Asus Tinker Board Review
Tinker board is a single-board computer (SBC) that ASUS is launching to compete with Raspberry Pi SBC. This new board contains an ARM-based quad core processor with a CPU speed of 1.8Ghz and 2GB of LPDDR3 dual-channel memory.
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x HDMI 2.0
- 1 x Micro SD (UHS-1)
- 1 x Micro USB (for power)
- 1 x Audio (192 Hz / 24 bit)
- 40 pin header (28 pin GPIO)
- 1 x CSI (camera)
- 1 x DSI (display)
- PWM and S/PDIF solder points
There are a few steps before we can really test out this board. I have downloaded the latest OS version of 1.6 from here. It took me about 90 minutes to download the 928MB file. Maybe ASUS could use a better cloud storage to maintain it’s downloads. Anyway, I’m using a Win 10 laptop so the only way to burn the image is by using the software Win32 Disk Imager downloaded from here . To burn the image to a 32GB microsd card, it took me less than 10 minutes to complete it. ASUS recommends at least a 8GB microsd card but who buys 8GB sdcard anymore ?
Connecting up the board is quite easy. It uses a microusb port for power. Make sure to use at least 2A usb powered charger and a good quality cable. I’m using an old handphone charger from samsung with 2.1A. It’s a really tiny board so make sure you do not damage it while trying to plug in the usb cable.
Next we have to connect the HDMI cable to the port which is just beside the power slot. It is stated that it supports HDMI 2.0. HDMI 2.0 is able to support 4K video but I doubt that the board is able to support it.
Lastly, I connect my wireless usb dongle keyboard to one of the 4 usb ports to control it.
Booting up is pretty nifty. It took about 15 seconds to load to the LXDE desktop. ASUS could have included a cooler wallpaper. I find it kinda dull. Using the built-in 802.11 b/g/n, WIFI module to connect to my home router.
TinkerOS using a debian-based linux for ARM processors. There are a few default applications installed in this OS. Chromium for web browsing, PCManFM for file management, Vim for text editing, LXMusic for basic music player and for the latest TinkerOS 1.6 update they have included RK video player which is using hardware acceleration to play video encoded using H.264 and H.265.
Follow this guide here to learn how to use the player. It’s located in this path /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/qt5/examples/multimediawidgets/player/
Using chromium for web viewing is quite alright but it’s not as smooth for playing YouTube video. Lots of tearing is seen while playing videos due to software decoding. I will not recommend using it for streaming videos on chromium for the time being.
I have chosen to install Kodi and test out playing shows from my NAS.
TinkerOS default username is “linaro”, password is “linaro”
Opening a XTerm and type the following commands
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install kodi
Kodi was up and running in no time.
It’s using Mali-T760 for GPU.
I’m not sure if it’s normal for the CPU temperature to be a ? but it’s running pretty hot and subsequently I placed a USB-powered fan beside the SBC to keep it cool.
Streaming shows from my NAS was running smoothly without any hiccups. The Rockchip RK3288 is also being used by different media TV box as their chip.
As I do not have any GPIO moduels I can’t really test out the 40-pin GPIO interface.