Transforming your Raspberry Pi 2 B to a real Mini-PC

I came across this as part of my charity work, where a local elementary school had some very old PCs that could not be upgraded, both OS and HW wise, and asked to me to look into this for a different reuse.

On some of the old desktop PCs I installed Ubuntu Linux, and I could make them work despite the old hardware. On the other broken PCs, I was left with PS/2 keyboards and mice.

During the same time the RaspberryPi 2 B computing device was released, I read about the announcement of the UbuntuMATE Linux for the ARM platform. So I’ve made the proposal to use these tiny computing devices, and recycle remaining PC hardware to the extent possible.

Administration and IT people were concerned about security, since everybody can walk into the computing room and accidentally damage or even take with them the unprotected metal boards.

With a friend of mine we came up with the design of a solid enclosure that we have CNC manufactured; and the challenges we have had to find a milling factory for this initiative!

Though here the outcome, a fully rugged aluminium enclosure with a security slot providing access to all external and internal board connectivity:

More details on the design available with the technical description & specifications (in case you are looking for a distinctive item ;-).

We mounted some of the Raspberry Pi 2 B cases on the back of the monitors and secured them with a Kensington locker. Hooked up a PS/2 keyboard and mouse with the help of an USB adapter (just using one port!).

Children came along and where wondering about the cables coming out form a tiny black box behind the monitor, however enjoyed doing their Internet work and document writing in the same way as with the other PCs with a big tower case.

So what do you think, can a Raspberry Pi become a full blown Mini-PC that we can use for all our productivity work as the children might be able to do today? What might hold us to use it in our day to day work or life?

Let me know your thoughts and feedback on this…

Awesome work on the case :smiley: I think a Raspberry Pi could easily do the productivity tasks we need, as most of those applications don’t require much of system resources. Keyword : could.
Reason I say that is because most of us have much higher powered PC’s or have been exposed to such, and wouldn’t settle for a little Raspberry Pi as a primary PC. But to a child, they tend to not notice/not care. Which is one of the many reasons I love the Raspberry Pi. Low price, great performance, with a world of possibilities.

We’ve already reached the point in time where it’s basically impossible to buy any new laptop or desktop computer that won’t be more than sufficient for anything but perhaps games or video editing or similar high-demand applications.

I haven’t worked with the PI specifically, but it seems to me that even if it’s a little weak (and I’m not saying it is), another 4-5 years top I’d figure before equivalent hardware should probably be caught up to the point of being more than sufficient, I’d think.