$49 barebones ARM board has HDMI, USB, SATA


— 11:36 AM on September 6, 2012

The folks behind the Raspberry Pi mini computer board are moving production to the UK. They've also come up with a new revision that adds mounting holes, a reset circuit, and a few other tweaks to the $35 ARM-based platform. Those are nice additions, but they're not quite as compelling as some of the extras found on the Cubieboard, a potential new contender in the world of barebones ARM devices.

Although the Cubieboard website clearly needs some work, it does provide some interesting details about product. The Cubieboard is based on an Allwinner A10 SoC, which features a 1GHz Cortex-A8 CPU complete with support for ARM's NEON extensions. ARM's Mali-400 GPU handles graphics duties and powers the HDMI output at resolutions up to 1080p. The CPU and GPU share a gig of DDR3 RAM clocked at 480MHz.

Unlike the Raspberry Pi, which lacks local storage, the Cubieboard comes with 4GB of NAND. If that's not enough, the board offers not only a Serial ATA port, but also a memory card slot. There's also a 10/100 Fast Ethernet jack, dual USB ports, and what looks like a couple of analog audio connectors. Android and Ubuntu are both supported, according to the site, although further details are scarce.

The Cubieboard is similar to the Via APC introduced this spring at the same $49 price point. Over at Hacker News, there's some debate over whether the newcomer is legit. For what it's worth, the Cubieboard's specifications certainly don't seem outlandish given the price.

Amusingly, the website calls the Cubieboard "another open ARM box," highlighting the fact that a number of comparable devices have popped up recently. I've been tempted to get one for a no-frills media system, but waiting might not be a bad idea. These little boards seem to be getting more robust, and it would really be nice to have one with integrated WI-Fi.

   
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