Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Single Board Computers

Good evening everyone. This days increasing number of single board computers are seen in the market so it can be a bit confusing when selecting one. Hope this post will resolve some of those confusions by providing technical information and possible use case scenarios. While talking about single board computers the first that that comes to our mind is Raspberry Pi, so let's start with that!

Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3.

Raspberry Pi 2

Raspberry Pi 3

I'm going to talk more about them together as they have many things in common and Raspberry Pi 2 still is relevant even being couple years old. So, let's start with the common things.

Common features:

4 USB 2.0 ports.
1 10/100Mbps Ethernet Port.
1 HDMI port that supports 1080p video.
1 TRRS AV port that supports composite video and stereo audio.
1 DSI for attaching display.
1 CSI for attaching camera.
40 GPIO pins.
Power provided by a Micro USB cable or GPIO pins.
1GB or RAM.
1 micro SD card slot.


RPi2: Broadcom BCM2836 System on Chip with 4 ARMv7 Cortex A7 cores running at 900MHz.
Video Core IV Graphics Processing Unit running at 250MHz. 
No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

RPi3: Broadcom BCM2837 System on Chip with 4 ARMv8 Cortex A53 cores running at 1200MHz.
Video Core IV Graphics Processing Unit running at 400MHz.
802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1.

Short note on Raspberry Pi:

Raspberry pi is the most popular single board computer out there so you will get a lot of support which might make your project easy. In works like automation or media center Raspberry Pi is enough for handling it.
There are couple drawbacks however, it can't be used as a computer replacement because it is just too slow. For network attached storage the 100Mbps network will severely bottleneck the throughput.

Orange Pi Plus: