As a kickstarter backer of Next Thing Co.’s C.H.I.P, I was able to receive the miniature $9 computer this past week. While I have not yet had any time to go and play around with it, I figured I would write a post for those of you wanting to know more about the device. Below is a picture of what the C.H.I.P looks like.
What is it?
As mentioned previously, the CHIP is a tiny computer offered by a California startup named Next Thing Co. (http://www.nextthing.co/)The CHIP comes equipped with a 1 GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, composite port, 1 USB slot and micro-USB port. While the 1 USB port may not be enough to connect a USB mouse and keyboard, you can however, connect 1 of these peripheral devices via USB and the other (as long as it is supported) using bluetooth. The CHIP comes with both built in WiFi and Bluetooth. The neat thing about the CHIP is that it comes with 4GB of storage, you can increase the amount of storage by plugging in flash storage into the USB port. The CHIP runs on the Linux operating system.
How does it compare to the Raspberry Pi?
You have seen my previous posts about the Raspberry Pi , so how does the CHIP stack up against the Raspberry Pi? Well… lets cover the obvious first: Price, the CHIP comes in at $9. The Raspberry Pi is approximately $30, depending on the model. The Pi Zero is $5, however keep in mind, at the time of this post, all models of Raspberry Pi’s will require you to purchase additional storage to use. Power adapters will need to be purchased for both products. The CHIP comes with a composite cable you can use to hook up to a monitor/TV. The Raspberry Pi’s will need an additional video cable should you decide to use it with a monitor/TV.
Next up connections: The CHIP only comes with one USB and one micro-USB slot, where the Raspberry Pi’s range from 1 to 4 slots (depending on the model), Unlike the Raspberry Pi, the CHIP does not have a Ethernet connection however, it does come with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built in. The Raspberry Pi falls short on these offerings, and you will need to purchase additional dongles should you want to use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
As for Storage: The CHIP comes standard with 4GB of on-board flash memory, which again, you can expand this by plugging in additional flash storage. The Raspberry Pi’s do not come with on-board storage but rather, rely on SD or microSD cards.
And lastly Power: Depending on the model, the Raspberry Pi will operate at 700 MHz – 1 GHz ARM based processors and anywhere between 256MB to 1GB of memory. The CHIP on the other hand, comes with a 1 GHz ARM based processor with 512MB of memory.
And the Verdict… For now, its up to you, both products are remarkable tiny computers packing a serious punch for a variety of fun and educational products. Try them both (or more) and let me know where you stand.