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The MinnowBoard is a Low-Cost, Open Hardware Single-Board Computer (Video)

Roblimo posted 1 year,28 days | from the open-source-software-is-followed-by-open-source-hardware-like-summer-follows-spring dept.

Open Source 84

Out in the Northeast Texas town of Ft. Worth, a company called CircuitCo started making something they called the BeagleBoard -- an open source hardware single-board computer for educators and experimenters. Now, with help and support from Intel, they're making and supporting the Atom-based MinnowBoard, which is also open source, and comes with Angstrom Linux to help experimenters get started with it. David Anders is the Senior Embedded Systems Engineer at CircuitCo. Slashdot's Timothy Lord met David at LinuxCon North America 2013 in New Orleans and made this video of him talking about the recently-released MinnowBoard and the more mature BeagleBoard.

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Deja Vu (4, Informative)

khellendros1984 (792761) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963447)

A little deja vu [] .

Re:Deja Vu (3)

cdrudge (68377) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963515)

I thought that too. However there was an update to the summary you linked to that said a video would be posted soon. So this is just the follow up to that article. It would have been nice to link to the previous summary though in this summary.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964555)

Ah, thank you for the clarification. Without a reference to another story, I assumed that /. was presenting it as new news, instead of a follow-up.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | 1 year,28 days | (#44966723)

When you pay for coverage you expect multiple articles damnit.

Pricing! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963451)

Re:Pricing! (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963545)

Thank you. That is exactly what I wanted to know.

Re:Pricing! (0)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964209)

You do not have a moral or legal right to do absolutely anything you want.

Well, if you say so.

Re:Pricing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964579)

Futurstic price, perhaps? What with US economy going down, $200 may soon eqaul to 35 UK pounds!

Re:Pricing! (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964693)

That's not what we wanted. We wanted to know its cost was $80, tops.

Re:Pricing! (1)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,28 days | (#44965961)

Also we wanted to know it was the newest Atom chip that's actually good, not one from last decade.

Re:Pricing! (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | 1 year,28 days | (#44968071)

the board costs $200 or £135

So it's really just an expensive Mini-ITX board?

For an end-user, being open source is irrelevant. Having a few programmable I-O's won't help it. If that was all you needed, you'd buy an Arduino and save £100 on your design (plus the space and power savings, and no messy O/S to worry about).

The BeagleBoard is sort-of OK (I have one), but there are better boards arouns at similar prices and sizes. The same goes for this one: it's about 10 years too late into the small PC market.

Re:Pricing! (3, Informative)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | 1 year,28 days | (#44968699)

the board costs $200 or £135

So it's really just an expensive Mini-ITX board? For an end-user, being open source is irrelevant. Having a few programmable I-O's won't help it. If that was all you needed, you'd buy an Arduino and save £100 on your design (plus the space and power savings, and no messy O/S to worry about).

Or, if you want a modern x86-based mini system, buy something like a Zotac barebones for a little over half the price. I realise it's cool and tree-huggy to have an open-source board like this, but in practice if I want an embedded real-world interface device I'll get an Arduino, if I want a compact x86 I'll get any one of a range of SFF x86's, and if I want something about halfway I'll get a PCEngines Alix, also at half the price.

Re:Pricing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44971151)

" if I want something about halfway I'll get a PCEngines Alix, also at half the price."

Or, Beaglebone Black which is less than half the price of that ($40-$50 after tax and/or shipping) and also happens to be open source like the Minnowboard...

Re:Pricing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44971101)

Are you talking about the original Beagleboard, the Beaglebone, or the Beaglebone Black? The orginal (of which I own a later revision) was a little less expensive than this Minnowboard. The new Beaglebone Black, however, costs around $40-$50 (about $10 more than the Raspberry Pi) and runs rings around even the Raspberry Pi in performance and capabilities.

