ASUS's Raspberry Pi Alternative Comes With 4K Support

Image: ASUS, via CPC

It doesn't matter if you want a computer the size of a card, a thumb drive or dice box -- there's a manufacturer out there that has you covered. You can now count ASUS in that mix, with the launch of its "Tinker Board", a Cortex-powered mini-machine aimed at the Raspberry Pi crowd.

At first glance, it looks like any other card computer... you could even mistake it for a Raspberry Pi. You can clearly see the USB, HDMI and Ethernet ports, along with the CPU -- a quad-core ARM Cortex-A17.

What sets it apart are its capabilities. The hardware is advertised as supporting 4K, while the Ethernet is Gigabit (compared to the Pi's 100Mb/s). This might be enough to sway Pi enthusiasts with a taste for compact home theatre boxes.

Image: ASUS, via CPC

Here are the full specifications (via CPC):

  • Quad core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A17 CPU
  • 2GB Dual channel LPDDR3 memory
  • Gigabit LAN and Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR connectivity
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 4x USB 2.0 ports
  • 40-pin Internal header with 28 GPIO pins
  • Contact points for PWM and S/PDIF signals
  • 1x 3.5mm Audio jack connection
  • CSI port for camera connection
  • DSI port supporting HD resolution
  • 1x HDMI 2.0 port to support 4K resolution
  • Micro SD port supports UHS-I
  • Supports Debian OS with KODI
  • Power supply: 5V/ 2A Micro USB (not included)

Unfortunately, while the board is available in Europe and the UK, there doesn't appear to be a local distributor. On top of this, you'll need to jump through some hoops if you want to get it shipped here.

It's also dearer than the Pi at £45 ($73), so depending on what you use it for, there might be better options, such as the various Allwinner-powered gadgets you can get these days. Still, you have to start somewhere and this looks like a decent offering from ASUS.

This story originally appeared on Gizmodo


Comments

    My guess at those specs would be that the 4K playback would be fairly limited.
    At almost double the price of the the Pi3, is it worth it?

    Heat is still my concern, anyone know what it runs at? most of my Pi3 idles at ~89'c

      Doesn't look like it has H.265 acceleration support from the chip so outside of a desktop I don't see this coping well with playing back 4K movies.

      The only way is to transcode the movies to H.264 yet while this will play the size of the file might be double due to the limitations of the compression.

      In terms of heat, I think it also depends what case one uses. I have the office red and white Pi case and while it looks cute I had to take the top "crust" off because the board kept overheating.

        yeah all new devices really should have h.265 built in.

        yeah i have to crack the crust off my official case too :)

      your pi should not idle that hot. in fact it begins to throttle itself above 85c. so i'm not so sure you've got that correct.

      @ 1.8 ghz, this is about an 80% speed increase, and double the memory. it's a pretty spiffy upgrade. the only issue is it's not going to have nearly the amount of software support that the rpi has. and it's architecture is close and not open, so limits what the community could do with it.

    I run heat sinks and a small fan on my PI3's while playing H264 video at 35Mbps.
    Its my understanding that thermal cycling is likely to shorten their lives considerably.

      Heatsinks are so cheap and easy to install I'd recommend them to everybody. Shame this isn't available here, otherwise it'd be worth a good look.

      someone on reddit just posted that buying the key and using the built in h.264 codec reduced the temp of their pi playing media, and reduce the cpu load significantly. for a couple bucks it might be worth it to you.

      Like I mentioned above, the offical cases don't help either.

      Really defeats the purpose of them if the "crust" has to be off to prevent overheating.

    Hoepfully on this the gigabit lan doesn't share the same bus as the USB. Makes for actual usable NAS potential.

    £45 is less than $56!

    I wonder what its Ethernet performance is like? The problem on the Raspberry Pi isn't that it is just Fast Ethernet, but that it is connected over the USB bus and can't even hit top speed.

    If they've switched out for a gigabit part, then hopefully it is hooked up efficiently.

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