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back to article Black-eyed Pies reel from BeagleBoard's $45 Linux micro blow

Open-source hardware outfit BeagleBoard has formally announced a major revision of its BeagleBone board computer that ups the spec and downs the price. The BeagleBone Black's single-core processor jumps from its predecessor’s 720MHz to 1GHz. It’s a Texas Instruments AM335x system-on-a-chip, which uses ARM’s Cortex-A8 …

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Looks really good

I want one now!

The article says 1GB but the data sheet linked to says 800MHZ, which is it?

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Re: Looks really good

"The article says 1GB but the data sheet linked to says 800MHZ, which is it?"

The datasheet is preliminary from January, so the spec has probably changed

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Facepalm

Re: Looks really good

GB and Mhz are both different units of measurement.

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Pint

Re: Looks really good

MHz.

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Coat

Re: Looks really good

No, only one of GB and Mhz are different units of measurement. The other one is the same.

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Meh

Headline misses

Something about "Black Eyed Pies" might have been even better. Or "BeagleBone A8 the Pies".

And actually, the Pi is "full Linux", just not as fast.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Headline misses

So sorry not every headline, produced under incredible pressure, is comedy gold :-(

C.

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Re: Headline misses

Upvote on the Full Linux thing- the article is wrong - it's not a cut down version - it's a full version. In fact, I'm not even sure what a cut down version of Linux would be, or if it even exists. As to speed - well, that's in the eye of the beholder. Quite a bit of the slow speed stuff has some interesting improvements in the pipeline...

This BB looks pretty good. As I said elsewhere, they must be selling close to break even at those prices - 5 chips on board compared to the Raspi's two must almost fill the $10 gap. TI might even be putting this out as a loss leader. I'd be surprised if the price stays this low.

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Happy

Re: Headline misses

Very decent of you sir. Apologies for the nasty bout of grumpy old man syndrome.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Headline misses

And you call yourself a journalist? Just kidding. Pithy headlines are an art that most of us can't master.

:-)

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h3
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Re: Headline misses

There is a few cut down versions of Linux at least one which is still used - uclinux and elks.

These might be better for RiscOS than the pi (Afaik the graphics support for the beagleboard is the best - even though the pandaboard is better hardware there is no dual processor support in RiscOS).

You have to remember TI makes those chips (Or I think gets them made these days but they already have the volume) whereas the Rasberry PI has to buy from Broadcom.

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Re: Headline misses

Two chips on a Model A you mean, there's three on the Model B RPi - ok, one's stacked on top of another but you still gotta pay for 'em.

The large amounts of GPIO on this new Beagle are what makes it more interesting to me than the RPi, although I don't think the AM335x series can drive two framebuffer monitors, which is a shame.

It was the RPi that got all these new ultra-cheap SBCs started though, and for that I am eternally grateful.

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Anonymous Coward

There is more to Linux than Ubuntu

Let the downvotes start.

Recently Ubuntu has become a pile of steaming dog droppings when compared to older releases.

More downvotes.

They seem to have a finger in all sorts of pies none of which appear to be making a difference to the quality of their core product.

Then they have reduced their non LTS support period to 9 months. WTF?

There are other distros available that run on a Pi etc.

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Re: There is more to Linux than Ubuntu

I'm sorry to hear life's so frustrating to you, but would you mind explaining what relevance your opinion of Ubuntu has to the article?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is more to Linux than Ubuntu

Pi runs linux, ubuntu is a linux distro, is that not tenuous a link enough to count?

I used to use Ubuntu but not any more, moved away in favour of Mint, and I'd never consider using Ubuntu on a PI, I was looking at Arch considering the constraints. Running Ubuntu on a Pi is about as intelligent as running Windows 8 on a pentium 4. They've both got terrible interfaces, and neither would run very well on the provided hardware.

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Facepalm

Re: There is more to Linux than Ubuntu

did you actually read the article?

The subheading is

Gigahertz-class pocket-sized ARM Ubuntu rig, anyone?

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Re: There is more to Linux than Ubuntu

I have to agree there are better choices for boards like this and the Pi than Ubuntu. For starters with something this low powered you'd expect to be using LXDE, [black|flux]box or even XFCE rather than Unity. Heck, can Unity even run on something with less than 2GB RAM?

I would guess that's why Raspbian seems to be the default choice for the Pi.

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Re: There is more to Linux than Ubuntu

@Steve Davies 3: So it is, and yes, you caught me skipping subheadings. The flimsy excuse is that my RSS reader seems to encourage that, but it's a flimsy excuse.

I'm still confused as to the relevance of the particular objections given to the article at hand, though.

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Windows

Re: There is more to Linux than Ubuntu

WTF????

Let me gently explain by means of this buzzy stick.

RPi doesn't run UBUNTU!!!! FFS! <BZZZT!!!>

RPi is RISC/ARM architecture. Ubuntu runs Intel 386/AMD-64 CISC processors.<BZZZT!!!>

Ubuntu has not been compiled for the RPi. It never will be. No need. <BZZZT!!!>

(Damn, still breathing, I see...)

