Saturday, February 25th 2017

ASUS Unveils the TinkerBoard to Rival Raspberry Pi and Intel Edison

As the world's number one PC motherboard manufacturer by volume, it would be a shame if ASUS didn't pander to the budding engineers and electronics hobbyists among you with a product that rivals the Raspberry Pi and Intel Edison. That product is the TinkerBoard, a card-sized single-board computer with a ton of I/O, including support for 4K Ultra HD displays. At the heart of this board is a Rockchip RK3288 SoC, which embeds a 32-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A17 CPU, and a Mali T764 GPU. This chip is topped off by 2 GB of dual-channel memory. The most prominent Raspberry Pi competitor to this board is the Pi 3 Model B, with its 64-bit Broadcom BCM2837 chip, and a starting price of just $35.

Other features of the TinkerBoard include a GPIO that rivals Raspberry Pi, 4K Ultra HD H.264 video decode capability, gigabit Ethernet, SDIO 3.0, 24-bit/192 kHz HD audio, and a swappable antenna for its 802.11 b/g/n WLAN. While the specifications check out well in favor of the TinkerBoard, it all comes down to pricing. Hobbyists working on robotics projects, for example, purchase Raspberries Pi by the dozens thanks to their low price. ASUS should do well to keep that in mind when pricing this board.
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8 Comments on ASUS Unveils the TinkerBoard to Rival Raspberry Pi and Intel Edison

#1
Ferrum Master
What's the TDP of the chip? I guess it suffers from overheating and throttling for sure.
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#2
P4-630
Cute and cheap! :D
Personally I have no use for it though...
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#3
silentbogo
A little correction:
RPi 3 never was cheaper than it's starting price of $35. The lowest I've ever seen was a newark/element14 promotion for RPi 2 initial release - bought a couple for $19 each, but that was relatively long time ago.

On the serious note - raspberry Pi was never exceptional in terms of speed. Odroid XU4 was running circles around it and has been around a lot longer (exynos 5422).
There are also some interesting competitors, like a quad-core OrangePi One which retails for like $9 on chinese internet stores (works like Pi3 almost at the price of PiZero, Allwinner H3).

BTW, according to this source, the board sells for ~45 euro($58) on Farnell (currently taken off, because it only goes on sale in the next 1-2 weeks), which is cheaper than almost identical Firefly RK3288, and about in the same ballpark as Odroid XU4.

And a preliminary review on Hackaday:
http://hackaday.com/2017/02/15/review-the-asus-tinker-board/

Ferrum Master, post: 3608110, member: 90058"
What's the TDP of the chip? I guess it suffers from overheating and throttling for sure.
Depends on the perspective, I guess....
Some sites mention 3W TDP (Chromebit)
Some say just under 5W...
Most Android TV boxes based on RK3288 come with a 5V 2.5A adapter, which puts it at <12W for the whole system.

If, and only if, it is cheaper than XU4, or at the same price level as RPi 3, I will consider one.
Meanwhile, still dreaming about Jettson TX1 farm... :banghead:
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#4
Ferrum Master
silentbogo, post: 3608137, member: 141875"
5V 2.5A adapter, which puts it at <12W for the whole system.
That's with the USB power budget.

Still pure 5W ain't low. Adding heatsink looks problematic due to PCB design too.
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#5
silentbogo
Ferrum Master, post: 3608152, member: 90058"
That's with the USB power budget.

Still pure 5W ain't low. Adding heatsink looks problematic due to PCB design too.
It largely depends on clocks. Most sources state up to 1.8GHz, so it won't be a surprise if only those TV boxes upclock it all the way up due to some kind of active or passive cooling.
Some reviews noted very high temperatures on the heatspreader on 1.8GHz systems (70С and above), which for this size only means that TDP is no less than Tegra K1, or Exynos 5422 (which comes with an active HSF).

ADDED:
http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/02/17/power-consumption-of-amlogic-s812-and-rockchip-rk3288-tv-boxes/
Seems like the RK3288 tv box can consume up to 2A with intense multithreaded FPU load. Subtract eMMC, RAM and WiFi chipset power usage, and we still get near 7W for fully clocked chip.

What's really sad is that 3288 is kinda old... So as BCM2837 and even Exynos 5422...
....And mediatek Helio X20 dev board(s) costs more than my laptop.
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#6
Ferrum Master
silentbogo, post: 3608196, member: 141875"
What's really sad is that 3288 is kinda old... So as BCM2837 and even Exynos 5422...
....And mediatek Helio X20 dev board(s) costs more than my laptop.
Indeed... it is cheaper to buy a phone and chroot linux atop of it...

Well, it needs a heatsink for sure then. Meh... that CPU placemnt spoils the fun, it needs a custom one then.
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#7
simlariver
Isn't that old-news from at least a month ago ?

The point of PR3 isn't power, it is about community support. Still, i'm glad those kinda devices are gaining traction.
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#8
silentbogo
simlariver, post: 3609324, member: 41021"
Isn't that old-news from at least a month ago ?
It's probably an official press-release. Tinker Board is not even in retail yet.

simlariver, post: 3609324, member: 41021"
The point of PR3 isn't power, it is about community support.
So was an Arduino - initially an overpriced piece of junk with last-century's best selling microcontroller at heart.
Though, it did started a "maker" fad, which helped to significantly reduce the cost of modern dev. platforms from big players like TI, Microchip and Freescale.
I'm still surprised TI dropped the price on Tiva C launchpad down to $12. It's friggin' Cortex M4F with an onboard JTAG debugger!

Same with Pi - it is drowning under the flood of cheaper/better/faster dev. boards from China. It may sound bad - but I mean it: some of those BlabberyPi boards are quite good or ridiculously good. I still remember my very first CubieTruck, which I bought before RPi Model B... It even had SATA, and could power a 2.5" laptop drive without an external power adapter!
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