ASUS Tinker Board Is An Interesting ARM SBC For About $60 USD

Written by Michael Larabel in Computers on 24 September 2017 at 11:33 AM EDT. Page 1 of 5. 41 Comments.

Earlier this year ASUS announced the Tinker Board as their first step into the ARM single board computer world. Earlier this month I finally received a Tinker Board for testing and it has been quite interesting to say the least. The Tinker Board with its Rockchip SoC has been among the most competitive ARM SBCs we have tested to date in its price range and the form factor is compatible with the Raspberry Pi.

The ASUS Tinker Board offers HDMI video output, four USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, S/PDIF, MIPI CSI and DSI interfaces, 40-pin GPIO header, 802.11b/g/n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0, HD audio, i-PEX antenna header, and relies upon micro-USB for power.

The PCB size and GPIO pinout are compatible with the Raspberry Pi and later, so at least many Raspberry Pi accessories and cases can be used with the Tinker Board.

The Tinker Board makes use of a Rockchip RK3288 with Mali T764 graphics. So it's not the most open-source friendly ARM SBC due to the Mali graphics not having a proper free software driver, but the performance isn't as bad as some of the low-priced ARM boards while this GPU is also capable of 4K video and H.264/H.265 acceleration with binary drivers. The RK3288 makes use of four Cortex-A17 CPU cores. The Tinker Board has 2GB of LPDDR3 system memory and relies upon a micro-SD card for storage.

ASUS offers official operating system images of the Tinker Board for Android and Debian while other unofficial images do exist. For my testing I was using the Tinker Board OS image for Debian 9.0, which appears to be produced by Linaro and was making use of the Linux 4.4 LTS kernel, LXDE desktop environment, Mesa 13.0.6, and GCC 6.3.0.

The ASUS Tinker Board retail package includes a small aluminum passive heatsink for the Rockchip SoC while the power cable and any other accessories must be purchased separately.

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