Thanks to the Raspberry Pi 3, BBC Micro Bit and countless others, the DIY PC movement is roaring along – but, something’s been left behind: full-fat Windows 10. Custom developer board maker SolidRun will change that with its SolidPC SoM IB8000.
This is a $139 (about £107, AU$184) MicroSOM, or Micro System on a Module, that is compatible with Linux, like most of its kind, as well as Android (which version isn’t made clear) and Windows 10. However, the latter will indeed cost you the now-standard $119 (or £99, AU$179).
Comparatively, Raspberry Pi is compatible with the free Windows 10 IoT Core, Microsoft’s version for small form factor devices with specific home automation or robotics (!!!) purposes. The BBC Micro Bit can’t say this for itself either, running a custom TouchDevelop SDK from Microsoft.
DIY home theater PC, here we come
Since the board is compatible with Windows 10, our minds immediately go to “home theater PC.” That’s especially after seeing the housing that SolidRun offers for it, for an additional 25 bucks.
Packing a quad-core, 1.04GHz Intel Atom E8000 processor inside that can push 4K visuals, the SoM IB8000 offers up to 8GB of RAM and as much as 128GB of eMMC flash storage (starting at 4GB) in an M.2 configuration.
Since 32-bit Windows 10 requires at least 16GB of free space for installation, if you want to turn one of these into something to slap under your TV for media streaming, you’re going to need a version that has a bit more storage on it. SolidRun has yet issued neither specific prices or tiers for storage up to 128GB.
(Of course, we’d also recommend plunging for SolidRun’s $10 heatsink if you have dreams of a DIY mini streaming box.)
SolidRun’s goal with these MicroSOMs is to simplify the testing and creation of tiny form factor IoT solutions with boards that offer Gigabit Ethernet ports, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and DisplayPort output, IR receivers and provisions for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. And that’s all within a 53mm by 40mm area.
However, full Windows 10 compatibility makes just a few more practical tinkerer applications possible to make this thing worth the pittance. Time to break out those eyeglass screwdrivers all over again.