10 single-board computers for under $100

Since the coming of the Raspberry Pi Model B, single-board computers (SBCs) have become a prevalent force in the development world. The biggest-little revolution: 10 single-board computers for under $100 article tells that these pocket-sized devices have taken the online maker community in particular by storm, providing PC functionality to a plethora of open-source projects in amazingly compact, cost-effective, and low-power platforms. Test engineers, those seeking to build one-off projects, and hobbyists have embraced, and appreciate, this mini computer platform.

The biggest-little revolution: 10 single-board computers for under $100 article has a slideshow that introduces a series of some of the most unique SBCs that have hit the market to date—all which can be purchased for under (or very nearly) $100. All the board presented seem to be based on different ARM cores.

ARM is not the only core on small SBC. Intel Atom CPUs are also used in many SBCs, so using boards based on this chip is also an option for SBC to consider if you are willing to pay for more money. When you need to pay more money, the question is do you get extra performance for extra money spent? Is Intel within ARM’s reach? Pedestrian Detection shows the way compares the performance of ARM and Atom based boards for image processing application.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Advanced Transcend WiFi SD Hacking: Custom Kernels, X, and Firefox

    [Dmitry] read about hacking the Transcend WiFi cards, and decided to give it a try himself. We already covered [Pablo's] work with the Transcend card. [Dmitry] took a different enough approach to warrant a second look.

    Rather than work from the web interface and user scripts down, [Dmitry] decided to start from Transcend’s GPL package and work his way up. Unfortunately, he found that the package was woefully incomplete

    [Dmitry] was able to create his own binary image within the 3MB limit and load it on the card. He discovered a few very interesting (and scary) things.

    In the end he did emerge victorious. He was able to bring up his own kernel on the WiFi SD card’s ARMv5 controller and run anything he wanted. He tested the system by booting up with X windows forwarding through an SSH tunnel over WiFi. He was even able to get Firefox running in X, albeit very slowly. The card doesn’t even need to be in a host system – only power and ground are needed to boot and access it via WiFi.

  2. Tomi says:

    The MinnowBoard is a Low-Cost, Open Hardware Single-Board Computer (Video)

    “CircuitCo started making something they called the BeagleBoard”

    “Now, with help and support from Intel, they’re making and supporting the Atom-based MinnowBoard, which is also open source, and comes with Angstrom Linux to help experimenters get started with it.”

  3. Tomi says:


    minnowboard.org is a community dedicated to the support of Open Hardware utilizing Intel® processors. This web site will serve as a starting point for the MinnowBoard community.

    The MinnowBoard is an Intel® Atom™ processor based board which introduces Intel® Architecture to the small and low cost embedded market for the developer and maker community. It has exceptional performance, flexibility, openness and standards.

  4. Tomi says:

    Comment at http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/13/09/26/1811237/the-minnowboard-is-a-low-cost-open-hardware-single-board-computer-video

    The GizmoBoard is also an open source single board computer that you can purchase for $200.

    But it’s a 64-bit dual-core AMD APU with an integrated Radeon HD 6250. Considerably more powerful than the Minnowboard, but still runs on 10W.

    Even an article about the MinnowBoard can’t help shouting out the GizmoBoard:

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Open Exynos4 Quad Mobile Development Platform

    ODROID-X open mobile development platform is based on Exynos4412 ARM Cortex-A9 Quad Core which shows PC-like performance. Enjoy various PC peripherals on Android.


    * Low-cost mobile software development platform
    * Quad core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore
    * 6 x High speed USB2.0 Host port
    * 10/100Mbps Ethernet with RJ-45 LAN Jack
    * Audio codec with headphone jack and microphone jack
    * Android 4.0.4 ICS
    * Community-driven projects & supports


  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ODROID-X is like a quad-core Raspberry Pi for $129

    So you’re intrigued by the $35 Raspberry Pi, but just don’t feel like its 700MHz processor will be able to handle your DIY computing needs? Korean company hardkernel has a slightly beefier option for you: the ODROID-X developer board.

    The ODROID features a smokin’ fast Samsung Exynos 4412 processor clocked at 1.4GHz — and it also happens to pack four cores.

    Android is supported out of the box, but Ubuntu 12.04 (and presumably other ARM-compatible distributions) run just fine.

