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If you hear the word “computer”, it may evoke thoughts of desktop towers or slimline laptops. But as we move through what some term the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technology is still evolving. One outcome – certainly in recent years – is that devices have both grown in power and shrunk in size. And a single board computer (SBC) is a prime example of that.
The advent of the SBC has been a revelation for anyone with interest in electronics. Since first shipping in 2012, the Raspberry Pi – for example – has now gone onto sell more than 40 million devices. But what is an SBC, and what can you do with one? More importantly, perhaps, is the question of what you need to consider if you’re thinking about purchasing one.
What are Single Board Computers?
SBCs are often barely bigger than credit cards in terms of their size. And, yet, what you get with one is a complete computer, fully functioning and programmable. It’s all contained on a single circuit board, which accounts for the name. Of course, the obvious difference from the conventional perception of a computer is that it can’t be connected to things like a printer.
That’s not necessarily a limitation, however. A single board computer has all the features you otherwise need in such a device. It has the microprocessor, memory capabilities, and the I/O (input/output) processor you’d expect from a computer. And when you consider the compact size of an SBC, it’s a remarkable and powerful concept that is – at the same time – simple.
What can you do with an SBC?
The dimensions aside, one reason why SBCs have become so popular is their versatility. When it comes to potential uses, SBCs have gained a broad group of users. For schools, SBCs offer a fantastic opportunity for children to get to grips with technology.
The potential uses of an SBC extend far beyond that, however. The devices are routinely found in industrial electronics. And they also give enthusiasts and hobbyists a chance to work on new projects at home – from robotics to multimedia players and smart home upgrades.
Key things to first consider
So, if you’re considering making your first purchase of an SBC, what factors can influence your choice? First and foremost, think about your intended purpose. Some SBCs are designed for educational use, while others lend themselves more to certain projects than others.
Other things to think about include whether you need it to be compatible with specific software and/or accessories. Many popular devices support operating systems, including Linux, Windows, and Android. In terms of accessories, meanwhile, the number of ports is critical.
Of course, the budget must also factor into your decision. Like any product segment, there’s a scale to suit the amount that you’re prepared to spend. The greater your budget, the higher spec the SBC you can obtain. But that’s certainly not to suggest that low cost means low quality.
Often called single board computers, these systems are composed of a single motherboard with one or more microprocessors, IO interfaces, RAM, and other peripherals. A fully functional computer is made up of these components. You might be wondering how to choose the best SBC from all the options available in the market. This article lists the key factors to consider when buying SBCs. Using these Key features and Benchmarks will allow you to narrow down your choices and determine which SBC best fits your needs. Here are some key factors to consider.
Whenever a single board computer operates, power consumption is an important benchmark. The use of SBCs is usually required in projects where the use of regular computers is not feasible. Therefore, you need to ensure that the power sources you use to power your SBC can meet its current demands. SBC power ratings can be found under technical specifications, so be sure to keep an eye on them.
Performing arithmetic functions and executing instructions are the backbone of any computer. Make sure your desired SBC uses the right chipset. You can find the number of cores, speed, architecture and other information about the chip by searching the internet. CPU instructions will be executed more efficiently at higher speeds.
With multicore processors, multiple threads can be run simultaneously on the computer. The multicores are beneficial when a multi-thread program is written so that execution speed can be boosted. To test multi-core processors, the Himeno test, which solves the pressure Poisson equation linearly, can be used. The encode-flac test on any single board computer can be used to test the speed with which a . Wav file is converted to FLAC.
There is an increase in the power of SBCs. Today, they can even be used as low-end gaming machines or home theatre computers. A common feature of modern single-board computers is the OpenGL or OpenGL ES version. Drawing 2D shapes is a simple way to test the graphics capabilities of SBC. A set of circles drawn in a window will take a certain amount of time for an SBC to render.
Single-board computers: what do they mean?
A single-board computer is what it sounds like. In a single-board computer (SBC), all the features, including the microprocessor, input/output functions, memory, and other functions, are built onto one board. RAM is built into the board at a predetermined amount, and there are no expansion slots.
What is the difference between a motherboard and a single-board computer?
A desktop computer’s motherboard or “main board” mounts to the bottom of its chassis and houses most of the computer’s electronics.
Single-board computers: who invented them?
Cliff Ortmeyer, Senior Vice President of Premier Farnell Solutions Development. Historically, SBCs have been single-board computers with a CPU, memory, and some type of I/O that allowed them to function as computers – an early example was the Dyna-micro, one of the first true single-board computers in the mid-70s.
Single-board computers: what can they do?
A single-board computer (SBC), like the Raspberry Pi, permits experimentation, learning to program, building media players, and NAS drives, and performing simple computing tasks such as web browsers and word processors.
Thank you for reading!