The RPi is not designed to be a desktop.* <BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!!!>

That'll do it.

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Re: There is more to Linux than Ubuntu

"RPi doesn't run UBUNTU!!!! FFS! <BZZZT!!!>

RPi is RISC/ARM architecture. Ubuntu runs Intel 386/AMD-64 CISC processors.<BZZZT!!!>"

Last I looked, Ubuntu ran on ARMv7 onwards - and there were no plans to port stuff to support ARMv6 (as used by the Pi) so your first point is correct, your second probably incorrect (as I assume it was intended, difficult to say as it's rather vague) and your buzzer (IMO) is very annoying.

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Re: There is more to Linux than Ubuntu

Yep, you're correct. Ubuntu's 'skunk-works' seem to have produced Ubuntu-ARM-on-a-server.

To test relative speeds. Doubt if it'll be ported o desktop, tho' interesting if they did.

The buzzer? Blame the BOFH for that. I took in as surety for a few beers he cadged off me...

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Childcatcher

Re: There is more to Linux than Ubuntu

So sorry, but Eadon is doing his homework now, and he can't come out to play 'till later.

Run along now, there's a good chap!

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Anonymous Coward

So you upgrade from ARM11 to Cortex-A8, lose about 15% of the clock speed and lose the GPU?

Losing the GPU is a massive loss, unfortunately. Simply cannot see this competing with the RasPi. The lack of serious GPU means it won't draw in the cheap media centre crowd, so it'll lose out on a lot of the community support. And at the end of the day Cortex-A8 isn't *that* much faster than ARM11, especially when you haven't got an obscenely overpowered GPU to hand off all the interface work.

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Exactly. I was wondering where the video-out was. To me this looks more like a Arduino on steroids then a replacement for the Raspberry PI, which has the advantage of being a whole computer with IO headers.

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I believe it has uHDMI out. The Mali 400 isn't too bad - not quite as good as the VC4 on the Raspi in some areas though.

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Megaphone

I really wish people would stop comparing this to the Rasp-Pi... It's a completely different beast. It's not a mini single board computer, but an embedded controller that runs Linux... Like an Arduino, but different in many ways... It's also not correct to call it a beefed up Arduino or an Arduino on steroids... It's much, much more. I have 3 Beaglebones embedded in various projects that I've built... A 3d printer, and a couple of robots...

The BeagleBone is not a general purpose computer! It's not ever intended to be hooked up to a display/keyboard/mouse and be operated as a computer other than during development or debugging, it's meant to form the guts of some larger device as it's controller... I only ever communicate with mine over ethernet. It does not need and should not have a GPU of any sort...

Cheers,

Troy.

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Anonymous Coward

Not sure if ill informed or just RasPi FUD troll.

@Lose 15% clock: Aparently you failed math because going from 700MHz to 1000MHz is an increase in speed not a decrease. Also this quote speaks for itself : "Compared to the ARM11 core, the Cortex-A8 is a dual-issue superscalar design, achieving roughly twice the instructions executed per clock cycle."

@Lose GPU: I dont know whats specs you have been reading (Original BeagleBoard maybe?) but the AM3359 SOC has a SGX530 3D Graphics Engine...

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@Me !

Sorry, I said Mali 400 there (was thinking of Cubie) - It should be SGX530 I think. Which means no decent 3D or, I think, video encode/decode (it's a 7 year old part). It's about 1.6GFLops 3D (according to WIkipedia), whereas the Pi is over 15GFlops IIRC.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not sure if ill informed or just RasPi FUD troll.

"Aparently you failed math because going from 700MHz to 1000MHz is an increase in speed not a decrease"

It seems I was reading a previous revision's datasheet, where the CPU is clocked at 600MHz unless it's connected to a 5V DC power supply. Either way 2000MIPS, while a step up from the RasPi's, is not a substantial amount of CPU computing in terms of a modern OS - especially not when the CPU will be unable to hand off much of the graphics work.

"I dont know whats specs you have been reading"

I said lose *the* GPU, as in, it has a completely different GPU with much reduced capabilities. The VideoCore 4 GPU puts out something like 25GFLOPS of general-purpose compute/1GPixel of graphics. The SGX530 has about 20% of the power under its hood.

I'm not saying it's a bad device, I'm just saying it's not a device tooled up to compete with the RasPi. With the reduced graphics capabilities but massively increased GPIO and power options, it is clearly aimed at makers who want something a bit more capable than an Arduino without having to resort to the unholy Arduino/Raspi combination.

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Re: Not sure if ill informed or just RasPi FUD troll.

>I believe it has uHDMI out

It would appear so- the little port under the USB Host in the article's picture looks identical to a uHDMI port I have on a device in front of me.

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You are correct James, strange that that is omitted in the main post though..

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@pepper

"You are correct James, strange that that is omitted in the main post though.."

