The Atomic Pi: Is It Worth It?

Several months ago, a strange Kickstarter project from ‘Team IoT’ appeared that seemed too good to be true. The Atomic Pi was billed as a high-power alternative to the Raspberry Pi, and the specs are amazing. For thirty five American buckaroos, you get a single board computer with an Intel processor. You get 16 Gigs of eMMC Flash, more than enough for a basic Linux system and even a cut-down version of Windows 10. You have WiFi, you have Bluetooth, you have a real time clock, something so many of the other single board computers forget. The best part? It’s only thirty five dollars.

Naturally, people lost their minds. There are many challengers to the Raspberry Pi, but nothing so far can beat the Pi on both price and performance. Could the Atomic Pi be the single board computer that finally brings the folks from Cambridge to their knees? Is this the computer that will revolutionize STEM education, get on a postage stamp, and sell tens of millions of units?

No. The answer is no. While I’m not allowed to call the Atomic Pi “literal garbage” because our editors insist on the technicality that it’s “surplus” because they were purchased before they hit the trash cans, there will be no community built around this thirty five dollar single board computer. This is a piece of electronic flotsam that will go down in history right next to the Ouya console. There will be no new Atomic Pis made, and I highly doubt there will ever be any software updates. Come throw your money away on silicon, fiberglass and metal detritus! Or maybe you have a use for this thing. Meet the Atomic Pi!

x86? In My Single Board Computer Ecosystem? It’s More Likely Than You Think.

At first glance, the Atomic Pi doesn’t look like your usual single board computer. There’s no power jack or USB port, something that we’ve come to expect on all our little electronic baubles. It seems the Atomic Pi is simply a module meant for a larger product. With this many JST connectors, you would just assume this is a module custom-built for a larger product. Probably not something relating to automotive tech, but at the very least some sort of IoT home goods product. Maybe even a robotic juicer.

Speculation is one thing, and proof is another. Here’s the FCC documentation for the Atomic Pi. This thing was originally designed for the Kuri robot, a ‘home robot’ that was launched at CES in January, 2017. The robot originally cost $700, and was described as, ‘an Amazon Echo with wheels and eyes’.

Amazon will be releasing their own ‘Echo duct taped to a Roomba’ in the next year or so, and the Kuri robot was before its time. Mayfield Robotics, the makers of the Kuri, paused operations. But they still had some hardware sitting around, notably some fancy single board computers loaded up with an x86 chip. These modules went on the auction block and Team IoT snapped them up and put together a Kickstarter. This is the Atomic Pi. It is industrial surplus repackaged as a novelty device marketed towards people who ‘do things’ with single board computers. What kind of things? I have no idea. Emulators? Home automation? A magic mirror?

Only about 28,000 Atomic Pis will ever be produced. They’re already made, and right now the ones that haven’t been shipped are sitting in a warehouse, ready to be flashed with the latest OS. Atomic Pi has misrepresented themselves by saying they ‘built’ several thousand units already. This is incorrect, the only engineering that has gone into the Atomic Pi is the power adapter and breakout board.

The people behind the Atomic Pi are working on an Atomic Pi 2, or something of that nature, and while there are very few details, we do know this will cost significantly more than $35. In the meantime, we have something that is a surplused bit of an unsuccessful product. Again, less than thirty thousand Atomic Pis will ever be produced, a fraction of the number of Ouya consoles ever built. The Raspberry Pi sold 100,000 on the first day, and I haven’t even seen an old Pi with a 26-pin header and a real RCA jack in ages.

I could very easily say this is the Silicon Valley ideal of repackaging literal garbage and selling it as a groundbreaking disruption, but I don’t write for Slate or The Atlantic. No, the Atomic Pi is what you get when you try to fill an existential void by buying stuff. The Atomic Pi fills a market need for guys who think the ability to install Kali Linux constitutes a personality.

The Review

The Atomic Pi features an Intel Atom x5-Z8350, a quad-core SoC designed for Windows tablets. This is a three-year-old chip clocked at 1.44 GHz (base, up to 1.92 GHz) with 2 GB of RAM. There’s a DirectX 11.2-capable GPU, and overall you’re looking at a system that would have been more than acceptable for desktop use in 2010, sufficient for Outlook and Word in 2015, and something that’ll run emulators in 2020. In other words, if you put this into the context of a desktop computer, you’ll be getting something that plays Fallout 3. Maybe Fortnite. The GPU (Cherry Trail) is supported by Linux, and has support for OpenGL and video decoding. We’re not dealing with a crappy Mali GPU here; this one actually works.

The Atomic Pi isn’t being sold as a tiny brick of a desktop computer with a huge heatsink. This is a single board computer, and any review must place it in the context of being a single board computer. This means it must have some GPIO pins, or some way to blink an LED from the command line. Here, the Atomic Pi is sufficient for limited applications: you get six GPIOs and two UARTs. There are a few additional GPIOs and other ports sprinkled around the board, including a few USB ports on JST connectors. In terms of support for add-ons, external coprocessors, and other connectivity, the Atomic Pi is sufficient. There will never be an entire ecosystem built around add-on boards for the Atomic Pi, but that’s what happens when you only make a few thousand of something.

Power draw topped out right around 7 Watts. I’d suggest at least a 10 Watt / 2 Amp supply.

In terms of software support, the Atomic Pi ships with Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS; this is simply what you do when you ship a plain vanilla single board computer with Linux — just grab the latest Ubuntu LTS and call it a day. WiFi and Bluetooth work in Linux, although you will need antennas, and neither the WiFi or Bluetooth RF section of the board have metal RF shields installed.

The real question: does the Atomic Pi do Windows? Yes, however Windows 10 is tight on 16 GB of eMMC. To do anything useful, you’ll need to install from an SD card, and with that comes the problems of running an OS from an SD card we see in all single board computers.

Finally, the big question. The question everyone wants answered. Does the Atomic Pi do emulation? It doesn’t matter: google analytics data tells me that you’re probably reading this on a desktop or a laptop, not a mobile device. You therefore have access to a much more powerful computer that is capable of emulating N64 and Playstation games. Don’t bother with emulation on the Atomic Pi. According to the community, emulation is a waste on both the Atomic Pi and the Raspberry Pi.

Atomic Pi: Should You Bother?

No, you shouldn’t bother. You just wasted precious moments of your life reading this review. Sorry about that.

Any review, or any consideration at all of the Atomic Pi, must take into account that it will ultimately be a passing mention in a footnote of the history of single board computers. There is no future when there are no more than thirty thousand of these boards to go around. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as many impressive builds have started off by finding some discarded equipment on the side of the curb, left out for the trash. But a single board computer is ultimately defined by its ecosystem. With a baked-in production limit, there can be no community. Without a community, there is no future.

If you want a toy, sure, pick up an Atomic Pi. Here’s the link. If it’s out of stock, there’s probably going to be more. But the selling points the Atomic Pi offers — an x86 machine for cheap, with HDMI, that can run Windows — is satisfied by better machines. Take a look at the AcePC T11. This is an x86 box that uses the same chipset as the Atomic Pi, has double the amount of RAM, more eMMC, and support for a SATA drive. It only costs $130, and that gets you a power supply, more than one USB port, WiFi and Bluetooth antennas, and an enclosure. You also get a power supply. Did I mention the AcePC 11 includes a power supply?