I can see using the Arduino if you want development to be as quick/easy as possible and don't need much performance but, otherwise, I don't see how any of the other options even come close to comparing to the Beaglebone Black in cost per performance. As a nice bonus, the Beaglebone Black also happens to be vastly more open in documenting it's low-level internals than the Raspberry Pi. This is because it's core chips, with the exception of the PowerVR GPU, are made by TI instead of Broadcom. TI has always had a good track-record of releasing low level chip info and Broadcom has always had a track-record of releasing virtually no documentation without first requiring a NDA and proof you'll probably be able to eventually order 1000s of chips).

And only 1GB RAM? (1)

billstewart (78916) | 1 year,27 days | (#44977205)

A couple of years ago there were a couple brands of computers available at Fry's for about $250 that had a slightly earlier Atom chip, 1 GB RAM, a small but adequate disk drive, power supply and case. They were small fanless boxes, maybe an inch thick and 6x6 square, enough to be a good low-end desktop PC. 1GB RAM wasn't big enough back then, and it's way too small today.

Yeah, having a few GPIO pins is nice, but you can hang an Arduino off a USB port and get that for $35 today.

Re:Pricing! (2)

harrkev (623093) | 1 year,28 days | (#44970003)

So, how is this progress? The cool thing about the Raspberry Pi is that it was extremely low cost. Newegg could sell me a mini-ITX mobo with an atom for $75. Add in a few bucks for RAM, power supply, and hard drive, and you are still below $200. Yes, the Minnow is smaller and uses less power, but you pay a pretty penny for that option.

So, somebody explain why the Minnowboard is significant....

Price? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963481)

"Low cost" needs substance. It costs $200.

Too much competition (1)

ruir (2709173) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963501)

We have already raspberry pi and others. What I would like was a more potent cheap "appliance" with VT instructions to run XEN and 3-4 virtual machines with low requirements, like DNS and DHCP servers.

Re:Too much competition (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963643)

This + hardware RAID.

Re:Too much competition (2)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,28 days | (#44967315)

After using ZFS for a bit I'm no longer impressed with hardware RAID. Lots of bare SATA or SAS sounds better to me.

Re:Too much competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963657)

Celeron-based NUC? A little more expensive than the MinnowBoard once you factor the cost of RAM in, but you can use up to 16GB (instead of 1GB as on the Minnow) and it has virtualization support.

Re:Too much competition (2)

Guspaz (556486) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964735)

Is it? A Celeron NUC looks to go for $177 at newegg, and the Minnowboard only has 1GB of RAM, which you can grab for the NUC for $17.99. That comes out as cheaper than a bare minnowboard, and the NUC includes the case and power supply to boot.

Re:Too much competition (1)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | 1 year,27 days | (#44972297)

I have a NUC (the i7 version) running on my TV at home. I run Windows 8 on it with the Hulu Plus, NetFlix and XBox Video clients... takes care of all of my entertainment needs. Works like a champ actually. I use a combo mini-keyboard/airmouse that's the same size as an iPhone 3G and also have an IR remote attached to it. A 128GB mSATA disk and the damned thing boots in about 15 seconds from cold to Metro. Pretty damned impressive little box and has worked solidly since I got it.

The Minnowboard just really doesn't interest me at all. And this from someone who spent the better part of a year and a half hacking on the original BeagleBoard (which I just recently lost in a move)

Re:Too much competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964981)

You can get a pre built HP Microserver for the same price as this bare board. (After the cashback they seem to run constantly).

Re:Too much competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964467)

Why would you want to run a few services like that in a virtual machines? Why not run it all on the host OS?

Re:Too much competition (1)

ruir (2709173) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964699)

because: I can; it provides better security, far better than jails or VServers; you can copy pre-made virtual machines or migrate them to other boxes depending on load; you can build fail-over scenarios; it is easier to administer, and finally, because it is fashionable.

Low cost? You keep using that word... (4, Insightful)

FullCircle (643323) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963511)

I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Low cost? You keep using that word... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964377)

Well, if you compare it to the price of a EVM or other type of evaluation board, then BeagleBoard, BeagleBone, MinnowBoard, etc. are DIRT cheap.

