There is no doubt it is now easier than ever to build a computer and computer-based devices, especially with the emergence of do-it-yourself microcomputers such as Raspberry Pi, Pine A64 and Arduino.
Now, the question is: which of these three should you buy?
Let's take an up-close look at these three products so you will be in the know.
When compared with the Raspberry Pi 2, the Pine A64 offers a more impressive architecture. It comes packed with a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU which runs at 1.2 GHz. Moreover, it also has a 300 MHz clock speed, which is higher than the Pi 2.
In terms of graphic capabilities, Pine A64 touts a 400 MP2 GPU. With this capacity, it can handle 4K video playback.
In addition, A64 provides support for 64-bit software, which experts say is more remarkable than what the Pi 2 has to offer.
Some of its other important specifications include: a 5 MP camera port, a 3.5 mm jack, a pair of USB 2.0 ports and Bluetooth 4.0. The Pine A64 also rocks Ethernet functionality up to 100 Mbps and provides support for 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi.
The downside, though, is that it is only available for preorder via Kickstarter right now. The 512 MB of RAM is priced at $15 and will be delivered on March 2016 for those who preordered.
The Raspberry Pi 2 is deemed as a fully functional computer. Apart from boasting a dedicated processor, it also comes with memory and graphics driver.
You can install Linux software as it runs a version of the Linux operating system, which is exclusively intended for Raspberry Pi.
While it doesn't have internal storage, it has an SD card that can be used as a flash memory.
Interestingly, one can use Pi as a video game emulator and a media streamer.
Like a traditional computer, Raspberry Pi needs 5V power to function and needs to be shut down. This means the Pi is not portable.
However, what's also good with this microcomputer is that it is equipped with a built-in Ethernet port, allowing users to gain access to any network. Additionally, you can connect to the Internet by installing a driver that allows the use of a USB Wi-Fi dongle.
Unlike Raspberry Pi, Arduino Uno is more of a microcontroller. This means that this simple computer can only run one program at a time.
Arduino does not run a full OS. You won't have access to the basic tools which an OS can provide.
It is specifically useful for hardware projects, though. It is great in interfacing with devices and sensors.
You need a USB connection or an external power supply, such as a battery or AC-to-DC adapter, to run the board.
The Bottom Line
Given the facts laid down, which one should you pick among these three?
It depends on the project you are trying to work on.
Choose Raspberry Pi if you need a computer that can perform multiple or heavy tasks, such as carrying out intense calculations. Pick Arduino, however, if you only want to do uncomplicated recurring tasks, such as opening and closing the garage door. Pick Pine A64 if you want to set up your own gaming console or mini computer.
Tip: If you are a beginner, pick Arduino.