johnbeetem wrote:You might check out the new BeagleBone Black. If you want to talk to a small screen, BBone has a lot of options.
I kind of dismissed the BBB fairly early on in my search for the perfect board, however now that I've learned a few things about Allwinner's CPU's, and their lack of support, the BBB has really come back into consideration. Though I don't know much about it's Texas Instruments processor. More research is needed!
Rene_is_I wrote:The two advantages the Pi has is the number of distros available for it and it's huge user base.
Yes, that does keep me coming back to the Pi...The support for it is absolutely superb, and that is definitely a huge plus that the other boards are somewhat lacking in, for now.
Also, the BBB looks like Darth Vader's pace maker, wheras the Pi has an aura of goodness.
Thanks for highlighting the mars board: http://www.marsboard.com/
New Pi clones seem to be popping up every week.
As far as I am aware the Pi has the lowest price and lowest power consumption, especially the model A. That means longer battery life in the post apocalyptic Mad Max type resource scarce environment you are preparing for.
In my view, although not the best in every category, the Pi is the best all-rounder as it has GPIO support which the Mars jobby doesn't and better GPU than the BBB / cubie. Also, for a mobile device, low power consumption is important and its CPU is adequate for most things.
It is quite exciting seeing all these micro computers popping up everywhere, I really like the direction it's all taking.
The Pi does seem to have to have the lowest, if not on par with the best of the low power consumption boards, and it's relative power to consumption ratio is quite appealing.
It's definitively the jack of all trades, and after seeing a video of the Pi overclocked, and browsing the web with relative ease, it has more than enough power for what I have in mind for it.
Also, a little heads up on the MarsBoard. Whilst it does seem like an awesome board, the support for it is basically zero at the moment. There is a wiki on it, but it's all in Iranian, which can be a problem. The one person who is replying to people in the forums, doesn't really seem to have his facts straight. So until some decent support for it comes along, I'd hold off the the MarsBoard.
meltwater wrote:Your spec is a little too open, since a cheap $50 tablet would probably meet your needs with built in screen, battery, network connection without any effort.
If you want to learn, then the Raspberry Pi is the obvious choice, since you can mod until end-of-days comes (while also using it for entertainment in your rest periods).
The analogue video output means you can get some ultra cheap screens for emergency use too (for instance I took a Toshiba portable DVD player - which was next to useless, awful design and very unreliable - and dropped in a Raspberry Pi). The low resolution screen isn't great for desktop use, but works excellent as a portable networked media player (plus in this case complete with battery power).
I've actually been deliberately staying away from tablets and small, finished computers. They all seem to have a fickle track record in terms of reliability and quality. I suppose technically, something like a Panasonic Toughbook pretty much meet my requirements, but where's the fun in that?
I'll definitely be learning a lot from the Pi as well, this is more of a fun project than anything else. Though the thought of actually having, in effect, a small handheld GECK type thing, appeals to my inner nerd
. I also have plans of possibly turning a Pi into a handheld device of some kind, for emulation.
I agree, the Composite output is something I noticed was lacking on virtually all other boards, and is a definite plus for the Pi. And projects like that are exactly the reason why I'm really digging the Pi, it's so versatile!
So, final thoughts...
After reading these posts, and doing much more research on the subject, I've concluded that the Pi, whilst not the best at everything, is exactly the reason I'm choosing it.
All of the competition, at first glance, look much more capable than the Pi. However there's always something about them that holds it back, all the boards with Allwinner processors aren't very good at videos, thanks to Allwinner themselves not working with developers, and it doesn't look like they're going to change anytime soon. That alone takes most boards out of the running. So lack of support is a big issue, something the Pi has in spades.
The only other real choices now would be the BBB, or possibly an OLinuXino (Haven't done much research on these). I did consider a Rikomagic Mk 802 or 808 at one point, but they're fairly limited in their versatility, and seem to be quite unreliable/shoddily built.
So, I seem to have come back full circle, and find myself staring at the Pi, yet again. I'm going to do a bit more research on the BBB, but I'm pretty much set on buying a Pi now.
Thanks for all your input guys, it was a great help to me. I encourage continued discussion and suggestions on alternatives, though, you can never have enough options.