Re:Low cost? You keep using that word... (1)

Guspaz (556486) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964743)

And if you compare the MinnowBoard to the cost of a far more powerful NUC, it's not so cheap (the bare minnowboard costs more than an NUC with RAM and case and PSU).

Re:Low cost? You keep using that word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964825)

Different target audience.
NUC is for end users that don't tinker with hardware.
This is open source hardware where you can tinker with everything.
Hell, you can even download the board files, have PCBs made and populate them. All components are available for hobbyists and were specifically selected to be such.

So if you look for cheap computing power, this board is not for you, move along.
If you are a embedded and or open hardware enthusiast, you'd be very disappointed by something like the NUC.

Re:Low cost? You keep using that word... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,28 days | (#44965107)

If you are a embedded and or open hardware enthusiast, you'd be very disappointed by something like the NUC.

But for the embedded case, still happy with a BeagleBone Black.

Re:Low cost? You keep using that word... (1)

danceswithtrees (968154) | 1 year,28 days | (#44965259)

$200 is low cost. For appropriately large values of "low."

Re:Low cost? You keep using that word... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,28 days | (#44965635)

It's an advertising term that has no legal meaning at all, typically used by gigantic marketing firms hired by hypergigantic corporations.

Just sit right back And you'll hear a tale (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963525)

Just sit right back
And you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin' man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day,
For a three hour tour,
A three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Minnow would be lost.
The Minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore
Of this uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan,
The Skipper too.
The millionaire
And his wife,
The movie star,
The professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan's Isle.

(Ending verse)

So this is the tale of our castaways,
They're here for a long long time.
They'll have to make the best of things,
It's an uphill climb.

The first mate and his Skipper too
Will do their very best,
To make the others comf'terble
In their tropic island nest.

No phone, no lights, no motor car,
Not a single luxury
Like Robinson Crusoe
It's primitive as can be.

So join us here each week my friends,
You're sure to get a smile,
From seven stranded castaways
Here on Gilligan's Isle!

Re:Just sit right back And you'll hear a tale (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963929)

It's confidante, not cosmonaut!

Re:Just sit right back And you'll hear a tale (1)

hubie (108345) | 1 year,28 days | (#44965199)

The professor and Mary Anne,

If I recall correctly from my youthful days of rerun watching, in one (the first?) season that line was originally:

and the rest,

I never understood why they didn't name those other two.

Incorrect song! (1)

Zynder (2773551) | 1 year,28 days | (#44965713)

You picked the wrong song for this article. The opening line of TFS even set it up for you: []
Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican girl...

Sad, I'm the only old fart on /. to see what the submitter did there. Shame on you low UID guys!

MinnowBoard is weak sauce. (5, Informative)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963597)

The GizmoBoard is also an open source single board computer that you can purchase for $200.

But it's a 64-bit dual-core AMD APU with an integrated Radeon HD 6250. Considerably more powerful than the Minnowboard, but still runs on 10W.

Even an article about the MinnowBoard can't help shouting out the GizmoBoard:

At the heart of the MinnowBoard is one of Intel’s less powerful processors: the Atom E640T. Running at 1GHz, the single-core chip offers a 32-bit x86 implementation – already putting it on the back foot compared to the dual-core 64-bit APU found on rival AMD’s Gizmo, the closest device for comparison – while generating a surprisingly small amount of heat, allowing for passive cooling through a compact heat sink.

Source []

Basically, MinnowBoard has been outdated for some time now. Not sure why this spam is on the front page.

Full disclosure: I almost got the GizmoBoard as an HTPC, but the 2GB RAM and lack of HDMI really turned me off. HDMI can be cobbled together (there's a high-speed connector that actually exposes HDMI lines, but you'd have to wire it to a female connector yourself), but swapping out four 96-FBGA surface-mount packages to upgrade the RAM to 4GB just seemed like more rework than I wanted to sign up for.

Re:MinnowBoard is weak sauce. (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963673)

Does the Gizmo support using both SATA drives on a port multiplier? I'd like to setup a RAID-1.

Re:MinnowBoard is weak sauce. (2)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963821)

I have no idea! But here's a link to their site [] .

