A chip is a dollar that can run Linux

Someone noticed long ago at the EEVblog, which had a chip very interesting. It is an ARM processor able to run Linux and in addition, can be welded “by hand”. Also has support for GPU Mali, and to a touch panel, so as to be able to store up to 512 MBytes of DDR3 memory.

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Of course, this type of chips are not for everyone, but for those fond of digital electronics modern. If you connect the correct elements, you could use this chip to enter the grounds of the Pi Zero or the BeagleBone. The price of 1 dollar is for wholesale, worst in retail you can find the chip for about 3 dollars, which is a highly competitive price.

The chip we are talking about is the Allwinner A13, processor ARM Cortex A8 at 1 GHz. And although it is not the fastest of which currently exist, the chip can run Linux and be welded in a card prototype without difficulty. There are those that say it does not support ara HDMI so that the applicant will have to add more chips (probably the ones that are in the package, BGA), but anyway, the product seems to be a bargain.

To whom it may concern (and you know electronics), we recommend that if you want to make prototyping with this chip, the best option is a pair of cards from Olimex and a System on Module, which makes the same company. This last is a kit that is interesting, because it allows anyone to connect to a power source, load an SD card and make the chip work doing something.

Today there is no acceptable solution for a Linux system cheaper that can be built at home, using elements that can be welded by hand. Yes, you can put Linux on an ATMega chip, but this is the worst of the PCs that you can create. A better option is to-chip (SoC) Eighth OSD335x, better known as the BeagleBone on-a-chip. This chip is a BGA, but the configuration is not bad at all and can be assembled using a small oven for 12 dollars. The problem with this chip is that it in quantities of 1000 pieces costs $ 25 and retail for 40 dollars. On the other hand, the chips of NXP, the MX6, they have great software support, but they cost 30 dollars and you need DDR memory for the system to do something interesting.

The major problem with the Allwinner A13 is that yes, it has many advantages, but it must be noted that the software is indeed a real mixed bag. This is probably the reason that the competitors of the Pi have not been able to get her out of his leadership. The chip Allwinner A13, in addition, has another problem: there simply is no documentation and the software, again, is a disorder all.

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