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Just Kidding – Accepting Reality

Just Kidding – Accepting Reality

CRAY Super Computer

I have been kidding myself and any readers here. Not much but a little. SBC (Single Board Computers) are not going to replace a fully loaded desktop or laptop computer anytime soon. If I have left that impression it was only because of my excitement on how well recent edition SBCs perform.

What is missing from the SBC is lots of high speed RAM and its necessary sidekick, high speed NVM (non volatile memory)

I built up an Intel NUC computer a year ago with a core I7 7th generation processor, 512GB Solid State boot drive, Two GB spinning hard drive and 32 GB RAM. Of course it “blows away” any SBC for professional applications like CAD/CAM, video editing, bookkeeping systems, etc.

The NUC OS is WIN10 but it would also be a “killer” Linux OS machine. The Linux OS on most of the SBC’s is not a problem. However, it will limit use of some forms of popular commercial software.

The NUC is far more computer than is needed if all I did with it is check email. If I needed (or just wanted) to use a computer 24/7 as say, a print server, using the NUC is not a good choice of hardware The minimal SBC is the perfect choice.

The intended and actual use is the key. The SBC is a capable choice within its limitations. A 1.4 GHz processor is not a screamer. It spends MOST of its time throttled back to 600KHz. The low power is a feature, not an issue.

That makes the SBC a niche computer. It has its place. Current editions can run as well as low end netbooks and other systems with similar processors and memory. But, they are open designs intended for experiments, writing software, and ease of accessibility to the inner workings. That, and the low cost, is their niche.

BUT (again!),,, There is nothing wrong with pushing those design limits. That’s the beauty. Testing what can actually be done, beyond expectations… Failure is always an option, and is how true limits are determined.

Be a computer test pilot. Push the limits, hard and soft. Accept reality when the edge is found.

Super-computers are a niche application too. They probably don’t even DO email…

 

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