Single-board computers have huge popularity in the tech industry. From mainstream manufacturers to small-scale makers, one can come across a wide array of options. But one has to understand that single board computers are not one-size-fits-all. A buyer needs to pick an apt model that caters to the needs and demands of the user. There are multiple factors that one must consider to invest in the right SBC (Single-board Computer).
Needs and purpose
The first criteria in picking the right single-board computer are to analyze the needs and purpose of buying. This indicates that the software that one needs to operate, the processing power, necessary connectivity, etc., must be considered. Single-board computers are an excellent option for IoT (Internet of Things) applications. This is because of their lower power requirements and a small footprint when compared to conventional computers and similar devices. The user has to consider the requirements and intention, which determine the quality of a development board. Some considerations to reflect on are:
- Processing power
- Headless or non-headless
The size of the community
While selecting single board computers, overlooking the size of the community is a common phenomenon. This can affect the availability of resources like magazines, books, company websites, and third-party sources like user-created software, forums, and other channels. The larger the community a particular SBC has, the more resources are available. Reputable SBC brands seem to have millions of members with more dedicated userbases than others. Thus, users can get access to first-party and third-party resources easily.
Compatibility between operating system and software
The majority of single-board computer makers seek benefits from multiple Linux distributions, or “distros.” Some users also wish to operate non-Linux operating systems (like Android, Chrome, OpenBSD, NetBSD) and Windows variants (Windows 10, Windows 10 IoT core, Windows 11). Some single-board computers have more distribution choices than others, while others lack multiple options. Henceforth, it is vital to assess the compatibility of software and operating systems of SBCs before purchasing one.
Availability of SBC accessories and add-ons
There is a relationship between easily available single-board computer accessories and the popularity of the specific model or SBC brand. The single-board computers that feature additional accessories and add-ons are more widely used. Distinguished brands of SBC feature a wide array of accessories ranging from cooled cases and retro gaming cases to sensors, external components, and add-on boards that enable power-over-ethernet or LEDs. Some common accessories involve:
- Additional boards
- External components
Synonymous with the name, single board computers are PCs built completely on a single circuit board. Similar to computers, the SBCs also feature microprocessors, input/output (I/O) devices, and an array of other features. Because of their multiple applications that include robotics, home automation, developing media players, and a host of other functions, SBCs have become a popular choice among tech experts and enthusiasts. Since there is a wide array of models and brands available on the market, shopping for SBCs is overwhelming. A buyer must consider the above-mentioned key factors before investing money.