Science and technology

How to arrange a pc lab for lower than $1500 with Raspberry Pi

Come again for extra Raspberry Pi articles subsequent week as we have a good time three.14 on March 14, 2018.

Setting up a typical college laptop lab with computer systems, displays, keyboards, cables, switches, and extra can shortly grow to be very costly. In creating and fewer affluent international locations (which comprise the biggest a part of the world), it’s normal for a number of hundred college students to share a single laptop. Even within the developed world, small colleges and golf equipment with small budgets usually are poorly geared up with know-how.

The Raspberry Pi provides a low-cost various to conventional, costly college laptop labs. In truth, with Raspberry Pi, it is potential to arrange a whole, dependable, low-maintenance laptop lab for below US$ 1,500.

Computer lab necessities

If you prefer to others to make use of the pc lab, the system should have few technical hurdles and be easy to manage (e.g., administration should not take a number of hours per week).

In my opinion, these are the minimal necessities for a college laptop lab:

  • Is straightforward to make use of
  • Quickly establishes a goal state
  • Offers quick begin occasions
  • Has dependable infrastructure
  • Is repeatedly virus- and malware-free
  • Is low-maintenance



If you might have a US$ 1,500 finances to arrange a pc lab, it is essential to save cash on . Most of the issues college students do in a pc room immediately require solely a browser and probably an workplace suite. They do not want the most recent, strongest . A set of Raspberry Pis or used computer systems is sort of ample.

You can arrange a lab with 12 Raspberry Pi workstations inside this finances with the next:

  • Server: It might be an older (three–7 years outdated) laptop with a bigger laborious drive (15–20GB per laptop) that prices between US$ 100 and US$ 150
  • Router (if not already accessible): US$ 20–50
  • Gigabit swap (used): US$ 50
  • Raspberry Pi three (starter equipment) or used laptop: US$ 50 per workstation
  • Monitors (if not already accessible): US$ 30–50 per workstation
  • Socket strips and community cables: US$ 100
  • Keyboard and mouse: US$ 15–20 per workstation

If displays or different are donated or already accessible, you will come up with the money for to arrange extra workstations.


There are many initiatives for the Raspberry Pi that make administration and upkeep of the computer systems very straightforward. For instance, the PiNet project, developed for colleges a number of years in the past, provides central person and storage administration so college students can log into any laptop and entry their information.

Recently, the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched an identical venture, PiServer, which does not restrict its focus to colleges. It additionally centrally manages customers and storage. The Raspberry Pis begin over the community and don’t require an SD card.

Or you possibly can arrange a Raspberry Pi the way in which you need, then distribute this picture to the opposite computer systems. A central Samba server is used to retailer the work outcomes.

Pros and cons

Like with each venture, there are benefits and drawbacks to constructing a pc community with Raspberry Pis.

Advantages are:

  • Very cheap
  • Energy financial savings
  • Space financial savings
  • Quiet
  • Low upkeep

Potential disadvantages embody:

  • Learning software program (which normally requires Windows) could not run as a result of PiInternet or PiServer are operating on Linux.
  • It’s unfamiliar to most colleagues. Man is a creature of behavior, and many individuals reject what they do not know. Offering an introduction, a tutorial course, or additional coaching can lower the concern and make folks extra comfy with a brand new system.
  • The Raspberry Pi will not be highly effective sufficient for compute-intensive functions that you really want college students to make use of.
  • The Raspberry Pi’s community interface just isn’t very quick (hopefully this may change in a future model).

Another resolution for colleges with a bit more cash is to make use of with extra highly effective, used computer systems. It offers extra alternatives, together with the flexibility to handle many computer systems (Ubuntu/Windows) with comparatively little effort.

If you employ a Raspberry Pi-based laptop lab at your college or membership, please share your experiences within the feedback.

This article was first printed on and is republished with permission.

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