It doesn't matter if you want a computer the size of a card, a thumb drive or dice box — there's a manufacturer out there that has you covered. You can now count ASUS in that mix, with the launch of its "Tinker Board", a Cortex-powered mini-machine aimed at the Raspberry Pi crowd.
At first glance, it looks like any other card computer... you could even mistake it for a Raspberry Pi. You can clearly see the USB, HDMI and Ethernet ports, along with the CPU — a quad-core ARM Cortex-A17.
What sets it apart are its capabilities. The hardware is advertised as supporting 4K, while the Ethernet is Gigabit (compared to the Pi's 100Mb/s). This might be enough to sway Pi enthusiasts with a taste for compact home theatre boxes.
Here are the full specifications (via CPC):
- Quad core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A17 CPU
- 2GB Dual channel LPDDR3 memory
- Gigabit LAN and Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR connectivity
- 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
- 4x USB 2.0 ports
- 40-pin Internal header with 28 GPIO pins
- Contact points for PWM and S/PDIF signals
- 1x 3.5mm Audio jack connection
- CSI port for camera connection
- DSI port supporting HD resolution
- 1x HDMI 2.0 port to support 4K resolution
- Micro SD port supports UHS-I
- Supports Debian OS with KODI
- Power supply: 5V/ 2A Micro USB (not included)
Unfortunately, while the board is available in Europe and the UK, there doesn't appear to be a local distributor. On top of this, you'll need to jump through some hoops if you want to get it shipped here.
It's also dearer than the Pi at £45 ($73), so depending on what you use it for, there might be better options, such as the various Allwinner-powered gadgets you can get these days. Still, you have to start somewhere and this looks like a decent offering from ASUS.