There's plenty of low-level documentation, including a full bill-of-materials, so you can see for yourself if their chipset supports that configuration.

Additionally, the people keeping an eye on their forums are actually rather responsive, so you could just try asking them yourself.

That being said, the new AMD G-Series SoC is even nicer than their G-Series APU. You can go quad-core, with faster clock speeds, and the GPU is bumped up to the HD 8400E. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a single distributor of systems based around the G-Series SoC. AMD offers evaluation kits, but I think those are more geared towards OEMs than consumers.

Re:MinnowBoard is weak sauce. (1)

John Bokma (834313) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963909)

Just curious: what did you end up buying?

Re:MinnowBoard is weak sauce. (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964023)

Gateway NE72206u 17.3" Laptop []

I ordered it yesterday for $450. Thanks for making me look it up again; today it's selling for $370. Story of my life.

Anyway, it's a 2GHz quad core (A6) with 6GB DDR3 and Radeon 8400 GPU. Googling around suggested that it would run a bit hotter than the embedded kits I was looking at, but it should still work.

I was also thinking about waiting for the xi3 Z3RO PRO [] , but it doesn't ship until November (I'll believe it when I see it) and it's a whopping $550. I figured, why wait when I can have a comparable system (with more RAM!) for $100 less, today. Or, well, yesterday. Today it would be $180 less.

Granted, a laptop is bigger than one of these little cube computers, and has fans. But it's replacing a gigantic HP desktop that sounds like a tornado, so at this point anything would be an improvement.

Re:MinnowBoard is weak sauce. (1)

odie5533 (989896) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964573)

I thought I was weird for using a laptop as an HTPC, but I guess others do it too.

Re:MinnowBoard is weak sauce. (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964731)

Well, I have an odd setup in my living room. I'm stuck in a crappy apartment that has baseboard heaters on both "long walls" of the living room, preventing furniture from being pushed up flush against the wall. With the couch on one side, it's not a big deal. On the other side, however, I didn't want to have a 4" gap behind my wall unit, mainly because the living room isn't big enough to waste space like that. I ended up wall-mounting these guys [] just above the baseboard heater, which looks pretty nice. TV wall-mounted directly above. I punched a hole in the back of the middle cabinet and cut a bit of the top part away near the middle for cable runs. A cheapo cable-cover runs from that cut-away part up to the TV, hiding both the cut and the cables. There's a power outlet and coax directly behind the middle cabinet as well, so that's where I put my cable modem and my wireless router. Of course, I didn't want my desktop just sitting on the floor, cables running up to the cabinet, so I just stuck it in there with the cable modem and router. But let me tell you, 600W is a bit too much for a "wooden" (have you ever cut through a piece of IKEA furniture? It's fucking amazing!) cabinet with literally no airflow. So I tried adding some really ghetto airflow solution, but that still wasn't enough to keep things running at moderate load. Eventually, I just took the door off the middle cabinet. And the side off my PC case. Now it's loud as fuck, but it doesn't overheat anymore. And it looks really ugly, or, well, nerdy at least. In hindsight, it would've been better off if I had just left it outside the cabinet, but I refuse to back down now. I'll move the 600W desktop somewhere else, somewhere where it can actually get some fresh air. The Gateway craptop I bought should be "good enough" for what I need (Netflix, youtube, web browsing, and the occasional game of Civ5), without the jet engine / convection oven that I hope to finally evict tomorrow night.

TL;DR - This is the strangest post I've ever made to slashdot. But seriously, take a circular saw to a 1" thick piece of IKEA "wood". It's a honeycomb structure made of cardboard. There isn't even any fiberboard/particleboard in it. It's just paper.

Re:MinnowBoard is weak sauce. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964151)

The minow isn't really a compelling product but the Atom E640T operates in a much lower power envelope than the dual core A10.

The Atom E640T isnt really worth bothering with now. It's old tech. Really, anything not baytrail based is going to be pretty awful in comparison.

