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Downloaded Noobs image installer (imager_1.6.2) to Mac, unpack (or install) so that I have “Raspberry Pi Imager” on Mac, and then used it to create the bootable OS on the sd card using that software.
After that insert the sd card to the appropriate slot on p3, also plugged in hdmi for monitor, and usb keyboard and mouse. Turn on the power (plug in the power adapter for iPhone with proper cable).
Raspberry Pi Desktop first impression: I mainly used the web browser Chromium “Version 92.0.4515.98 (Official Build) Built on Raspbian , running on Raspbian 10 (32-bit)”, there is some lagging (keyboard, gmail and wordpress self host / post) compared to the MacBook, but still manageable. Keep in mind this pi 3 is probably selling for $30 or less nowadays. Btw, I tried a YouTube video (it’s the CNN Virginis moms switching from Biden to Youngkin story) in the browser too and it was a bit laggy in the beginning (video streaming?), but it worked well after couple minutes. This is pretty impressive.
Obviously in order to use it as a desktop replacement, I would need to do some more tests. But I came across one post using pi 4 just now. Seems very promising there as well. Every Sunday morning my 2 daughters will take Chinese classes virtually via Zoom, and they uses my two personal macbooks. So in that duration I could use the pi 3. I noticed the temperature of the motherboard is not too hot either (no fans, no enclosure, just look like the picture 2 above).
Some other thoughts: there are tons of ideas regarding pi on internet. One idea is use it as home security. I will just need to dig more into it, and once I have more knowledge, I may purchase more Pi’s like my old friend Jeff Geerling (projects, blog) does. I don’t think I would be as prolific as he does. But I am just going to try.
Raspberry Pi OS – Raspberry Pi (Install Raspberry Pi OS using Raspberry Pi Imager)
Installing Raspbian with NOOBS – Introduction | Raspberry Pi Projects
How to set up and use a Raspberry Pi 3 with a Mac (I have a pi 3)