The SBC Reality
In this blog and elsewhere, we have pushed the limits of Single Board Computers (SBC) to do conventional personal and Internet computer tasks. Although they are capable, the reality is that they don't do it as well as bigger computer systems designed for the task.
What is proved is that expensive hardware is not necessary to get started exploring the possibilities of computer applications. Fully functional SBC systems are available at very reasonable, even very low cost. No claim that SBC is the best for every application.
The SBC is a hardware and software hacker's delight. The SBC is the solution for special purpose and custom applications. The task of running modern commercial applications and responsive Internet browsing remains best served by far more powerful conventional personal computers.
That doesn't necessarily describe physically large computers. The Intel NUC and GigaByte Brix are examples of excellent small sized computer systems. There exists many others. These machines can be equipped with the most powerful processors available and more memory than I once thought would never be needed in a personal computer. Of course, performance comes with a cost.
What we have explored for awhile are several very interesting, low cost, and fun to play with SBC systems that someday will find a real application to be assign to do. But we have come full circle. I am into CAD/CAM and photo processing. I mostly use computers for very heavy-duty processing tasks
I build and maintain websites which can be edited with a SBC, but some of the programs to build the custom templates can't be done on a SBC. I need and want to use the best systems I can afford.
I am back to enjoying the power, speed, and convenience of my Intel NUC running WIN10 and my conventional high capacity LMDE Linux "Sandbox" computer. My "big Ironsides box" can sill carry big loads. Recently added is a 2019 MACmini which is a very heavy hitting quad processor All are very fast and very capable machines designed for high power software applications. None would be my choice for a computer intended for simply running a light show display.
My decades old "Ironsides" quad processor PC totally blows a SBC quad processor off the table when it comes to performance. But again, performance is not the intention for the SBC.
Its called using the right tool for the job. Most of the jobs I perform with my computers can't be done or done really well with a SBC. I am not going to kid myself or anyone reading this in thinking otherwise. I know where the reality of when the desired task requires the best hardware.
It's been fun exploring the latest Raspberry Pi 3B+ and Asus TinkerBoard-S. I am now breaking camp and heading back to my home base. I have some inventive drawing to do in 3D CAD/CAM .