CHIP – The World’s First $9 Computer

[CHIP – The World’s First $9 Computer][1]

CHIP is a fully functional Linux-powered computer and is just about
one-quarter the size of a banana and one-quarter the price of the
Raspberry Pi.

CHIP packs a 1GHz Allwinner R8 Cortex A8 processor with a built-in
Mali400 GPU, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of flash storage. It also features a
micro USB port, composite headphone/mic port, Wifi and Bluetooth. All
this is powered by attaching a LiPo battery, DC power, or through the
micro USB. The hardware is powerful enough to power LibreOffice, the
Chromium browser, and a whole host of games and programs to teach



I had thought about looking into computers like there for farming, however it seems that computation on the network is not too far off. Storage is pretty cheap across the board (to buy, as well as rent from services eg: dropbox and AWS) but computation is still quite expensive pretty much everywhere.

That is a pretty awesome find though, and I may pick a few up for some other projects that I want to work on, there look perfect.

Thanks for the link.

It isn’t really 9 dollars though. That is just a introductory price to make everyone read the story…

Better get in on the kickstarter then and get the introductory offer.
If all goes to plan, I’ll be needing 200+ Pis (or equiv - actually the Pi is over-spec’d) just when this is about to be released.
This could change our budgets considerably both short and long term.

Id love to hear what you plan to do with 200 pis

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The details must remain confidential for now but they will be used for monitoring, logging and some very simple control functions.
I keep trying to find a way to shoehorn SAFE into this project and I may yet convince the rest of the team but for now I cant even convince myself that it would not be a gross violation of KISS.
Maybe later when its all up and running and the economics of farming become clearer then the spare computing capacity might be available for use in later iterations. Talking 10s of 1000s of units then. Each unit will be part of IoT so they may as well be part of the SAFE network. Whether it would be viable to have them double up as farmers remains to be seen. Cost of SSDs will likely be the determing factor.

I have some (kickstarter) CHIPs on the way, but they will be a year away by all estimates. I love tinkering and these seem to be a great platform for a lot of IoT

As to the 9$, the kickstarter campaign is now over and they organised a refund for some country’s shipping cost by allowing the people to purchase extra items/chip to be included, Kickstarter was very restrictive on mixing-n-matching what people wanted. But yes shipping is steep and one has to wonder if some shipping is actually going towards cost of product. I was able to add a 2nd chip for 9$ with no extra shipping cost. It would seem that their final costs for the CHIP is around the 9$ with a little profit for them.

Looking at some other offerings 9$ seems feasible and possible. Will see what their shipping costs will be on the retail pre-orders.

The power requirements seem to be on the order of less than 3-5W average which makes them suitable for being powered from alternative sources such as a tiny solar array. If they are mostly idle then I expect them to draw a lot less power.

I was going to see also if they might be able to act as vaults using a USB stick. They are running linux afterall. A SSD seems to be overkill since you would need a USB->sata inferface anyhow and the USB3 memory sticks are fast enough. 32GB or 64GB should be more than enough for a medium vault.

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I would expect that using that many as vaults (farming) would not be practical (not that I am suggesting you were thinking of that). There would be issues with bandwidth, especially after a mass restart, and just background protocol chatter with nodes outside of your local network. Suppose if the internet plan/connection was for unlimited quota @ 100/100MBits/sec then a few thousand may work fine as vaults. Then storage costs might become an issue, better to have 2-5 vaults per device.

These units will not all be colocated. Probable max of 2-300 in any one location, a very few will be single units, most will be in clusters of 10 - 50. SAFE is an add-on to this project and very much a side issue even if it could be proved to be profitable (or cost neutral but utility positive) in the long run.
Good point about USB3 v SATA, however is 64Gb really enough for a vault? I have 4 x 2TB drives set aside for my initial farming machine, am I wrong in going for large(ish) capacity, 24/7 with good power redundancy and good bandwith for my first farming attempt?

Combining cheap computing, cheap storage, maidsafe and a few routers and one could set up a backbone for a new internet no problem. Just set up a few solar powered computer units tied to some routers and disperse the units a the proper intervals. Don’t like your ISP? Replace it.

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