• The Asus Tinker Board is a mini PC that supports 4K video and challenges the UK’s Raspberry Pi 3

The Asus Tinker Board is a mini PC that supports 4K video and challenges the UK’s Raspberry Pi 3 (Photo : YouTube/Arran Short)

Asus has joined the mini CPU industry by taking on the credit card-sized Raspberry Pi 3. The Taiwanese tech giant's tiny computer is also 4K-compatible to provide ultra-high definition (UHD) video. Tinker Board 's price tag in the United Kingdom and Europe is about 40 percent higher than the suggested retail price (SRP) of  Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.    

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The newest Raspberry Pi unit has a $35 SRP. Its common  price of about $40 is still much lower than ASUS' tiny motherboard that starts at around $57.  

Hexus first reported the Tinker Board contains a quad-core 1.8 gigahertz Rockchip RK3288 system-on-a-chip (SoC) and Mali-T764 GPU. The chipset provides support for UHD resolution and high-efficiency video coding (HEVC). This PC also supports 192kHz/24-bit audio.

The mini board includes 2 gigabytes of RAM, four USB 2.0 ports, microSD port, and 1080-pixel HDMI output. Tinker Board also has Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 Wi-Fi, and gigabit Ethernet.  

Asus' small board has a maximum power consumption of 5 watts, which is about one-qaurter higher than 3.7W for the RasPi 3. This is a key factor for compact maker boards.

The 2GB RAM is a big peculiarity for the tiny computer and in part explains the higher price point than the newest product of the Raspberry Pi Foundation (launched in 2009). Raspberry Pi 3 Model B only has 1GB.

In terms of software, the U.K. sales page for Asus' new computer states that it supports Debian Linux. The Taiwanese company shared in the product intro it is also working on support for the operating systems Ubuntu and OpenSUSE, and the popular media player Kodi. It seems hobbyists must load the OS onto an SD card.

The main benefit of the Asus 90MB0QY1-M0EAY0 Tinker Board over Raspberry Pi 3 is 4K video. It is unclear, however, how the hardware upgrade affects the unit's performance.  

Raspberry Pi has a few advantages since it launched its first model back in 2012. Pi CPUs, for example, include a choice between several cases, pre-loaded software on an SD card, third-party starter kits, and power supplies, according to PCWorld.

Last year Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton told the BBC his company had become the all-time best-selling British computer, according to MCV. It has sold over 10 million units as of September 2016. The U.K. company will, therefore, likely soon add more options with 4K resolution to stay on top.

Here's an unboxing of Asus Tinker Board: