Small Formfactor = Big Possibilities

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The rise and rise or Single Board Computing.

Many people have heard about the single board computer Raspberry Pi, but there are plenty of other types which may suit certain interests better. This article will also cover some devices that are similar to the Raspberry Pi but have different features and capabilities, such as the Odroid XU4 and Cubieboard 3. These projects began as a very low cost entry into the wonderful world of computer programming but the creativity of the community surrounding each have taken each board in so many valuable directions.

“But what are [the single board computer] actually like? How do they work?” you may ask. Some simple answers to these questions, with a little more detail after each device:

Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi is a small single board computer which connects to a TV or monitor via its HDMI port. The RPi has an ARM processor, and it is the first device that ran the official version of Linux, which made possible things such as the Netflix streaming on TV, Kodi media center, and many other uses. This article will primarily be focusing on the Raspberry Pi 2 model B+, but it is worth noting that there are other variants available such as the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and Raspberry Pi Zero. While the Raspberry Pi 2 is newer, it is the same size as the Model B and has a similar form factor.

Instead of using an ARM processor, like on the Raspberry Pi, the Odroid runs on a Rockchip processor. It is a powerful device which also runs Linux. The Odroid XU4 uses multiple Rockchip processors instead of one, each of which handles different tasks. This makes it much less laggy than other similar devices such as the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi 4
Instead of two USB ports on the Raspberry Pi, there are three USB ports on the Raspberry Pi 4. The extra USB port makes it more convenient to connect devices such as keyboards and mice. This is an especially good feature for those who use a keyboard and mouse, as it allows you to connect all your necessary peripherals to one computer and not have to worry about which one you are using or switching between them. It offers ground-breaking increases in processor speed, multimedia performance, memory, and connectivity compared to the prior-generation Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, while retaining backwards compatibility and similar power consumption. For the end user, Raspberry Pi 4 Model B provides desktop performance comparable to entry-level x86 PC systems.
Some fun projects for the Raspberry Pi 4 (and most SBC’s for that matter) include :
Streaming media center
IPTV box
Track your car using GPS at a safe distance
Build a smart light for your home which you can control from your phone or computer remotely
Make an alarm that you will receive an email or text message about when it’s triggered
Use the Pi 4 as a NAS and backup devices to the cloud.

These is just some of the many possibilities.

Learn more about Raspberry Pi Here or get one Here

Rock Pi
The Rock Pi is a 32-bit Linux-based single board computer with a size of only 2cm x 1.5cm x 1.5cm cheap price $ 9,90 in canada and other places. The Rock Pi can be used in a variety of applications, including robotics, data collection, and providing wireless connectivity. The Rock Pi uses the AllWinner A10 chip which can use the Linux OS.
Some fun projects for the Rock Pi include :
Use it as a learning tool
Use it to control a robot
Use it as a media center

Learn more about what the Rock Pi org is up to Here or pick one up Here

Odroid-XU4
The Odroid-XU4 is a 64-bit quad-core Linux board powered by Amlogic S905X SoC and features WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 LE devices support, USB 3.0 port, gigabit Ethernet port, USB 3.0 host port, two USB 2.0 ports and has a Raspberry Pi compatible GPIO header with 40 pins which supports different shields like camera, motor control, IR receiver and so on.. It can run Ubuntu 16.04 in its main OS.
This truly is a very versatile SBC.

See what the present and future holds for Odroid Here or try one for yourself Here

CubieBoard3
The CubieBoard3 is an innovative and low cost ARM development board manufactured in China. It has an Allwinner A20 ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core SoC, 1GB DRAM, and 8GB eMMC. It can run Android 4.4 and Ubuntu 14.04 in its main OS. Some of the interesting features of the board include:
It can be used as a learning tool for Linux OS programming. Most universities teach C/C++ programming on this platform because of the availability of free IDEs like CodeBlocks, Eclipse CDT, Clion etc.

For all things CubieBoard find out more Here or grab one for yourself Here

Do you have a single board computer project on the go? Let us know about it in the comments below.

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