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In the beginning, the Raspberry Pi
There were many single-board computers (SBC) before the Raspberry Pi showed up, but its combination of price, power, and community made it the poster-child for the do-it-yourself generation of makers who want nothing more than see just how much they could do with a SBC. Popular as the $35 Raspberry Pi is, there are many other worthwhile SBCs out there for the maker who wants to go a little farther out.
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Intel MinnowBoard Max
While far from being as cheap as the Raspberry Pi, for $99 Intel's forthcoming MinnorBoard Max looks pretty sweet.
This SBC, which will appear in June 2014, is powered by either an Intel Atom E3815 (single-core, 1.46 GHz) or the $129 E3825 (dual-core, 1.33 GHz)a 64-bit Intel Atom system on a chip (SoC). It also comes with 1GB of RAM; 8MBs of Flash RAM for on-board storage and a Micro SD card for additional storage; and built-in HD graphics.
For ports, it comes with USB 2.0, USB 3.0, SATA and Gigabit Ethernet. At 99 x 74mm (2.9 x 3.9in), it's credit-card sized. And, as usual for SBCs, it supports Linux. In particular, it will come ready to run with Debian Linux, Yocto embedded Linux, and Android 4.4 System.
I can see makers doing a lot with this high-end, as SBCs go x86 compatible card.
UDOO, pronounced You Do, was one of the first Raspberry Pi rivals.
This SBC is built around a Freescale i.MX 6 ARM Cortex-A9 CPU Dual/Quad core running at 1GHz. For an SBC that's a lot of processor and to take care of its resulting heat it includes large heat sinks. That makes it, by SBC standards, much bulker than most such computers.
On the other hand, the $134.99 UDOO also comes with three separate graphics accelerators for 2D, OpenGL ES2.0 3D and OpenVG. To get those graphics to the world the UDOO uses HDMI. For programming room, it has 1 GB of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 ports, and it uses a Micro SD card for booting and storage.
Finally, for operating systems, the UDOO supports Linaro Ubuntu, Android 4.3, Debian, and Yocto.