The PINE64 mini PC has only been available for pre-order for about a day now and already it’s made a huge splash — and quite a hefty chunk of change. What’s so special about PINE64? Well, there are a couple of things the tiny computer has going for it.
For starters, a price tag of just $15 for the basic version. If you want to “upgrade,” it will typically set you back a few more dollars. $19 to be exact.
— Make: (@make) December 9, 2015
There are other aspects of the PINE64 that has the tech world excited. Via its official website, the creators explain that the product is an “open source platform from both hardware to software.” PINE64 is reportedly capable of running the “most advanced versions” of either Android or Linux. The basic version comes with a 64-bit Quad-core 1.2Ghz ARM Cortex-A53 processor, MALI400 GPU with two processing cores, and 4k video output through HDMI. The PINE64 boasts the ability to compute at the same level as a 250-watt supercomputer while only using an amazing 2.5 watts!
The PINE64 boots from “a removable MicroSD card capable of supporting up to 256GB,” a fact that allows for easy updates and even no-fuss swapping of operating systems.
“Use the PINE64 to build your next computer, tablet, gaming device, media player, and just almost anything you can think of.”
The computer is meant for anyone that wants to use it, as explained on the official Kickstarter page. The creators emphasize that PINE64 was made for the “IT professional, electronics hobbyist, student, teacher, hacker, inventor, or just someone who wants to have more flexibility to increase their productivity at work.” The Kickstarter was launched with the original goal of raising $31,416. This goal was not only exceeded on the very first day, but the campaign also managed to generate close to seven times the amount originally requested.
As of my writing this, the PINE64 Kickstarter page shows a total of $212,367 with over 43 days to go. They may exceed the extended goal because of the stipulation involved. You see, persons who contribute $15 or $19 donations will be among the first to receive a version of the PINE64. A promise of their own bit of tech for such a small investment has thousands of people leaping at the chance to contribute.
There was even a $5 computer available briefly but (surprise, surprise), that’s already “sold out,” so to speak.
PINE64 Quad Core Mini PC Launches On Kickstarter Today https://t.co/xs8OC1oegx pic.twitter.com/UXm2yQYYiR
— Rajneesh Mishra (@MishraKanpur18) December 10, 2015
So what is left for those who wish to play a part in donating to the PINE64 cause? Quite a few items if you’ve got at least $15 to spend. One thing that it’s important to note is that more basic versions of the PINE64 lack Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. In fact, after scrolling through the donation packages, these capabilities don’t become standard with the purchased version of PINE64 until you have pledged at least $59. Just something to keep in mind when determining how much to spend on this Kickstarter project.
The most expensive package — and there’s only one left at present — is the $5,000 donation that involves a trip to meet the makers of the PINE64 mini PC. For aspiring innovators or big fans of this type of tech, the “Innovator Package” will likely be money well spent.
— Kai Kreuzer (@kaikreuzer) December 9, 2015
Of course, when you’re proposing something as cool as $15 computing technology that’s readily available to the masses, there are going to be some naysayers. In response to a story about the PINE64 run by Softpedia, a commenter stated the following.
“Yes this SBC is perfect ‘as-is’ if you are not streaming everything and If you have some external storage. Of course no matter how fast the CPU-GPU chipset – local storage or at least private network is the only way to guarantee no Internet interruptions or slow down during playback.
“You can run with only 1GB, but inevitable minor memory leaks in Internet TV software can result in need for reboots every few hours even where the CPU-GPU can play streams directly.”
While PINE64 isn’t perfect, it and similar creations are challenging the idea of spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars for tech that will become outdated relatively fast. Not to mention the frustration of spending additional money when these items break or need to be fixed.
At $15 to $19, the PINE64 promises to be a sound investment for the future, or at least for those with one eye on the future.
If you want a PINE64, head over to the Kickstarter page — the product is available for pre-order right now!
[Image via PINE64 Website]