Re:MinnowBoard is weak sauce. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964213)

Until recently the Gizmo failed many parts of the definition of 'open source hardware'.
Haven't checked if they got that straightened up. Some people care about such things.

Re:MinnowBoard is weak sauce. (1)

jonwil (467024) | 1 year,28 days | (#44966815)

Much better choice than this Intel thing, its got Coreboot support AND an open ATI GPU (as compared to a closed-source Intel BIOS and a closed-source PowerVR GPU on the MinnowBoard)

$200 !!!? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963599)

Why would I buy this when I can get dual core atom boards with more accessories in a case with an SSD included for good measure for $150 in single units from AliExpress?

I wouldn't.

Re:$200 !!!? (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963637)

Got a link?

Re:$200 !!!? (1)

John Bokma (834313) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963965)

I just entered "dual core atom": Thanks AC, btw.

Re:$200 !!!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964031)

Maybe this?
$200 with shipping.

For that price.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963601)

For $200 you can just about build a full Mini-ITX atom-based machine from commodity hardware. I don't exactly see the point of this.

Why? $200 = Better Atom Board+RAM on Newegg (5, Interesting)

ilikenwf (1139495) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963625)

If I wanted a freaking atom board, I'd buy one for $100 and load it up with another $100 worth of RAM.

I'm going to keep complaining about the fact that there's not a low power, low cost ARM platform out there ($200 or less) with hardware SATA RAID support. While the cubieboard is the best ATM and supports port multipliers, it's really too bad that the thing can't use both devices attached to the multiplier at the same time. All I want is a hybrid NAS and home server that has 2-4 cores and 2-4gb RAM. Size isn't really a factor but power usage is...

Anyone know of a platform I've not looked at?

Re:Why? $200 = Better Atom Board+RAM on Newegg (2)

nnnnnnn (1611817) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963801)

For $160, you can buy a Lenovo 7" tablet that comes with a display, battery, storage, wifi, bluetooth, etc. You can then interface with anything you like via wifi/bluetooth or a usb breakout board. []

Re:Why? $200 = Better Atom Board+RAM on Newegg (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963853)

No to USB storage, it defeats part of the point of having a RAID.

Re:Why? $200 = Better Atom Board+RAM on Newegg (1)

Insightfill (554828) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964233)

No to USB storage, it defeats part of the point of having a RAID.

Unless you're supporting a fairly large local user base, software RAID over USB should be fine with a decent CPU and RAM behind it. That would also give you portability to another machine if the existing one dies (being tied to a specific chipset for hardware RAID can be a dead-end.)

There are a fair number of older Atom-based laptop/netbooks that would fall into this category; you probably can get a used one for nearly free, and just stick more RAM in it. Some of the older benchmarking I've seen (about ten years ago) showed software RAID only using 5-10% CPU. And unless you're using SSD, I'm pretty sure that processors have improved faster than disks have.

Since it's planned for a NAS , you're likely to be network-constrained anyway, so the speed aspect of RAID may be lost. I've got a single Atom netbook hooked to a couple of external USB enclosures, and I spend MUCH more time waiting for network than anything else.

Re:Why? $200 = Better Atom Board+RAM on Newegg (1)

felipou (2748041) | 1 year,28 days | (#44970813)

Replying just to cancel my wrong mod done by my stupid malfunctioning mouse.

Re:Why? $200 = Better Atom Board+RAM on Newegg (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964247)

Hardware RAID is complete crap unless you're throwing $500+ at Adaptec or LSI, and then it's still proprietary crap. Just get a board with multiple SATA connectors and do software RAID at the OS level (hopefully unix if you're targetting ARM), save a few hundred bucks, and save yourself a lot of headache when the board fries and the manufacturer has EOLed the hardware and you can't find a replacement.

Re:Why? $200 = Better Atom Board+RAM on Newegg (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964253)

Does that other board provide:
full hardware documentation?
easy access to many buses and signals?
easily reflashable bios, if necessary even through provided external pins?
is it open source hardware?

Some people do care about those things, if you don't, then you're not in the target group and yes, you should buy that el cheapo pc instead then.

