Recommendation needed for affordable sbc


VA3ZC
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My MXQ Pro died and I'm looking for a cheap replacement with onboard wifi. My requirement is to run a desktop app (WSJT-X) on a headless device with tightvnc server to my android tablet.
WSJT-X uses a soundcard, so I need at least one USB port.
Not sure if I can do this but I'd also like the new sbc to be the hotspot that my tablet connects to. In the past I've used a cell phone as a hotspot with the MXQ and tablet connecting to it. It would be nice to remove the cell phone from the equation.

Thanks.

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Armbian is a community driven open source project. Do you like to contribute your code?

If you want integrated wifi, several sbc can be used and some others will require an usb wifi dongle. The key

For instance, the pineH64-B with 2 or 3GB of ram may do the job quite well and you can add an emmc module: https://www.pine64.org/pine-h64-ver-b/

A similar device is Orange Pi Lite 2.

If you want something closer to a tv box, station M1 is also a nice choice even if it is only community supported for now: https://www.firefly.store/goods.php?id=130

 

If you want a stronger cpu, any of the armbian supported sbc based on rk3399 will answer your needs (check for wifi in case it is not integrated on some boards, eg. rock pi 4A).

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I am not sure how resource intensive that software really is (my guess, after 2 minutes of reading, is "not much" but I could be wrong).  Anyway, it that's true, there are going to be an almost overwhelming number of boards that meet those (quite reasonable) criteria.  So then we have to find some maybe different differentiating criteria, perhaps by asking questions like:

  • What else might I use it for?
  • How cheap can I find one?
  • What might fit some power supplies I already have here?
  • Which ones have a nice case available (if you want a nice case)?
  • (maybe now you have some more of your own ideas here)
  • etc...

Basically, your requirements do not seem hard to meet (and even less so if you are willing to use a USB Wi-fi dongle, although certainly there are plenty of boards with Wi-Fi built-in).

 

But I can highly recommend always using Armbian Supported Devices list as a starting point for any research / board selection.  And then just checking that there are not any particular niggles about some board you may have your eye on.  Often these will be listed right on the device page (especially if they are glaring) but I always recommend doing a brief forum / Internet search as follow-up anyway, just in case (well, the more expensive the board, the more research I probably do ;)).

 

If there is a significant amount of traffic flowing over the USB interface, perhaps be aware that different boards architect this differently.  This is one of main criticisms of RaspberryPi for example, they share Ethernet and USB on the same limited bus which becomes crippling for certain use cases (i.e., NAS).  But maybe bitrates you are dealing with are not significant enough to worry about (I have no idea)?

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