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What Is A Single Board Computer And What Is It Used For?



If you are only concerned with computers that are used in homes and offices, the chances are you wouldn’t be aware of single board computers. While the device is a staple of industrial electronics, it is seldom used in home settings.

Critical features of single board computers include their high reliability, efficiency, and compactness. Therefore, this device is often used for industrial monitoring, automation, and controlling equipment. 

Most often, a single board computer is used along with a backplane. This is because backplanes play a role in connecting the single board computer to the systems. This is what allows the device to be compact yet immensely functional at the same time.

When you compare them to tower computers, you will find that single board computers are considerably less powerful. However, this doesn’t stop the device for being satisfactory for its use in the industry. Considering how affordable the device is, may sectors use single board computers as tools for training as well.

Single Board Computer Defined 


A single board computer, or SBA, is designed differently than a personal computer or a desktop computer. As the name suggests, SBA tends to have all components present in a computer, but each of them is contained within the same single circuit board.

About desktop computers, you might have heard of a motherboard. This motherboard has slots that contain all the primary elements of the device. Other integral components like the storage, memory, input and output devices and the processor are not part of the motherboard and instead are attached to the system via a socket. Compared to this, a single board computer has every element within the machine.

The capabilities of a single board computer are entirely very different. While you must plug in other devices into the motherboard’s slot in a desktop computer to increase its capability, the same is not true for SBA. In Single Board Computer all components are a part of the circuit board rather than being plugged into another slot of any board.

Not all single board computers are homogenous. Instead, within the umbrella of SBA, differences persist. Significant differences arise due to the difference in capacity of the said device. For instance, some computers might be quite slow and reflect the performance of an ordinary personal computer. Others might be fast enough to conduct complicated tasks.

What is a single board computer used for?

The most common use of a single board computer is the role it plays in embedded applications. What is an embedded computer and application? It refers to a device whose capabilities are restricted to the requirements of the task for which it has been designed. Unlike other apps and tools, it cannot be further expanded to contain other capabilities. A classic example of a single board computer can be a vending machine. Here, an SBA controls the functions of a vending machine. Apart from the tasks needed, there is little more than the SBA could do.

Apart from embedded applications in the industry, single board computers are also used in rack systems. This helps in swift integration of the device into the system. Similarly, backplanes are used to connect SBA to another computer as well.

Advantages of using a Single Board Computer


They are used by the industry to perform automation and specialized tasks. Some might wonder why they are employed mainly by a wide variety of sectors. This is because an SBA has a high capacity along with various other advantages.

For instance, single board computers are quite compact. This helps in embedding the device into the structure regardless of how limited space is.

Furthermore, the computers also help in saving power since they are very power efficient. Considering how self-contained they are, you don’t have to rely on environmental conditions to operate them.

At the same time, single board computers do have their limitations. For starters, their format is not suitable for personal use. And if the application in question requires cable elimination, SBA won’t be a good choice.


Single Board Computers are quite handy for the industrial world. Their wide array of uses in the sector have made it a staple in the electronics sector.


Author Bio:

Michelle Joe is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences, and express herself through her blogs. You can find her on twitter: @michellejoe524

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