Alternatively, if you want the same Intel chip in a pocketable form factor, the AcePC T5 plugs right into an HDMI port. It uses the same Cherry Trail CPU as the Atomic Pi and comes with WiFi and Bluetooth antennas. The AcePC T5 also comes with a power supply and costs only $100.

The price reference for the single board computer market has been set by the Raspberry Pi, and that means thirty five dollars. Right now, I can buy a Pi 3 Model B+ for thirty seven dollars and seventy eight cents, with free one-day delivery from Amazon. Any competitor to the Raspberry Pi must beat it on either price or performance. The OrangePis and their ilk compete on price. The Atomic Pi certainly beats the Pi on performance and meets it on price. However, this is a false economy, as the Atomic Pi is one-off industrial surplus. If that’s your thing, and you need a cheap x86 system, go for it. But there are better options, and you will only save money by confabulating your own power supply if you value your time at zero.


140 thoughts on “The Atomic Pi: Is It Worth It?

  1. Confused about this review, in no particular order:

    Comparing a $35 ‘board’ with a $100-130 computer system is a bit disingenuous.

    Plain as day this review says the board does what it claims – x86, HDMI, WiFi, etc, but Alanna it merely for not being able to support an ecosystem to rival that of the wildly popular Raspberry Pi.

    You slight the folks behind this board for ‘simply loading the latest Ubuntu LTS distribution on it’ but ignore what that means to the average buyer – it can run COTS Ubuntu without any need of special drivers – this board will be able to run OSes released well after the IoT group that is selling these disbands.

    HaD is almost exclusively the realm of the one-off device, why is the author turning their nose up at a device that has 100,000 examples in existence?

    I don’t understand labeling a device that does what it says for a low price as ‘garbage’ – the writer couldn’t seem to get past the fact that it wouldn’t overtake the Raspberry Pi market, so it is unworthy of anyone’s time.

    A negative review can be more meaningful than a positive review, as it gives the reviewer an opportunity to explain why certain metrics/tests are meaningful and help the reader develop a critical eye regarding future products they encounter. The author’s apologies for ‘wasting our time’ reading his review don’t make sense.

    I guarantee you, this ‘damning’ review will be responsible for a significant number of these units being sold because, despite the writer’s best efforts to slam the device, it is a minimal Windows-capable board running off-the-shelf Ubuntu with HDMI and built-in storage that runs on under 10 watts of power for $35… it’s what countless hackers and enthusiasts have wanted, and now that we know it exists, it works, and there are only a limited number of them likely to ever be made, they will be snapped up.

    1. I’ll have to agree with you. It sounds like this “piece of electronic flotsam” does exactly as advertised and what it advertises is awesome. Running straight off the shelf Ubuntu is way better than Raspbian or any other custom distro.

      1. I would not even touch Ubuntu with pliers or gloves.

        Ok… on x86 I did… in an emergency of a neighbour… but only in a tight VM condom! ;-P

        If you want the real thing, run Debian or even better: Run Devuan.

        My PIs and Cubietrucks run Debian and Devuan and there are a few with ones Raspbian for being able to answer questions of my Raspbian using “digital neighbours” which often means building packages for them. Hey! Even my phone runs a Debian derivate!

    2. I don’t know Benchoff and I haven’t made the effort to look at all his articles about the company so this is subject to my own bias, but I don’t think he likes Intel very much.
      The criticism about COTS Linux is a strange one especially considering how articles here on HaD often criticism companies for using Linux in their products but have to wait for manufacturers to release new firmware to patch vulnerabilities. By using something based on PC architecture, that won’t happen here as users can just apply the updates themselves.
      There is a bigger conversation about OSH vs a platform based on open specifications but that’s not something I want to get in here other than to say the HaD bias seems to be to demand OSH.

      The linage as surplus is a more valid criticism. The lack of Pi-like IO may be valid. But there are potentially other avenues being that this is PC hardware at its core.
      The price is the biggest valid criticism in my opinion. The Atom CPU in the core of this is listed as $21 on Intel’s site. I doubt the rest of the BOM is under $15 to hit a $35 price point. This is the big issue Intel, or anyone wanting to make an Intel based SBC has always run into.

      I do think this thing is a curiosity, and perhaps those interested in hacking this will build enough of a knowledge base to hack other Cherry Trail hardware out there. Maybe it will get some executive at Intel thinking about a discount they might be able to offer someone trying to build an x86 SBC to compete with the Pi.
      Or maybe people will just use this as a very cheap PC.

      1. “I doubt the rest of the BOM is under $15 to hit a $35 price point”

        As surplus the BOM is probably significantly higher than the sale price, and that works for the seller because they bought them at a deep discount.

        1. Yes, I wasn’t clear that I am aware that the pricing is only possible because of the surplus/asset liquidation status of these boards and that I find that to be a bit disingenuous.
          I stumbled across the Up line of boards with one being Cherry Trail based. That one carries a price tag of ~109 when configured with the same amount of RAM and same size eMMC as the Atomic Pi which is much closer to what I’d expect.

    3. 35 bucks for a retropie capable computer… With 16 gb, 2 gb of ram and x86 architecture? Am I loosing something… I mean… this computer probably can handle way better the emulator for retropie, so you probably could play playstation 2 or wii on a board that overall is cheaper than the raspberry pi.
      Okey, it is a rebranded product… And?
      Yeah, it is not going to kill the raspberry pi ecosystem, but for me, it is another aproach…

    4. The only valid thing was the limited availability.
      Let’s compare to the Pi
      Software updates? It is a PC more or less it works with Windows and Ubuntu/Linux so updates are not really an issue.
      No case? Same as pi they offer one you can 3d print for it.
      GPIO yes that is lacking but you do get some and you have USB to add more.
      Things that make it better than the PI? Simple good IO.
      The pi has 1 USB 2.0 port that goes to a hub . Want to use it for an NAS? Wired network speeds are the pits as are mass storage speeds. The Atom Pi will blow it away.
      Firewall/router? See above.
      CPU speed. A lot better.
      It is now around $60 but it is still not a bad deal for that.
      The only thing good about the pi is the community and price. The network and USB IO is the pits.
      I really hope PI4 moves to USB 3.
      So if you want to buy a toy then a Pi is a good choice and their is nothing wrong with that. This board is actually a fantastic board for $35 and not bad for $60 but the review is frankly terrible.

    5. it just make possible applications till now impossible to be done for 35$….. Is it a bad business ??????

      just compare with intel nano -itx form factor boards and compare prices….

      moreover having a form factor optimized for application in process environments in my mind is an advantage because it allow to avoid strange arrangements ad looks much more professional…

    6. I don’t understand this article as well. Could have better not written it at all.

      Say I want a device running 24/24 for the purpose of hosting some zandronum doom servers, my personal cloud, a website and some other stuff to play with (just for fun). It has to be low power (the bills, the bills, …) and it has to be cheap, …. like in really cheap.

      I experimented long time with a Raspberry PI 2, followed by a 3. Still I needed a bit more power, but with low impact on power usage (the bills…).

