Single Board Computer (SBC) category

top ten sbc elab

Top 10 Single Board Computers (SBCs) Of The Previous Year

Introduction

Back in 2012, the arrival of Raspberry Pi started a new era of Single Board Computers – widely known as SBC. It attracted a huge number of hobbyists and tinkerers who are keen to create technology rather than just consuming it. Single board computers made designing complex and computationally expensive projects possible. Robotics, IoT, Computer Vision projects, DIY media center – just name it and SBC will get it done with ease.

Since the massive success of the Raspberry Pi, the market got filled with various single board computers from different developers. Almost all of them have similar features but with some uniqueness.

Nowadays, we can see SBCs as cheap as $9 to as expensive as $250. One should purchase an SBC carefully depending on the budget and the type of the project. This Top 10 List is based on the SBCs that were popular the previous year and it will help you to choose an SBC as per your requirement without much effort.

The Logic of Sorting

While sorting out some products and giving them ranks, the logic of sorting should be clarified. We can sort out SBCs in many ways – performance, form factor, price point, user community etc. In this article, we have kept hobbyists and tinkerers in mind and so, our primary focus is price point and performance at that price. As a result, some extremely powerful boards didn’t rank well just because of being too costly and not affordable by hobbyists. Also, we have not included boards introduced this year (2018) as the list is based on the top boards of the previous year (2017).

So, now you know how we sorted the boards. Let’s get started with the list. (more…)

Single board computer and software are development system for HMI

Creating a stable system and development ecosystem to reduce time to market for new applications

Densitron, a creator of display technologies and global leader in display, monitor and embedded computing solutions, has launched its new single board computer (SBC) appropriately named “Aurora SBX™” (derived from the Latin for first light), along with its extremely versatile application-specific software. Developed by the company’s Embedded division, this original board will help engineers using Densitron displays and electronics within new applications to accelerate the development process and bring their products to market faster.

Aurora SBX™ combines with, and supports, a variety of Densitron displays to provide a Human Machine Interface (HMI) package. Designed specifically to drive various displays from within Densitron’s vast range – with PCT multitouch or haptic input and up to full HD resolution – and to fit within a 5” display outline, the package provides an out-of-the-box, development-ready solution which can be integrated without substantial development resources. (more…)

hifive-unleashed-board

HiFive Unleashed – The First RISC-V-based Linux development board

RISC-V is an open specification of an Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). That is, it describes the way in which software talks to an underlying processor – just like the x86 ISA for Intel/AMD processors and the ARM ISA for ARM processors. Unlike those, however, the RISC-V ISA is open so that anyone can build a processor that supports it. Just as Linux revolutionize the software world, RISC-V could create a substantial impact on the hardware world. This open-source chip project is might just go out to break the dominance of proprietary chips offered by Intel, AMD, and ARM.

hifive-unleashed-board
Hi-Five Unleashed-board

Silicon Valley-based company SiFive has released the world first RISC-V based Linux development board called Hi-Five Unleashed. SiFive which has previously released the HiFive1, a RISC-V-based, Open-Source, Arduino-Compatible Development Kit. The HiFive Unleashed is powerful enough to run Linux distributions.

HiFive Unleased Block Diagram

Hi-Five Unleashed was designed around the RISC-V based, quad-core, 1.5GHz U540 SoC (Freedom U540). The Freedom U540 is the first multi-core SoC featuring the open source RISC-V ISA with 4x 1.5GHz “U54” cores and a management core, fabricated with TSMC’s 28nm HPC process, and also the first to offer cache coherence. The U54-MC Core’s high-performance and flexible memory system make it ideal for applications such as AI, machine learning, networking, gateways, and smart IoT devices. It has no GPUs or other coprocessors, but the open source hardware design is intended to encourage third parties to collaborate to develop one.

The Hi-Five Unleashed is a minimalist board that uses one Freedom U540 paired with 8GB DDR4 ECC RAM, as well as 32MB Quad SPI Flash, a microSD card slot for external storage, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and an FMC connector for future expansion cards. The development board is still barebone for now and mostly intended for developers and not the general public; it lacks hobbyist helpful resources like a video output and USB support, none of those are available on the board.