Strangely enough, I thought all the comments about lack of video out were some odd humour I was missing ! However, seems not - luckily, from the article..

"The Black’s six-layer, 85mm x 53mm PCB holds all the above plus an HDMI port, 10/100Mbps Ethernet and a cylinder 5V power jack."

That's been in there since I first read it, honest, so not just dropped in.

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Do you think it would be possible to get it to control my vacuum cleaner? That's the kind of robot I want. Or one that does the ironing. Top of my list would be putting it in an R2D2 uniform and have it serve me beer.

But, more seriously, what sort of things can you do with the Beagleboard?

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@Tim Parker

... I have no words for my own failure. I must have read over it. Twice. My humble apology for confusing you, if I did as such.

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FAIL

512MB = fail

1GB min, surely?

No reason, other than it seems stingy.

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The board has rounded corners

Surely that's just asking for a lawsuit.

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Re: The board has rounded corners

Round corners to fit in an Altoids tin?

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Happy

Re: The board has rounded corners

I recall AutoCAD having a CTRL-R shortcut to do that back in the 1980s. I'm surprised it was never cited as prior art.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The board has rounded corners

I think they put round corners just to say it fits in an Altoids tin. The dimensions are are slightly smaller than Pi and the square corners is the reason the Pi does not fit(per Raspberry Pi

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JLH

Re: The board has rounded corners

Rounded corners are so it fits into an Altoid mints tin.

http://www.walyou.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/mint_tin_pocket_guitaramp.jpg

Those tins are the traditional case for US breadboard electronic projects.

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Facepalm

Ahh

good to see that once again people misunderstand the Raspberry Pi.

Its an "cheap educational device" for learning and experimenting with, not a home micro desktop PC.

If it doesnt offer the power and speed you desire, youre not using it right, simple as.

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Re: Ahh

Wasn't part of the whole Pi idea to stimulate this kinda thing? Now I have the choice of two nano-PC-board-things to choose from. Cool!

Both are good as learning tools, one has more juice than the other, but one draws less power than the other. Which one is "best" really depends on the problem you are trying to solve.

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Headmaster

Re: Ahh

Its an "cheap educational device" for learning and experimenting with

No, it's a "cheap educational device" for learning and experimenting with. An is used before a vowel sound. I tend to avoid pointing out grammatical fails, but an / a just irks me for some reason.

And now in an attempt to prevent downvotes, an actual response.

The Pi doesn't offer the power and speed I desire, but that's why I desire it. I've always wanted to experiment with cluster computing, why? I don't know is probably the best answer to that, But buying a load of PCs is expensive, even buying the cheapest parts these days, as is the space and power it would use. But with a collection of Pis it's quite possible to create a miniature cluster which could be used for experimentation. Not only that but ti's easily extensible too. And the lack of speed / power actually proves more benefit since it'll be easier (in my mind) t work out a performance boost for each additional cluster. single core 700mhz addes = % increase vs quad core added, % increase, how much is that per core, how much of that is due to the RAM, connection, etc etc.

The only thing missing from the Pi for me is gigabit ethernet. If it had that I'd be sold 100%, alas.

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Re: Ahh

@James 139 The educational element was primarily so that kids could plug it in and learn using the communal TV in the living room like so many of us did back in the 80's. I've never used any of my Pi's for that but I gather it is too slow to do dev directly on the machine, so in that sense it doesn't quite hit the mark as intended, as far as I can tell.

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Facepalm

grammatical fails?

"I've always wanted to experiment with cluster computing, why?"

"I don't know is probably the best answer to that"

"But buying a load of PCs is expensive, even buying the cheapest parts these days, as is the space and power it would use."

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Re: Ahh @MrMur

Perfectly possible to do dev work on the Pi itself, esp. teaching. Scratch works pretty well, as does Python (and C etc). You wouldn't use it for main line dev work, but then, you probably have a desktop if you work in that area anyway. I use a Ubuntu desktop and cross compile to the Raspi, simply because I have the ability to do so. The work could just as well be done on the Raspi itself, just slower.

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Re: Ahh

Strange, I have distinct memories of it's backers harping on about how they were influenced by the likes of the Acorn Atom and ZX Spectrum and wanted some thing to throw at kids in schools to help influence them in to carrying on the UK tradition for tech thinkers and doers.

The fact it can be used as a half decent PC was purely a side benefit.

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Re: Ahh @MrMur

Nah, its fast enough if your not worried about a gui, and really, you should NOT be learning about computers using a gui, its distracting and takes away from the development & hacking that you can do on a pi...

Personally I run mine headless, Just ssh into them...

Once is being put inside a robot, another is being used as a DHCP & open cloud server

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Re: Ahh

I've always wanted to experiment with cluster computing, why?

And now you can, sir - for USD 99:

http://www.adapteva.com/

http://tech2.in.com/news/cpus/adapteva-announces-first-99-supercomputer-boards/870896

This will be hosting the targeting system core for my new line of autonomous killer robots ...

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