    Hardkernel offers a number of add-ons for the board, including a Wi-Fi module, webcam, and both 10 and 13-inch LCD panels in case you want to build your own Android kiosk computer.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tiny $150 PC Fits in a Power-Plug

    Globalscale’s DreamPlug looks to have the build-quality of a $5 card-reader from your local dime-store, complete with ill-fitting plastic panels and 1980s utility-chic color-scheme. But who cares? This is a tiny PC that is smaller than the average wall-wart, and sips just 5 watts of power – the same as a USB port supplies.

    The DreamPlug packs a 1.2GHz Marvell Sheeva CPU, 512MB RAM (and 2MB storage, upgradeable through a microSD slot). You also get a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB-ports, an eSATA port, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR and even Wi-Fi (b and g).

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Survey: Development Boards Reduce Need for Custom PCB Design

    My firm recently conducted a survey among global engineers involved in PCB design, to get a snapshot of the industry’s trends from the year. We found that these engineers are increasingly targeting a variety of applications, with some of the most popular including control systems (74%), open hardware, and robotics.

    When choosing design software and graphical layout editors, engineers’ preferences rely primarily on functionality and performance.

    What do these results suggest about the evolution of PCB design? Online forums and social media didn’t exist 25 years ago, and the majority of design engineers today recognize the benefits these channels present. Despite this, communities remain an untapped resource to an emerging generation of PCB designers. In addition, the growth of development boards, which have reduced the need for custom PCB design for 64 percent of our respondents, provides software developers an opportunity to evolve alongside the changing electronic design landscape.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    10 Tiny Development Boards That Are Up to the Task

    Not so long ago, the typical development board was big, bulky, and often handmade. Recently a flood of Lilliputian-size development boards has been released — one for just about any need.

    We’ve assembled a collection of 10 boards so small you might lose them in the cushions of your couch.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained Kit (ATSAMA5D3-XPLD)

    The SAMA5D3 Xplained is a fast prototyping and evaluation platform for microprocessor-based design. The board comes with a rich set of ready to use connectivity and storage peripherals and expansion headers for easy customization. A Linux distribution and software package gets you running fast. A USB device connector can be used to power the board as well as programming and debugging it.

    SAMA5D36 Cortex-A5 microprocessor

    Dual Ethernet (GMAC + EMAC) with PHY and connectors


  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel’s DIY MinnowBoard goes Max: More oomph for half the price
    Raspberry Pi’s ARM not enough for your hacking needs? How about 64-bit x86?

    Intel has announced a new version of its pricey Raspberry Pi challenger, the MinnowBoard, which upgrades its Atom processor, shrinks its footprint, and slashes the price in half for one of two new models.

    The new single-board computer – named MinnowBoard Max in a stunningly inventive bit of nomenclature – is powered by a 64-bit Atom processor, a step up from the 32-bit Atom E640 in the original $199 MinnowBoard released last July.

    Two models will be available when the MinnowBoard Max ships, estimated to be this June: a version with a single-core 1.46GHz Atom E3815 with 1GB of DDR3 RAM will run $99, and a dual-core 1.33GHz Atom E3825 version with 2GB will cost you $129

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    $192 Nvidia’s Jetson TK1 Development Board
    Nvidia’s Jetson TK1 Development Board is an attractive option for home-based supercomputing.

    Nvidia’s recently released Jetson TK1 Development Board, which features the company’s long-awaited Tegra K1 SoC. The board is actually a complete computer all on its own

    To put that into perspective, the SoC is packed with a mind-blowing 192 cores. It was shown running the GPU demanding Unreal Engine 4 at CES back in January.

    Out of the box, the board comes preloaded with Linux for Tegra, OpenGL 4.4, CUDA, and the VisionWorks tool kit for those who want to use the board for developing applications and devices.

