How About A $35 Intel SBC? Atomic Pi

Here’s a pretty good review of the Atomic Pi. A Single Board Computer using an Intel Atom CPU.

Physically it is about 2 x the size of a R.PiM3, and it only has one USB port (so mentally add on the cost of a USB Hub to atcually use it with a keyboard and mouse…).

Still, it’s a high performance package compared to most all the rest of the SBC world (even if only “moderate” for an Intel PC Box and you could likely get the same performance for $35 buying a used PC off eBay or Craig’s List and without the USB / PSU issues). It has a need for power-in via an odd connector (per what I see in the video). OTOH, it will run all those million and one things written for Intel platforms that just won’t go anywhere else.

In the video he mentions the NVIDIA Jetson Nano as a comparison. I actually saw that video of his last week. It’s an interesting board too:

Were I buying another computer, it would more likely be the Jetson Nano as I’m interested in GPU Computing and it looks like a good learning platform for that. This is the world of driverless cars, robot vision, artificial intelligence and neural networks, along with all that cool graphics stuff.

Though frankly, I need to finish doing the things I was planning for my current crop of hardware before I run off to other Shinny Thing hardware ;-)

So no, I’ll not be buying either of them as I really have no “use case” at the moment. But for folks who want to dabble in the world of SBCs, but is firmly in the Intel Only camp, it looks like you have an entry level solution. Similarly, folks wanting to get into that whole Brave New World of using GPU Video Cores for general purpose computing, well, that Jetson Nano makes it a very affordable step to take.

I figure I’ve got a Jetson Nano in my future, but in about a year or two from now. At the moment I’m over-committed until at least then. Even if it is a way cool board with interesting tech on the cusp of Our Robotic Future ;-) Note that driverless cars are going to consume millions of CUDA Cores.

BTW, if you DO want the Atomic Pi, but don’t want a hub, I bought a Logitech keyboard with built in trackpad that uses an included dongle. So only one USB port. Then mount your major data storage via NFS (Network File System) from a NAS (Network Attached Storage) server and you will be good to go. I use that keyboard on my Media Center and it works fine. So it would be possible to be up and running for $35 + KB/trackpad + PSU. And as noted in the video, if you already have a 12 VDC PSU (Power Supply Unit) laying around, just a dongle/ adapter does it.

For a kid (of any age…) on limited budget wanting to play with tech toys, it would be an easy entry point, and without all the “not mainstream so not ready yet” issues around new ARM CPUs and boards. Basically “software maturity issues kept away”.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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2 Responses to How About A $35 Intel SBC? Atomic Pi

  1. Richard Ilfeld says:

    HP winbook Similar processor good 12″ screen surprising battery life cellular if you need it wi-fi etc $75 bought two years ago on Ebay. Makes it a hard sell to go through the nusiance of setting up this board…but maybe for special things. My airplanes use the Rasberry pi based ADSB recievers to good effect making me a general fan of the potenital of SBC’c but the fiddle factor can be daunting.

  2. Steve C says:

    These things are getting pretty damn impressive just for usable performance, even leaving out the size factor. Although, much as I love a good heatsink, I thought the general thrust of SBCs was low power use and not having a load of heat to get rid of. Hell, that Odroid has more cores than this desktop box I use, though for me its prime lack is the absence of an ADC to go with its (admittedly very nice) DAC. Thanks EM for working your way through them – it’s a most interesting journey for us generally interested but not so active types, and made all the better by the “driver” knowing what he’s doing …

    Are there any intimations of whether the CPUs used in SBCs might be gaining little parallel “management engines” anytime soon? Can’t help thinking that “somebody” must have noticed troublesome individuals trying to escape from the universal surveillance grid by using SBCs …

    My own latest “antics” have been installing antiX Linux on a (relatively huge!) netbook, a Dell Latitude 2110 I picked up cheaply. It looks quite promising, and seems to have the edge over the 2110’s original Win 7 – though a 1.8GHz Atom is never going to set speed records. I was especially pleased that the wireless connection “just worked” straight after install, having had a few skirmishes with wifi chips in the past. It’s all good fun, and another backup machine ‘gainst all disaster!

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