ASUS has released a mini home theater PC called the Tinker Board that supports 4K video playback. The product runs Linux right out of the box and reportedly sells for about $60, $25 more than the price of its top competitor, the Raspberry Pi single-board computer.
The Tinker Board, however, might put up a good fight in the sales department. The ‘Asus Pi,’ as some people are calling it, does not have the gadgets and peripherals built around the RP form factor, but it does promise performance and innovation.
Eager computer enthusiasts can get one through CPC for a starting price of £45.83 (about £55 after taxes) without shipping costs.
Tinker Board specs
For almost twice the price of an RP3, the Tinker Board offers nearly twice the performance. Its RockChip RK3288 Quad-core 1.8GHz processor has a benchmark of 3925, beating the RP’s Broadcom 2092 score.
It has 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM and supports HDMI connectivity with H.264 4K decoding capability. It also supports 192K sample rate audio at 24bit, packs 1GB LAN connectivity, and comes with a Micro SD card slot.
The USB-powered board also has a Quad-core 600MHz ARM Mali-T760 GPU, Bluetooth 4.0, top-of-the-line WiFi connectivity with swappable antennas. Given its size and potency, it consumes a maximum of 5W while the Raspberry Pi stops at 3.7W.
It also has a 40-pin internal header that holds 28 GPIO pins, camera integration with a CSI port, and a DSI entry as well. The power supply does not come with the purchase.
The Tinker Board cannot compete with RP’s support
Online reviewers regard the Tinker Board as an attractive and reliable alternative. However, most of them point out it does not have the software support that the Raspberry Pi currently offers, nor its widespread popularity.
ASUS, nevertheless, might be making efforts to counter this problem. The manufacturer stated that they intended to “expand users’ choices with more options” by showcasing a board that offers “higher SoC performance, faster Ethernet transmission, and flexibility for the memory size.”
Other pros and cons of purchasing the Tinker Board
For people interested in building their personal computers from scratch, the Tinker Board offers an alternative that can tackle larger projects without increasing the price too much.
ASUS’s jump into the single-board market could also face some resistance from Raspberry Pi in the coming months, and a 4K variant from the well-known manufacturer might come sooner than later.
However, regarding price and quality, the Tinker Board beats almost every other mini-computer on the market today and still manages to bear attractive price tags.
Source: PC World