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Asus Tinker Board specs and features – 6 things you need to know about the Raspberry Pi rival

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asus tinkerboard

Asus Tinker Board Specs and Features: Move over, Raspberry Pi, there’s a new, more powerful single-board computer in town, and it’s built by Asus. Meet the 4K-capable, Kodi-ready Asus Tinker Board.

The Asus Tinkerboard is official, giving Raspberry Pi a brand new rival to butt heads with. But what is the Tinkerboard, and can it really compete? Here’s what you need to know.

Related: Raspberry Pi 3 review

1. Tinker Board is a single-board computer

The Tinker Board is a single-board computer (SBC). That means all of the Tinkerboard’s functions and features are on a single printed-circuit board (PCB), so it’s small, cheap, and easy to build into projects or devices you’re trying to create.

Basically, it’s an ideal solution for hobbyists looking to make something ‘smart’, but who don’t need significant amounts of computing heft.

2. It’s a lot like the Raspberry Pi

And when we say a lot, we mean a lot. The layout of both devices is very similar, and they do basically the same thing too. That’s no surprise, but it’s important to note nonetheless.

For instance, both are powered by a Micro USB port positioned on the bottom of the board. And like the Pi, this sits next to a 3.5mm audio jack and a HDMI port. The top edge, meanwhile, houses a 40-pin GPIO connector; the right side has a Gbit Ethernet connector and four USB 2.0 ports, and the left side has a display input. There’s a camera input too, which sits next to the audio jack.

All in all, it’s a capable and well connected Pi rival.

Related: Raspberry Pi 3 vs Pi 2

asus tinkerboard

3. Tinker Board’s specs look solid – and it's 4K-ready

It should offer a decent amount of grunt, too. The real heft comes courtesy of a quad-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A17 processor that’s built by Rockchip. It’s not 64-bit (unlike the Raspberry Pi 3), but has a higher clock speed (up from 1.2GHz). The Tinker Board also wins out on RAM, offering 2GB of LPDDR3 dual-channel memory, up from the 1GB of SDRAM (shared with the GPU) that the Raspberry Pi 3 boasts.

There’s also built-in support for 802.11/b/g/n Wi-Fi connections and Bluetooth 4.0, the option to upgrade to an external anetnna, and the Tinker Board has an HDMI 2.0 for 4K support, and a DSI port for HD content.

4. It’s available right now...

The good news is that you can buy it right now. Sort of. Asus is selling the device in the UK, but the only place we’ve been able to find it is at online retailer CPC.

At time of writing, it was sold out, but you can still order it – it just won't ship to you until more units become available, and the site isn't listing an expected delivery date.

5. But it’s more expensive than the Pi

The bad news is that it’s quite a bit more expensive than the Raspberry Pi.

Including tax, the Asus Tinker Board will cost you a heft £55. That’s far higher than the £34 that the rival Raspberry Pi 3 costs. That said the Tinker Board has – on paper – more computing heft than the Pi. So if you’re looking to get a bit more done then perhaps the Tinker Board is the SBC for you.

6. Kodi is a killer feature

Asus' Tinker Board runs the Debian Linux distro, which means it's fully supportive of Kodi, an open-source media player that rivals the likes of Plex and is increasingly popular in mainstream circle.

Combine this with the 4K support and you've got a single-board computer that sounds ideal for powering a DIY home media suite.

Related: Best Raspberry Pi projects

Watch: MWC 2017 – What to expect

What do you think of the Asus Tinker Board? Let us know in the comments below.

umbrarchist

January 21, 2017, 1:52 am

Sounds interesting. I have a Raspberry Pi 3 and the Chromium Browser freezes a lot. Maybe the higher clock speed and more RAM could help with that. Although the higher price seems significant compared to the Pi, if one is building a project using $100 worth of components in addition to the Raspberry Pi then the percentage increase is not so great. But having the exact same dimensions means all of the RasPi accessories will fit on the Asus.

MisterWU

January 21, 2017, 7:37 am

55£ for this hardware is way to much. Bpi or others PI replicant are much more interesting.

ted

January 22, 2017, 11:00 am

raspberry pi has been a huge flop, it was mean't to encourage school kids into computing,(where are the figures on this), instead it has become a middle aged diy hobbyists dream and a reliable salary source for the foundations employees, a great example of shifting the goalposts for your own benefit

jamesh65

January 23, 2017, 9:16 am

12M sold and Huge Flop, not sure one implies the other.

