Cheap PC idea thoughts


Well I won’t have a full picture until I get my CHIP so it may turn out it is to slow… Lets here from some of you others that have your CHIP already.


I have one CHIP currently, and waiting to get my next one with the PocketCHIP. I didn’t mean to burst your bubble, but the CHIP really wouldn’t be a good PC replacement.

You also have to remember that the CHIP, and pretty much all of these hobby computers, share memory between CPU and GPU, so whether it has 512MB, 1GB, or 2GB of RAM, it is for use by both CPU and GPU thus reducing the available for use by applications.


You didn’t burst my bubble @DaveyDarko with what you said.

My main PC is in storage right now and I have been running a little Asus EeePC 900 Netbook.

It has this in it:
CPU - Intel Celeron M 353 / 900 MHz
Cache - L2 - 512 KB
Power Efficiency - Ultra Low Voltage (ULV)
Data Bus Speed - 400 MHz
Chipset Type - Intel 910GML Express

As you can see it is no road burner its self for sure. I install Mint Linux on it because that was my only option since WinXP I use to run on it is no longer supported. I’m not sure how it compares to what the CHIP has.


I run Mint on my Desktop PCs as well. Windows makes me grumpy. The OrangePi PC is what I have been working with for the last several months in trying to get a reliable, inexpensive, update-able, fast and easy to use Desktop PC replacement. I’m anxious to try out the 2GB Pine64 I’ll be getting soon too.

BTW, you can fool XP into thinking its a POS (Point Of Sale) version, they have to support those systems until 2019. So you can get security updates for XP until then if you spoof it to look like a POS system.


Maybe so, but back to the original post…

Any other input to this idea? Lets hear it all.


Hey, @Android, how did things work out with your project?


I don’t think @Android has been on in a while. It would be cool if he does report how it working out.


The “@” sign should have triggered an email, so hopefully he will log in.


I’ve been thinking about taking one of my CHiPs in the opposite direction, as a pocket-able headless host for my phone/tablet. It’s just a matter of figuring out a case - maybe as a plexiglass sandwich.

I’ve had keyfobs in the past about the same size as CHiP plus PS3 controller LiPO stack on top of eachother - if it weren’t for the GPIO headers. At the same time, I can keep it thinner but slightly larger if I lie the LiPO next to CHiP - then it’s 2"x3" in size. Again, those darn headers (and the full sized USB port).

So I’m considering (when ever IRL time allows), desoldering the headers & cleaning the through-holes, replacing the full sized USB with a micro-USB, remove the bottom cover, and sandwich the whole thing between some 1/8 plexiglass. Throw in some leds on some GPIOs for battery & other feedback with surface button on XIO-P07 & GND next to it for powerdown and … DISCO, waffer thin CHiP in a pocket - as small as a large crisp.

With the 2 WLANs (wlan1 as AP), it works. The AV cables almost take more space if want to drag them along too.


My first machine was a 66 mhz 16 mb ram 256 mb hard drive. Yeah Chip is a little slow compared too todays computers but you can do just about everything with $9.00 Chip that people do with a $350.00 laptop. Just going to take a little longer


That is some of my same thoughts and also the reason I threw this idea out there.


… and was probably running MS-DOS and could only run one program at a time. And you were glad to have that! :slight_smile:


I still think that it really depends how you use your “computer”.

In my opinion there is no need for a 8-core 2 ghz version of the CHIP as all of my stuff is running headless.I can run my webcam grabber with a decent framerate, download and upload stuff (upload my images, download commands) and all that with the CHIP single core.

Sure a dual core would be neat, but I’m happy with what NTC gave us (especially for $9 … still don’t belive that part). I plan to buy a lot CHIPs and throw one in every corner of every room!

That being said: We’re not longer in 1995, so CHIP as a Laptop? I don’t see that. On my Laptop I want at least 50 tabs open and playing cat-videos simultaneously and all at 4k and 60fps min. :smile_cat:

but thats just my 2-cent :slight_smile:


Will it was an upgrade from the Commodore 128, plus it had the huge 256mb hard drive.


