We have sent tens of our mini computer evaluation boards to some of our community members and are planning to send few hundreds more during the next few weeks. They are compatible to the popular RPi computer and this started a wild spree of questions as to why we chose this form factor. Some even went to the extreme extent of claiming that we created a clone. This obviously is not the case when you take a closer look at our computer and start using it.
The answer to why we built this board is simple. This board was built to expedite the development of our technology. Most of our products are community driven and technology enthusiasts do not usually limit themselves to one type of technology. Many of our community members own and work with an RPi computer and re-using as many RPi accessories that they already own meant that they can engage with our new technology with little effort and investment on their side. This creates a win-win scenario to all sides.
Anyone claiming this board to be a clone of the RPi clearly did not examine its details in depth and did not contact us to get the correct facts. It is similar to saying that all of Asus, Gigabyte and all other ATX mother boards are clones of each other, which they are not. The popularity of the RPi made it a standard in many aspects and our work on this board recognizes that fact.
Furthermore, it is important to stress out that while almost all the RPi connectors were kept in place, some significant differences between the two boards exist:
- Processor was upgraded to more modern and much more scalable one. single, dual and quad versions are available. Up to 2GByte of RAM can be supported.
- Two independent and powered USB Hosts. No need to add external powered USB hub.
- Fast Ethernet (GigE in dual and quad core versions) that is independent of the USB ports.
- Infra RED Receiver.
- Addition of LVDS output interface.
- On board WiFi support (optional).
- PCIe and mSATA support (optional. mSATA limited to Dual and Quad core versions)
- External Audio DAC for higher quality compared to PWM based DAC (optional).
- On board RTC backup battery (optional)
The S-Video output was also changed to a coaxial SPDIF output.
Whether this computer will make it to the market as a product is not clear. Currently we only plan to sell the CuBox-i family of products and the recent distribution of these boards for free will benefit the CuBox-i greatly as they use exactly the same core technology.