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HummingBoard is set to take a bite out of Raspberry Pi

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July 7, 2014

The HummingBoard computer comes in three configurations

The HummingBoard computer comes in three configurations

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Since shipping in 2012, Raspberry Pi boards have found themselves the brains of such diverse DIY projects as a mobile phone, a touchscreen computer or even a treat dispenser for the family dog. Now there are three new boys in town that promise faster processing, more system memory and more connectivity options. Yes indeed, SolidRun's new HummingBoard family has all the makings of a serious Pi killer.

SolidRun, the firm behind the CuBox-i mini computer, says that the palm-sized HummingBoards can help create the next generation of Internet of Things gadgetry. They've been designed to "fit inside and utilize many of the existing enclosures and accessories available to members of the open source community" – which means that you'll likely be able to snap open your aging Pi project and throw in a HummingBoard without too much modification.

The baby of the bunch is the basic i1 board, which features a SolidRun scalable micro System-on-Module (microSOM) that's home to a Freescale i.MX6 1 GHz single-core processor based on the ARM Cortex-A9 architecture, GC880 graphics with support for OpenGL and 512 MB of DDR3 RAM. There's no internal storage, but the computer comes with a microSD slot for loading in platforms like Ubuntu, Android, freeBSD or XBMC.

It also boasts HDMI 1.4 for cabled connection to a TV or monitor, powered USB for peripherals and more, and 10/100 Ethernet. Rounding off the specs are digital and analog audio outputs, a CSI-2 interface for connecting camera modules and a 26-pin GPIO expansion header.

The i2 version is the i1's more powerful sibling, with a microSOM module sporting a 1 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM. The i2eX model ups the ante again, coming with better graphics, 1 GB of faster RAM, and mini-PCIe and mSATA II connectivity. Gigabit Ethernet is also on offer, along with internal powered USB, an LVDS display out (with support for LCD and touchscreen panels), stereo analog out and microphone input to go with the SPDIF coax digital output, real-time clock support, and an IR receiver.

The basic HummingBoard is available now and prices start at US$45, not including power adapter and microSD card. The other two models are expected to ship later this month.

The basic features are outlined in the overview video below.

Product page: HummingBoard

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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6 Comments

2 GIPS (GFLOPS?) for $45 is not bad. Surprised I have seen nothing on Gizmag about the Jetson TK1. 300 GFLOPS for $192. Outpaces this and the Parallela for the price.

MBadgero
7th July, 2014 @ 02:00 pm PDT

@MBadgero the Tegra chip in Jetson TK1 actually uses the Cortex-A15 CPU.

nVidia Jetson (and Cuda platform) is mostly about GPU computing and the GPU (rather than ARM CPU) is where the 300 GFLOPS figure comes from. GPU's typically have much much higher FLOPS than CPUs but are better at different types of tasks.

The AMD R9 295X2 is 11.5 TFLOPS for instance and an i7 is probably around 300 GFLOPS.

Daishi
7th July, 2014 @ 05:45 pm PDT

Thanks, Daishi, yes I know the Jetson TK1 gets most of its power from GPU. It has a quad-core A15 and a small processor for power-down. It's also only about 5 watts. BTW, I just bought one, but haven't plugged it in yet.

The i7 is closer to 16 GFLOPS, maybe double this for single precision. But it and the R9 295x2 can do double precision, although I think the number you give for the R9 295x2 is single precision. My i7 3770S is 65W, more at the 3.9GHz turbo.

The Titan (or its successor, assuming my CUDA coding on the Jetson goes well) I plan to buy next year is 250W. The R9 295x2 is 600W.

So, yes, there are advantages and disadvantages to all, but the Jetson, like the Raspberry or the Hummingbird, can be used in small, mobile robots. Hard to do that with a power card.

MBadgero
8th July, 2014 @ 05:18 am PDT

Yes, but will it fit in an Altoids tin?

Jeff Stucker
8th July, 2014 @ 11:23 am PDT

No Jeff, the Jetson TK1 is 5" x 5" x 1".

Not sure if the HummingBoard will fit either, since no sizes are listed. If you want small, you might want to look at the Gumstix Overo Duo. Dual-core A9, 1 GHz and 17mm x 58 mm, and $169 or $199 depending on whether you want wireless. Or if speed isn't an issue, the Teensy 3.1 is maybe even smaller, but less than $20. There are also Arduino and Basic Stamp boards available. The Parallela might fit in an Altoids tin, but good luck getting one. I got an email saying they were available again, and the same day got another saying they expected to be sold out the same day!

MBadgero
8th July, 2014 @ 12:44 pm PDT

The HummingBoard size is 85mm X 56mm. An Altoids tin is 97mm x 62mm, so it should fit if the rounded corners don't interfere.

SolidRun, the company that makes the HummingBoard, also makes a quad-core A9 board called Micro SOM that is even smaller, at 47mm x 30mm, and has 2GB RAM. You should be able to fit a bunch of these in an Altoids tin :)

MBadgero
8th July, 2014 @ 02:20 pm PDT
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