Pine A64 offers powerful micro-PC competitor for the RaspBerry Pi

The Raspberry Pi trail-blazed a new field of micro-computing when it was released back in 2012, helping create a new generation of bedroom hackers and many, many innovative uses. Since then though there’s been a sequel and a number of competitor systems released, the latest of which is quite a power-house.

Known as the Pine A64, developed by Pine64, the similar looking, similar sized system, is quite a lot more advanced than even the Raspberry Pi 2, released earlier this year. The Pine A64 comes with a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU, running at 1.2GHz, which gives it a more impressive architecture and a 300MHz higher clock speed than the Pi 2, as well.

Buyers will however have to dish out for the A64+ model if they want the gigabyte of DDR3, which puts it in line with the Pi 2 when it comes to memory.

The graphics capabilities of the Pine are expected to be much stronger, too. As Toms reports, it uses a Mali-400 MP2 GPU, which we’re told should be capable of handling 4K video playback.

The biggest advantage is has, though, is in its support for 64bit software. That means that homebrew hackers, school children and students can all hack together much more impressive applications for the Pine A64 than they can for the Pi 2.

Other specifications include Ethernet functionality up to 100Mbps, support for 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and BlueTooth 4.0.  It also has a pair of USB 2.0 ports, and has connections over HDMI, an 3.5mm jack, a 5MP camera port and an input for a touch-panel.

Of course all of this is all well and good, but the Pi 2 is available right now, whereas the Pine A64 is not. It’s currently being developed and is up for pre-order on the crowd-funding website, Kickstarter. $15 gets you a pre-ordered Pine A64 standard model with 512MB of RAM, with an expected delivery date of March 2016. Some were available sooner, but that was for a few select early bird pledgers.

For those that want the full package, you will have to shell out $19 for the Pine A64+ and you can even get it as soon as February if you don’t want all of the features. If you do however, you’re going to have to wait until April.

More expensive options offer even more RAM, as well as add-in SD cards for storage and additional modules for added capabilities.

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