Microcomputers help many of you out there for your at-home projects. Right now the top single-board computer manufacturers are the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and BeagleBone.
Of the three the Raspberry Pi may be one of the most used due to the low price range of $25-35. The hardware does not compare to the other boards, but with the cheaper price more people are inclined to purchase it for their desires.
This includes the 3D printing industry as the price of desktop printers, partially thanks to the rep-rap project, has decreased by using cheaper materials like the electronic controller. To combat the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone designed the BeagleBone Black.
A Look at the BeagleBone Black
The new computer looks like a credit card with some chips and ports on it. The company decided to use the open-source Linux operating system.
The chip of choice is the 1GHz Sitara AM335x Cortex A8 ARM processor from Texas Instruments. The board has 2 GB of storage but can be expanded through the micro SD card slot. BeagleBone also doubled the RAM from the original to 512MB.
The new BeagleBone already has support for various connective devices such as Ethernet, micro-HDMI, and USB. The Black host several expansion headers for hooking it up to external electronics. This includes 65 digital I/O connectors, seven analog ones, four serial ports, and eight pulse-width modulators.
The biggest difference between the Black and the original is the price. Cut down from $89, the BeagleBone Black’s cost of $45 can now compete efficiently with the Raspberry Pi. “At $45, you can put these boards in your projects and forget about them,” said Kridner, TI’s Software Architecture Manager for Applications Processors.
Some feel that it should be sold for less to beat the Pi, but with the advanced hardware and technology, the hand-held device is a better value than the others on the market and will have no problem with the competition. 3D Printer makers and enthusiasts now have a valuable alternative at their disposal.