Asus Releases a 4K capable Rasberry Pi Contender

ASUS Tinker BoardThe tech giant Asus is taking on the Raspberry Pi with it’s own DIY friendly single board mini computer that  comes with 24 bit audio support and can play 4K videos. Aimed at DIY home theatre and HTPC makers, this tiny board costs around 60 USD or approximately 4100 INR.

CPU: Pi Wins

The Asus 90MB0QY1-M0EAY0 Tinker Board or the “Tinker Board” for short, the 8.5cm by 5.3cm computer comes with a quad-core Arm Cortex A17 CPU clocked at 1.8GHz, ARM Mali-T764 GPU, and 2GB of DDR3 memory. The most recent version of Raspberry Pi, called the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B comes with a 64 bit processor. The Pi has a A53 quad core processor whereas the Tinker Board only supports 32 bit instructions.

GPU: Tinker Board Wins

The GPU inside the  Tinker Board is the Mali-T764 GPU. The Pi 3 Model B has a Broadcom VideoCore IV. The former is more powerful with 4K H.265 decoding capabilities. It also has better performance in 3D graphics applications, has SDIO 3.0, and swappable antennas for the built-in 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi module.

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What is H.265?

Now, if you are already planning to order it, then note one thing – the device only supports hardware decoding of H.265 encoded videos. It is a newer standard that replaces the H.264 encoding that is used in most of the MP4 videos that we use today. H.265 is also dubbed as HEVC in some areas. HEVC stands for High Efficiency Video Coding. It offers twice the compression, meaning same video quality as that of your  current MP4 files, but half the size. At present, this encoding is used only by Netflix to stream 4k videos. Intel Kaby Lake processors come with a built in H.265 decoder. AMD’s Carrizo line  of APUs also have a UVD or an Unified Video Decoder that supports H.265 along with the previous versions and other codecs. So, to get hardware accelerated video on Asus’ board, you have to convert all your non-HEVC video files first.

OS support

Asus has provided its own OS, which is some distro of Debian, like the one that comes with Raspberry Pi. It also claims to be working on support for the likes of Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, and Kodi, but has offered no release date. However, Raspberry Pi comes with better OS support that includes Linux distributions as well as Windows 10 IoT Core.

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Source: Ars Technica


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