      This 35 buckaaro-thingie just saved my day. I will install Debian on it. There are vastly more people using Debian rather than Raspbian I guess. I won’t have your “community” problem, at all I guess. It is just your regular X64-processor. The world is full of them.

      In the end I think that the writer of the article just got it wrong when HE does not see any purpose for this device, while others may find it a useful device. Stubbornly ignoring this fact does not make this a good article at all. This device is for people who know what they are buying (much like an original rasp in fact). It has its quirks for sure.

      Hey man, grab yourself together.

      1. I do completely agree with your considerations…

        I have been using atom based boards for a long time in an linux based appliance context with very good results in terms of reliability and performance… but with all the limitations of the PC form factor for the HW and with a cost target much higher then this “surplus board”….

        in my opinion if they are able to keep this “surplus product” alive and with a nearly similar cost target it will be for sure a very interesting base for several applications in a border market between leisure and semi-professional …

        just as an example I have designed a very simple daugtherboard to exploit the AtomicPI by adding very low cost chinese addons in a modular way so that also a very inexperienced person can use the device to experiment a mixed PC-arduino platform with a very very low cost solution…

    7. I would have to agree as well.
      While I could easily debunk nearly all his statements, the only 2 would be no Windows compatibility due to 16GB emmc. That’s easily resolved by an external SSD. But most people will be running linux on this.
      And no barrel Jack, Amazon sells them for just $5 extra!
      $5 extra gets you a cheap webcam, cable, and the breakout board.
      For me it’s just excess material, so I rather save the $5 per unit, and solder a wire on the GPIO pins, especially because I won’t ever be using them.

  2. Sincerly I would find a use for this board. I have a dell printer (1320c). It’s an old laser printer, but for our home use it’s more than enough. The fact is that I need to use it as google cloud printer (with chromebooks, android phones etc) but the firmware is too old to support it. So the only way I found is to use it as USB printer attached to an old win7 notebook, used only as print server. Linux drivers for this printers does not exists for ARM platform, so the use of a raspberry with CUPS is impossible. An x86 single board pc would be a convenient way of solving my situation.

    1. Hi I have the same setup as you with an old HP 1020 Laserjet. We use cloudprint as well and it works great thru Chrome with a throw away account to handle the service, any invites that need to be sent for devices to have access, and that ‘last mile’ usb handling. I guess my question would be do you have a profile signed into Chrome and have it handling the Cloudprint stuff or is it added somehow else (like network address)? Otherwise it seems like if you have Ubuntu and run Chrome and have the acct signed in you should be fine. You may have to use driver wrapping on Linux but after that initial headache, you should be fine I would think.
      Here’s to many more years of happy printing for both of us :D

  3. This is one of the stupidest articles to ever be posted on HaD, and I won’t even dignify it as a review. Unless I am being trolled or this was some tongue in cheek, double speak, backhanded compliment sort of thing: perhaps it’s time for Mr. Benchoff to take a long vacation or maybe move on to less public pursuits, because frankly garbage like this “review” and the obvious Raspberry Pi and AcePC shill that posted it, have no place in this community.

    So you fault it because it’s essentially a recycled component from a failed product… isn’t that the absolute definition of a hack?! They took something meant as something else, that would have ended up in a landfill or as e-waste, and gave it new life. It meets or exceeds everything that it claimed for the price point it was targeted.. Yet we should go out and spend $100+ because ???? I don’t even know. It has a power supply!?! and antennas?! I guess.

    This article is just a total disgrace, as is the shill that wrote it.

    1. I think the issue is that it’s a misrepresented product.

      If it were sold as being repurposed surplis it might be OK, but it’s being kickstarted as if it were an original design as opposed to a lucky bankruptcy auction score. Especially their outright lie in that Reddit thread about manufacturing longevity and risk of EOL.

      1. This. This. This.

        I was looking at importing this into the UK, but when it became apparent that I needed to ship a box of them to reduce shipping costs per unit meant that I could never sell them at $40 and it be worth my while – a single failed board would be a loss. It being of limited stock would mean that I’d end up eventually with a bunch of dead units and unhappy customers when I ran out of stock myself. As a hobbyist doing this just doesn’t make sense. At least the Raspis are a currently-produced-product. :/

        But then again, a similar board would cost at least $100-150 if you managed to find a decent supplier of similar units in the far east.

        It’s had brilliant reviews with the likes of ETA Prime on Youtube, but alas I’m going to have to pass on this one for projects.

      2. “I think the issue is that it’s a misrepresented product.”

        And the reason it’s misrepresented is because a limited run product won’t have the sort of customer support or widespread creative and supportive user base that a continuously produced device will have and people know that.

    2. Think you’re missing the point here, which is that just buying some old stock PC boards, and rebranding it as a New SBC Platform!, is actually not in the spirit of hacking at all… nor is it sustainable or honest.

      We have to face facts that the SBC world, or the chips that make them up, have to have an “ecosystem” behind them in order to have a future. So there’s Arduino with its weird header spacing, Teensy, Raspberry Pi, ESP8266 etc, and then everyone else playing at the edges.

      This vendor is promising an ecosystem around something that will sell only 28,000 boards and no more, ever. It’s not going to happen. It’s a fire sale disguised as a technology platform.

      1. This is my opinion too.
        Yes, there is utility in the board. It is x86, so it can be used in a ton of one-off projects and ideas.

        But it is also painfully accurate that this is just a short runway that will come to an abrupt end when the stock runs out and there will never be a ton of work put in to a community.

        That is the reason the rpi is so successful, it is cheap and thousands have people dedicate time to finding every trick and shortcut to make the hardware do exactly what they need.

        1. Why does it need a “ton of work” put into it. It is a freakin’ PC! If you have played with Intel boxes for any length of time, this board just joins its kin in the hackers box-o-toys. There was very little learning to do, since the installation of new software is just like the RPI or any other un-disked board. I already have the tools.

      2. I don’t see grandiose ‘ecosystem promises on the sales or Kickstarter sight. Sure, there’s an underlying implication that they will be produced going forward, but no overt promises that I saw.

        This company bought 28,000 (not The 100K I misstated earlier) boards, DESIGNED and BUILT breakout boards to make them more accessible/useful) for mere mortals, and created a kickstarter project.

        And they delivered on their project.

        And the parts worked as promised.

        Despite all those positives, the focus is on an expectation that they’ll only offer 28,000 of these boards. Boo-Hoo. How many Kickstarter projects never ship, or ship non-functional garbage?

        What they should have said was:

        We found a cache of tens of thousands of mini PC boards designed for a failed project, based on standard PC architecture, and able to run Win10 and Ubuntu Linux unmodified woth 2G RAM, 16G of eMMC storage, a microSD card slot (up to 256G), WiFi, bluetooth, Ethernet, HDMI and a few GPIO pins, but to make them more accessible we’re running a Kickstarter to design, build, and ship a breakout board that goes with it, allowing for easy, no soldering, access to this mighty-mini x86 board. And we promise to do it for under $50, including the x86 board, ready to go.”

        1. I know we’re talking about niche market electronics with little or no support, but “the kickstarter didn’t fail” should never be used as praise of a product.

