Mar 20

ZX81 vs Raspberry PI

31 years ago , Sinclair Research bought us the ZX81 a small, black, computer with 1K of memory.  Today we now have the Raspberry PI, a credit card size, budget computer, but principally what has changed?


The ZX81 helped spark a generation of programming wizards!  It didn’t do colour or sound  and you would have needed thousands of them to contemplate running Word, but what it did do was bring computers into the home and prompted a wave of software developers to be born.  Which today is what RS and Premier Farnell are hoping to achieve with the new Raspberry PI.  Being just a small green circuit board, it is hoped that the Raspberry PI will once again inspire children into the world of programming.  The PI contains a processor not dissimilar to that in smart phones, a memory chip, a Ethernet port to connect to the Internet and a couple of USB ports and once connected to a keyboard, mouse and monitor, the user will be able to use the PI’s open-source software to create their own code.


Back in March 1981, the ZX81 would have cost approximately £50, which in today’s money equates to approximately £145, unlike the Raspberry PI which is retailing at a very basic £22.00, ex VAT of course!  Unlike the PI, the ZX81 needed an external cassette tape recorder for storage, which any iTunes user would whimper at the prospect.  Principally though they have the same objective, to prompt children and home users into programming once more.

I guess watch this space and see if a wave of new geniuses grace the news anytime soon!