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Building Lost Cost PC (USD 50) From Embedded Linux Development Board

June 28, 2014

During my years of learning embedded linux board, I have bought several type of development board. One the of board is cubieboard(http://cubieboard.org/). My development on this board has consider ‘complete’ few years back and since then the board has been collecting dust. Recently I intend to put a better use of this board – turning this into a internet browsing device.

Before I go further, a little specification of this board:

– Processor: ARM Cortext -A8
– Running frequency: 1GHz
– RAM size: 512MB/1GB
– NAND size: 4GB
– uSD card slot
– LAN port: 1
– HDMI port: 1
– WIFI: Not available

I have found a use cases where a laptop is use for ONLY for web browsing. By bringing up the board with embedded linux, loaded with a browser, I can then replacing the laptop with this board. Some of the advantages of it would be:

1. Power saving: The laptop power consumption is 20V, 4.5A, which would is 90watt, while embedded board is consuming 5watt(Using 5V 1Amp adapter). With the device running for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, we can have a monthly power saving of 13.6kW/hour ( 14.4kW/hour vs 0.8kW/hour), a 94.4% power saving!
2. A better use of my board instead become dust collector.
3. The PC be be use for more than web browsing (like word processing, or even programming!)

Some clarification on the video.
1. While opening first page in chrome error given ‘The server’s security certificate is not yet valid!’ is due to system time incorrect, as the board does not come with RTC.
2. After google page, loading cubieboard.org page seems to be slow, that’s is not because of the board itself, but rather my Internet connection is rather slow.

Lastly, I believe these embedded board would have the capability to replace laptop functionality in some cases. It can be a good choice to use these these board in children computer class.

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