      3. I’m not sure when the “spirit of hacking” changed, but if you had told me 30 years ago that repurposing literal garbage into something useful wasn’t in the “spirit of hacking” I probably would have politely excused myself and guffawed loudly just on the other side of the nearest door until either concious thought or bladder control escaped me.

        I don’t know what all this folderol about ecosystems is either. There was a time when the dump WAS the ecosystem for most of the hacking community. Actually, if you include the most prolific hacking community, what used to be called the third world, it still is the ecosystem of choice. I like all the fancy toys, same as the next guy. Life is much better these days, and I wouldn’t go back. That being said, I remember why I started hacking things together in the first place…I was too poor to afford name brands and everything I could afford was at least 10 years out of date and/or busted.

        I don’t know why the author thought this article needed to be published. The only thing I gleaned from it was that the author probably had it pretty easy on the way up. Good for them, but let’s try to keep some perspective here…not everyone gets to have fancy tools or brand new parts. Some of us still make do, either by circumstance or by choice, and that’s okay. No one really needs a dogooder to keep them safe from the big bad salvage cartels out there.

        1. The reason I am a hacker is, as my wife puts it — “he is never happy with any design”. Most of the crap on the market is just that. It’s designed to use for a few months and toss in the trash. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to reclaim any value from this junk since it is exactly where it belongs — landfill.

        2. Way late to this conversation but…
          The reviewer’s obsession with no community to likely be created comparable to that of the RPi suggests that he may live in the ecosystem where others create nifty projects. Once published, he duplicates the projects that he likes. Not exactly what I believe hardware hacking to be. I’m sure that he would have hated the ’60s and ’70s when we always watched for cast off TVs, radios, etc in order to build up our junk boxes.

      4. While it is discontinued, that doesn’t make this board any less useful. You can get the docs for the I/O, the drivers, you can install an OS on it and it runs Windows 10, along with having a few nice to have I/O ports.

        I could see using this device in multiple -whaterver- projects over time, something project that I’d like to have a Windows computer running in it. Maybe that project is short-lived, I can pull the Atomic PI out and re-purpose it for another project, and another and another down the line. The board doesn’t simply stop working after the last one is sold. The documentation doesn’t simply become invalid once the last unit is sold.

        There are plenty of uses for this board for a specific segment of the hacker community, and in the right hands this thing could be useful, and it will very likely earn the $40 it cost back many times over.

    1. I’ve bought a used laptop for $35. Yeah, no GPIOs, but has a screen, built in UPS, full SW support for all it’s components, beat THAT! Zero hacks though…..

        1. Every modern-ish external display connector — HDMI, DisplayPort, even VGA — has an I2C bus. Breakout adapters are a few bucks. I’ve got a chunk of perfboard with an I2C level shifter (VGA, at least, uses 5V I2C) hanging off a cut VGA cable kicking around for that sort of thing.

  4. “According to the community, emulation is a waste on both the Atomic Pi and the Raspberry Pi” – rubbish. Links to a single comment that doesn’t actually say this, and makes a sweeping statement that this represents the community? Try telling that to everyone who has a Retropie setup in their living rooms.

  5. He isn’t negative about the product specs, he’s angry about the lucky bastards who got their hands on the stock and scam-ishly advertised (and crowdfounded!) the boards as their own product, however their engineering efforts were about… er… ZERO ??. The board with it’s X86 platform is a long waited product in my opinion, based on experiences with the crappy supported ARM boards (raspberry clones). Yeah, the pi has good support, but when they release a new version, the specs are already faaar outdated.

      1. Yes, i saw it when this started weeks ago, and honestly we cannot be sure that the developers maybe not in connection with the forstalling and the crowdfounding, who knows. After reading the Article one thing is certain: They lied.

      2. Probably 90% of people I’ve seen that have been conned into buying this NOS rebrand nonsense don’t even bother with their completely unnecessary breakout board. And regardless, manufacturing an insanely simple accessory for something doesn’t excuse your lies(even if by omission) about making the exponentially more complex main device.

  6. I grabbed one not too long ago, and it runs great as a simple pfsense firewall on a stick. (Yes, I know about the limitations of such a setup. My internet connection is only 100Mb/s, and ping time isn’t a concern). The install was, though not bump free because of BSD issues with the CPU, mostly straightforward.

  7. I would find it nicer if the $35 price included a breakout board for power supply connecitons and the other peripherals. Ok, it can be connected with the JST connectors ( whose wires I expect to come along with the board ) , but it still would be like a bodged together installation.

    Sadly the sata port(s) aren´t broken out, but for the intended uses ( browsing the internet, print server, just as a terminal, really ) ubuntu fits in the emmc and can do the job reasonably well.

    Is this already from one of those chipsets that do not have usb drivers for windows 7 ?

        1. So? Do you think the “roomba with Alexa on it” left 28,000 test jugs lying around? Did the test jig include a labeled prototype area, room for an Arduino, or a copyright notice from the seller of these boards?

    1. The one I got off Amazon, sans the breakout (stupid me), and I don’t remember any JST cables being included.. I’ll have to double check when I get home, since I haven’t been able to use it yet.

  8. Impressive that it only needs a single power supply. For Intel, that’s an accomplishment.
    It might actually be useful if it had a lower profile cooling system — I could see using it as the nucleus of a small laptop or tablet, but not with that chunk of aluminum.

    1. For laptop or tablet, no, but for a smaller enclosure, maybe. It seems that monstrous chunk of aluminum is to run it passively cooled.. With a cooling fan attached, maybe it could be mounted with a thinner one.

      1. Running the AtomicPi overnight with Windows 10 (nothing running) the board draws 900mA-1A. The heat sink barely gets warm (~40 degrees Celsius). I think it could definitely still work fine with a heat sink half the size. It has a 50x50mm hole pattern.

        1. Can you run something like prime95, for instance, for a reasonable length of time and measure the temps ? that could give a ‘bad case” figure for how high the temps can get …

  9. I was looking at these because they are x86 native and will run an exisitng windows app at a very low price point which allows it to compete against the ARM linux native machines doing a similar job – for a commercial product, not having to rewrite to linux

    Comparing them agaisnt a $130 machine – hell I can compare them against a $200 laptop with built in montitor.
    Neither are the same thing.

    The price point was what made this killer as a x86 solution.
    There needs to be something else at a similar level – running win10 IoT enterprise
    It’s far from a dead end. Its’ the beginning.

    Yes it has low mem and other issues and thats because of the original application. but vendors take note, there is a need for a cheap x86 SBC off the shelf for low volume, there always has been.

    1. Cheap + x86 + low volume = not going to happen

      The only reason it “happened” here is because the boards are being sold for way below original manufacturing cost because they were scored in a bankruptcy liquidation sale.

      1. You can buy an ITX off the shelf with far too many connectors with inbuilt CPU for around $70
        It’s no rocket ship but it shows what you’re saying is not the full picture.

        When I said low volume I refer to purchasing not supply.
        If I had an order for 10000 motherboards for a custom solution I’d be looking to build one. If I wanted 1000 I’d be looking pret a porter with bolt ons.

        Depends on your final form factor. If it’s going in a PC case there is little point in not buying a motherboard or at least working with a supplier that can despec, change port orientation, etc for a given MOQ.