    Source: http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1322539&

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    HummingBoard is a Raspberry Pi rival that lets you swap out its processor

    You’d think the world of hobbyist mini computers would be full, considering that you’ve got a choice of Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone and even Intel’s NUC. That hasn’t deterred SolidRun, which is releasing the HummingBoard as a more powerful alternative to the Raspberry Pi. Built on the same platform, the HummingBoard promises faster silicon (1GHz ARM v7 vs. 700MHz ARM v6) while fitting into the same third-party cases as its education-centric rival. It also lets you switch out the CPU and memory module, should you need some more grunt further down the road. The base unit with 512MB RAM will set you back $45 plus $10 for a power adapter, while the top-spec model with 1GB RAM and a faster chip is priced at $100.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intel Releases Edison, a Computer Slightly Larger Than an SD Card

    Announced at the beginning of this year, Intel’s Edison is the chipmakers latest foray into the world of low power, high performance computing. Originally envisioned to be an x86 computer stuffed into an SD card form factor, this tiny platform for wearables, consumer electronic designers, and the Internet of Things has apparently been redesigned a few times over the last few months. Now, Intel has finally unleashed it to the world. It’s still tiny, it’s still based on the x86 architecture, and it’s turning out to be a very interesting platform.

    The key feature of the Edison is, of course, the Intel CPU. It’s a 22nm SoC with dual cores running at 500 MHz. Unlike so many other IoT and micro-sized devices out there, the chip in this device, an Atom Z34XX, has an x86 architecture. Also on board is 4GB of eMMC Flash and 1 GB of DDR3. Also included in this tiny module is an Intel Quark microcontroller – the same as found in the Intel Galileo – running at 100 MHz. The best part? Edison will retail for about $50. That’s a dual core x86 platform in a tiny footprint for just a few bucks more than a Raspberry Pi.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Here is one interesting board, they have several models from around $100 to slightly over $200 price range:

    Parallella Computer

    The Parallella platform is an open source, energy efficient, high performance, credit-card sized computer based on the Epiphany multicore chips developed by Adapteva. This affordable platform is designed for developing and implementing high performance, parallel processing applications developed to take advantage of the on-board Epiphany chip. The Epiphany 16 or 64 core chips consists of a scalable array of simple RISC processors programmable in C/C++ connected together with a fast on chip network within a single shared memory architecture.


    Zynq-7000 Series Dual-core ARM A9 CPU (Z-7010 or Z-7020)
    16 or 64-core Epiphany Multicore Accelerator
    1GB RAM
    MicroSD Card
    2x USB 2.0
    4 general purpose expansion connectors
    10/100/1000 Ethernet
    HDMI port
    Ships with Ubuntu OS
    3.4″ x 2.15″ form factor

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Freescale and Texas Instruments Goodies and World Maker Faire

    The Hummingboard from SolidRun comes in an oddly familiar form factor to anyone who has ever handled a Raspberry Pi. It also has an interesting feature: the CPU is on a small module, allowing anyone to upgrade the chipset to something significantly more powerful

    Also in the Freescale booth was the pcDuino, a dual core ARM Cortex A7 with Ethernet, WiFi, and a SATA, with Arduino form factor pinouts.

    [Trey German] from Texas Instruments showed off some very cool stuff, including a quadcopter board for a Launchpad microcontroller.

    Also from TI was their CC3200 dev board. This is a single chip with an ARM Cortex M4 and a WiFi radio that we’ve seen before. The CC3200 runs TI’s Wiring/Arduino inspired development environment Energia, and at about $30 for the CC3200 Launchpad board, it’s an easy and cheap way to build an Internet of Things thing.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    7 alternative hacker boards

    Arduino and Raspberry Pi are great, well-utilized DIY boards for hacking just about anything you want to design. But if you’re looking for an alternate hacker board, here are seven that Steve Nelson, Freescale’s director of ecosystem and marketing programs, presented at this week’s Designers of Things (DoT) conference.

    Teensy 3.1

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Big SBC RAM Roundup

    More single board computer (SBC) manufacturers are popping up on the market every year, bringing in tow myriad options. Some of the newer SBCs to hit the market are certainly impressive, given their respective price points, multicore CPUs, and gigabytes worth of RAM that rival some tablets and smartphones. That onboard memory is key in taking SBCs out of the embedded world and into mainstream usage. Gone are the days of blinking lights and command lines. Only through RAM can desktop-level software come to the embedded development world.

    For your entertainment purposes, below is a compiled roundup of just a few SBCs outfitted with more RAM that are currently on the market.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Open-source SBC packs compute power and graphics

    Powered by an AMD Embedded G-Series system-on-chip featuring a dual-core 1-GHz CPU and a 300-MHz Radeon 8000 series graphics processor, the Gizmo 2 single-board computer from GizmoSphere gives embedded programmers and expert DIYers an open-source platform to build high-performance designs.

