Raspberry Pi faces new competitor from Asus

The Asus Tinker Board is more powerful than the Raspberry Pi, and supports 4K videos.

February 17, 2017

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The Asus Tinker Board is more powerful than the Raspberry Pi, and supports 4K videos.

The Asus Tinker Board uses a Rockchip CPU and supports 4K videos (Source: Asus via Engadget)

Raspberry Pi is typically thought of as the ideal hacker mini computer. It is a very cheap motherboard complete with an ARM CPU and a few ports for storage and essential peripherals. It mostly just supports specific Linux distributions, but people have used it for all kinds of purposes from custom media centers to controlling smart home devices. When people want an inexpensive, custom computer, they typically think of Raspberry Pi. The company has not been without competition, though. The $50 JaguarBoard out of Shenzhen came out in 2016. The latest company to compete in this area is Taiwan's Asus, which has released the Tinker Board.

The Tinker Board comes equipped with a quadcore Rockchip processor. The China chipmaker does not often rank well in performance against its better-known competitors, but the Tinker Board's chip notably supports 4K videos, making it ideal as a media-centric device, and allows 24-bit audio. With 2GB of RAM, the Asus product has twice as much memory as the Raspberry Pi. The Tinker Board runs a Debian Linux distribution, like the Raspberry Pi, and reportedly supports Kodi. This popular open-source software is used to organize media, so it seems clear which crowd Asus is targeting here.

It is good that Asus has a particular consumer base in mind, though. Raspberry Pi is much better known as the simple, DIY computer board. This, combined with an enthusiastic developer base, means people can easily solve problems and find custom tutorials online. Without that support community, setting up something similar to the Tinker Board could be a frustrating experience for the less technically inclined. Then again, such people are not likely to be buying the Tinker Board in the first place. So, for people looking for a quick and affordable way to add another computer to their home, more powerful options are hitting the market.

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