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Small low cost linux pc's, an overview from 11-2012

07-11-2012 | Remy van Elst

You might have heard of the Raspberry Pi, or the Cotton Candy, or the Snowball. Those are, besides nice pi, candy and snow, also small Linux pc's. Most of them have an ARM chip, a small amount of memory and run some for of Linux.

This page will provide an overview of what is on the market, specs, an image, and links to the boards. It is probably not complete, and if I forgot one, please leave a comment. I think I'll be doing another overview at the end of the year.
Prices are in US dollar unless otherwise stated. It is the starting price for the cheapest model where applicable.
USB is always 2.0 unless otherwise stated.
If specs are known, I add them, (HMDI 1.4, 10/100/1000 base T ethernet), if not then it is like (HDMI, RJ-45 ethernet).

Need a VPS server?

Table of Contents

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi

Goal / Info
  • stimulating the teaching of basic computer science in schools. *
Specs (model B)
  • Broadcom BCM2835 SoC
  • 700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S core ARM11 CPU,
  • 512 MB RAM (pre october 2012 models have 256 MB RAM) (shared)
  • 2x USB, 1x RJ45 100mbit, 1x 3.5mm jack audio, HDMI 1,3 & 1,4, Composite RCA (PAL & NTSC)
  • SD card slot for storage. No internal HDD.
Operating System(s)

Linux (Debian, Arch, Fedora), RISC OS

Price

$35.
Raspberry Pi Homepage

Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy

Goal / Info

allows users a single, secure point of access to all personal cloud services and apps through their favorite operating system, while delivering a consistent experience on any screen. The device will serve as a companion to smartphones, tablets, and notebook PC and Macs, as well add smart capabilities to existing displays, TVs, set top boxes and other media that supports USB mass storage."

Specs
  • 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPU
  • Mali-400MP ARM GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wifi, Bluetooth 2.1.
  • 1x HMDI, 1x USB, 1x female MicroUSB
  • MicroSD card Slot
Operating System(s)

Linux (Ubuntu), Android

Price

$200
Cotton Candy Homepage

Gooseberry

Gooseberry

Goal / Info

Ive set up Gooseberry for one chief reason, the time the Raspberry Pi is taking to get here!

Specs
  • 1.0 GHz Allwinner A10 Soc
  • 4 GB nand flash internal storage
  • Micro SD card slot
  • 802.11 b/g/n/ Wifi
  • 1x HDMI (Mali 400 MHz), 1x 3.5mm jack
Operating System

Android ICS only. Arch and Ubuntu expected.

Price

40 UK Pounds

Gooseberry Homepage

Rascal Micro

Rascal Micro

Goal / Info

The Rascal is a small, open source computer that works with Arduino shields. Inside, it runs Linux, and you can program it in Python. The Rascal comes with a web-based editor and lots of examples that you can modify to make whatever you want.

Specs

I could not find any good hardware specs, if you know them, please leave them in the comments.

  • Open source computer that works with Arduino shields
  • Programmable in Python
  • Serves webpages
  • Web server includes an editor
Operating Systems

ODROID-X

ODROID-X

Goal / Info

Not found.

Specs
  • 1.4 GHz Samsung Exynos 43412 ARM Cortex A9
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Mali 400 GPU, Micro HDMI
  • 50pin IO expansion port for LCD/I2C/UART/SPI/ADC/GPIO interfaces
  • 6x USB 2, 2x 3.5MM Jack
  • 1x 10/100MB Ethernet (RJ-45)
  • SDHC card slot
Operating Systems

Android 4 ICS, Ubuntu ARM, Fedora ARM, Arch Linux ARM

Price

129 US Dollar

ODROID-X homepage

CuBox

CuBox

Goal / Info

CuBox Developer Platform is a highly energy efficient and miniature open source development platform for different applications, like multimedia, set-top-box, NAS, automation and other applications.

