Modern Technology, Decades in the Making

This technology contains all the components embedded on a single board, such as controllers and processors. Single board computers have been on the scene for decades. SBC’s figured heavily in the early developmental stages of the home computer. The earliest versions of single board shipped without enclosures, which became the owner’s responsibility. The home computer went from fascination to an indispensable tool. Peripheral components were offloaded to their own boards. SBCs left little choice for the expanding pc market.

 

Advancements in materials and design brought the SBC back to relevance. SBCs are prevalent with industrial applications. ATX motherboards are produced by the millions, while single board are built for specialty designs. SBC’s are smaller, lighter and more efficient.

 

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Single Board Computer:

  • Processors and memory: Intel and ARM processors each have their attributes. Intel CPUs deliver heightened performance capabilities across a host of different operating systems. ARM processors provide superb performance in low power environments, such as smartphones. SBCs can now feature up to 32GB of onboard memory. The amount needed is dependent on the application. When choosing a configuration, there are plenty of low-temperature, low-power options.
  • I/O and power: Modern I/O architecture allows for a myriad of advanced interface. First and foremost the SBC must support the network. All types of serial, parallel configurations are available. Fiber channel interfaces are becoming standard on the modern SBC. When considering an SBC for a particular application, power can be a deciding factor. If you are considering several different models, there is always a dependence on power and cooling.

There are plenty of different uses and form factors available with modern technologies. SBCs are built around processing structures such as Intel and multiprocessing. Lower processing power SBCs are common.

 

SBC form factors:

  • EBX
  • EPIC
  • PICO-ITX
  • PC/104
  • PC/ISA

Modern SBCs are used in a variety of industrial applications and have many advanced features. CPUs have blazing speeds up to 800mhz with HD graphics. SBCs will have multiple video and HDMI ports. RAM is usually soldered in with embedded SRAM. Advanced technologies in connectivity have broadened performance and cost savings in a lot of industries. Everything from the space shuttle to modern car wash computers has an SBC.

 

In 1976 the first SBC was featured in the May issue of Radio Electronics, called the dyna-micro. The SBC featured an 8-bit processor and 256 bytes of erasable memory. The dyna-micro rebranded to the MMD-1. The world’s first single board featured memory, I/O, an area for user input and display. The only external feature was the power.

 

The SBC is now referred to as architecture; plugged into a backplane with many different I/O ports. Advanced SBCs allow for stacking of varying form factors to enhance the technology. The SBC is embedded into other peripheral boards to improve the interface. The SBC once thought to be on the way out, is now part of our everyday lives.