        I think laptop boards rather than motherboards are the most appealing option but each one has a different form factor and you have to think of your own product lifecycle impact in that “case”.

    2. It’s only “low mem” if you are trying to use it for a bunch of apps. If you installed one or two applications it will work just fine. You can always strip X and the rest of the GUI and run it as a server. This isn’t a gaming machine!

  10. Is HAD intended audience shifting towords professionals?

    I may understand such a harsh review if the reader is looking for a well supported platform to develop and sell a new product. (I wonder if relying on rPI would also be a smart idea for a commercial product …)

    However I imagine that some HAD readers tackle one-off projects and like the challenge of implementing it on surplus hardware with a 35USD tag price. Some will even find the atomic PI too ordinary and unchallenging and look for something less supported just for the pure pleasure of hacking.

  11. I agree with the op. It’s pretty disingenuous to market it with ‘Pi’ branding and could be seen as harming the name and intent of the Raspberry PI itself. If they aren’t making an ecosystem around it then this is just a bait and switch product. I wouldn’t consider it a hack. The term has been bastardized as it is. If they want to make good on the idea then they should actually make a product that people will use and provide engineering support for the existing Atomic Pis so people can get it 100% working rather than it failing in too many directions. Because there are so few they can’t even properly warranty the device in some areas so what they are doing is sheisty if they aren’t telling the entire story. I find it funny that people were able to identify this within a few days and tons of people ignored the truth because they want something that doesn’t exist and not to have to do it themselves. Even looking at the ODROID that also has an ATOM version they can’t even get the Intel chips to make them so to find 28000 of these boards at a fire-sale was pure luck.

    As far as the emulation argument. That argument has been around for years. People still do it. He just needed some filler tom make the word count requirement but he got his point across. Pay for something that is going to be more useful to the community in the future.

  12. “Atomic Pi: Should You Bother?

    No, you shouldn’t bother. You just wasted precious moments of your life reading this review. Sorry about that.”

    Well played Mr. Benchoff,
    well played!

  13. This review is harsh to say the least.

    To be honest, I find it strange to see Brian Benchoff off all people write it, since they usually make far better articles then this.

    Okay for not liking that they use the “pi” name, for something that clearly isn’t even close.
    Okay for stating it has partly lack luster IO.
    Okay for saying that it is practically false marketing of the people behind this product to say that they spent any development time on it. (Maybe a bit of software, but hardware wise it is seemingly as off the shelf as companies selling off “failed”/discontinued projects go….)
    And okay for being honest about what the product is and generally point out how silly internet hype can be….

    But this “review” is very very long winded and more or less just puts forth an unneeded aggressive tone and generally makes both the Author and Hack A Day look unprofessional at best. (Though, Hack A Day has lately had a bit of a downturn in quality regardless…)

    1. Seems to be the new policy round here: make absurd comparison with clickbait headline, watch the comments roll in. See also comparison of Labrador with Oscilloscope.

      1. Hack A Day should generally stop with clickbait titles to be fair. It doesn’t make the articles any better.

        Not to mention better sorting and more accurate tags on the articles they have. So that they are easier to find, Likely also fix “their” search engine that seemingly forgets that one even searched on stuff to begin with most of the time….

        And yes, the Labrador scope is decent for what it is, isn’t outrageously priced, and has more than decent software. But the title on the article for it paints it as far far more then what it actually is. So no wonder people snuffed at it.

  14. Why does the fact that it’s surplus matter so much to the author? It’s a capable, working board at a fantastic price. Why dwell on it’s origin and base your whole world view on that? All I got from this ‘review’ was that the board works as advertised, is less than half the price of it’s nearest competitor, and the author has an unhealthy opinion about re-purposing electronics. I hope to see more kickstarters redirecting working electronics from the trash into the hands of tinkerers.

      1. Yeah, there’s a valid concern in here. If you were thinking of basing some large scale project on the Atomic Pi with the assumption they would still be available in 1 – 2 years, you could get burned pretty bad.

        I wish this article didn’t bury that legitimate concern with so much angst, because the message is now going to be lost for most readers.

    1. It’s not the fact that it’s surplus alone – it’s the fact that it is surplus being misrepresented by the vendor as something other than surplus scored in a bankruptcy auction.

      1. Exactly. They could have designed the base board ( if them ) or packaged the thing with a cable bundle, then prepare some pre-configured ubuntu image / documentaion, and sell it on kickstarter as what it really is. There would be no reason for people to bash them in that case.

        1. “They could have designed the base board ( if them ) or packaged the thing with a cable bundle, then prepare some pre-configured ubuntu image / documentaion, and sell it on kickstarter as what it really is. ”

          That is exactly what they did, they ship the board, the breakout board, and preload a plain version of Ubuntu (kbuntu?) on the eMMC.

          I don’t see any egregious false claims on their sales or Kickstarter pages.

          1. Hmm, no, not exactly.

            They say they developed it. They don´t tel its boards that were bought in an auction of surplus equipment.

            The false claim is they saying they developed the boards, . One can ( and are ) justify it as saying they developed the carrier board and that is what they meant when wrote the kickstarter blurb.

            Like selling a car missing “just a few parts” ( motor and tires ) .Morally, comercially, its wrong. “Language-ly”, it is right.

  15. Brian, you okay bro? I mean, the articles coming from you seem more and more bitter lately. It’s starting to come off as slightly non-professional, and honestly brings the site down a notch…

  16. Ignoring the review (though I always really enjoy Benchoff’s style), what about the Atom?

    Unless you are nostalgic about x86 architecture, I’ll stick with ARM. I ran benchmarks on the Intel Galileo (Quark, not Atom) and guess what. It was clock rate comparable to the same Benchmarks on ARM (I used the Beaglebone Black). In other words performance per megahertz was the same on both. Some people are deluded that x86 gives higher performance than ARM at the same clock rate. This is not true at all as a general statement. There are high performance x86 cores in desktop processors, and there are higher performance ARM cores that we don’t see in our usual selection of ARM single board computers. But the Atom is nothing special, and I’ll stick with ARM, thank you.

    1. An x86 board opens up a developer community orders of magnitude larger than an ARM board does.

      Given enough tolerance, and without a need to recompile anything, anything that runs on Windows or any standard Linux distribution will run here, easy-peasy.

      1. Linux ARM offers everything x86 does. So unless you have some weird itch to run Windows on a machine like this (and that is the last thing that pulls on my heart strings) this argument is null and void.

    2. When it comes to ARM based devices, there are 2 questions that I use to illustrate what I think needs to be addressed. The first is do I have to wait for the device’s manufacturer to release an update, or can I get updates directly from whoever ‘owns’ the OS (MS, the Linux Foundation, Google, The FreeBSD foundation, etc)? The second is can I use my favorite Linux distro, or even use another OS like BSD?
      In general, x86 (more specifically, the PC platform) does these things with ease. I’ve been waiting nearly a decade for something similar based on ARM.

      The continued support for x86 PCs is not nostalgia, it’s about software freedom that goes beyond things at the application level.

      1. Neither of those points really make sense, which is to say that any well supported ARM board should have no problem on either account.

        I think what you’re actually talking about are ARM devices that rely on closed binary blobs for their kernel. But this is a situation that’s not limited to ARM, and more to do with uncooperative manufacturers.

