The Raspberry Pi is a well designed, powerful and inexpensive board, but not a complete computer. Some distributors know you need more than just a plastic case and a mains-adapter power supply (or USB cable). The ‘Pi Desktop’ kit from element14 contains everything you need and more, turning your RPi into a fully fledged computer.

If you’ve already got an RPi, then the Pi Desktop kit provides you with everything else you need to make it into a real desktop PC. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a real-time clock, an interface for an mSATA-SSD hard drive, an optional camera, heat sink, a neat power switch and of course the sleek black case. If you build an RPi-Board and add a SSD, you will have an elegant, inexpensive, fast (and quiet) universal PC. The assembly takes just a few minutes.

You could assemble all the necessary parts and wire them together with the RPi board yourself but you are unlikely to end up with such a neat tangle-free solution that the Pi Desktop kit offers. All you need then is a monitor with an HDMI connector, keyboard & mouse using USB and you are up and running. A nice feature is the installation option of a proper SSD. This type of memory is not only much faster than the flash memory in SD cards and USB sticks, but more reliable, here you get an RPi system that boots very fast from SSD and loads the programs and associated data really quickly. Developing software locally on the machine also benefits from the faster memory. Don’t dismiss the built-in on/off switch as a bit of a gimmick, it is so much simpler and more convenient than turning the power supply on and off at the wall.

Included in the kit is the add-on board with an mSATA interface, an intelligent power controller and the real-time clock (RTC). Add to that the well-made case, a heat sink, USB adapter (Micro type A), the battery for the clock and all necessary spacers and screws. The kit price is €46.71.