Far too expensive, too restrictive (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963669)

It appears this toycomputer is being sold for 135 euros plus shipping. You can purchase 4 raspberry pis or nearly 3 beaglebone black for that kind of money. Plus, it shoves UEFI down everyone's throat.

In a world where a netbook with the same featureset plus keyboard, monitor, battery, HD and case goes for around 180 euros... why bother?


Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964545)

Is the UEFI Restricted Boot (falsely called "Secure Boot") able to be disabled, and Legacy Boot provided and enabled?

If not, I don't want it. I want my freedom.

At 6 times the price (3, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963691)

They should have called it the Sushi Board

Go to hell, Intel (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963747)

PowerVR-based GMA 600? Not even once.

Re:Go to hell, Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44975467)

PowerVR puts the big air quotes around the word "open" just like the mystery meat video DSP in the Raspberry Pi CPU.

Not Fort Worth (3, Informative)

metallurge (693631) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963755)

Richardson, a city of about 100,000 people where CircuitCo is located, is part of exurban Dallas, not exurban Fort Worth. The summary is incorrect.

Re:Not Fort Worth (1)

davidwr (791652) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963903)

Besides, "Northeast Texas town of Ft. Worth" is one county over from the "Northeast Texas hamlet of Dallas" (emphasis added), with the "small sporting venue" where the Dallas Cowboys play in between.

Re:Not Fort Worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963973)

And both of them are a bit to the north of the wee village known as Houston.

Re:Not Fort Worth (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964045)

and Ft. Worth is not part of Northeast Texas.

Re:Not Fort Worth (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964581)

By inspection, Ft. Worth is above and to the left of the centroid of the state. Therefore Northeast Texas.

Good luck (1)

Reliable Windmill (2932227) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963867)

with that.

Personally, I like the folks at HardKernel. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44963925)

These [] are really, really nice.

Cheap. Small. Good community. About the only bad thing I have to say about it is that I had to go to Radio Shack to get a converter for the power.

Too Pricey (4, Insightful)

GeorgeHahn (3287255) | 1 year,28 days | (#44963985)

Too expensive to matter. It isn't just uncompetitive, it's priced completely out of it's market.

Northeast Texas town? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44964141)

Northeast Texas town? Ft. Worth is actually in West Texas. Have you not heard the expression: Ft. Worth is where the West begins. Maybe you have to be a Texan to know that.

Very expensive (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | 1 year,28 days | (#44964701)

Why would I spend 3x the price of an Intel D2550 board, which has a newer (from 2011, not 2010), faster (1.85G 64bit dual core, not 1.0G 32bit single core) CPU?

$332.33NZ at mouser. The D2550MUD2 is $110.87NZ. The DN2800 board is only $20 more and has hyper threading as well.

Too much for so little (2)

LoRdTAW (99712) | 1 year,28 days | (#44965171)

What I would rather see in an embedded Linux board is more I/O. I am not talking about USB, HDMI or Ethernet but honest to goodness digital I/O's and serial busses like I2C or SPI. The minnowboard has a measly 8 GPIO's and two more hardwired to LED's. That isn't worth $200 when I can get the same thing by purchasing a cheap Atom ITX board and then adding an FPGA PCI I/O card from Mesa Electronics for slightly more.

If you want to impress me and make it worth $200 then how about using the Intel Atom Processor E6x5C [] featuring an embedded Altera FPGA which is connected to the CPU by a friggen PCIe Gen2 x1 link. Then include a default bitfile for the FPGA which gives you a bunch of GPIO, PWM and UARTS for serial ports like RS232, SPI and I2C. Also breakout the remaining PCIe link for further expansion. A kernel driver will then expose the various I/O devices inside the FPGA to a standard API. Then port the Wiring libs which is used by the Arduino to the new API for the FPGA and you will now have a development board that will blow the competition away. Even the Arduino IDE can be modified to build Linux binaries for the new API. Bonus points of you throw a nice 8 channel 16 bit high speed ADC on there. No re-learning new libraries or languages. Arduino libs could be added without code modification provided they don't make low level calls. Even then simple modifications could be made to port them. The API could also be called from any other language like C++, Go, Ada, D or whatever you fancy so you can write code in your language of choice. Newbies could plug in the board wait for it to boot and configure the FPGA and start writing code and wiring it into their projects, they already know Arduino libs so let them use those. If you really want to be fancy use the RT PREEMPT patch and let more advanced users write code for real time stuff guaranteeing determinism.

