This month’s Linux User & Developer contains just a single piece of mine, a review of the quite remarkable CuBox microcomputer – largely thanks to previous pieces for rival magazines and my book the Raspberry Pi User Guide having excluded me from taking part in the cover-splashed Raspberry Pi birthday activities.
The reason I call the CuBox remarkable is due to its size: measuring just 55mm x 55mm and 42mm tall with a weight of 91g, it makes the Raspberry Pi look like a behemoth of a system. It also comes with its own cleverly-designed case and a selection of features that make it clear it is intended for home theatre use: a front-mounted IrDA receiver allows for remote control, while optical audio out provides digital clarity for music. Coupled with a gigabit Ethernet connection and a 3Gb/s eSATA port for external storage, you’ve got a powerful little machine.
Internally, the CuBox reveals its secret: it’s not a single-board computer like the Raspberry Pi at all, relying instead on a mezzanine layout that splits some functionality out into a daughterboard. The presence of a heatsink – well, a bent piece of aluminium thermal-taped to the 800MHz Marvell Armada ARMv7 system-on-chip processor – also comes as a surprise.
But can the CuBox justify its top-end £105 pricing – UPDATE: since the review was written, the price has dropped to £95 – when rival devices like the popular Raspberry Pi and far faster Olimex A13-OLinuXino-WiFi cost so much less? You’ll have to buy the magazine to find out.