It is well used in education as well, although figures are actually impossible to collate. As for shifting the goalposts, the Foundation are not responsible for who buys them, but whoever buys then, they do plow all profits back into....education.

ted

January 23, 2017, 11:26 am

If you want to make a valid objection stick to the point made, otherwise your just moving the goalposts to suit your own ends, i.e. just like the foundation

jamesh65

January 23, 2017, 11:30 am

Trouble is, given the facts, I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. That education isn't getting the attention it deserves? Well, that's not the case. The RPF has a large educational team; a lot of educational outreach is funded by sales of the Pi, sales which wouldn't exist if they didn't also have a good engineering team, which needs to be paid for. I'm also interested in what you mean by goalposts. The educational goal of the Pi has never changed (see their charitable status - their whole goal is education). The fact the rest of the market also want to buy them seems irrelevant to that goal, but also means that the PRF actually has more money FOR education.

ted

January 23, 2017, 11:34 am

The original aim of the pi, (as I understand it), was to encourage more school kids into computing/programming, if they cannot demonstrate this it is a failure, all other benefits are superflous

jamesh65

January 23, 2017, 1:14 pm

Rubbish. Pi's are used in schools. All the time. In general, more children are learning computing in school (the UK curriculum enforces it), some on Pi's but also on other devices (e.g. Codebug). Look at the AstroPi project, look at the weather station project, both funded by the RPF. Look at the numbers of teachers who have attended Picademy's for training (100's in UK, France, USA etc). There are also Pi's in use in schools third world countries.

Also worth noting that it is nigh on impossible to get figures for take up in schools, as who buy's Pi's and what for is not recorded (data protection issues). Schools may buy them, but not use then, or school may have them donated and use them.

Also worth noting - Aim's change, but the basic premise of the Foundation continues. So the world of SBC's as we see it now is totally different from that of 5 years ago, mainly down to RPI.

ted

January 23, 2017, 1:34 pm

Apart from a tedious repetition of the widespread use of the pi I fail to see your point, but if your adamant it has been a success, what are the figures for graduates entering computing/programming employment pre and post pi, and how much of any increase can be attributed to the pi?

jamesh65

January 23, 2017, 1:40 pm

What? Those are impossible figures to find out unless you ask every single CS undergraduate WHY they are a CS undergraduate? And I seriously doubt anyone is going to do that, it's a total waste of money. Let's turn this round - what evidence do you have that the Pi HASN'T made a contribution? You are the one who made the claim that Pi in education is a flop, you are the one who really ought to make the case.

I do know that CS course entries for Cambridge University are indeed up. Is that down to Pi? I think it might have something to do with it.

ted

January 23, 2017, 1:49 pm

No, I made the claim the pi has been a flop in its original aim, and the onus is on the foundation to demonstrate its success, after all they are the ones getting the money and status.

And you probably also need to know there are multi billion pound EU programmes justifying their existence by measuring downstream outputs. Its not impossible, nor necessarily expensive, but it would shine a light on the usefulness of the project vis a vis its original stated aims, and how else should it be judged, maybe that's why it isn't being done because its a failure, but to many people are getting a good living out of it.

jamesh65

January 23, 2017, 2:35 pm

I was under the impression that if someone makes a claim, then that person has to prove the claim. You are claiming the Pi is a flop in the educational sense, it's YOUR responsibility to prove the claim, since YOU are making the claim. The RPF doesn't have to prove anything, they are not claiming anything.

jamesh65

January 23, 2017, 2:40 pm

Also worth saying, you say the RPF is getting all the money. What are they getting that money for? They are getting it for selling a product. They are not being given money FOR education, they are being given money to supply a product that can be USED in education. It's also great for use elsewhere of course. As for status, the status comes from producing the Raspberry Pi itself, bootstrapping an entire cheap SBC industry, and being the biggest selling UK computer manufacturer ever.

If you have access to a multibillion pound EU project to ask every CS student why they are doing CS, please go ahead. the RPF doesn't have that sort of money to throw around on such a pointless exercise when its is better spent on education, or developing RP's devices for education, or improving the software on those devices, for education.

ted

January 23, 2017, 3:47 pm

Again much repetition and irrelevancy, the pi is a failure against its avowed aim. End of story.

And for your info, no multi billion pound projects do not survey every recipient, there are much more sophisticated ways of dealing with this.

ted

January 23, 2017, 3:49 pm

But the foundation claimed it was going to increase school kids participation in computing/programming, have they proved that.