Specs:
  • Marvell Armada 510 SoC
  • 800 MHz dual issue ARM PJ4 processor, VFPv3, wmmx SIMD and 512KB L2 cache.
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1x HDMI, 1x SPDIF, 1x eSata, 2x USB, 1x Micro SD, 1x Micro USB (for console)
  • 1x Gigabit ethernet
  • Infrared. Special No-JTAG Unbrick
Operating System(s):

Linux (Ubuntu), Android

Price:

$135

CuBox Homepage

Pandora

Open Pandora Console

Goal / Info

*designed to take advantage of existing open source software and to be a target for homebrew development and emulation. *

Specs
  • TI OMAP3530 SoC
  • 600 MHz ARM A8 CPU
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 802.11 b/g Wifi, Bluetooth 2.0,
  • 800x480 4.3" resistive touch screen, 2 analog controllers
  • TV out, 3.5mm jack, 2x USB, 2x SD card slot
  • 43 key QWERTY keyboard
Operating System(s):

ngstrm Linux

Price

EUR: 440.
OpenPandora Homepgage

VIA Android-PC (APC)

via APC

Goal / Info

APC was born from our love of computers and our realization that the PC needs a fundamental redesign. The redesign that we offer is a computer that is more accessible, and more valuable, because youre not paying for functions that you dont need and wont be using.

Specs
  • 800 MHz VIA CPU
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 2 GB NAND Flash memory
  • 1x RJ-45 10/100 mbit ethernet, No WIFI (only via USB Dongle)
  • 1X HDMI, 1x VGA, 4x USB, 2x 3.5MM Jack (audio-out adn audio-in), 1x MicroSD slot
Operating System(s)

Android (2.3)

Price

$50
APC Homepage

AllWinner MK802 Mini PC

Goal / Info

None, a cheap china-made clone/mix of the above.

Specs
  • Allwinner A10/ 1GHz Cortex-A8 CPU
  • 512MB RAM, 4GB Storage
  • 802.11b/g/n Wifi
  • 1x MicroSD Slot, 1x USB, 1x HDMI
Operating System(s)

Android, Linux (Ubuntu).

Price

$75 base price, varies where you buy it.

Allwinner MK808 Android PC

mk808

Goal / Info

None, cheap china made clone/mix of the above, upgrade of the MK208

Specs
  • 1.2 GHz Rochip RK 3066, CORTEX-A9 CPU
  • Mali-400MP ARM GPU
  • 1 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 8 GB NAND Flash
  • B/G/N Wifi
  • HMDI Port
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x Micro USB
Operating System

Android Jelly Bean 4.1

Price

$60 base price, varies where you buy it.
Webshop that sells the MK808

Ben Nanote

Ben Nanote

Goal / Info

: bn. The Chinese character signifies an origin or the beginning place; It signifies exactly what the first version of the NanoNote is: a beginning. The version of NanoNote is an ultra small form factor computing device. The device sports a 336 MHz processor, 2GB of flash memory, microSD slot, head phone jack, USB device and 850mAh Li-ion battery. It boots Linux out of the box and also boots over USB. Its targeted squarely at developers who see the promise of open hardware and want to roll their own end user experience. Its the perfect companion for open content; we envision developers turning the device into a music or video player for Ogg or an offline Wikipedia or MIT OpenCourseWare appliance. Or you can simply amaze your friends by creating an ultra small handheld notebook computer. You choose the distribution.

Specs
  • 336 MHz JZ4720 MIPS CPU (MIPS, Yay!)
  • 32 MB RAM (yes, Megabyte)
  • 320x240 3" screen (40x15 console)
  • 2 GB NAND Flash, 1x MicroSD slot
  • 1x USB Mini B
  • 59 key keyboard
Operating System(s)

Linux (Debian MIPS)

Price

$99
Ben Nanote Website

Norhtec Gecko Surfboard

Norhtec Surfboard

Goal / Info

*The Gecko Surfboard is one of the easiest, most energy efficient and least expensive platforms to get on the web. The Gecko Surfboard is the size of a standard keyboard but inside is a full x86 computer. *

Specs
  • 1 GHz Xcore86 x586 Device on Chip CPU
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1x internal Sata
  • 1x RS232, 1x VGA, 1x TV/Composite, 2x USB, 2x SD, 1x RJ-45
  • Integrated Keyboard
Operating System(s)

This is an x86, so Windows, Linux, Android, BSD, Haiku, ReactOS or whatever you can hack on it.

