The Year of Single-Board Computers


Single-board computing units pullulate and constantly get more powerful and cheaper, and it seems that 2016 will be their year. While they are not very powerful as individual units, their low acquisition prices allow for the building of racks with them, combining their power to serve even the most demanding purposes. Here are some of the most promising single-boards that you will find available in the market as we will enter 2016.

1.) Raspberry Pi Zero

The latest addition in the Raspberry family is the least powerful, but comes at a cost of $5! This board can playback 1080p video, offers 512MB of DDR2 RAM, and is powered by an 1GHz ARM processor. This is the tiniest board available, and should you need to combine many of those, you will still not need too much space or financial resources to build an arrangement that will serve your needs.


2.) JaguarBoard

The JaguarBoard is marginally larger compared to the Pi Zero, but its main difference is that it boasts an Intel Atom Z3735 CPU, which basically means that it works on an x86 architecture, which basically means that it supports all of the mainstream operating systems such as Windows 10, Ubuntu (or any other Linux distribution), and Android. The RAM is a DDR3 at 1GB, and it also offers an internal storage of 16GB. The cost for this board is set at $50.


3.) Pine A64

If you think that single-board computing is only limited to 32 bits, you are mistaken. Pine A64 is this world’s first 64-bit single-board unit, and it only costs $15! Designed and built by a former Apple engineer, The Pine’s beating heart is a quad-core ARM A53 clocked at 1.2GHz, with an embedded Mali 400 dual-core CPU. The RAM is a DDR3 of 1GB of capacity, but paying another $10 will get you the 2GB version if you need it. What this little board can do with only 2.5 Watts of electric power is truly amazing.


4.) CubieTruck Plus

The CubieTruck Plus is going to be the fifth version of the Chinese-built cubieboards that have proven their quality and versatility over the past few years. This one is going to be a single-board monster, boasting an Octa-Core CPU at 2GHz, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and a PowerVR GPU that will deliver in even the most pressing and demanding situations. The price is expected to be around the $125 range, so this is a bit more pricey compared to the other models presented here, but it is certainly worth ever penny if you need that power.


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I'm an engineer with a passion for writing about new technologies and the ways they shape our world and amplify our very existence.