Imagine then if the internal FPGA bits could then be added to or modified to include new I/O devices. Establish a standard bus and I/O address space for the FPGA and make a template for writing new modules. Write a GUI editor which lets you snap modules onto the bus like Legos and set the address space and their I/O pins. Call Quartus using scripts in the background and generate the new bitfile which can be uploaded on the fly to the FPGA from the host OS. Then the standard API for the kernel driver would simplify writing libraries for talking to the new modules. Want to make a CNC? Add quadrature encoder interfaces and H bridge controllers and directly drive servo motors. Software radio, DSP, video processing, audio processing, the possibilities are endless. Then the community can release HDL modules which the user can snap into their designs and then do the wiring. This way people don't have to learn complex HDL programming, they use what the community provides. Don't like the default bitfile layout or standard templates? Write your own HDL code and do what you please. Open hardware means you have all the specs and source.

If that were available for 200-300 then I would gleefully say shut up and take my money.

Northeast Texas? (2)

Virtucon (127420) | 1 year,28 days | (#44965651)

Folks around here say North Texas. Northeast Texas would be Texarkana.
Either that or North Central Texas [] would have sufficed.

Getting back to the Minnow board, it's a little pricey but I'm sure third parties will start embracing it like the hardware vendors around Raspberry PI.

Very Cool, But $200 Is Not Low Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44965915)

If anyone wants to compete on cost for a small > 500Mhz board with ethernet, video, USB, and GPIO for hacking stuff up, the Raspberry Pi is what you will have to beat. Sorry, but $200 is in the friggin' stratosphere.

Not truely "open" (1)

jonwil (467024) | 1 year,28 days | (#44966743)

It has an Intel GMA600 GPU (which has a closed-source PowerVR SGX GPU core at its heart)

CircuitCo... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44966823)

This is the same company that let 1000 OpenPandora boards oxidize, and then populated them, resulting in massive losses that effectively bankrupted the project.

CAPTCHA: fellatio

Someone's trying REALLY hard to push this it seems (1)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | 1 year,28 days | (#44966847)

I keep seeing this thing pop up in various "news story" postings online all at once. Looks like an astroturf/marketing campaign to me.

As many other people have been posting - "Low cost"? Really?

It "only" costs 6 RaspberryPi's or 4 BeagleBoards. I think the marketing people have badly failed to understand why most people are buying the $35-50 ARM boards ("It's only $35 - I can afford to [try to power it by induction by putting it in my microwave|use it to make an outdoor webcam in areas where bears are known to eat them|attach it to a weather balloon and try to use it as a flying wifi node|etc.] and if I break and/or lose it, oh well, I can just buy another." $200US is a bit high for that kind of thing.)

Told you this product was going to be spammed here (1)

Khyber (864651) | 1 year,28 days | (#44968085)

Told you so. []

Intel delivers another stunning non-useful board (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44975859)

As HW designer in a previous life I totally get the whole Maker Movement. However the usefulness of the Arduino was not immediately apparent to me --- I Mean there is no OS etc. SO my first purchase was a Raspberry Pi. Which is pretty cool and useful and CHEAP. I then used a friends Arduino and it was like WHAM - I totally got it. Cheap - flexible - and accessible HW development for small or custom projects. So in typical Intel fashion (I used to work there ...) they have delivered an over priced - over kill - non solution. But its x86 compatible ..... how totally clueless. SIX TIMES the price of a R Pi / Arduino ???? For less than a hundred bucks I can get an R Pi or Arduino and some sensors and a power adapter ---- DONE -- I have a gadget.

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