BeagleBone Black: The Sub-$50 ARM Linux Board
In terms of the BeagleBoard Black's performance, there isn't much to look at. When compared to other ARM/x86 development boards, this $45 board was many times slower... Even the Tegra 2 Trim-Slice and Atom Z530 based Fit-PC2 were multiple times faster.
Those wanting to see more benchmarks of the BeagleBone Black can find plenty more by searching Generic AM33XX on OpenBenchmarking.org, but overall there's nothing impressive about the AM335x SoC performance.
The BeagleBone Black might be useful for specialized embedded use-cases or penny-pinching Linux hobbyists, but for any real ARM Linux development use or desktop experiments, it's far too slow. I can't find any use-case myself for the BeagleBone Black as it's far too slow for any worthwhile code testing or performance monitoring; this low-end ARM development board might just be best served by making it another creative computer beer bottle opener.
The best use of slow, crappy, or dead PC hardware?
Most users will be much better off saving a bit extra and buying something like the CompuLab Utilite, ODROID-XU, or Exynos 5 Dual Chromebook if you're wanting to do any serious modern ARM Linux work. Those just wanting a cheap, low-power, Linux-friendly system would also find the Intel Bay Trail NUC Kit to be an excellent match that will offer far better performance.
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