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Android Hardware Hacking Ubuntu Upgrades Build Linux

BeagleBone Black Released With 1GHz Cortex-A8 For Only $45 142

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the waiting-for-eoma-68 dept.
DeviceGuru tipped us to the release of the latest single board computer from Beagle Board. It's been two years since the previous BeagleBone was released, and today they've released the BeagleBone Black (including full hardware schematics) at a price competitive with the Raspberry Pi ($10 more, but it comes with a power brick). Powered by a Cortex-A8, it has 512M of DDR3 RAM, 2G of onboard eMMC, two blocks of 46 I/O pins, a pair of 32-bit DSPs, the usual USB host/client ports, Ethernet, and micro-HDMI (a much requested feature). Support is provided for Ångstrom GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, and Android out of the box. Linux Gizmos reports where some of the cost savings came from: "According to cofounder Jason Kridner, interviewed in a report today, cost savings also came from removing the default serial port as well as USB-to-serial and USB-to-JTAG interfaces, and including a cheaper single-purpose USB cable. (Three serial interfaces are available via the expansion headers.) In addition, the power expansion header for battery and backlight has been removed."
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BeagleBone Black Released With 1GHz Cortex-A8 For Only $45

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  • by MadX (99132) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:20AM (#43523649)

    Coming from South Africa, I am disappointed that the Rasberry Pi is so expensive. Hopefully these boards will be better priced here ..

    I had a ticket in the "queue" to order an RPi. When my turn came - would cost R 650-00 (Dollar was around 8.42 at the time so close to $ 80 USD) - I passed.

    • Odd thing is, the RPi guys are on that same side of the pond.. unless you were talking about the Mediterranean Sea.

    • by The Pea! (323436)

      Have you seen if RS / Farnell ship to you?, Amazon resell directly from RS too (last time I purchased one it was in RS packaging).

    • by c++0xFF (1758032)

      The problem isn't the Raspberry Pi, it's the cost of getting it to you, including taxes and shipping. I don't see how the BeagleBone could be any different, unless they somehow manufacture the board in South Africa (doubtful).

      For comparison, the Brazilian tariffs bring the price of a Raspberry Pi to about $85 ... plus shipping and accessories.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It appears to have a PowerVR GPU, (SGX530) this means close source GPU driver goodness.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Considering that there's not really any Open Source GPUs in the ARM SoC space (yet...), it's a valid complaint, but it shouldn't be a show stopper.

      To be sure, I'm a bit surprised Qualcomm or ARM hasn't stepped up to that plate- they're selling hardware and the mojo is in the cores themselves. And, in the case of Qualcomm, I'm fairly sure the original IP rights holder (AMD) wouldn't be to touchy about them opening the Adreno up.

      • by Narishma (822073)

        Even though the interesting parts of the RPi's GPU drivers remain closed source (the parts that run on the GPU), they have opened up enough of it that the drivers can easily be ported to different operating systems, or even used without an OS. It's not much but it's still better than the rest of the ARM SoCs.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        To be sure, I'm a bit surprised Qualcomm or ARM hasn't stepped up to that plate- they're selling hardware and the mojo is in the cores themselves. And, in the case of Qualcomm, I'm fairly sure the original IP rights holder (AMD) wouldn't be to touchy about them opening the Adreno up.

        Except there's probably tons of third party IP still in the cores and tons of patented stuff in the drivers, so opening it up isn't possible.

        I'm sure these guys would love to open things up - their main goal is to sell more chip

  • by DogDude (805747)
    Neat. $45. That's the same price I pay for a Core Duo machine from my local surplus store with 2 GB RAM and a 80 GB HD.
  • by KiloByte (825081) on Tuesday April 23, 2013 @08:36AM (#43523753)
    Price of the board doesn't matter much compared to accessories needed, your time, etc. There's a bunch of overpriced boards within $250-$450, but you can get a nice 4*2.0 GHz, 2GB ram [] one for $89 (plus at least a $9 non-standard power brick). A wee bit better than 1-core 1.0GHz BeagleBone in this article.

    The specs sheet says 1.7GHz that can be overclocked to 2.0, but one I got was already at 2.0 the first time I plugged it in.

    There's only one big shameful downside: the graphics card supports only vertical resolutions of 720 and 1080, thus requiring a monitor of utterly useless proportions. My rasPi has seen around half an hour of monitor time total, so I guess this is not a big loss.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Uh, this is differing from the Beagle in only number of cores, etc. Power consumption's a concern- the fact that this needs a heatsink means it's producing a bit of TDP over the BeagleBone. I couldn't, for example, realistically use this with several of my projects I'm working on because it consumes entirely too much power. For some of the others, it rocks and I'm going to be speccing out one of the higher-end boards for purchase a couple of months from now. This only covers the TDP, there's other aspect

