Single Board Computer | The best of 2021

Single Board Computer | The best of 2021

The first Raspberry Pi model was officially released in February 2012. Ten years later, single-board computers (SBCs) continue to grow in popularity, usability and sales numbers. If the Raspberry Pi is undoubtedly the most popular SBC on the planet, the market has greatly diversified to meet the needs of a wide range of users and companies. From the microscopic and inexpensive traditional SBCs to the solutions that can replace low-end desktop PCs, widespread above all in the industrial sector, today SBCs offer a myriad of different solutions that adapt to uses, experience in programming and assembly , to the needs of your work. Furthermore, each of them can count on communities of enthusiasts who offer an additional point of view and new ideas to create new and unexpected applications. In this guide we present the best Single Board Computers available in Italy and give you some ideas on their best use.

How to choose a Single Board Computer?

There is a wide selection of single board computers available and it can become difficult to choose the right system for the environment and application you have in mind. In addition to suggesting you reflect on your level of preparation and experience in assembly, programming and do-it-yourself and to identify in advance which applications you would be interested in obtaining with the SBC, we suggest some fundamental aspects in your choice.


The main choices on the market are Intel, ARM, Power Architecture and comparable architectures. Many users prefer to use a processor they have already used, but rather we recommend that you opt for the processor that will work best with your application. How to check if the CPU of an SBC is the best for your idea? Try to contact the thousands of forums, sites, blogs and pages of enthusiasts, or possibly the company that produces your SBC: in this way you will be sure of the compatibility of the CPU with your wishes.


In the past, 512MB was considered sufficient memory for an SBC. With the evolution of professional applications of these hardware, the demand for more memory is higher. Although most SBCs support memory expansions up to 32 GB, having a precise idea of ​​the amount of memory you start with helps you to rationalize your expenses and to guide you in choosing a single-board computer.

I / O modules for other devices

Many SBCs are used to give basic orders to another device, especially in the field of home automation. If you wish to develop an application of this type, remember that it is necessary to verify that the additional I / O module of an SBC is compatible with the code you want to write and / or the application you want to create and adequately supports your network. The SBCs in our guide support or already have various types of ports on board, in particular Ethernet, USB and SATA, but always check the specifications before making a purchase.

Consumption and heat produced by the SBC

One of the most important aspects in choosing the SBC is verifying the energy required by your application. This factor is decisive because, basically, no SBC has cooling systems and excessive consumption and / or heat can ruin its operation. Think carefully and compare your idea with those who have already made it to get an accurate picture of the amount of energy needed for your application.

Backward compatibility

When choosing an SBC, you will want to choose one the latest model: pay attention to both hardware backward compatibility, i.e. compatibility with previous accessories, and software backward compatibility. Above all, the second allows you not to be a "pioneer" and / or to rewrite lines of code for existing applications, as well as being able to count on a wider community and therefore a more reliable "support". Most SBCs are largely backward compatible, however.

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