The following are some of the HiFive Unleashed specifications:

  • SoC – SiFive Freedom U540 with 4x U54 RV64GC application cores @ up to 1.5GHz with Sv39 virtual memory support
    • 1x E51 RV64IMAC Management Core
    • 2 MB L2 cache
    • 28 nm TSMC process
  • System Memory – 8GB DDR4 with ECC
  • Storage –  32MB Quad SPI Flash from ISSI
    • MicroSD card for removable storage
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Debugging – Micro USB port connector to FTDI chip
  • Expansion – FMC Connector for future add-in cards
  • Misc – On-off switch, various configuration jumpers
  • Power Supply – 12V DC input

The board is currently available for order at Crowd Supply for $999 and is expected to ship on June 30th. An earlier access board goes for $1250, which will ship on March 31st. RISC-V has grown from an academic project which first started in 2006 at UC Berkely, and now to a welcome, acceptable alternative to existing ISA and a potential game-changer in the long run.

In the future, we are not only going to build powerful open source based system but also understand their internal working and avoid something like the Spectre and Meltdown bugs that affected the likes of Intel processor.

WUX-3350 – 4×4-inch Mini PC Board

 

Portwell’s WUX-3350 small form factor (SFF) embedded system board features the Intel Celeron and Pentium processor series, supporting the low power Intel Gen9 graphics engine with up to 18 execution units for enhanced 3D graphics performance and greater speed for 4K encode and decode operations.

The WUX-3350 series (WUX-3350, WUX-3455, WUX-4200) of 4×4-inch mini PC board (Intel® NUC board form factor) is designed with Intel® Pentium® processor N4200, and Intel® Celeron® processor N3350/J3455 (codenamed Apollo Lake), and features dual-channel DDR3L up to 8GB, Gigabit Ethernet, M.2 expansion interface, and support for wide input voltage range from 12V to 19V. The WUX-3350 4×4-inch mini PC board series can be an ideal building block for designing ultra-compact embedded computing systems with configurability for an extensive array of applications.

Specifications

  • Intel® Pentium® processor N4200, Intel® Celeron® processor N3350/J3455
  • Up to 8GB DDR3L 1866/1600 MHz SDRAM
  • Dual displays via HDMI and DisplayPort
  • 1x M.2 (E+A key), 1x SATA III, 1x microSD 3.0
  • eMMC 5.0 flash, 32GB (64GB, option)
  • Support Gigabit Ethernet
  • Support 4x USB 3.0 or 2x USB 2.0
  • Support wide input voltage range from 12V to 19V

Tiny i.MX7 module runs both Linux and FreeRTOS

F&S announced their tiny PicoCore MX7ULP module, which is able to run Linux or FreeRTOS on an NXP i.MX7 SoC. The board comes with up to 32GB eMMC plus optional WiFi/BT and extended temperature support. The new board measures only 40 x 35mm and will be presented on Embedded World (Feb. 27-Mar. 1) with expected shipment in the third quarter 2018.  The PicoCore module doesn’t have an edge connector, instead interfaces with a 2x 80-pin Hirose DF40C plug connectors.

PicoCore MX7ULP Block Diagram

The PicoCore MX7ULP ships with up to 1GB LPDDR3 RAM, 64MB SPI NOR flash, up to 32GB eMMC, and an optional SD slot. There’s also an option for a wireless module with 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 LE. For display, you get a MIPI-DSI interface that is accompanied with I2C-based resistive and capacitive touch support.

PicoCore MX7ULP, front and back

Additional I/O includes USB OTG, SPI, 2x I2C, 33x general purpose DIO, audio interfaces, and 2x UARTS. The 10-gram board runs on 5V DC power (or a 4.2V battery) and consumes a typical 1W. For more information, please visit F&S Elektronik Systeme’s PicoCore MX7ULP announcement and product page.

New Odroid-N! based on Rockchip's RK3399

Odroid-N1 Features Gigabit Ethernet And Can Run Android 7.1, Ubuntu, Debian

The Rockchip RK3399 has revolutionized the open-spec single-board computer world. Hardkernel’s new Odroid project has made the multi-core SoC RK3399 to firm it’s grip further. Recently Hardkernel released images, specs, and extensive benchmarks on a prototype for its storage-oriented new Odroid-N1 board. The boards can be expected to launch for about $110 in May or June this year.

