Single-board computers seem to be getting smaller and smaller, but a new board being teased by Mango Pi must surely win some sort of award for compactness - the as-yet-unnamed module packs a Linux-capable SoC - and precisely zero ports - into a space slightly smaller than an SD card. Much smaller than the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, and the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.
It's smaller than an SD card, and it runs (Tina-Linux) 1080p60 via HDMI 😍next step, #armbian pic.twitter.com/iGxqgkMeiEMarch 26, 2022
That’s a proper, old-fashioned SD card, not the Micro variety - though a computer that size must surely only be a short while away - so we’re looking at something 1.2 x 1 inches and 0.08 inch thick. Possibly called the ‘Linux Box’, as there's a blank product page of that name on the Mango Pi website and discussion of it on the forum, the tiny board looks to bring four Arm Cortex-A53 cores (the same as in a Raspberry Pi 3 or Zero 2 W) to the party, and run Tina Linux (Allwinner’s embedded distro based on OpenWrt). It’s apparently good for 1080p output at 60Hz, but you’ll need some way of breaking out the HDMI output to get that - a carrier board of some description seems the most likely candidate.
The processor at the heart of the Linux Box is the Allwinner H616 previously seen in the Orange Pi Zero 2, which along with those four cores also carries a Vulkan 1.1-capable GPU, and supports a maximum of 4GB of various flavors of DDR3 and 4. It has an SD 3.0 interface, which means UHS-I transfers on SDHC and SDXC cards without using extra pins, and an 8-bit NAND Flash interface with ECC. The video engine can decode H.264, H.265, VP9 and more, there's HDR with 10-bit processing, plus two digital audio channels.
The chip supports full disk encryption with AES, XTS and comparable algorithms, there's tamper-proofing using MD5 and other methods, a 160-bit hardware pseudo-random number generator, and an integrated EFUSE chip for ID and security.
Potential ports include gigabit Ethernet, USB 2/OTG, a second 100MBs Ethernet interface, UART, a PWM controller, and SDIO. Due to the nature of the tiny board, all ports including power delivery must be provided by a carrier board.
The board isn’t yet for sale, but Mango Pi is clearly experimenting with it, suggesting on Twitter it will be testing out the Armbian operating system next.
Imagine cramming this into a smartwatch!