Single-board computers, since the beginning of their existence, have been supremely helpful and fun for tinkerers and DIY enthusiasts from all over the world. For example, spending $35 on a Raspberry Pi, which can ultimately do anything a desktop can, has been well worth it to many. Spending hundreds of dollars is not required to indulge in a project. Heck, spending $35 is close to being a thing of the future. Newer versions of the Pi run for $25, even the Raspberry Pi Zero runs for a mere $5. Similarly, there is the new Pine A64, a single-board computer for under $20. The Pine A64 hopes to differentiate itself by bringing a 64-bit processor for full productivity, and is said to be a nice competitor to the Pi Zero.
The 3.125 x 5 inch device comes in two versions, the Pine A64 and Pine A64+, priced at $15 and $19, respectively. Both feature a quad-core ARM A53 64-bit CPU, clocked at 1.2GHz, and a dual-core MALI-400 MP2 GPU running at 500MHz, capable of 1.1 Gpixels per second. They both use lithium power, sport two USB 2.0 ports, 4K HDMI ports (at 3840 x 2160 pixels), and support flash storage of up to 256GB. There are two differences found in the slightly cheaper Pine A64. It uses a 10/100Mbps internet connection, compared to the Gigabit speed found in the A64+, which also contains 1GB of DDR3 memory, while the cheaper option contains 512MB of DDR3 memory (Slash Gear).
The Pine A64 series beats the Raspberry Pi in many areas. Both the Raz Pi 2B and 1A+ models are priced higher ($20-$35), have less impressive CPU Types and Bit counts, clock at lower CPU speeds, contain less GPU cores, hold less memory and storage, and sport less connectivity and internet options. Sorry Raspberry Pi, we love you. You’re just trying to be outdated and, ahem, it seems to be working.
Co-founder of Pine 64 Johnson Jeng hopes consumers will quickly understand what its devices are all about. Not only a cheaper and (more sophisticated) answer to its competition, the Pine 64 wants “to create a simple, smart and affordable computer that gives people access toward making their next big idea come true”. In addition to the exceptional spec list, the Pine A64 has the potential to open itself up to a huge community of other tinkerers that want to use “multiple open source software platforms to build a community of creativity and innovation” (BGR).
Currently on Kickstarter, the Pine A64 group has already made its mini computer available to the public, and for $15 or $19, depending on which model suits your fancy, you can go ahead and put a pre-order in. Considering the Pine A64 campaign has already doubled their funding goal, it is hoped the company will start shipping by February of 2016.
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