New Odroid-N! based on Rockchip's RK3399
New Odroid-N1 based on Rockchip’s RK3399

The 90x90x20mm SBC is highlighted for offering dual channel SATA III interfaces and 4GB DDR3-1866 dual-channel RAM. The Odroid-N1 can run Android 7.1, as well as Ubuntu 18.04 or Debian 9 with Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS. This new board can also be open source as its previous flagship Odroid-XU4.

The RK3399 features two Cortex-A72 cores that are clocked at up to 2.0GHz, as well as four Cortex-A53 cores, which are clocked at 1.5GHz. (Some other RK3399 boards have listed 1.42GHz.) This board also includes a high-end ARM Mali-T864 GPU. Hardkernel’s benchmarks have shown the hexa-core RK3399 based Odroid-N1 is running significantly faster on most tests, beating the Odroid-XU4’s octa-core (4x Cortex-A15, 4x -A7).

The Odroid-N1 is equipped with a GbE port, 2x USB 3.0 ports, and 2x USB 2.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 port for up to 4K Video output. There’s also a 40-pin GPIO header. The Power input is mentioned at 12V/2A, although attaching two 3.5inch HDD will require a 12V/4A PSU. As with the other RK3399 boards, there are no hopes of Raspberry Pi add-on compatibility.

The RK3399 has powered many similar SBCs previously. The first major RK3399 SBC was Firefly’s Firefly-RK3399, soon followed by Vamrs’ similarly open source Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire. More recently we’ve seen Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi RK3399.

The RK3399 is also finding key roles among many commercial boards. We just saw Aaeon take the leap with its OEM-oriented RICO-3399 PICO-ITX SBC. Earlier, Videostrong announced a VS-RD-RK3399 SBC.

ODROID-N1 key features:

  • Rockchip AArch64 RK3399 Hexa-core processor
  • Dual-core ARM Cortex-A72 2Ghz processor and Quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 1.5Ghz processor, big-LITTLE architecture
  • Mali-T860MP4 GPU, support OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0, OpenCL 1.2
  • 4Gbyte DDR3-1866 RAM, Dual channel interface for 64bit data bus width
  • 2 x SATA3 port, native SATA implementation via PCIe-gen2 to SATA3 interface
  • eMMC 5.0 (HS400) Flash storage and a UHS capable micro-SD slot.
  • 2 x USB 3.0 host port
  • 2 x USB 2.0 host port.
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • HDMI 2.0 for 4K display
  • 40-Pin GPIO port
  • OS: Ubuntu 18.04 or Debian Stretch with Kernel 4.4 LTS, Android 7.1
  • Size: 90 x 90 x 20 mm approx. (excluding cooler)
  • Power: 12V/2A input (Attaching two 3.5inch HDD requires a 12V/4A PSU)
  • Price: US$110 (To be adjusted based on DRAM market price changes)
  • Mass production schedule: TBD

More information is available in the Odroid-N1 announcement.

New Powerful Nano-ITX Form Factor ADL120S Single Board Computer For IoT

USA based ADL Embedded Solutions has introduced a new rugged, Nano-ITX form factor ADL120S single board computer (SBC). It is mainly produced for IoT, networking, and cyber-security applications. The highlighted feature of this SBC is its wide variety of PCIe expansion slots. The SBC includes 8x stackable PCIe interfaces, as well as optional custom expansion board services. Also, you get dual M/2 Key-B 2280 interfaces that support PCIe/SATA with USB 3.0. Networking is taken care with 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports (1x with PXE boot and WoL).

ADL120S Single Board Computer by ADL Embedded Solutions

 

The ADL120S runs Linux or Windows OS on dual- or quad-core Intel 6th Gen (“Skylake“) processor and Celeron CPUs that support an LGA1151 socket. There’s an Intel Q170 chipset on ADL120S instead of a Q170HDS. The supported SKUs include the quad-core 2.4GHz Core i7-6700TE, the dual-core 2.7GHz i3-6100TE, and 2.3GHz Celeron G3900TE.

The board has a compact dimension of 120 x 120mm in a Nano-ITX form factor but has a high vertical profile with 4x USB 3.0 ports piled on a single column. This high-rise board also includes 4x GbE ports, one of which has WoL and PXE Boot, and a pair of DisplayPort 1.2 ports with 4096 x 2304 resolution at 60Hz refresh rate.

