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Low Cost Hardware

Small, general purpose computers have rapidly established themselves as platforms that can be developed with and built on to deliver projects that punch above their weight with respect to cost.

Low cost hardware - Raspberry PiUsing low cost hardware allows us to increase accessibility, reduce cost associated with hardware and also energy usage, and increase efficiency in developing applications. With the introduction of the Raspberry Pi, small general purpose computers have rapidly established themselves as platforms that can be developed with and built on to deliver projects that punch above their weight with respect to cost. The choice does not stop at Raspberry PI as Intel have come to market offering the Edison and Up boards.

Low-cost hardware & LabVIEW

You might think LabVIEW support would be lacking on low-cost hardware platforms, but digging a little deeper, you will be surprised to find that the Raspberry Pi, Edison, and Up boards can all run software created with LabVIEW.

National Instruments, along with community involvement have released LINX, giving the ability to deploy LabVIEW code on the Raspberry PI and Beaglebone Black.

The potential of low-cost hardware

We have been involved in a closed-door beta program for LINX and are excited by the potential of low-cost hardware. While LabVIEW/Raspberry PI is for non-commercial use, there is a route for commercial applications via the Intel Edison and Intel Up boards.

At the core of both the Intel Edison and Intel Up are x86 processors, the operating system for the boards is based around a minimal Debian setup and can be configured to use the LabVIEW runtime engine for Linux. The Intel Up can also run Windows 10, allowing for a range of windows applications to be deployed to the platform.

Hardware comparison

Raspberry Pi Intel Edison
 Cost
£29 £55
 Commercial LabVIEW deployment? No Yes
 LabVIEW support? Yes - LINX LabVIEW run-time for Linux
 Size Credit card Large postage stamp
 CPU Architecture ARM (Quad Core) x86 (Quad Core)
 RAM 1GB
 GPU Yes  No
 On board storage SD cards u to 32 GB supported 4 GB MMC Flash 
 On board encryption No  Yes
 HDMI Yes  No
 Ethernet 1 x 10 / 100 MB Ethernet  No
 Wireless WiFi & Bluetooth on board  Yes - with external antenna
USB  4 x USB 2.0 1 x USB 2.0
 GPIO header 40 pin header 40 pin header

With varying feature sets and cost, we have extensive knowledge of the platforms that have started to make low cost hardware exciting.

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