        1. I’d ask you to really think about what I was asking. But if it still doesn’t make sense, I have some thought experiments that I hope will help illustrate some of the engineering involved and what makes a PC so different from an embedded system.

          Lets consider the Jetson Nano, Ordroid-XU4, Orange Pi, and Asus Tinkerboard as some ARM based hardware for consideration.
          Also consider something based on an Intel Core CPU (the generation isn’t that important), an AMD Rysen CPU, and a Via C7 CPU.

          I’ll start with the update question. As a thought experiment, say your device is vulnerable to CVE-2016-10229. How do you, the end user get the update that patches the vulnerability? How many steps does it take to get to you and how many groups does that change need to pass through before it is made available to you?
          If any group along the way prevents you from getting the fix, what recourse do you have?

          For the second matter on the OS details, just to name some distros, lets say Gentoo, Slackware, CentOS, Suse, and Debian. For a non-Linux OS, lets consider both FreeBSD and OpenBSD.
          To simplify the situation, lets say we will try loading the kernel from a USB device conforming to the mass storage class (as specified by USB 2.0). The UI is a CLI provided via a supported FTDI USB to serial adapter (it looks like there is driver source available for a number of those). The devices are connected to the host via an EHCI (assuming both devices are USB ‘high speed’ devices).

          What binary blobs would be needed to just to get the system loaded to this point? Why would we need binary blobs to get to this point in the first place? Is is possible to do it without any binary blobs? Do any systems manage to do it now without those blobs? If so, how do they accomplish that? If not, how might they accomplish that?

          If this level is achievable on all the hardware I’ve mentioned, what is needed to get the various other subsystems running? Lets say something like an AHCI SATA controller so we can get a basic SSD working. Might there be a way for these devices to help out the OS to get even a rudimentary level of functionality without a binary blob?
          What about something a bit more sophisticated like video?

  17. Absurd article, this board is a beast, whether contemplating a NAS, pfSense router, PBX box for SOHO, Kodi box (light emulation SNES, Sega Gen and below…) so many other nifty projects this think blows Rpi 3b out of the water.

    This joker doesn’t know what he is talking about, if you include the emmc, this think smokes anything out there in this price range. So what if it’s a limited run, that’s what a great price brings. Not going and installing this mass market, I don’t understand the shade thrown here. Makes ZERO logical sense, price for performance this thing is a BEAST.

    1. It’s a fun SBC to tinker with and has a better price/performance than other current contenders. I have four of them. I like the board, but Digital Loggers (DLI) was less than honest is how they marketed these. They did not state supply will be limited and when they run out it’s done, they implied it was their own design, and it had a future. Even the use of “Pi” in the title is disingenuous causing many to be purchased by people that don’t have the technical chops to make use of a product that isn’t plug and play with virtually no vendor support and a limited user base.
      Since the DLI market is commercial/government and not hobbyists/makers, they likely don’t care if they get a bad name in the “hacker” market.

    1. Not just snarky and arrogant ( the jerk attitude that turns new people off to Linux etc), but weirdly contradicting his main point. If you want to prove what a hard-core super hacker you are, grabbing any generic single board computer with either zero or 4000 pages of documentation is exactly your thing. Looking for a community to hold your hand and baby you through is the opposite! Duh.

  18. I’m not sure why all the bitterness about these boards. I guess I’m not looking at it as the next SBC revolution or anything, but it’s a cheap box with no proprietary hardware that will run x86-64 windows and linux. In my case I’ve built it into a retroarch station and the embedded bluetooth and wifi make it perfect for a pair of generic PS3 controllers and ROMs streamed from my NAS. I could have spent $50 on craigslist for an old laptop of similar spec, but then I’d have a display, keyboard, battery, and a bunch of other crap to deal with refitting it into a small custom case for my home theater shelf. I bought a 5A/5V supply and some 2.4Ghz antennas for ~$20 total and the controllers were $25 for a pair. For $80 total i’ve got exactly what I want in a very flexible form factor without a bunch of stuff to tear out.

    I think this article does a major disservice to the board by trying to pin the success and SBC bubble of the RPi on it. It is what it is, it’s a cheap computer that runs standard software. If Dell had a tiny older desktop design with no oddball model numbers that they stripped down and sold at the same price point I’d buy that instead.

    I agree if you’re looking to turn this thing into a product for sale that’s a bad idea since there may not be very many of them, but if you’re looking for a small cheap PC that runs X86 windows/linux and doesn’t throw any curve balls like booting via a binary blob for the GPU then this is one you should consider. It doesn’t need a large community because it’s able to leverage all of the PC community that already exists. There’s definitely some “fun” with the lack of BIOS backward compatibility when getting new OSes loaded, but nothing you wouldn’t expect on any other “legacy BIOS free” system today.

    I spent last night playing Donkey Kong Country and Paperboy 2 with my wife last night. Everything worked, the system was silent, and the performance was great.

    1. Also, the misleading kickstarter campaign, the “manufacturer’s” choice of name, etc, show that they were trying to gain off the RPi’s popularity and make it look like is is that next big thing, which is not cool.

      IMO, that all deserved to be called out, but it seems most people missed it in the sea of snarkyness.

      1. Yes, the use of “Pi” in the title is disingenuous causing many to be purchased by people that don’t have the technical chops to make use of a product that isn’t plug and play with virtually no vendor support and a limited user base. This has been obvious by the *many* questions that have come up about something as simple as powering the board with a single +5v supply to standard spaced connector.

  19. I have to agree with everyone saying this is one of the lower quality articles on this site. Most of the time if I don’t like an article here, it’s just because I don’t really care about the project. The “look what I stuffed a Raspberry Pi into this week” and “I 3D printed something so it must be cool” articles get kind of old after a while. But I just move along because scrolling isn’t hard. This is different though. The subject matter (cheap SBCs running stock Ubuntu) is really interesting. But instead of presenting a fair review, this article is just a angry rant about how quantity is limited, calling the device trash despite it doing everything it promised to do, and doing it fairly well. But hey, if you really do hate these things that much, all is not lost. Just send them to me. Problem solved.

  20. Oh well. This article really wanted to be negative but in fact it convinced me to buy two more Atomic Pis.

    Turns out that this is not just a weirdly specialized board created after thousands of painful cuts and compromises but … drumroll … a full-blown PC.

    The author is 100% wrong that there will be no community around this board. It already exists for decades. it is called the x86 ecosystem.

    Judging on the DD forums, there seem to be plenty of Linux ports that just work

    At $35 you get a simply unbeatable price for this PC. The author compares it as being equivalent with a $130 board? Please. More advertising for Atomic Pi :-)

    If I end up with too many Atomic Pis, I’ll just sell the surplus on eBay. This outrageous price can only go up, so I’ll even end up making money in the process :-)

    For the record, yes, I have played with the Atomic Pi, and guess what, it just works with a vanilla Linux distribution like Ubuntu.

    Power supply is a solved problem. I already have 5V 2.5A power supplies around. And plenty of old PC power supplies capable of delivering even more. This is not even an issue.

