- and use a web browser among other things.

Granted its slower than using traditional, more expensive x86 computers, but given the open nature of the Raspberry Pi, and the completely open Linux OS', it'll likely end up with tons of useful features, tweaks, and applications becoming available.

Currently, the Raspberry Pi can use ARM versions of Fedora, Arch and Debian, and Python for scripting. However, any language that can be compiled with support for the ARMv6 architecture can be used. Python has been selected as the default as it is considered easier than most scripting languages to learn -- ideal given that its being directed at classrooms across the country and with students in mind.

chaboi390 said:

Still waiting for mine....

Guest said:

700 per sec = 60,480,000 per day = 42,360,000 per week =

Don't believe it.

Farnell/RS probably had a day or two where for a short period of a minute or two the orders peaked at 700/sec.

Guest said:

Sorry, that should be 423,360,000 per week. About 6 for every man, woman and child in the UK!

Guest said:

@Guest: Believe it. I'm sure there are people ready to order these by the truckload.

treetops treetops said:

This gadget really makes me look forward to my programming classes. Atm I have 0 programming skills.

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