The Hardware

You’ll have to bare with me, I’ll include some pictures when I get the time. So, the Hardware – I’m going to tell you what I’ve bought and what I did. I can’t be held responsible whatsoever for anything bad that happens to you guys or your Raspberry Pi’s as a result of doing as I have done. I’m giving an insight into my own project and not providing you with a guide on how to do your own. If you follow my detailed project and try your own, that’s your choice.

 

Now that’s the boring legal stuff so I don’t get sued out the way, I’ll summarise my hardware purchase/what I’ve used:

  • Raspberry Pi Model B – Available at Maplin as a kit or get it from eBay like me
  • 3x Aluminium self-adhesive heatsinks – available on eBay
  • 1x Transparent case (because they’re cool) – I got mine on eBay. I’ve now gone for a white case from ModMyPi.com because the small vents on the top allow for some ventilation to get rid of some of that heat.
  • 1x Plus Net Fibre broadband service  – Others are available, you need a decent upload speed to self-host.
  • 1x Static IP address.
  • 1x Netgear Router – Others are available, but I find the Netgear routers easy to set up and haven’t let me down.
  • 1x BlackBerry Playbook Charger – I’m saving money where possible here, these deliver 5v 2a so are perfect for the Pi. It would take a while but in theory I could charge the PlayBook off the Pi…

The Raspberry Pi and Heatsinks

The reason why I’ve bought heatsinks is because my Raspberry Pi is overclocked to get some more power out of it. I’m ordering a second Raspberry Pi and am going to experiment with how far I can overclock it.

Currently mine’s overclocked to 850MHz, the heatsinks are a bit of a safeguard to keep the chips cool. There are three chips on the board which have heatsinks on, I don’t know what the other two do (yet) but the one with ‘Broadcom’ written on it is the CPU, GPU and Memory all on one chip – ‘System on a chip’.

I’m going to experiment with underclocking the GPU and overclocking the CPU and RAM controller, will post results as I have them – aiming to get 1GHz out of the Pi, but the spare Raspberry Pi unit might have to make an appearance here!

Broadband Connection

These days ADSL connections are getting better, but I’m lucky enough to be in a fibre area with decent speeds, I’d say you need at least 2mb up to efficiently self-host. I’m with Plus Net who provide a nice 60mb down and 20mb up so any slow down on this site is literally down to the Raspberry Pi bottlenecking.

Remember with your broadband ‘up to 8meg’ doesn’t mean its 8 down and 8 up; you’ll need SDSL for that.

It’s not a simple case of plugging into your Raspberry Pi into your router and hey presto it’s a web server, there’s some configuration to do, I’ll prepare a guide on how to do this.

Future hardware projects

As the project progresses, I’m going to look into the possibility/feasibility of making some from of uninterrupted power supply on an expansion board – the electronic gurus among you will be better at advising whether this is possible. I’ll also throw in a RTC too.

The big one, and this will be a test of all things great and small – build a cluster of Raspberry Pi computers and creating a grid-based web server. That’s the ultimate goal. Yet again my knowledge and expertise are limited – I’m a ‘trial and error’ kind of guy, so if anyone can advise on this, feel free to comment below.