  21. Completely unpleasant to read this post! What is the need of such violence? To whom? Those looking for a cheap deal? If you are angry with someone it should be with the vendors and the factory deceiving people. There is so much to write about… Kuri history, how is that they made 28k of boards… Or recommend other platforms like the UP board, a similar board designed to be a x86 solution in the Raspberry pi form (although it is more expensive and to be hones is 2 or 3 years old, but they grew and they offer a wide variety of solutions).

    Usually hackaday provides insightful and well researched posts, not grumpy and ill informed notes… this is a pity and hope you guys don’t go this way. Yes sure you will generate more engagement, but wtf…

  22. Hi, me again… I am soooo angry…. Remember the UP board that I recommended and it is completely legit? Well… In less than 5 minutes of research I found out that the guys from Atomic Pi made the schematics public…

    Guess who, in theory, made the board? The same guys from the UP board! That is really interesting… are the up board schematics public? seriously the thing is “if you can install windows 10”?!? You missed badly here… just admit it…

  23. Rule number 1 of writing a review of a product. Don’t aggressively shit on it. You are better off just not writing the article at all..

    The Atomic Pi is not the greatest SBC, nor the most practical nor does it have much support. It’s saving grace is that it is a cheap x86 SBC that can run most Linux distros isos that you can download off the web. With ARM SBCs you absolutely have to download the specific linux image that the SBC vendor specifies. This can be an immensely limiting constraint, especially with the passing of time.

    This article is a piece of textual flotsam that will be forgotten long before the Atomic Pi SBC. In fact this article is even less than that; an unremarkable fart in the wind.

  24. As a network guy who frequently sees very dated network hacks being extolled because they are implemented on RPI or some other SBC on this site. I am not getting the knock on Kali Linux…

    Calling them out on the lie is fair. But heck they found a use for surplus and 28,000 devices are leaving a warehouse and ending up in someones hands.

    Also, no consumer cares about firmware updates that’s part of the reason we see many different vectors targeting the firmware to maintain a foot hold. Not saying that attitude shouldn’t change but we live in a world where people buy cheap pre-compromised IP cameras and internet hackable washing machines.

  25. My issue with the unit is that it isn’t a _single_ board computer. As I understand it, it needs to have at least a small board to just power it, and a larger board if you want to attach anything to it.

    This article seems to have been written by someone who has a passionate hatred of it. Oh and BTW I am reading and commenting on this using my phone. Don’t assume that analytics are going to be right all the time.

    1. You don’t NEED those other boards. They simply make it easier to connect to a standard DC barrel jack or screw terminal. For mine I cut up a couple breadboard jumper wires and soldered them into bundles with a heavier gauge lead going back to the screw terminals on the power supply. The accessory boards are simply there for more convenience to convert the Kuri specific ports to more universally accessible ones.

      FWIW once I get past the experimental phases I’ll probably just solder my power feed directly to the pin tails on the top side of the board, but it hasn’t bumped loose as is while screwed to a scrap piece of wood.

  26. Interesting perspective and neat to read the brutal review.

    I wound up first looking around to find a deal on a better performance laptop when I went to pay for my Atomic Pi I had in the cart and found it had sold out before I paid for.

    I found a Lenovo X131e for ~$39 and another ~$21 for a battery and an X240 for about $50. With Lubuntu the performance can be enhanced even more since less system requirements. Seems the same for the Atomic Pi.

    Interesting, finding the methods to use slim tips with barrel plug adapters. Seems rather straight forward and a cheap investment.

    In regards to the Atomic Pi… I wound up investing in one still. I’ve been waiting for something Pi and made in the U.S. I didn’t realize the board came from Mayfield Robotics… a Robert Bosch North America Corporation. I ran the old Robert Bosch foundry sand lab, trained on the metallurgy lab as well as re-designed the labs to merge the summer before I went to Tech. Neat… so made in the U.S.A. and by a company I worked for.

  27. “With a baked-in production limit, there can be no community. Without a community, there is no future.”

    Nobody told that to the Ferrari 250 GTO owner’s club :-P

  28. Hey Brian-

    Want to get the facts straight?

    When you’re in Silicon Valley, why not stop in and visit?
    We’ll show you what actually goes in to the APi.
    The guys would love to meet you face to face.


    -Martin & Team

    1. I hope hackaday does take up your offer. I would love to see a video of a hackaday visit. But please, HAD, take a better hack with you than the one who wrote this post.

  29. I love how someone on Reddit finds an auction of an identical board and suddenly it’s a foregone/proven conclusion that DLI must have bought them. The fact is that AAEON (an Asus company) makes the board, and lots of others (the Up board?), as AAEON provides board design and manufacturing services to companies. So while it’s *possible* the boards were bought by DLI at auction it’s not proven. I think equally likely is that AAEON built/sold the same board to more than one company for different projects. So if the parts are still available it’s also still possible that AAEON can continue to build them, if perhaps at higher price for new batches? dunno.

    1. That’s interesting… I was thinking eventually I’d invest in an Asus Tinkerboard since seemed the most cost effective next to the Pi. Huh… maybe DLI will come up with more of a marketing plan with the different tools to make the next version really pop. They remind me of my procrastination station operation way of doing business… OK… maybe not that brain damaged remote handled/controlled lazy ass subsidized.

  30. I have two Atomic Pi. I have both the small, and large boards. One of them is used as a Plex Server running headless w/ an external hard drive. Works great, better than a Raspberry Pi. the second one, well haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with it.

    If it was surplus from a bankrupt company, then DLI selling them was smart business move, and more importantly preventing unnecessary e-waste. Heck, this Hackaday, most of the “real” hacking projects here involve some level of dumpster diving, or using their mom’s vibrator and barbed wire.

    This article is more of a hack than anything I’ve seen on hackaday. It reads more like something an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend would write a couple weeks after getting dumped.

    The Raspberry Pi was designed for KIDS, and to use surplus phone chargers, and other stuff laying around. The subsequent updates to the Raspberry Pi was because most folks buying and using them weren’t kids, and they found their way needing more capabilities. Comparing the Raspberry Pi and the Atomic Pi, well let’s just compare a Raspberry Pi and arduino.

    Don’t let this person submit articles and reviews. the damn ecosystem for the Atomic pi is already there because it’s an x86 system, which has been around for 40 years. That’s not just a damn ecosystem, that’s a solar system with a couple Gas Giants we call Intel and AMD.

  31. I, for one, kind of like BB’s acerbic style.

    And I think that being a bit sharp can be a good thing, overall. It tends to push folks off the fence and get them engaged. In fact, I suspect the resulting engagement may even benefit the campaign .. “Bite me Benchoff, I bought one .. haha .. take that!”.

    The essence of his argument is that this is a “one and done”, surplus-liquidation effort being spin-market through a channel whose ostensible purpose is to help foster the launch of innovative products. Despite my acceptance of that argument, I may actually buy one. It looks to be a cheap, highly capable machine.

    So, thanks to BB and Hackaday, I now know where to get a cheap computer, and I also know not to make any plans that rely on future availability. Seems like a win-win to me.

  32. To answer Brian’s question: Is it worth it? For me the answer is YES.

    First of all I ignored the name of the product and always look what the product is and for what I can use it. Names mean very little. Just look at some of the names of charities. If you go by the name you may think you are helping some needy group but only after you look at the actual charity can you find where the donation goes.

