9$ computer Review: The CHIP, the 9$ computer has arrived! A first look and setup tutorial
Dear friends welcome back! This is Nick from
educ8s.tv and today I have something special to show you. The C.H.I.P. , the $9 computer
has arrived and we are going to see how it performs and if it is a good option for our
projects. Without any further delay, let’s get started!
Back in May, I backed a campaign on Kickstarter. A campaign about the first computer that would
cost under 10$. That campaign raised over two million dollars to bring the project in
life. Since I was one of the first backers of the project, I received my 9$ computer
a few days ago and since then I use it daily to see if it can change the way we make things.
The C.H.I.P. is a very small but very powerful board. In order to see how small it is, check
this out. It is smaller than the Raspberry Pi A+, and even smaller than the Arduino Uno.
Despite its small size it offers: • A 32 bit CPU running at 1GHz
• 512MBs DDR3 RAM memory • 4GBs of Flash memory
• WiFi • Bluetooth 4.0
• 8 GPIO pins, SPI, I2C and so on • Composite Video output
• It can run on a LiPo Battery • It can charge lipo batteries
• Runs Linux That’s a really impressive hardware if you
consider the price of it! It costs $9 but adding the 20$ shipping cost makes it a bit
more expensive. Even with that price this board is amazing! What else can a maker ask
for that price? But let’s now see how to use the board and the software of it.
As we said before the board runs Linux. Unfortunately the board does not have an HDMI output but
a Composite Video output. I don’t know the reason for that decision. It might be the
license fees of the HDMI. In their website they creators of the board claim that they
chose the Composite Video output since it is used by the most screens worldwide. Every
television has a Composite Video Input so the CHIP board can be used with almost all
televisions available today. The makers of the board claim that they will provide an
HDMI output capability soon via an ad on board. In order to use the board, all you have to
do is to plug in a USB hub in order to use your keyboard and mouse, connect the Composite
Video cable that comes with the board to your television, and power up the board using a
5V power supply. There is no need to set-up anything at all.
The boot up sequence takes about 1 minute or less and after that you are ready to use
the board! The Bluetooth and Wi-Fi work out of the box. You just have to enter your Wi-Fi
password and you are already connected to the internet! It couldn’t be easier. The
Graphical User Interface is very fast and responsive. The programs take some time to
load. Don’t expect the speed of your desktop computer, this board is not intended for desktop
work. The resolution of the screen is limited to 640×480 since it uses the composite video
input, but with the use of the HDMI adapter the board can provide full HD resolution.
Since it uses a Linux distribution, there is a ton of software available to download
via the Package Manager. You can download anything from scientific software to Games.
You are only limited by the internal storage which is limited to 4GBs and there is no SD
card slot available. The CHIP team is working to develop a library
in order to able to use the GPIO pins of the board easily for our projects. It is not ready
yet but I think it will be soon. That’s the reason I haven’t prepared any simple
project to show you. But I will build one as soon as the library is ready.
Let’s now see how much current it needs in order to operate. As you can see, when
the processor is working it needs up to 3W of power to operate, that’s 600mA of current.
When the processor is idle the current draw drops to around 400mA. That’s a lot of current
compared to an Arduino but at the same level with a Raspberry Pi. Due to the high current
draw I thought that the temperature of the board might be high. So, I used this IR thermometer
I built with Arduino in order to see the temperature of each IC on the board. As you can see, some
parts of the board get hot after a few minutes of operation. The Processor is covered by
this plastic case, so I can’t measure its temperature directly but the plastic case
is warm. If you are interested about the thermometer
I will post a video about it next Saturday, so stay tuned!
As a final word, I am really impressed with the C.H.I.P. computer. It has a very nice
design which makes things a lot easier for makers that require a large amount of processing
power. The built in Wi – Fi and Bluetooth capabilities is a direction that every board
maker should follow. Also the built in lipo charger circuit makes the board easily portable.
This board has everything so you can start working at once. If I compare this board with
a Raspberry Pi, I have to say that I personally prefer the C.H.I.P. computer because it has
everything I need for a project, already embedded! The software of it, still needs a lot of work
but of course I use one of the first units out there so the software will improve a lot
until it reaches mass production this summer. I think the CHIP computer is a great addition
to our toolset and it will allow us to develop more interesting projects more easily than
ever before! I am looking to forward to start using it! The CHIP computer is available now
to pre-order but don’t expect it to ship before summer, they have to ship the boards
for the Kickstarter backers first. You can find a link for it in the description of the
video. If this is your first time here, I would love
to have you subscribed. In this channel I post videos about DIY projects every Saturday.
I build projects with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, I build robots and simple electronic circuits.
I love making things and helping people doing the same. I hope that you will join our community.
Until next Saturday, Watch, Learn, Build!