    This second-generation x86-based board, launched at this month’s Electronica show, runs Linux, including the Embedded Linux distributed by TimeSys and Windows Embedded 7 and 8.

    Gizmo 2

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    MIPS Creator CI20 development board now available for only $65

    An exciting new microcomputer for Linux and Android enthusiasts has arrived.

    Pre-order your MIPS Creator CI20 microcomputer for $65/£50

    Today, I’m extremely excited to announce we are ready to embark on a new adventure. For the first time in the history of computing, MIPS and PowerVR meet in an affordable Linux and Android development board that will be easily accessible to everyone. We will be selling the Creator CI20 boards straight from our store (click the buttons below to pre-order one now). North America and Europe will be the first regions to get it in late January, followed by a gradual rollout to other territories.

    $65/£50 gets you a fully connected, high performance microcomputing platform that can be used for a wide variety of applications. Here is a brief list of the key specifications:

    Processor: 1.2 GHz dual-core, MIPS32-based Ingenic JZ4780 SoC, 32kB L1 I- and D-cache, 512kB L2 cache
    FPU: IEEE754 Floating Point Unit, XBurst MXU
    Multimedia: PowerVR SGX540 GPU, hardware-accelerated video playback up to 1080p at 60 fps
    Memory: 1 GB DDR3 SDRAM, 4 GB flash memory, 1 x SD card
    Audio: AC97 audio, via 4-pin input/output jack and HDMI connector
    Camera interface: ITU-R BT.645 controller
    Connectivity: 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
    Display: 1 x HDMI up to 2K resolution
    USB: 1 x USB host, 1 x USB OTG device
    I/O peripherals: 2 x UART, 25 x GPIO, 2 x SPI, I2C, ADC, expansion headers, 14-pin ETAG connector

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Violet, you’re turning violet! Imagination unveils graphics-tastic hobbyist board
    You’ll need to bring the ideas, though

    Imagination Technologies, the MIPS chipper firm behind PowerVR, has a new hobbyist board. For fifty quid you can do some techie tinkering.

    If you’ve called your company “Imagination”, there is an irony in making some hardware where the declared aim is to have developers do the imagining, but that’s by the by.

    The idea is to build a community similar to that surrounding Arduino, Beagle or Raspberry Pi, which will create applications and devices which then use MIPS processors. Imagination points out that a billion MIPS cores ship a year, and while people tend to think of the world being divided into ARM or Intel, they are around too. The Ci20 is the first of a number of products which will be sold under the “Creator” brand.

    The Ci20 has an emphasis on video. There is a four-pipe PowerVR SGX540 graphics offering full support for OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 and dedicated video hardware for low power 1080p decoding at 30 fps and resolutions up to 2K.

    Behind this there is a 1.2 GHz dual-core, MIPS32-based Ingenic JZ4780 SoC, 32kB L1 I- and D-cache, 512kB L2 cache processor and fast Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It’s packed with 1GB DDR3 memory, 4GB flash and an SD card expansion slot, and, as you might expect, loads of ports: 2 x UART, 25 x GPIO, 2 x SPI, I2C, ADC, expansion headers and a 14-pin ETAG connector, so you could interface it to a Raspberry Pi.

    MIPS Creator Ci20 comes pre-installed with Debian 7. Other Linux distributions will be available, including Gentoo and Yocto. Users can also install the latest version of Android v4.4. Imagination is in the process of porting Lollipop.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:


    Quad Core Linux computer is now $35.00.
    Don’t put up with the slow single core computer anymore.
    If you are considering a tiny computer for general purpose computing, software development or as a project platform,
    the ODROID-C1 will give you a lot more satisfaction and fun with incredible performance for a very low price.

    * Amlogic ARM® Cortex®-A5(ARMv7) 1.5Ghz quad core CPUs
    * Mali™-450 MP2 GPU (OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1 enabled for Linux and Android)
    * 1Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM
    * Gigabit Ethernet
    * 40pin GPIOs
    * eMMC4.5 HS200 Flash Storage slot / UHS-1 SDR50 MicroSD Card slot
    * USB 2.0 Host x 4, USB OTG x 1,
    * Infrared(IR) Receiver
    * Ubuntu 14.04 or Android KitKat

    You can get more information from ODROID Magazine.

  23. hiệu may thành phố hồ chí minh says:

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!


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