Your own logic has supported my position.

jamesh65

January 23, 2017, 3:52 pm

Well, Ted, I'm telling you, from a point of view of actually knowing something about it , that your claim that it is a flop is untrue. A lie in fact. You have continually refused to provide any evidence that it is a flop. I am telling you without a shadow of a doubt that it has not been a flop - it is used in education. Not only that but it has been supremely successful in other areas as well. I'm not going to bother with anything further since you refuse to provide anything to put forward your case, you simply restate your claim with no evidence. I've given examples where it has been used in education above, you haven't provided any reason to suppose it been a flop. I win. Thanks for the entertainment, but I think I'll bow out now.

ted

January 23, 2017, 3:58 pm

are you being utterly dim, if an organisation takes money on the basis of a declared aim it is the organisations responsibility to show it has achieved them, this is the basis of the extremely well established good practice of reporting against targets

are you aware of this principle?

if somebody takes issue with said reports then yes they have to give reasons, we are not in that ballpark, do you understand this principle?

jimmy

January 24, 2017, 9:30 am

Ted, your argument is nonsense and without foundation.
As someone with a child in secondary school using a RPi I can say that they are used in schools.
Did the RPF say they would increase education by XX% and evidence it? Or just that they would boost education on computing? if it's the latter then they have succeeded if only 1 child uses it.
If they sell millions to hobbyists then great, it's more money into the pot to help fund new products and schemes.
As James as said, you haven't been able to state any fact that supports your claim they are a failure. They have kickstarted an entire sector of the IT industry that is growing more rapidly than most others. The fact major manufacturers are releasing clones is testament to their success.
Come back when you have some facts.

ted

January 24, 2017, 3:28 pm

I don't need to state any facts, its the responsibility of the foundation to evidence their success against their original aims, though given they don't appear to have quantified anything your correct in principle when even one child will do, however 'kids club' does come to mind, except that they were a more effective organisation.

eingriff

January 24, 2017, 10:40 pm

I want one, maybe two, if I can find somebody to make it plug and play for eternal amateurs.

denniskj87

January 25, 2017, 8:16 am

In Denmark a Pi 3 B cost around 400 DKK (with shipment and all) while the Asus cost 500 DKK. It's 25% more, but for that I get double RAM and better CPU (though 32-bit. bummer!). It's about to be costly for a small device, but if I needed/wanted this cute small device and RAM or CPU power was lacking, I'd happily pay a bit more.

- Though I still have my Pi 2 B and Pi 3 B laying still so maybe I should not buy any more of these devices, haha xD

MisterWU

January 26, 2017, 7:49 am

If you need a mini PC buy a mini PC.
If you use your board for the purpose who was build is hard to use all 1Gb RAM unless your code is not full of junk.
You can run a mosquitto server with 2000 IoT device talking to him every few econds, togheter with a node-red server who do computation and control more than 80 activator and is interfaced with cloud computer who store all data and do machine learning on them and send back the updated model to the RPi every 20minutes.
The node red launch also some Python scripts that control and phatse some audio and video stream in various way.
All this is controlled using web node-red dashboard and the RPi don't run xserver to save memory.

A PI 3 CPU is powerful enough for 95% of use, for the others 4℅: you need a different family of Device. The remaining 1℅ you have great RPI clones with 2Gb of RAM at 35$.

denniskj87

January 26, 2017, 9:24 am

I don't need a mini pc. That's for me to decide.

Also, things like retro Pi or plex could always use a bit more power. I'm not running servers on the Pi.

Salbrox

January 26, 2017, 5:36 pm

https://www.siliconrepublic.co... I dunno but even in Ireland Raspberry Pi is seen as a success. Its just a given. They are doing really well in all facets. Anybody who thinks they are a flop in any sense is either misinformed, a shill/troll or a moron.

Michael Horne

January 27, 2017, 6:57 pm

Yes, it would be lovely if the Foundation could _prove_ that they had made a _huge_ difference to the educational level and employment prospects of kids the world over. We do know, however, that they have made an immense difference to _specific_ people, many of them children. I'm not going to name names (because they're kids and that would be wrong) but there is evidence from the mouths of these children themselves (and I have been in the room when this has happened) that the Pi has made a huge difference in their case. One can extrapolate that there are many more for whom it has made a huge difference. Unless we were to ask every child in the country, or the world, we wouldn't have accurate figures, so we must extrapolate, as statisticians the world over must. Therefore, we can reasonably surmise that a difference _has_ been made. The Foundation's educational outreach has improved the education level of educators in both the UK and the USA. Many (if not all) of these educators go on to introduce the Pi into their classrooms where, we can assume (if we are being charitable, pun unintended) that it has made a difference.

If you could specify exactly _how_ the Pi has been a flop, that would probably help. I have proved, at least as far as a statistician can, that a difference is being made. On what scale, we will probably never know, but empirical evidence supports that there is a difference being made, and it is _important_.

As far the Foundation's employees making money... I'm going to assume that people earning a living isn't completely abhorrent to you!

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