The ADL120S comes with up to 32GB DDR4 RAM and offers a wide-range 20-30VDC (optional 12-24V or 20-36V) input and RTC (Real time clock) with battery. The boards with -20 to 70°C or -40 to 85°C temperature range of usability are available.

The SBC is also praised for its high MTBF, long-life availability, hardware and firmware revision control, obsolescence management, and technical, engineering and design support, on their website’s product page.

No pricing or availability information was provided for the ADL120S.

First Orange Pi SBC Powered By Rockchip’s Hexacore SoC Can Run Android 6.0 And Debian 9

ARM hacker board vendors and commercial x86-centric board vendors are following Firefly’s lead in experimenting with Rockchip’s ARM-based SoCs. These new single-board computers (SBC) offer x86-type features like HDMI 2.0, mSATA, and mini-PCIe. They also come with powerful and more energy-efficient ARM cores. Now Shenzhen Xunlong has launched its first Rockchip based Orange Pi single-board computer, Orange Pi RK3399, at 109 USD.

Orange Pi RK3999 Powered By Rockchip SoC
Orange Pi RK3999 Powered By Rockchip SoC

The Rockchip RK3399 features two Cortex-A72 cores that are clocked up to 2.0GHz, as well as four Cortex-A53 cores typically clocked at up to 1.42GHz. There’s also a high-performing ARM Mali-T864 GPU. There are 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB eMMC flash and can be expanded with an inbuilt MicroSD slot. Mandatory I/O ports as USB 3.0 Type-C port, 4x USB 2.0 host ports. DisplayPort 1.2 with audio for up to 4K at 60Hz. There are Other RK3399 based SBCs as Firefly’s Firefly-RK3399 and similarly open source Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire.

Like most of these boards, the Orange Pi RK3399 is a high-end board with various ports and interfaces. The Orange Pi RK3399 is the only one of these SBCs with mSATA, and you can have dual mSATA drives if you dedicate the mini-PCIe slot to mSATA instead of LTE. Orange Pi RK3399 stands out with its numerous sensor assembly, which includes a G-Sensor, Gyro, Compass, HALL sensor, and ambient light sensor.

Orange Pi RK3999 front details
Orange Pi RK3999 front details

The Orange Pi RK3399 offers almost the same as Firefly-RK3399, with GbE, WiFi-AC, Bluetooth 4.1, and a large-scale collection of multimedia features. There’s a 40- instead of 42-pin expansion interface. Just like Firefly boards, there is no support for Raspberry Pi compatibility. The board also lacks the Firefly’s RTC, and at 129 x 99mm, which is heavier and just slightly larger than the Firefly-RK3399.

One of the best advantages of the Firefly board is software support. Firefly offers Ubuntu 16.04 while the Orange Pi only has Debian 9 along with Android 6.0. More importantly, since this is Shenzhen Xunlong’s first Rockchip board, software support is likely to procrastinate. Hopes are high on this being an open hardware board like the other Orange Pi models.

USB Armory: Open Source USB Stick Computer

An open source USB stick computer for security applications.

The USB Armory is full-blown computer (800MHz ARM® processor, 512MB RAM) in a tiny form factor (65mm x 19mm x 6mm USB stick) designed from the ground up with information security applications in mind. Not only does the USB Armory have native support for many Linux distributions, it also has a completely open hardware design and a breakout prototyping header, making it a great platform on which to build other hardware.

Features

USB Armory: Open Source USB Stick Computer – [Link]

Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ SoC module smaller than a credit card

by Julien Happich @ eenewseurope.com:

Enclustra’s Mercury+ XU1 is the company’s fastest SoC module based on the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC. The 74×54mm board accommodates 6 ARM cores, a Mali 400MP2 GPU, up to 4 GB of extremely fast DDR4 ECC SDRAM, numerous standard interfaces, 294 user I/Os and up to 747,000 LUT4 equivalents – all on an area smaller than a credit card.

Built-in interfaces include two Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, sixteen MGTs (with speeds of up to 12.5 Gbps), as well as PCIe Gen2 x4. With up to 4 GB of DDR4 SDRAM with bandwidths of 19.2 GByte/s and ECC, as well as 16 GB eMMC flash memory, the Mercury+ XU1 will handle even the heaviest of resource-hogging applications. The module is available in both commercial and industrial temperature ranges, and needs just a single 5-15 V supply for operation.

Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ SoC module smaller than a credit card – [Link]