The smallest Linux computers

    A few days ago, free hardware activists released the second version of the tiny Linux-based computer, the VoCore2 , 25.6 × 25.6 × 3.0 mm in size, that is, with a large coin (almost square in square inch). In a matchbox fit about eight such computers.

    This is a descendant of the very VoCore, which collected money through Indiegogo. Still collected, and the project lives. This is an absolutely open computer that anyone can assemble from the indicated components (or buy a board assembly for $ 17.99). The computer works on the OpenWrt / LEDE firmware, that is, ideally suited for the role of a portable router.

    The machine has a 580 MHz processor, it has 128 MB of RAM and 16 MB of flash memory (expandable to 2 TB cards).


    The size25.6 × 25.6 × 3.0 mm
    CPUMT7628AN, 580 MHz, MIPS 24K
    Ram128 MB, DDR2, 166 MHz
    Flash memory16 MB NOR on the board, supports SDXC up to 2 TB
    WiFi802.11n, 2T2R, up to 300 Mbps
    AntennaOne U.FL connector for an external antenna (visible in the upper left corner in the photo of the board ↑), one antenna on the board.
    Ethernet1 port / 5 ports, up to 100 Mbps
    USBSupports USB 2.0, up to 480 Mbps
    GPIO 40 (pinmux)
    UARTx3 (UART2 for debugging)
    Temperature0 ~ 40 ° C, use indoors only
    Nutrition3.6V ~ 6.0V, 500mA
    power usage74mA wifi standby, 230mA wifi maximum power, 5V.

    All VoCore2 software is open to the last bit : OpenWrt 1505, MediaTek SDK, UBoot, WiFi driver. A circuit for the printed circuit board, documentation for the antenna , 64 and 128 MB firmware, and everything else that is needed to assemble and configure a computer is published .

    VoCore2 is sold as a board or in a package (VoCore2 Ultimate) with all interfaces: audio jack, Ethernet, USB, micro USB, microSD.

    A very convenient gadget for connecting smart home devices and other IoT electronics.

    On the basis of VoCore2 they make not only routers, but also portable digital cameras.. In this case, the size of the board is even smaller (only 2 × 2 cm). Such a camera for Linux shoots and records video 1920 × 1080 at 30 frames per second with support for the H.264 codec.

    In terms of size and characteristics, VoCore2 is very similar to the Omega2 + router , which can also be considered one of the smallest Linux computers in the world. Board dimensions 39.9 × 26.4 × 9.9 mm (if GPIO pins are made in thickness).

    According to the characteristics, the two boards practically do not differ, but Omega2 + is even cheaper, $ 13 instead of $ 18:

    Vocore2: MT7628AN 580 MHz MIPS, 128 MB DDR2, 16 MB flash memory: $ 18
    Omega2 +: MT7688 580 MHz MIPS, 128 MB DDR2, 32 MB flash Memory: $ 13

    Omega2 + also supports WiFi b / g / n and works on the Linux Embedded Development Environment (LEDE) operating system.

    However, modern portable Linux-based computers are very far from the miracle of miniaturization, which Transcend introduced five years ago. This is a full-fledged Linux server in SD card format ( Transcend WiFi SD card ).

    If you install it instead of an ordinary SD card into a digital camera, the camera will transmit data via WiFi. For example, an old unnecessary digital camera turns into a normal surveillance camera with a network connection. But it is clear that such a Linux server can be used for other purposes, as hackers enthusiasts have successfully demonstrated .

    Miniature Linux-based computers on open-design boards are perfect for integration into robotics, the Internet of things and the smart home system, if you are not satisfied with the bulky size and high price of Raspberry Pi. And thanks to such devices, Linux is now the world's most popular operating system.

    Also popular now: