I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Raspberry Pi : http://www.raspberrypi.org/ a credit-card sized computer. I intend to use one (or more) for home automation and possibly XBMC (media pc) for streaming movies throughout the house.

This got me looking at what other options are currently out there for small computers which can run linux:

Raspberry Pi CuBox PlugPC Alix
Website http://www.raspberrypi.org/ http://www.solid-run.com/ http://www.plugcomputer.org/ http://pcengines.ch/alix.htm
Cost $25 / $35 $135
Size 85.6 mm x 53.98 mm 2" x 2" x 2"
Housing No Yes
Processor ARM v6 ARM v7
Video HDMI + RCA Video HDMI
Audio Analog Audio Jack SPDIF
USB 2x USB 2.0 2x USB 2.0
Network No / 100 Mbit Ethernet 1 Gbit Ethernet
RAM 128 MB / 256 MB 1 GB
Power MicroUSB 5V DC PSU?
Card Reader SD MicroSD
Extra IR, eSATA
Power (Watts) ~3


You can see I’ve only partially filled out the table as the PlugPC (many variations available) and the Alix didn’t really excite me like the Raspberry Pi and CuBox. The first of which still looks the most promising because of it’s incredibly low price point. Neither product are currently available (as of posting this article 7th Jan 2012) but the first 10 beta boards from the Raspberry Pi are currently being auctioned off on eBay for charity http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/raspberry_pi/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686 and fetching over £1,000 each!

I’m hoping to see both devices available later this month and will be trying to get my hands on both!

*EDIT* Forgot to add this link to a video of the Raspberry Pi running XBMC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKhnoQMwjmQ&feature=player_embedded

*EDIT* Thanks to Tyrell Beveridge for pointing out the fitpc: http://fit-pc.co.uk/ this looks like another good contender although rather pricey

*EDIT* 11/01/2012: Discovered another device- the Bifferboard: http://www.bifferos.co.uk/. It’s not very powerful and will set you back about £50 include a case and power adapter but does support a few common linux distros with apt-get/yum etc