- February 19, 2022
- Posted by: Surender Kumar
- Category: Single Board Computers
A single-board computer (or SBC) is a complete computer built on a single circuit board, with processor, memory, input/output and other components required for a functional computer. The single-board computers are commonly used for research and development, educational purpose, embedded systems, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, or Artificial Intelligence (AI). The following image depicts how an SBC looks like and what are its components.
There are a lot of advantages of using SBCs instead of using the regular full-fledged desktop computers or laptops. Their main advantages are:
- Low cost.
- Low power consumption.
- Low maintenance requirements.
- Extremely portable to carry around.
- The small size makes them ideal for things like R&D, robotics, home automation, media centre, and AI.
In this article, I’ll show you a few best single board computers that you can purchase to help you get started with your journey of research on IoT applications.
The Raspberry Pi is the leading name when it comes to single-board computers (SBCs). Raspberry Pi (or RPi) a series of SBCs developed by the UK-based Raspberry Pi Foundation in association with Broadcom. They are highly popular due to their accessible price and incredible community. The best thing about Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is its multiple memory options. It comes with the choice of 2GB, 4GB and 8GB memory so you can choose according to your budget and requirements.
- Processor: Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.50GHz
- Memory: 4GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM (Also available with 2GB and 8GB memory options)
- Storage: Micro-SD card slot for operating system and data storage
- Wireless: 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz 802.11ac wireless
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0, with BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) mode
- Ethernet: Gigabit Ethernet port
- USB Ports: 2x USB 3.0 ports; 2x USB 2.0 ports.
- Raspberry Pi standard 40 pin GPIO header (fully backwards compatible with previous boards)
- 2x micro-HDMI ports (up to 4kp60 supported)
- 2-lane MIPI DSI display port
- 2-lane MIPI CSI camera port
- 4-pole stereo audio and composite video port
- H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)
- 5V DC via USB-C connector
- Power over Ethernet (PoE)
The NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX Developer Kit includes a power-efficient, compact Jetson Xavier NX module for AI edge devices. It benefits from new cloud-native support, and accelerates the NVIDIA software stack in as little as 10 W with more than 10x the performance of its widely adopted predecessor Jetson TX2. For intelligent machine OEMs, start-ups and AI application developers who want to create breakthrough products, the Jetson Xavier NX Developer Kit delivers the capability to develop and test power-efficient, small form factor solutions with accurate, multi-modal AI inference.
This is not an SBC that everyone can make use of but it is still a great RPi alternative for a specific group of tinkerers and developers.
- Processor: NVIDIA Carmel, Hexa core ARM®v8.2 64-bit CPU 6 MB L2 + 4 MB L3
- Graphics Processor: NVIDIA Volta architecture with 384 NVIDIA CUDA cores and 48 Tensor cores
- Memory: 8GB 128-bit LPDDR4x @ 51.2GB/s
- Storage: Micro-SD card slot
- USB: 4x USB 3.1, USB 2.0 Micro-B
- Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, M.2 Key E (WiFi/BT included), M.2 Key M (NVMe)
- Camera: 2x MIPI CSI-2 DPHY lanes
- Display: HDMI and display port
- NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX module and reference carrier board
- 19V power supply
- 802.11 plug-in WLAN and Bluetooth® module with antennas
- Small paper card with quick start and support information
With its powerful and modern quad-core ARM-based Rockchip RK3288 processor — Asus Tinker Board S offers significantly improved performance versus other popular SBC boards. Powered by an ARM-based Mali™-T764 GPU, Tinker Board S’s GPU and fixed-function processors allow for a wide range of uses, including high-quality media playback, gaming, computer vision, gesture recognition, image stabilization and processing, as well as computational photography and more.
- Processor: Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288 processor
- Graphics Processor: Integrated ARM® Mali™-T764 GPU
- Memory: 2GB Dual Channel DDR3
- Storage: 16GB eMMC, Micro-SD card slot
- USB: 4x USB 2.0
- Connectivity: Realtek Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, Wireless 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth V4.0 + EDR
- Audio: RTL ALC4040 CODEC
The ODROID XU4 is a new generation of single board computer with hardware that’s more powerful, more energy-efficient and has a smaller form factor! Built on open-source software, the XU4 supports various flavors of Linux including the latest Ubuntu 18.04 running MATE desktop and Android 4.4 KitKat and 5.0 Lollipop. With the high-performance combination of eMMC 5.1, USB3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet, the ODROID-XU4 boasts amazing data transfer speeds – speeds that are a necessity with many of today’s computing tasks like intensive 3D applications, streaming, browsing and gaming.
- Processor: Samsung Exynos 5422 Cortex-A15 2Ghz and Cortex-A7 Octa core CPU
- Graphics Processor: Integrated Mali-T628 MP6
- Memory: 2GB LPDDR3 RAM PoP stacked
- Storage: eMMC module socket : eMMC 5.0 Flash Storage (up to 64GBB) and MicroSD Card Slot (up to 128GByte)
- USB: 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
- Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 1.4a for display
Everyone has a different budget and different requirements. If you’re looking for a single-board computer which is more stable, reliable, and has a big community support, you should definitely choose Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. It also offers various memory options so you can get the model which suits your budget and requirements.
If you’re looking for an SBC with excellent computing and graphics performance, you can purchase NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX Developer Kit but it comes at a bigger price.
If you need mid range performance at mid range price, the ODROID XU4 is you buddy.