Two Tiny Computers That Blew My Mind Away

Onion Omega and C.H.I.P. – Two Tiny Computers

Before I introduce the two tiny computers here are the pictures of the devices in scale. Just so that you realize what on Earth is actually happening.

Omega Onion tiny computer
Ths is the Omega Onion
CHIP Tiny computer
This is C.H.I.P. – The really tiny computer that runs full fledged Linux distros

Yeah. I never post two images back to back right away in the beginning but these tiny computers promise to do a great deal. In that size.

Packing a Punch

The Onion Omega and C.H.I.P. are actually created for slightly different purposes though they are both tiny computers to do prototyping. The Onion Omega is basically a ‘hardware development platform for software developers’. It is fully Arduino compatible and runs a full Linux operating system. The Onion Cloud support takes the cake here. You can control it even from your web browser. This is important as the device itself is pretty under-powered. Let that not deter you as you need to remember that it’s purpose is to serve as an overpowered Arduino. They even have made extension docks for Arduino compatible shields to be used right away. They make this comparison with Arduinos right on their homepage where they compare their Processor clock speed with that of Arduino UNO. But we will get to that in some time. The estimated price is about

The C.H.I.P. on the other hand is powerful. And extensible. And way cheaper at only This is not a typo. For connecting to a monitor you will need an HDMI or a VGA adapter that you need to buy separately. You can get them from them or from any electronics store. However, it is just as extensible as the Onion as the aim appears to be more than just to provide low cost computing for all. Check out the demo video on their Kickstarter page for PocketChip – a fancy name for an insanely cool tiny computer build.

Under the Hood

The Onion is powered by the Atheros AR9331 processor clocked at 400 MHz, 64 MB of DDR2 RAM, in built WiFi/Ethernet and a 16 MB Flash storage. The power consumption is 0.6 Watts and it provides 1 USB 2.0 hub along with 32 IO pins for your programming purposes. You can order one here.

The C.H.I.P. is powered by an AllWinner R8 processor clocked at 1GHz and 512 MB RAM along with 4 GB storage. It has WiFi and Bluetooth inbuilt. The best part is that the system provides sufficient power to run a full Linux distribution. The graphics is also nice with a Mali 400 GPU. This means you can play your videos on Full HD. You can pre-order one here.

So if you wish to check out any of these tiny computers, this may be a good time. Rest assured – the prices can’t come down any further. It is just not possible for tiny computers to get any cheaper. Or is it?

By Sarthak Ganguly

A programming aficionado, Sarthak spends most of his time programming or computing. He has been programming since his sixth grade. Now he has two websites in his name and is busy writing two books. Apart from programming, he likes reading books, hanging out with friends, watching movies and planning wartime strategies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *