64-Bit 3-Watt Super Efficient Computer The Size of A Hand!

Monday, December 14, 2015

It's hard to believe we would have a $15 supercomputer so soon, right?  Well, believe no more because there is a new, affordable and more powerful open source microcomputer solution that will launch to market in early 2016 and rival Raspberry Pi. The new microcomputer is called PINE A64, a 64-bit single board computer, which is about the size of  an iPhone 6S and offers the same power of a desktop computer but at only 3 watts of energy consumption!

The PINE A64 is powered by a quad-core ARM A53 64-bit processor CPU that runs at 1.2GHz, and a dual-core MALI-400 MP2 GPU that hits 1.1 gigapixels per second at 500MHz. There will be two versions of the PINE A64. The standard PINE A64 will come with two USB ports, an HDMI output, a 3.5mm Audio/Mic Output, an ethernet port, and two I/O expansion buses. The advanced PINE A64+ model will come with three additional ports so it's probably the better option since you will be able to add a camera module, touch panel module, and LCD Panel module.

PINE64+ with optional modules and accessories

What I like about the PINE A64 offering (aside from the $15 price tag and very low watt power consumption) is that it's an ARM-based board, which means you can turn the PINE A64 into a conventional computer to do activities like internet browsing, watching movies, playing games and office tasks. Also, you can pair PINE A64 with Ubuntu, Android or openHAB IoT operating systems, and get access to thousands of apps.

Another feature that makes the PINE A64 stand out is that the boot disk is stored on a removable MicroSD card, which means you will be able to update/re-install and swap operating systems by the easy and simple process of removing a card and inserting a new one. By the way, don't miss out my follow up article Wi-Fi + BLE Particle-powered IoT board The Size Of A Thumb and the ChameleonMini NFC emulator and data logger.

PINE A64 Specifications

  • Powered by +5v microUSB port
  • Supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC format microSD card 
  • Can attach a USB stick or USB hard drive for extra storage
  • Built-in standard 10/100Mbps wired Ethernet  
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth native expansion ports
  • Sound supported through HDMI (Version 1.4)
  • HDMI display monitor or HDTV
  • Can stream 4k video
  • CEC is supported on the HDMI port
  • maximum resolution of 3840×2160@30fp
  • LCD Panel port is a 4 lane MIPI DSI up to 1920×1200@60fps
  • Himax HM5065 5megapixels CMOS camera module
  • Real time clock (RTC) feature
  • IR receivers connections

PINE A64 Video Specifications
H.265 4K@30fps video decoding
- multi-format 1080p@60fps video decoding, including H.264 BP/MP/HP, VP8, MPEG 1, MPEG2, MPEG4 SP/ASP GMC, H.263 including Sorenson Spark, VC1/WMV9, MJPEG and etc.
- H.264 1080p@60fps or 720p@120fps video encoding

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