Rockchip-powered Raspberry Pi competitor Novasom SBCs aim for enterprise, industrial use cases
Single-board computers (SBCs) predated the release of the Raspberry Pi, though the popular hobbyist board completely upended the market. Incumbent makers found themselves suddenly needing to compete with a low-power $35 system, with a robust community built around it-to say nothing of the numerous fruit-themed competitors that came after it.
Novasom, a Romanian SBC manufacturer, is trying to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack by focusing on enterprise and industrial use cases, highlighting the unexpected problems that can result from using a hobbyist board in a mission-critical environment. Novasom's RASPMOOD initiative is reflective of that: RASPMOOD boards are designed to be drop-in replacements with identical placements for GPIO, mounting holes, and connectors, on a board designed for "a 100% online mission or to survive EMC or environmental stresses, or to be connected and reconnected multiple times," according to the company's website.
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As part of that, Novasom has announced the SBC-M7 series of boards, powered by a Rockchip RK3328, similar to the Rock64 and the Libre Computer Renegade, among others. The M7 series includes five variants, with the low-end SBC-M7A including only 1GB DDR3 RAM, while the high-end SBC-M7FT packs in 2GB DDR3 RAM and 16GB eMMC NAND flash storage. The M7 series is 4K capable, though only includes 100 Mbit ethernet, putting it behind hobbyist boards like the Raspberry Pi. The SBC-M7 series has an 85x56mm footprint.
Novasom also announced the SBC-M8 series, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410C. Both are paired with 1GB DDR3 RAM and 8 GB eMMC. The pair can run Android 5.1 or 6, Debian 8 or Ubuntu 14.04, or Windows 10 IoT Core. The SBC-M8 series has only two variants, with the SBC-M8FT including an HDMI connector and 802.11n Wi-Fi, though both support connecting displays via MIPI-DSI connections.
Pricing information is not yet available for the pair.
For more single-board computers, check out TechRepublic's guide to Raspberry Pi alternatives: The latest boards for you to try.