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article imageASUS unveils its own more expensive Raspberry Pi rival

By James Walker     Jan 23, 2017 in Technology
ASUS has launched a micro-computer to rival the immensely popular Raspberry Pi. The Tinker resembles a clone of the Pi but sports more powerful hardware. It also has a higher price tag though, potentially preventing it from gaining the same following.
The Raspberry Pi's launch five years ago revolutionised the idea of simple hacker-friendly computers designed for building and programming. Designed firstly to get children interested in code but since adopted by creators worldwide, over ten million Pis have now been shipped to date.
Today, ASUS is launching its own take on the Pi. The ASUS Tinker looks almost identical to the Pi, featuring the same primary connectivity options and basic board layout. There's up to 28 GPIO pins for connecting electrical components, a Gigabit LAN port, 4 USB 2.0 ports, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and a micro-USB jack for power.
The Tinker's processor is based on ARM's Cortex-A17 design. It's a quad-core chip running at 1.8GHz, supported by an ARM Mali-T764 GPU. It's a more powerful arrangement than the Pi 3's Broadcom BCM2837, capable of achieving almost double the Pi's score at the Geekbench benchmark. The Tinker also comes with 2GB of RAM, double that offered by the Pi.
The higher-performance hardware reflects ASUS' intentions with the Tinker. With a faster processor and more RAM, the Tinker is capable of supporting 4K video content. This makes it ideal for powering home theatre systems or streaming setups. The board is currently powered by a new Linux OS from ASUS but Ubuntu, OpenSUSE and Kodi options are said to be on the way.
ASUS Tinker
ASUS Tinker
According to ASUS, the Tinker has been created to add to the options available to hardware hackers and do-it-yourself builders. With the performance bar raised up significantly, ASUS hopes to allow people to expand on what's possible with a credit-card sized computer.
"Raspberry Pi has been in the market for so long, we're here to expand users' choices with more options," an ASUS spokesperson said to HEXUS. "This board has 4K support, higher SoC performance, faster Ethernet transmission, and flexibility for the memory size."
Despite the higher-power hardware, the Pi still has things in its favour. Notably, the Tinker costs £55, significantly more than the £34 price tag of the Pi 3. The Pi also has an established and very active community around it, making it easier for beginners to get started. Currently, there's little in the way of support for the Tinker and nowhere to turn to except ASUS' official documentation.
A proper rival to the Pi could aid further innovation in the space though, leading to more similar boards being developed. With demand for Pi-like systems still high, the Tinker could sell well with people who have reached the limitations of the Pi's capabilities. It's available to pre-order from today.
More about Asus, asus tinker, raspberry pi, Computers, Code
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