Last February, ASUS debuted the original Tinker Board to somewhat lukewarm reviews. While the hardware was excellent, the board came in for heavy criticism at launch for the lack of software support. Six months later, the software support for the board had significantly improved, and it has since carved out a niche as a relatively inexpensive media center.
A year later and ASUS is back with a new more powerful Tinker Board S.
The original Tinker Board was one of the first widely available boards to duplicate the Raspberry Pi form factor, helping the Raspberry Pi to become a de facto standard for the single-board computer market. The new Tinker Board S retains the same Raspberry Pi lookalike shape, and features 2GB of RAM, 16GB of eMMC storage, and 1 Gigabit Ethernet. It can handle a 4K display at 30fps using the onboard HDMI jack.
Like ASUS’ previous board, the new Tinker Board S has a 40-pin GPIO color-coded header block compatible with the Raspberry Pi.
Interestingly, the latest piece of hardware is equipped with the same Rockchip RK3288 quad-core Cortex-A17 running at 1.8GHz as the original Tinker Board. Unlike the Raspberry Pi 3, which has a Cortex-A53 64-bit processor, the Rockchip is a 32-bit-only processor. Despite the increased speed, and more onboard memory, that could make a difference depending on your use case.
While it was powerful, the original Tinker Board was an expensive alternative to the Raspberry Pi at $60. The Tinker Board S doesn’t change that, and has an increased price tag to match its increased specification. It should be on shelves in the next couple of months and costs $79.99.