Key Factors to Consider When Purchasing Single Board Computers


Single board computers (SBC) is a computer designed as a single board circuit. It includes either one or several microprocessors, RAM, I/O interfaces, among other things. For a single board computer to work efficiently, these things must work together.

Today, there are many single board computers in the market, including Raspberry Pi, Odroid, Orange Pi, and Banana Pi. Because these several types exist, it’s challenging to choose which one to purchase. Thus, to ensure that one buys an SBC with the best features and lasts long, it’s crucial to consider the following factors.


Random Access Memory (RAM) is vital because it helps store short-term and volatile data. Again, it allows users to test their reading and writing speed using the RAM speed benchmark.


It’s crucial to know the amount of power an SBC uses anytime it’s working. This is because SBCs are used to work on projects that can’t be achieved using normal computers. Thus, one should ensure to set up several power sources needed for single board computers to function. The power rating of an SBC is under tech specifications. Hence, the user should check these specifications before using their single board computers.


Nowadays, single board computers are more powerful compared to those designed in the past. These SBCs can also be used as home theater PCs or low-end gaming machines. However, not all single board computers are fit for handling graphics. Thus, for more accessible graphic work, one can choose either OpenGL or OpenGL ES version.

Where one isn’t sure about the graphics of an SBC, a simple graphic test can help. This test includes drawing 2D shapes, which determine the graphical ability of single board computers. One should consider the time taken by the specific SBC to draw a single set of circles in a window.


A central processing unit (CPU) is a vital thing in an SBC. It helps to perform arithmetic functions and carry out any instructions the user gives to the computer. However, CPUs function differently. Thus, the higher the speed, the better for a CPU to execute the instructions provided.

To know about its speed, one should run searches on the internet to learn more about the chip used. There’s lots of information regarding speed, architecture, and the number of cores in these searches. This way, one can determine whether the SBC is the best to purchase.

Sometimes, a program can be written using several threads. That’s why it’s essential to have a CPU with multi-core processors. They help to speed up the execution time. Using an Himeno test, one can test multi-core processors by solving a pressure Poisson equation.

Flash Memory

Single board computers have flash memories in the form of onboard eMMC or an SD memory card. However, hard drives are crucial because they help in non-volatile storage. Though, most single board computers rely on flash memory rather than the hard drive.

I/O Complement

SBCs are needed for various applications. Hence, they must provide the correct I/O complement either as DIO, Ethernet, serial ports (232, 422, 485), SATA, USB, and board interconnects (SRIO, PCle, VME, Ethernet). If an SBC can’t compliment these complements, one can always expand the I/O using a mezzanine card.

Backward Pin Compatibility

One can purchase an SBC to exert technology in an already existing system. Whether it’s used to boost performance or for obsolescence, it’s crucial to check its design. It should be designed such that it fits the backplane’s pinout. This way, one doesn’t need to worry about the backplane.


When purchasing an SBC, one should check the processor keenly. Ignoring this can cause a loss if one buys an expensive SBC that has a low performance. Thus, it’s essential to check its performance depending on the application.

The above guide can help one in purchasing the best single board computers. By testing these factors, one can determine how an SBC functions. However, it depends on the usage and the projects to be achieved. These benchmarks will help in buying the best SBC from the market. Buying an SBC without consulting or testing its performance can make one regret it. Thus, ensure to check the above factors and buy an SBC that suits its usage.