Many have tried to compete with the Raspberry Pi, and so far no one has managed to snatch that benchmark in the maker movement segment. Only Arduino shares honors in this area, but that doesn’t stop new developments from trying to gain ground.
This is the case of the Asus Tinkerboard, miniPCs with the same format as the Raspberry Pi and that are clearly inspired – to say the least – by these successful boards. We like that Asus launches its own alternative, but we fear it has little or nothing to do in a market where the cost factor is very important.
More features, but also more expensive
The Taiwanese manufacturer uses the same microUSB port to power the board, and also has an HDMI connector full-size for connecting to a monitor or television, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. It also offers the already traditional 40-pin GPIO connector in this type of device, but the similarities do not end there.
Everything about the physical design of the Tinkerboard seems to mimic the success of the Raspberry Pi, as it also has four USB 2.0 ports. To try to differentiate itself, yes, it offers several improvements. Between them highlights a Gigabit Ethernet connector instead of the 10/100 Ethernet of the Raspberry Pi, in addition to a Rockchip quad-core processor ARM Cortex-A17 at 1.8 GHz that according to Asus is more powerful than the BCM2837 of the RPi3 but that does not offer support for 64-bit instruction sets.
WiFi connectivity also matches that of the Rasbperry Pi 3 with 802.11n support, but the Tinkerboard also offers 2 GB of RAM, twice that of the RPi 3. The fundamental problem is not only that the Raspberry Pi have an amazing user community in number and passion: it is that the Asus Tinkerboard it also costs 55 pounds including taxes, about 64 euros to change. That supposes 50% more than the cost of the RPi 3, and of course it is a powerful argument to doubt the success of a plate that yes, it raises a new option in this animated segment.