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Old 01-15-2012, 01:28 AM   #1
papul1993
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Looking for a single board computer


Hi,
I want to buy a SBC so that I can use it as an ftp server and for running XBMC. They are low power systems and don't take much space. There are a number of them online but I don't know which ones are good.

Currently I know about these SBCs:
Hawkboard, Raspberry Pi, Pandaboard, and Beagleboard.

I would like to know which one would be a good choice from experienced users point of view.

Thanks.
 
Old 01-15-2012, 03:50 AM   #2
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by papul1993 View Post
Currently I know about these SBCs:
Hawkboard, Raspberry Pi, Pandaboard, and Beagleboard.

I would like to know which one would be a good choice from experienced users point of view.
a friend of mine prefers ALIX boards (German website only) for development of small appliances. They are relatively cheap, available with a few different specs and features, and consume very little power.

Myself, I have a few very different SBCs that I collected during the past. But if I were to buy yet another, I'd probably choose one of the ALIXes.

[X] Doc CPU
 
Old 01-16-2012, 02:30 AM   #3
papul1993
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc CPU View Post
Hi there,



a friend of mine prefers ALIX boards (German website only) for development of small appliances. They are relatively cheap, available with a few different specs and features, and consume very little power.

Myself, I have a few very different SBCs that I collected during the past. But if I were to buy yet another, I'd probably choose one of the ALIXes.

[X] Doc CPU
Hmmm.. What architecture will these have? x86 or arm? Cpu speed and RAM is less than I wanted.
 
Old 01-16-2012, 05:17 AM   #4
knudfl
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Geode http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geode_%28processor%29

→ x86
 
Old 01-16-2012, 12:27 PM   #5
jefro
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If you want xbmc then you can't run such a product that I know of yet.

They may be great for industrial uses, ftp servers and such but when you put video in you have to move on.
 
Old 01-16-2012, 01:43 PM   #6
michaelk
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I would agree with jefro that SBCs are not a good choice for your requirements. I would take a look a mini-itx.
 
Old 01-16-2012, 03:47 PM   #7
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelk View Post
I would agree with jefro that SBCs are not a good choice for your requirements. I would take a look a mini-itx.
... most of which are actually SBCs, too, if you go by the meaning of the abbreviation for "single board computer". And some of the more recent Intel-Atom-based ones do measure up with the requirements of an HTPC. I can tell because I'm running one of them myself.

[X] Doc CPU
 
Old 01-17-2012, 04:01 PM   #8
jefro
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As with most of the computing world the names just don't fit the use anymore. One can purchase a great home/small office motherboard that is basically a single board computer and would suite the use and need of the OP.

I took it upon myself to assume that a SBC is more of an industrial use or hobby use device based on the OP's choices.
From those choices, I don't believe video support would be acceptable.
 
Old 01-17-2012, 04:19 PM   #9
michaelk
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As did I.
I guess that one can classify a mini-itx as a SBC since they may not have any expansion capabilities but are x86 compatible. None of my SBCs have any human I/O interfaces i.e. keyboard or video but do run linux.
 
Old 01-18-2012, 02:52 AM   #10
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelk View Post
I guess that one can classify a mini-itx as a SBC since they may not have any expansion capabilities but are x86 compatible.
all mini ITX boards I've seen (or even used) so far are full-fledged PCs with all common peripherals integrated - IDE/SATA, VGA (some even with TV-out), PS/2 keyboard and mouse jacks, sound, Ethernet, 4..6 USB ports, a PCI slot, whatever you want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelk View Post
None of my SBCs have any human I/O interfaces i.e. keyboard or video but do run linux.
The SBCs I have here do indeed have these features:
  • Advantech PCM-4823: 146x102mm, AMD 486DX4/133 CPU, 32MB RAM, IDE, PS/2, VGA, 10Mbit Ethernet, PC/104
    (sorry I claimed it's a Pentium a few days ago - of course it isn't: Though AMD calls it 5x86, it's actually a 486 CPU core)
  • kontron GX1LCD: ISA slot card outline, Geode GX1/300 CPU, 256MB RAM, Dual IDE (one addressing a CF slot), PS/2, VGA, Ethernet, PC/104 Plus
  • AAEON GENE4310: 146x102mm, Geode GX1/300 CPU, 256MB RAM, IDE, CF slot, PS/2, VGA/LVDS, Audio, Ethernet, PC/104, 2xUSB1.1
  • AAEON GENE6310: 146x102mm, VIA C3/533 CPU, 512MB RAM, IDE, CF slot, PS/2, VGA/LVDS, Audio, Ethernet, PC/104 Plus, 4xUSB1.1
As you can see, they all have keyboard/mouse interfaces and integrated video, though you may not have to use them in a particular application. However, USB is scarce; and those that do have USB do not support USB2.0.

It's the first SBC in the above list, by the way, that I'd like to run a minimalist Linux on ...

[X] Doc CPU

Last edited by Doc CPU; 01-18-2012 at 07:19 AM.
 
Old 01-18-2012, 03:44 PM   #11
jefro
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I work with automated machine systems so the devices called single board computers tend to be as michaelk and I were speaking about.

The OP mentioned more of hobby type boards.

I can't say that I'd say suggest any board mentioned for xbmc. Linux. QNX, VMworks and others can run on some very small stuff but running small tasks is a huge way away from a modern home use like XBMC.

It may be that soon a cheap ARM based setup would do but I can't say I know of any better solution than maybe the newest intel and amd soho type motherboards. I don't think I'd use anything less than an amd A6 or a core i5.
 
Old 01-19-2012, 08:40 AM   #12
onebuck
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Member response

Hi,

I too originally thought the OP was wanting a SBC as I knew it to be. More industrial or experimental sense for usage.

@jefro & michaelk

We are showing our age & experience here. Loads of members are re-using terms that are no longer fixed to one group or style of hardware. I can remember when the PC104 was the SBC of the day and popular use for experimentation & application usage. Now we have so many spin offs for this class the prices are getting competitive. Look at the ARM based SBC now available.

Off note example: Raspberry Pi is a compact system that is being designed specifically for educational purpose. A computer for $35 and usable for alternate design applications is a good re-purpose for the buck. Several parties are developing ARMslack for this device. I know that Alien_Bob is working on the java end along with other development areas. I am purchasing several Raspberry Pi for experimental application(s) that will fit for ongoing projects.

Heck, back in the early 70s' I spent well over a grand to build a SBC based on Intel 8080 and thought I was in heaven with 256B ROM,256KB RAM(later upgraded to 1KB) and a serial interface to a ASR33. That was a lot of fun!

I'm hoping younger users will get the spark and open doors too a wonderful career. While still at the University many years ago we had junior Engineering programs that developed projects to hopefully excite and challenge young enthusiastic potential Engineers(middle school to secondary ages). A device like the Raspberry Pi will be very useful for early learners.
 
  


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