    Ok so it is surplus. If I look at the projects I have hacked together, at least 50% of the parts are surplus.

    I intend to use it for what it was originally design for, as part of a robot I am working on. The motors are controlled by a pocketbeagle running a bare bones OS. The Atomicpi will run Linux allowing me to use ROS and other robot related open source software. The two boards will be connected with the high speed serial port.

    I come to Hackaday for the following reasons:

    1: Education.
    2: To learn what other people are doing and how they are doing it.
    3: Info on product I may be interested in.

    This article did not fall into any of the above. It appears to be just a rant.

  33. This may be the most banal & masturbatory technical article/review I’ve ever read. I can only assume that the author is some dull-witted prick, shuffling his feet from place to place, nose up in the air, informing everyone else of their stupidity while completely oblivious of the sheet of toilet paper hanging out the back of his Wranglers.

    Stop writing. Slap yourself (hard) for all the people that wasted time reading the tripe you published then go get a vasectomy. We don’t need any more of your ilk getting near a keyboard.

  34. So here we are, using 8 of it as a drivers for our digital signage project at a small Germany-based cinema chain. Why the Atomic Pi? Well, for a price very comparable to a Raspberry Pi 3b+ (the 4 wasn’t out yet) we got a very capable browsing machine. And that’s all it does behind walls. It runs vanilla Ubuntu which I like more than Raspian – everywhere just the same. And heck, it’s got an Atom CPU so it can do AES which is great for our VPNs.

    If they fail one fine day, we probably have to replace them wit costlier x86 hardware or go tinkering with 35$ ARM-based options (RaspberyyPi).

    In terms of community, there was enough community to around to show me how to power that thing without the breakout board. Good for us, there’s a guy with decent soldering capabilities working here. So in the end we got ..

    plain old x86 hardware running the same
    plain old linux arch we run on our dev mechines and servers

    .. on the cheap. That’s all to it. And it’s great.

  35. I bought four of them, and I don’t regret it.

    They are basically PCs with some handy headers on the board. Runs Ubuntu out of the box just fine.

    They are a good complement to RasPi – very powerful (even compared with the latest RasPi 4) and cheaper when looking at cost/performance. The equivalent RasPi 4 with 2 GB is actually slightly slower but still more expensive at $50. And no built-in flash.

    Power is slightly tricky but the same can be said about RasPi as well (the latest one is a power-hungry monster which consumes even more amps)

    As predicted, Atomic Pi price went up on Amazon, from $35 + free shipping to $43.17 as of today, as the stock is slowly exhausting. Grab them while you can.

  36. I’m writing this on the AtomicPI right now. The reviewer has clearly rubbed too many Raspberries in his eyes. I got this off Amazon WITH power connector. I took time to read, any hobby enthusiast with half a brain would. Clearly the reviewer is lacking in any capacity. One can use this for projects ranging from Robotics to surveillance & home NAS. You get one for projects, not because it has everything, but because it doesn’t.
    Get one if you enjoy project builds and Hackaday should send this reviewer packin.

    1. I installed Asterisk 16/FreePBX 15 on this beast. It seems to be working fine. Plenty of disk space, CPUs almost idle, and 50% memory used. Beats the crap out of RPI for this app, which I could never get to handle more than one phone at a time. Time will tell. I didn’t tempt fate by installing the FreePBX/Centos ISO though; spent the time installing the apps from source on the shipped Ubuntu.

    2. haha Max again if anyone even reads this! I just bought 3 more as the $35 also got me a breakout board +Camera.
      My original AtomicPi is still running fine as a my NAS + Media server. I wanted to run more experiments including ProxMox clustering, Home Automation, PieHole or whatever. Even picked up an industrial power supply to input AC and split it off to all the boards.
      I like buying some industrial waste “trash”. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
      I bought a RasPi4 to use for RetroGaming, but these things make great project testbeds and mini-servers.

  37. Will all due respect, I do not agree with the reviewer in this one. It does not appear that it was really given a chance as a piece of hardware and threw the review in the trash simply based on limited number of boards available and it does not have a huge community to hold your hand while you use it. Not everything has to be a Pi killer. Certainly in specifications versus price it destroys the pi. This board is useful for those who have software packages that need more power and need to run on x86. Say ROS or Robo Realm, Ez Robots Ez- Builder software and more. Projects with visual processing for example. So as long as you dont need more than 28,000 of them for your project, go knock yourself out! The important part of a hardware review is functionality, price and if the hardware is living up to its hype. I think this board is 3 for 3 in that respect.

  38. I wish I had read this review before I bought one of these. The author is clear about the fundamental problem: as electronic salvage, the board lacks an ecosystem. There are no cases for this thing, and, as the author makes clear, there never will be. Since the board with the baby breakout is physically awkward and doesn’t even sit flat, it’s hard to see how you could use it for any purpose other than as a toy to tinker with. Giving it a “pi” designation and calling it a “pi killer” is fundamentally dishonest. In contrast, many boards such as the Odroid C2 are form-factor compatible with rpi, and the larger Odroid N2 has available cases, because it’s an actual product and justifies add-on products. (Neither of those boards have Intel chips: I just use them as reference points for what I thought atomic pi could be, but isn’t.) Paying $100 for a real product with a case and power supply sounds pretty attractive at this point.

    1. The biggest issue is that this board was marketed in a very misleading way. It has nothing to with, nor is it similar in any way to a Raspberry Pi. By naming it the way they did, people expect some sort of compatibility and/or similar ecosystem. It should have been marketed for what it is, a surplus Intel based SBC that runs linux quite well and is inexpensive. It shouldn’t be compared at all with a R Pi, they are different boards for different sub-markets and purposes.

      Taking the board for what it actually is, not the way it was marketed, it’s a decent board for hardware/software hackers that want to setup a NAS or media box or other specialty solution that is best suited for an Intel cpu. The people this board is appropriate for don’t have an issue with building their own case, or rigging their own power supply. It’s not a plug and play SBC and is suitable for only a narrow audience.

      The board itself is fine, but shame on the Digital Loggers for marketing it the way they did. They didn’t have anything to do with designing or building the board in the first place and the hobbiest/maker isn’t even their market. All their other products are marketed to government and commercial. It’s unlikely they will make any attempt to appeal to hobbiest/maker market beyond this one off product.

      The Kuri controller board will go down as just another odd ball SBC in computer history.

  39. I have an Atomic Pi and for the now $32 asking price you cant beat it, I cant disagree with this article more, seems to me the writer of this article just wanted to bash the Atomic Pi, basically only stating the negatives of the product and very few of the positives, very bias article.

  40. considering the bother windows can be to REMOVE it’s ugly presence from computing devices, why on earth are we seeing advocacy for bringing that intrusive proprietary monstrosity o globware into the sbc sphere?

    if you are referring to the last decent revision of that thing (xp sp3) that basically worked fine, and thus had to be retired, then I might presume that someone maintaining old lab equipment with expensive proprietary software control suites that only last ran on the aforementioned last decent revision of that thing (that THING) might be interested in running said mass-spec/gas chromatographer on a windows-disabled (er enabled) device.

    but the rest of us run away screaming. why mention the ability to run bloated crapware as a performance benchmark, dear author?

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