    • by imroy (755)
      Those hardkernel boards sure are interesting but lack the GPIO of these boards. I think a better comparison is to the Cubieboard []. It also has a 1 GHz Cortex-A8 with lots of GPIO pins, but has 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of flash and a SATA port. It's also a bit more expensive, but I'm pretty sure TI has been subsidising the Beagle boards.
    • Afaict the only way to buy the thing is direct from hardkernel in korea so that means I have to pay a pretty steep shipping charge AND then pay the carrier a fee for collecting the VAT*. Also iirc the serial console port is somewhat strange** and AIUI while some people are working on framebuffer console support it doesn't work out of the box (and even if it did the thing uses the u-boot based bootloader which you can only talk to over serial) which pretty much makes their serial debug board mandatory if you

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        the thing uses the u-boot based bootloader which you can only talk to over serial) which pretty much makes their serial debug board mandatory if you want to do any tinkering with the OS (rather than just download someone else's media center build and run it).

        Depends on what tinkering you have in mind. I for one don't mess with the bootloader, yet otherwise the system hardly resembles the pre-made Debian image I started from. I do have a number of chroots as well, including a raspbian one, which needs 5 minutes for a build that takes 8 hours on raspberry. Yes, 5 minutes vs 8 hours. No wonders I love this box.

    • The other big downside is that if you intend to run Linux on it, the graphics driver is limited to 16-bit color depth. The OpenGL ES implementation is also shit - I wrote a simple program that renders a textured quad full screen and it only gets 80 FPS with X using 90% of one CPU.

      I asked about it in the forum and they are aware of the problem, but they don't have a lot of resources to fix it. They state there's a bug that's causing the frame to be rendered 4x more than it should be. Pretty big bug if you as

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      There's only one big shameful downside

      They're offering a four week warranty on that board. If they're not even giving it ninety days, that tells me that they expect it to fail in less than three fucking months. No, and also no.

      I really want an Android mini-PC. But so far as I can tell, all of the cheap fast ones are pure shit. I think at this point the best thing to do is buy the cubieboard, which I keep seeing people say actually works. It's not so very fast and it doesn't have so very much ram but what it does seem to have is the best-support

  • What's the "pair of 32-bit DSPs" in the summary? The NEON unit is nice, but it's not exactly a separate processor (as I understand the architecture) and there is only one. There are 2 PRU-ICSS units, but they're I/O processors, not DSP's.
    • by muridae (966931)
      I think they mistook the 2xPRU as DSP chips. They are a good way to feed data quickly to a DSP, or get data from one, but they lack certain instructions that a DSP really needs.
      • I think you're right, but the PRU's, while very nice for I/O, are not even close to DSP's. I find the lack of understanding in the summary disturbing (yes, I know this is /.).
  • My organization is looking at boards like this as system controllers for a variety of products. The form factor and specs are really attractive and the prices are cheap. Beaglebone is a pretty good fit to what we need, and the addition of on-board DSPs makes it better. The biggest barrier we run into on these kinds of devices is lack of industrial-rated parts and designs. Our products run in a variety of environments, many of them that can get hot (e.g. inside a chassis with other heat-producing stuff)
    • on-board DSPs

      What DSP's? They're in the summary, but I don't see them on either the board or the chip.

      The biggest barrier we run into on these kinds of devices is lack of industrial-rated parts and designs. Our products run in a variety of environments

      Aye, there's the rub. I've run into the same problem. It'd be nice if they offered an industrial temp version, but considering the small size of the potential market I doubt they will. That $45 price is obviously the result of big volumes. Still, even if they had to jack up the price a few times, they could offer the industrial temp version as a specialty item. In this day and age industrial temp is really not that hard

  • Things like this and Raspberry Pi will continue to grow. Microsoft can't force their " Tax " on everyone produced as they have been able to with x86 PC's. I'm sure the greedy bunch at M$ are trying to figure out how to Patent Troll every new computer manufacturer that pops up, but there will just be too many. Finally, after 30 years of oppression in the computer industry, the vile and evil Microsoft is losing their fetted rotting grip.

    Makes me happy.

  • When the RPi came out, I was disappointed that it didn't have on-board flash. Since using them in a bunch of projects, however, my opinion has flip-flopped.

    Does this new Beagle-board have the option to boot from the external flash card, or must it boot from the on-board flash? TFA says "The flash frees the microSD slot for storage or loading alternate OSes ..." but does load mean boot or just that you can mount the flash drive and copy files over?

    I _like_ the fact that the identity and configuration

  • The Beaglebone has (had) this weird procedure where you plug it into USB, then "eject" it to activate a different mode. The first time I installed Beaglebone drivers is the only time it went smoothly. Later on different machines, all sorts of odd devices came up. In the end it was just easier to interact with it over SSH, so I can understand the decision to remove the USB-serial interface.

    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      Same boat; never quite got the whole eject thing. Update seems to solve a couple issues I was having...

  • I care a little bit, but not much. What I care about a lot is video performance, and I note that nobody says anything anywhere praising it, which I presume means it sucks.

    If I'm wrong, I want to know, because the price is fantastic.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?