SBC advice

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by tindel, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. tindel

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Sep 16, 2012
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    I have some Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket, so I am thinking about replacing my 20 year old Pentium 4 box, running windows XP Home Edition. I am currently using this box as a server (of sorts) which is connected to a 1TB USB drive to backup all of the devices on my network. I also use the box as a lab computer. I have been noticing horrendous slowdowns recently with XP and suspect that a virus has started to infiltrate my system now that windows no longer supports XP. It can take up to 5 minutes to open a Windows Explorer tab it's certainly agonizing.

    So, I'm thinking either the Raspberry Pi or the Odriod C1+ running Ubuntu will work well for keeping the backups going and for a general lab computer to do occasional web browse or to look up a datasheet and those sort of things. But I'm on the fence on which one to go with though. I have used Unix based machines in the past... RedHat and Solaris mostly, but for very specific applications, and I had to do none of the upkeep, setup, or maintenance so these will be new things to me. I am also currently working on partitioning my laptop so that I can run Ubuntu so that I can start getting used to the OS. I'm over windows and the pocketbook can't afford apple so I am hoping that I will make a permanent switch to a Unix based OS with time.

    I like the Pi because of its huge user community. My company is also using the Pi in a product that we are currently developing, so I can also readily get advice from the software guy that I see 5 days a week. He is a pretty helpful guy and will be willing to answer my questions as the arise. I have a great disdain for the Pi because it's not truly open source. I'm a hardware/analog/interfacing guy so without schematics, published temperature data, etc I get the hebby jebbies with this thing. Which isn't too big a deal for home use, but has been a great concern of mine in our commercial product at work.

    I like the Odriod C1+ because it seems to be about 2x more powerful than the Pi from the online reviews - and even more so when using a eMMC memory chip. It has some analog inputs and an I2S protocol ports - which is important for an analog guy. It is also different from what we use at work which will help me gain some experience with a different SBC. The down side here is that the user community is very small compared to the Pi, which could effect my ability to get support as I set things up and play with the device - which is something I haven't done in the past.

    To add a little complexity to the mix, I have been thinking about temporarily putting the device in a house that I currently own across town, that is for sale, but currently unoccupied. This would allow me to stream audio, and possibly video, and to have some level of security and confidence that my house has not been compromised by water leak, window breakage, etc. I installed a nest thermostat the other day and this has helped me be able to see my home temperature at a glance of my cell phone and has given me a HUGE sense of comfort in these very cold winter months, so this would add to the nest to give me additional comfort. I believe to do the video I'll need to have the C1+, although maybe the Pi can do streaming audio with occasional image updates and be adequate.

    I have thought about buying one of each, but it would be nice to develop at the condo and just have to install the device at the house when I visit (every 2 to 3 weeks) so that supports getting two of the same device. purchasing 3 devices is probably out of my budget right now - not to mention my future need.

    Any advice?
     
  2. tindel

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Sep 16, 2012
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    193
    Another thought I just had - I could probably get a Pi zero with a USB hub and that would probably be powerful enough to drive my server/backup system and leave me with enough money to get two Odriod's. Hmmm...
     
  3. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
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    Either should work but the Raspberry Pi 2 seems to be the winner (the C1+ hardware looks nice) in the support realm when getting up to speed in embedded Linux devices today.
    I'm a open source advocate/occasional Linux kernel hacker but I do understand the the need for IP protection in some areas and closed source is allowed in the Linux GPL. I've found the low-level hardware information about the PI adequate for writing Linux kernel drivers (there is a bit of a learning curve if you've never used device-tree).
    If you are building a basic run/forget 24/7 server and are thinking about the PI for a SBC would recommend the Raspberry Pi 2 with raspbian
    as the OS. It's what I use for projects.
     
  4. tindel

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Sep 16, 2012
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    I am thinking of a run forever and forget it application. The Pi is certainly a good candidate for that. It's high bandwidth, but only occasionally.

    Maybe I'll just buy 1 of each and see which one I like more.

    It's fine that the Pi isn't open source for the hobby and personal market. However, for the commercial market, I hate it. There are no maximum temperature specs, life specifications, or other specs that help with quality. So when the quality guy asks me if I can guarantee our product for 5-10 years I have no choice but to tell him that I have no idea. That leads us to having to do accelerated life testing - which we would have done anyway. The B+ schematics are close enough to the Pi2 that it hasn't been much of a problem, and the few things that have changed from the B+, I'm good enough to backwards engineer.
     
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