The time is UP!

Followers of this blog will know that I have an interest in the whole ecosystem of Raspberry Pi “compatible” boards. By now I have quite a selection.

Mostly, the boards I have in my collection are ARM-based, often using a System-on-Chip (SOC) from AllWinner rather than the Broadcom devices used by the official Raspberry Pi boards, but occasionally something a bit different is produced. Last October, I backed the Up board on Kickstarter. There is always a risk (and usually a delay) with crowd-sourcing, so I was hardly surprised when the expected delivery date slipped from Jan/Feb 2016. Today, however, my UP board arrived!

UP board and instruction sheet

This board is particularly interesting, as it has a reasonably-modern Intel processor, but in something pretty close to the Raspberry Pi form factor. I have yet to try it out, but with a 1.8 GHz quad-core, 64-bit CPU and 2GB RAM it should easily handle generic PC linux distributions. What support for the GPIOs and other hardware on the Raspberry Pi header will be like is less obvious.

The publicity photos for the board all look very Raspberry-Pi-like, but the manufacturer seems to have had some problems with heat dissipation – the board I received is almost hidden behind two huge heatsinks. A finned one on top covering most of the circuit board, and a full-sized plate on the bottom, which co-incidentally uses up all four of the “HAT” mounting holes. Just to add to the clumsy look, there is also a clock battery perched on the ethernet socket with a sticky pad.

I don’t immediately have a project which might need an embedded x86 PC, though, so for now, this one will go into the collection…

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