Price

$120
Norhtec Surfboard

Cappuccino PC

Cappuccino PC

Goal / Info

Not Found

Specs

Differs per model, these are the specs for the SlimPRO SP645 Mini PC model

  • Support Intel Core2Duo T9400/T9600/T7500, P8600/8400 and Celeron M 575/585 CPU
  • Intel GM45 / ICH9M
  • Support Max 8GB DDR2 667/800 Dual Channel SODIMM with 64Bit OS
  • On-board Gigabit LAN, 1394 firewire port
  • Optional 2nd COM Port,2nd Gigabit LAN or 3 Gigabit LAN coexist with Optical Drive
  • Optional Mini PCI Express slot and Express Card slot add-on, DVI port add-on for dual display, Parallel Port, 4 DVR Input
  • 5.75"(W) x 10.0"(D) x 1.65"(H) (14.6 x 25.4 x 4.2 cm)
Operating Systems

These machines are x86 so anything you can run on x86 hardware, like ReactOS, Haiku, Syllable OS or MikeOS. Or just any Linux distro, and maybe even Windows.

Price

Starting at 400 dollars.

SlimPRO Model and many more Cappuccino models

Zipit Z2

Zipit Z2

Goal

The Z2 is a handheld device which was originally marketed to children for chatting on instant messenger services through wifi without the need for a costly cellphone and associated service plan.

Specs

  • 312 MHz XScale PXA270 CPU
  • 32 MB RAM
  • Backlit QWERTY Keyboard
  • 2.8" QVGA Screen (320x240)
  • MiniSD Slot
  • 3.5MM jack
  • 802.11 b/g Wifi
Operating Systems

This is the nice thing about this device, it runs Linux, and you can hack it to run Debian with FluxBox and the Dillo Webbrowser.
Here is a step by step guide to setup debian

Price

Around 40 dollars on ebay, not in production anymore.

Zipit Z2 page

TrimSlice

trimslice

Goal / Info

Trim-Slice is the first desktop computer powered by NVIDIA Tegra 2. It is a miniature fanless dual-core ARM Cortex A9 computer that provides outstanding multimedia experience.

Specs
  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 SoC
  • 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 CPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1x Sata internal, 1x SD slot, 1x Micro SD Slot
  • 1x RJ-45 1000 mbit ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wifi, Bluetooth
  • 1x HDMI 1.3, 1x dual head DVI
  • 4x USB, 1x RS232, JTAG, Composite
Operating System(s)

Android, Linux (Ubuntu)

Price

$213
TrimSlice website

OLinuXino

OLinuxIno

Goal / Info

OLINUXINO is Open Source software and Open Source Hardware, low cost EUR 30 Linux Industrial grade single board computer with GPIOs capable to operate -25+85C. OLINUXINO is completely open source - including hardware and software, this means you have access to all CAD files and sources and you can reuse them for your own personal or commercial project. There are NO restrictions to manufacture and sell these board for your own use or resale.

Specs (iMX233-OLinuXino-MINI)
  • 454 MHz iMX233 ARM926J CPU
  • 64 MB RAM
  • 40 pin GPIO
  • SD Card
  • TV/PAL/NTSC Output
  • 3x USB
  • UEXT Connector
  • optional Wifi via RTL8188CU module
Operating Systems

Linux (Arch), Android, Open Embedded Linux

Price

$ 35
OlinuXino website

Plug Computers (SheevaPlug, GuruPlug etc)

SheevaPlug

Goal / Info

designed to allow standard computing features in as small a space as possible.

Specs
  • ARM CPU, varies between 600 MHz to 1.5 GHz
  • RAM varies from 256 MB to 1 GB
  • Plug directly in wall socket
  • 1 or more RJ-45 ethernet ports
  • 1 or more USB ports
  • Some have 802.11 b/g Wireless
Operating System(s)

Linux (various)

Price

Varies per plug PC.
Wikipedia Article about Plug Computers

List of plug computers

DreamPlug

Other Boards


Tags: allwinner, ben-nanote, cappuccino-pc, cotton-candy, cubox, featured-one, gecko-surfboard, gooseberry, linux, mk802, mk808, odroid-x, olinuxino, pandora, plug-computers, rascal-micro, raspberry-pi, trimslice, via-apc, zipit-z2,