Asus muscles in on DIY computing space with the Tinker Board
Originally leaked in January, Asus has announced US availability for its Raspberry Pi challenger – the Tinker Board. The single board computer boasts a quad-core processor supported by 2 GB of system memory, UHD video playback and Hi-Res audio support, and a Bluetooth/Wi-Fi double act. It does cost slightly more than a Pi though.
Asus has been churning out top notch motherboards for desktop computers and laptops for many years now, so it's hardly a shock to find the company taking aim at the maker, hobbyist, educator or circuit board scientist with the Tinker Board.
The roughly credit card-sized mini computer starts the gauntlet throwing with a 1.8 GHz RK3288 quad-core system-on-a-chip processor and 2 GB of LPDDR3 system memory, which bests the Pi 3 Model B in both spec for spec comparisons. The Asus board also rocks a Mali-T764 GPU and promises 4K video playback support at up to 30 Hz (including H.264/H.265 decoding).
And, where you will likely have to attach a separate audio module to the Pi in order to enjoy high quality audio, Asus says that its 85.6 x 56 x 21 mm (3.37 x 2.2 x 0.8 in) Tinker Board is capable of supporting files up to 24-bit/192 kHz resolution out of the box.
Elsewhere it appears to be much of a muchness. The Tinker Board offers four USB 2.0 ports, a HDMI 1.4 port and 3.5 mm audio jack. It has a 40-pin GPIO interface header for sensors, switches motors and so on, a 15-pin MIPI DSI for connecting a small display or touchscreen and a 15-pin MIPI CSI for cameras. The board is powered via micro-USB, though Asus doesn't provide an adapter so makers will need to source their own 5 V/2.5 A supply.
There's Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, plus gigabit Ethernet and a microSD slot for the OS and storage. The board runs on a Linux-based TinkerOS and, which is based on the latest Debian 9 core and includes an optimized Chromium web browser and TinkerOS media player. Android support is also on the to-do list (currently in beta).
The Tinker Board is available in the US from today for a suggested retail price of US$54.99. The video below shows what's on offer.