3 of 6Image
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.
A more affordable SBC, the $45 BeagleBone Black is powered by a Texas Instruments AM335x 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor. It also comes with a 3D graphics accelerator, and a NEON floating-point accelerator. For memory and storage it has 512MBs of RAM and 2GBs of on-board flash storage. As for secondary storage and booting it uses the usual micro-SD card. For networking it uses 10/100MB Ethernet and graphics output is done by both S-Video and HDMI.
The BeagleBone family runs Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, and Android. In addition, the BeagleBone has its own Linux distribution: Angstrom. It also comes with a great deal of support and several books on how to get the most from this SBC. This makes it, to my mind, one of the best SBCs for beginners.