When we talk of computers, topics usually range from desktops, laptops and notebooks. Sometimes, our ideas and discussions about computers seem to go on forever. However, we seldom hear talk about single board computers. We may not be familiar with the term, though many of us have used single board computer at one time or another.
A single board computer is a complete computer that stands on a single circuit board. It is a circuit board that contains all the components to make a complete computer, such as the processor, memory (RAM), I/O, processor clock and audio and video interfaces. Single board computers may be used as stand-alone units, embedded units or backplane units.
Today, single board computers have found wide use in industrial processes. These small-form factor computers are often used in industrial machines in a rack-mount format that performs complex processes.
Single board computers can also be found in other applications. Cell phones, fax machines, scanners and other electronic products that make use of computer technology are equipped with embedded single board computers. Notebook computers, especially the older ones, are basically single board computers.
Many new home electronic products, especially those that are designed to communicate with a computer or other electronic products, make use of embedded single board computers. Despite this emerging trend in home electronics, single board computers fail to fully dominate the computer world because of some disadvantages.
However, single board computers do have advantages over other types of computers. With all the components built on a single board, the manufacturing cost of single board computers is less compared to multiboard computers. The single board design makes it more reliable because the need for problematic connectors is eliminated. With new technologies, the capabilities of single board computers can further be improved, while its size is further reduced.
On the downside, single board computers are less flexible than other types of computers. With all the components soldered in a single board, there is no way the computer can be upgraded whenever new developments appear on the market. Simply said, the technological capabilities of single board computers are fixed, and they have no ability to take advantage of new technological developments.
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