What is a Single Board Computer?
If you are a techie, then you must have come across the term ‘single board computers’ as it gaining rapid popularity among consumers and developers alike. But what makes a single board computer so different from a regular desktop computer or laptop?
As the name suggests, a single board computer consists everything on one board itself! Which brings us to the second question, “Are there Multiple Board Computers too?” Well, yes! You must have heard about regular computers comprising of a motherboard which contains the processor, for example, Intel® Core™, AMD® Athlon™, etc. The motherboard also has slots for external essentials like RAM, ROM, Hard Disk, LAN Card, CPU Fan, Heat Sink, LCD monitor, etc. Needless to say, a typical PC or Mac is useless without even one of these peripherals.
Single board computers, on the other hand, have the processor RAM, ROM, flash storage, AV ports, Ethernet port and everything else on one board. Which means that this single entity is enough to help it run smoothly. Single board computers can work like regular computers and boot into operating systems like Linux etc. Their portability and performance have made them the rage of this era, and single board computers can be found in almost all the latest gadgets like smartphones, tablets and other industrial, commercial and consumer products.
Choosing the right Single Board Computer:
To choose the best single board computer for your requirement, look at these three principal components; microprocessors, memory and input/output (I/O) devices. Let us take a look some of these factors in detail:
Most of the single board computers include processors like Intel, ARM or other comparable CPU architectures. Look for the processing power your application demands and check out whether it is achievable with the processor of your SBC.
Latest models of single board computers have a maximum inbuilt memory of 32GB. If your application can perform optimally within this range of memory, then go for it. Otherwise, many low-memory options can run on cooler temperatures and consumer lesser power too.
3- I/O Devices
Single board computers support almost all kinds of input/output devices including serial ports to Ethernet, SATA and even USB 3.0. So, look at the I/O structure required for your application’s needs and choose one that gels best.
Best Single Board Computers in 2018
To make it easier for you, we have compiled a carefully compiled list of the best SBC computers in 2018. There are countless other options, but these are our top 3 picks:
1- Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
Rasberry Pi is one the most popular names in the SBC niche. They are loved by the tech community, and you will find many software and project guides online for a Raspberry Pi model as compared to other SCBs. This is why a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is the perfect choice for people who want to minimize risks or are venturing into single board computers for the first time.
It has great specs like 4x USB 2.0, 1 GB RAM, Network Connectivity that supports Wi-Fi 802.11n / Bluetooth 4.1 & BLE / 10/100 Ethernet and a 1.2 GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU.
2- Udoo x86 Ultra
This SBC can be compared with the power of a regular budget-friendly PC. You can run most of the day-to-day applications on it and even play a few 3D games. It supports operating systems like Linux, Android, and Windows 10. The best part about it is that it has an Arduino 101 board with a built-in gyroscope and six-axis accelerometer. Udoo x86 Ultra is a great pick if you are looking for high power and versatility all in one.
With impressive specs like 3 x USB 3.0, 8 GB RAM, Network connectivity that supports Gb Ethernet + Bluetooth Low Energy + M.2 Key E slot for optional Wireless modules and an Intel Pentium N3710 2.56 GHz quad-core CPU- it is a must-have for casual and power users alike.
3- ASUS Tinker Board
The ASUS Tinker Board offers an excellent performance which is above most of the other SBCs in this price range. In fact, it can easily replace your PC for everyday use and can even perform tasks which Raspberry Pi 3 Model B might find difficult. Tasks like image editing, streaming Full HD videos, and even playing some simple browser-based games is a piece of cake on the Tinker Board.
Specs of this SCB include 4 x USB 2.0, 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM, Network connectivity that supports Gigabit Ethernet, onboard Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and an RK3288 ARM quad-core 1.8GHz CPU. Plus, the ASUS Tinker Board is also aesthetically pleasing. It comes in an array of colors which help distinguish the different connectors.
Purchasing a single board computer can be easy on your pocket as compared to getting a larger motherboard. Just add an operating system and storage media and your computer will be ready to work. SCBs also consume less power as compared to a full-fledged PC. With so many benefits, single board computers are the talk of the town in the tech world.
Which single board computers do you like for daily use? Share your knowledge with us in the comments below:
Guest article written by: Erica Silva is a blogger who loves to discover and explore the world around her. She writes on everything from marketing to technology, science and brain health. She enjoys sharing her discoveries and experiences with readers and believes her blogs can make the world a better place. Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1