Determining Its Limitations
For something that costs so little, the Raspberry Pi is amazingly powerful, but it does have some limitations. Although you probably use it as a desktop computer, its power is closer to a mobile device (like a tablet) than a modern desktop PC.
By way of example, the Raspberry Pi Foundation says the Pi’s overall performance is comparable with a PC using a 300 MHz Pentium 2 processor, which you might have bought in the mid to late nineties, except that the Raspberry Pi has much better graphics. The memory of the Raspberry Pi is more limited than you’re probably used to, with just 512MB or 256MB available. You can’t expand that with extra memory in the way you can a desktop PC.
The graphics capabilities lag behind today’s market somewhat too: The Raspberry Pi Foundation says the Pi’s graphics are roughly the same as the original Xbox games console, which was released 10 years ago.
Both the Pentium 2 PC and the original Xbox were fine machines, of course, for their time. They’re just not as snappy as we’re used to, and that’s where you might experience some problems. You might find that the Pi can’t keep up with the demands of some modern software and that some programs don’t run fast enough to be useful on it. However, it’s easy to find programs, try them, and remove them if they’re no good (see Chapter 5), and plenty of programs for work and play run well on the Raspberry Pi (see Chapter 18).
If you already have another computer, the Raspberry Pi is unlikely ...