Forget about using it as a PC replacement!

I’ve been coming to work (started a new job last week) - and I don’t have a PC here yet - so I’ve been bringing in a hefty laptop (i7, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD)… Got sick of lugging it in and home again (the power brick is huge!) - so yesterday I brought a tiny Samsung netbook in (Atom 1.3 Ghz, dual core, 2GB RAM 64 GB SSD) and hooked it up over VGA to a wide screen LCD (1680x1050).

Fired up Chromium (netbook running elementary OS freya 0.3.2 i386) - I always start up with my 6 favourite tabs open.

IT WAS UNUSABLE! Forget about running any decent web browser experience with CHIP… I have to use Office 365 / Outlook - and it would take like 2-5 minutes just to scroll down the page of emails in my inbox!

So I tried Firefox and Midori - Midori kept crashing after I opened up like a 4th or 5th tab. Didn’t spend much time in Firefox… Didn’t try IceWeasel (not readily / easily available on Ubuntu derived distros).

For my personal preferences, if a PC/laptop/portable can’t run either Google-Chrome, or Chromium satisfactorily - it fails… The i7 laptop runs Chrome (I use Google’s chrome browser on this beast [running Ubuntu Wily 15.10]).

I’ll probably wipe that netbook and re-install Kali on it - XFCE should go okay on it.

P.S. I was using that netbook to remote (SSH) to some EC2 instances in Amazon I was managing, listening to music through Clementine and none of this was hampering me - it was f–king CHROMIUM (i.e. the open source version of Chrome browser)! That thing is a pig!

So - I’d reckon a CHIP on a VGA screen would be VERY unsatisfactory as a “desktop” experience.

I’ll be using one of my CHIPs with PocketCHIP when it arrives - as a portable entertainment centre - but that’s it… single core 512 MB of RAM - forget it for anything a PC can do!


Hehe. Myself, I still regularly use a 1.6 GHz single core laptop with Less than 3 gigabytes of RAM. Running XP! Chip is a steal for me, $9 computer with almost as much features as my current PC? I’ll take that any day, not as a primary computer (which that laptop is not) but for just a browser, I don’t mind. Also, I know it’s possible to cluster 2, and right of the bat that would be faster than my laptop.


I’ve heard CHIP clusters mentioned more than once around here.

I don’t know much about clustering, but if you fire up a browser on one with multiple tabs, I don’t think that will run some of the work on the other CHIP. Maybe so – like I said, I don’t know how Linux clusters work – but I don’t think it is the same as multiple cores sharing memory and running one instance of Unix.

Even if it can do a certain amount of balancing CPU load, if one CPU does something that needs a lot of memory, for sure one CHIP will not be able to make use of a hundred meg of memory on the other CHIP. That requires specialized RDMA hardware, and even RDMA doesn’t magically give a machine access to more memory. It just distributes that memory (slowly, compared to local RAM).

I had a smiley attached to my earlier post that yesterday’s machines with slow CPUs and small RAMs were running one MS-DOS program at a time, but there is something to that argument. If you were to try to run today’s GUI-based software on a 66MHz single-core CPU with 16 MB RAM, I doubt it would even come up.

I love CHIP, love the $9 price point. But I doubt it can serve as a reasonable base for somebody’s primary computer, unless the alternative is no computer at all.


Chip can provide a basic computer user with everthing they need, which is email and the occasional online shopping. Anyone on this bbs is an advance user and yes Chip is limiting for an advance user to use as a only computer.


@Jo-Jo could you please give more information on clustering 2 CHIPs.


For clustering to work, you have to have software that supports using other nodes in the cluster. There’s a decent amount of software out there that does this, but it’s not really as general purpose as just plugging a bunch of computers together, and using them as one much faster computer.

It’s more like now you’ll have a bunch of computers that can do a very specific task much faster. It’d be really cool if someone designed a web renderer that could take advantage of a cluster though. :stuck_out_tongue:

– Ben