Single Board Computer – Single Circuit Board

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Single Board Computers offer open standard form factors, processors, operating systems, and I/O options which can be useful for telecommunications, aerospace, defense, image processing and other embedded applications.

Single Board Computers, which are also referred to as SBCs, are complete computers built on a single circuit board. These computers are now commonly defined across two distinct architectures: no slots and slot support. Providing all the required I/O with no provision for plug-in cards, applications such as gaming and machine control are best fit for this type of computer. The term “Single Board Computer” now generally applies to an architecture where the Single Board Computer is plugged into a back plane to provide for I/O cards. What a back plane does is it connects several printed circuit boards together to make up a complete computer system and is usually called the backbone of the component.

Each computer is provided with BIOS, a Basic Input/Output System. This is installed on the computer’s motherboard and has control over the most basic operations. Aside from having full control, it is also responsible for starting the computer up and initializing the hardware. BIOS are important functions in the single board computer because it allows for upgrades, correcting errors, supporting new CPUs, and supporting new hardware.

Single board computers are most commonly used in industrial environments where they are used in rack mount format for process control over other devices to provide interfacing. The advantage of the SBCs relies on its durability and versatility. Although it is often smaller and lighter, it is more power efficient than comparable multi board computers.

Each full sized SBC comes with at least one chip set, which are tiny little pieces of silicon that hold computer information and instructions. These chip sets play a very important role when it comes to supplying control to certain components of the computer throughout the system. For example, motherboard chip sets control the basic ins/and outs of the computer, while video card chip sets control the execution of 3D graphics and the output of images to the monitor.

PICMG is a specification that defines a CPU form factor and corresponding back plane connectors for PCI-ISA passive back planes. Two types of PICMGs are most commonly used in SBCs; PICMG 1.0 and PICMG 1.3. Generally, the PICMG 1.3 is a more updated version of PICMG 1.0 and uses the physical form factors, but only differs in its title as the System Host Board.

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