Small Wonders Single Board Computers

Small Wonders Single Board Computers



Small Wonders: Single Board Computers
What are Single Board Computers
When most people think of​ computers,​ the​ image of​ a​ PC or​ laptop comes to​ mind .​
Some may even recall the​ football field size computers of​ the​ 1960's and 70's before the​ emergence of​ the​ PC .​
Very few people would picture single board computers ,​ even if​ there was one sitting right in​ front of​ them! a​ single board computer is​ the​ terminology used for a​ printed circuit board that contains a​ processor,​ memory,​ I/O (input/output) and a​ clock .​
Single board computers (aka SBC's) resemble the​ motherboard contained in​ a​ typical PC,​ but include all the​ elements of​ a​ basic computer within it's small design .​
Since the​ early 1980's,​ the​ technology behind this type of​ computers has been used in​ industrial manufacturing and computerized product design to​ apply basic processing functions for high-tech product features.
Usage of​ Single Board Computers
Also commonly referred to​ as​ embedded computers,​ single board computers are used in​ products from airplanes and rocket ships,​ to​ toys and high performance athletic shoes .​
Almost everyone uses single board computers without being aware of​ their existence .​
Most products that utilize computer technology (such as​ fax machines,​ cameras,​ cell phones,​ etc) contain embedded single board computers .​
While these tiny computers can host a​ full size operating system such as​ Windows XP,​ most SBC's have internal operating systems that take up much less space .​
Simpler operating systems equal a​ lower cost per computer .​
Software for single board computers is​ generally contained on​ a​ flash memory system or​ ROM chip .​
Quality indictors for single board systems include processor performance,​ I/O compatibility,​ SSD storage and wireless capabilities.
Pros and Cons of​ Single Board Computers
There are both advantages and disadvantages to​ using SBC's for industrial and product enhancement .​
Deciding whether or​ not to​ implement single board computer technology is​ largely a​ matter of​ application necessity and cost .​
Some of​ the​ deciding factors on​ using them include:
+ Pro : Current technologies have increased the​ capability of​ the​ single board computer,​ while reducing its size and cost.
+ Pro : Wireless technology has made it​ possible for easy internet access via SBC.
+ Pro : the​ competitive market has greatly expanding the​ options and functionalities available for SBC's.
+ Pro : Advanced computer technology offers reliability for industrial manufacturers and quality products for vendors using SBC's.
- Con : Incorporation can be costly for high volume products and applications.
- Con : Some applications require customized sizes or​ I/O functions that are not compatible with standard SBC's.
Single Board Computer Technologies
While all SBC's are built using similar standards,​ different technologies can be included with individual SBC's .​
Video capability,​ Ethernet access functionality and digital computer technologies are just some of​ the​ features that can be incorporated into a​ single board computer .​
In general,​ SBC's can be as​ simple or​ as​ complex as​ an​ application demands .​
Additionally,​ supplemental hardware such as​ backplanes and mezzanine structures can significantly increase the​ functionality of​ a​ single board computer.




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