Bonum Certa Men Certa

Small Computers in Large Numbers: A Pipeline of Open Hardware

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Sep 26, 2023

Water Pipelines In The Mountains

THE Sipeed folks have taken Open Hardware a little further [1]. RISC-V cluster boards aren't unprecedented, but at a price point like $1,000 it makes one wonder how economic RISC-V might be and whether it offers "good bang for the buck" also at the back end. Arduino boards remain very cheap and the official site has just unveiled half a dozen more showcases [2-7], ranging from mousetraps to VU meters. Over at Tom's Hardware, a site which this year became over 80% spam (fake reviews, bogus benchmarks that are actually marketing, and "best" lists that are SEO spew), there's some coverage of the Raspberry Pi Pico [8] and Raspberry Pi with computer-generated images [9]. These devices are highly capable but cost a fraction of the price of a "modern" PC. Tom's Hardware keeps trying to sell machines and processors that cost thousands of dollars, but it seems like a dying industry eager to find fools who pay "premium" prices for hype like "Hey Hi" (AI). Time will tell if one day it'll become "normal" to buy a new PC for just $50. They might say "supply chain shortages" while equipping new cars with hundreds of computers, so something about this phony narrative obscures the full story. They guard and prioritise their "premiums", causing severe price hikes due to supply/demand disparities. The "free market" has failed and it keeps failing.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Lichee Cluster 4A mini-ITX RISC-V cluster board launched for $929 and up

    As expected, Sipeed has now launched their Lichee Cluster 4A mini-ITX cluster board and box taking up to seven RISC-V modules with prices starting at $929 on Aliexpress. All kits on offer are fitted with seven Sipeed LM4A system-on-modules based on the T-Head TH1520 quad-core RISC-V processor in either 8GB/32GB or 16GB/128GB memory and storage configuration.

  2. Piloting spaceships with a DIY cockpit

    Take a moment to go and look up some photos of the cockpits of airplanes and spacecraft. All of them are packed full of instruments and controls. So why do we feel like we can play a flight simulator with a regular gamepad?

  3. Adding an LCD interface to an old file server

    Servers don’t usually need monitors, keyboards, or mice. Because the user only interacts with servers through separate devices under normal conditions, a server can just be a box with with a processor, RAM, storage, and network adapter. But that becomes an issue if something is wrong with the server that requires direct interaction.

  4. Building a rodent-friendly catch-and-release mousetrap with Arduino

    Rodents, including mice, are problematic. They can cause significant damage to your home by chewing up wires, walls, and insulation, while leaving behind unsanitary droppings that present a health hazard.

  5. Improving comfort and energy efficiency in buildings with automated windows and blinds

    When dealing with indoor climate controls, there are several variables to consider, such as the outside weather, people’s tolerance to hot or cold temperatures, and the desired level of energy savings. W

  6. Turning an old car into a powerful generator

    Generators are expensive pieces of equipment.

  7. DIY digital VU meter with analog vibes

    A volume unit (VU) meter is a simple gauge that indicates the amplitude of an audio signal, so higher decibels move the needle further. They’re common in the field of audio engineering and music production, with traditional VU meters being analog.

  8. Raspberry Pi Pico Automates Plant Care
    Hide Seek is using a Raspberry Pi Pico to automate a custom watering system that can detect environmental details and trigger a water pump.
  9. Raspberry Pi Uses AI to Generate Fake Images for News Headlines
    This Raspberry Pi generates images using Stable Diffusion based on text from news headlines and displays it on an e-Ink display.

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