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Tiny Embedded Boards

Written by Sam Wallace

Feature-Rich and Ultra-Small

Tiny embedded boards—whether complete single-board computers (SBCs) or powerful systems-on-chips (SoMs)—become ever more powerful, year over year, even as they rapidly shrink in size. This month’s gallery features a wide range of teeny tiny board-level computer options.

  • Tiny Embedded Boards

it’s been an exciting season for tiny board-level computers. In case you’ve been living in a cave, the Raspberry Pi 5 debuted to great acclaim and much fanfare. I mention this at the outset because they’re likely the most famous relative of the embedded board family currently out there. And to be sure, these devices deserve the attention—the 5 is included in this month’s gallery, and you can read on for more information on its (greatly) improved specs and features. But of course, Raspberry Pis are far from the only devices in the realm of small single-board computers (SBCs) and systems-on-chips (SoMs). 

But let me back up for a moment. Some years ago, our former editor-in-chief Jeff Child decided that the somewhat arbitrary metric of 57mm was the threshold for “tiny” embedded boards—an SBC or SoM that was equal to or less than this length for at least one of its dimensions passed the test and could be considered for inclusion in Circuit Cellar’s “Tiny Embedded Boards” Datasheet. If it was an arbitrary measure then, perhaps it is even more so now, as these embedded boards seem to get smaller every year. Nevertheless, 57mm was my approximate guiding light when hunting down newer products in this category to feature. 

And reader, I found plenty! In the following gallery, we bring you open-source boards from BeagleBoard and Orange Pi, high-performance options from Variscite and Seeed Studio, a robust SBC from Radxa, a reliable SoM from Digi, an affordable entry-level product from MYiR, and a peripherals-empowered installment in the Feather series from Adafruit. The ESP32, a favorite among Circuit Cellar authors, pops up in a few of these devices, as does the NXP i.MX 93. Many of these products are very recently released, just itching to be deployed in your latest project. So read on, and send me an e-mail to tell me what I missed. 

PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2023 #401 – Get a PDF of the issue


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Editor-in-Chief at KCK Media Corp. | + posts

Sam Wallace - became Circuit Cellar's  Editor-In-Chief in August 2022.
His experience in writing, editing, and teaching will provide a great perspective on the selection, presentation, and clarity of editorial content. The Circuit Cellar audience will benefit from his strong academic background encompassing a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with honors. His passion for learning and teaching is a great fit for Circuit Cellar's continuing mission of Inspiring the Evolution of Embedded Design.

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Tiny Embedded Boards

by Sam Wallace time to read: 2 min