The Raspberry Pi—a single-board computer that lets you run Linux systems on devices the size of a deck of cards—is popular with DIYers thanks to its small size and extreme power. But when you need something even smaller, you turn to the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, essentially a stripped-down RaspPi without many of the built-in ports that can act as a central processor for your finished projects.
The latest Compute module, based on the Raspberry Pi 4, runs a 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU with built-in memory (up to 8GB) and storage (up to 32GB). The board also supports wifi via an included antenna port and connects to your projects via a JEDEC DDR2 SODIMM connector. It starts at $25 for the base model and $90 for the tricked-out version.
In order to help with development, Raspberry Pi is offering an IO board that essentially simulates a full-sized RaspPi and adds in connectors, ports, and power supplies. When you’re ready to build your finished product, however, you can slap the Compute Module into your system and power your digital signs, robots, or drones.
Engineer Dominic Plunkett created the Compute Module based on the Raspberry Pi 4, released last year. For many projects, a full-sized RaspPi might be overkill, making the Computer Module a perfect solution for various DIY needs. Best of all, you can watch Plunkett and Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton talking about the RaspPi below using Britishisms that make the entire endeavor sound like charming Hobbits planning Second Breakfast.