The acronym SBC means, Single Board Computer or Single Board Pc. This means that unlike traditional computers, PC's SBC are boards that contain all or most of the components of a computer.
The main characteristic of SBCs or computers with SBC boards is their small size. While a mini-ITX pc is mounted on a plate measuring 17 x 17 cm. Roughly, the minipcs or SBC computers are mounted on plates with smaller measures, from sizes relative to a USB to measures similar to a business card like the Raspberry Pi that measures 8,5 x 5,3 cm.
Another feature of SBC boards is their price. SBC boards are generally very inexpensive, so much so that some projects that use these boards are cheaper than their standard equivalent. Normally these plates do not usually exceed 100 dollars although there are always some exceptions.
A third characteristic of SBC boards is that they offer little power, although this is relative. It is true that an SBC board cannot be compared to a mini-ATX board with an i3 or i7 processor, but this does not mean that we cannot do anything. Currently all SBC boards offer more than enough power for the world of office automation, development and even the multimedia world. Unfortunately there is still no SBC board that allows us to have a pure use for video games.
Examples of SBC boards
- Raspberry Pi. The most popular SBC board is called the Raspberry Pi. It is a small plate that has several versions and that it has a wide community. The project was born to find inexpensive and free hardware to teach computing in primary schools. Nowadays and thanks to its community, almost anything can be done with this board, from a server to a cluster going through being the hardware of a heavy tablet.
- BeagleBone Black. It is the American alternative to Raspberry Pi. In general, there is usually not much difference between the power of this plate with the rest, now, BeagleBone Black can support Ubuntu or function as an accessory to the traditional PC, we decided.
- PcDuino. It is the freest SBC board that exists, if that title really existed. PcDuino is based on Arduino schematics and incorporates what is necessary to be an SBC board, that is: processor and ram memory. Unlike the rest, PcDuino is quite large, reaching 12 cm long by 6 cm wide. The latest model This board supports and supports Ubuntu and Android.
- Pandaboard. It is possible the least famous but not for that reason the least interesting. Pandaboard has a large community that is creating interesting projects with this SBC board. Pandaboard allows wireless connection thanks to a wireless antenna built into the board. Feature that other boards don't have.
What can I do with these plates?
As we have said before, SBC boards do not offer a lot of power, but enough to satisfy our needs. The most common use of SBC boards is as a dumb client, something they are intended for, but they can also function as a perfect server. There are several projects that turn these boards into powerful servers. Another of the most popular functions of SBC boards is the multimedia center. With a few more components, an SBC board can be converted into a great multimedia center that allows us to see even pirated television channels.
As you can see, SBC boards are multipurpose and together with their price, they are currently one of the best options to experiment and enter the world of Free Hardware.