CHIP is a computer that costs $9

Think the $35 Raspberry Pi 2 is overpriced? Then perhaps you’d be interested in a computer that costs just $9.

That’s it up at the top of the page. Its creators call it CHIP, and it really is a $9 computer. It’s got a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of onboard storage. CHIP also has built-in Wi-Fi to make network connections and Bluetooth to connect cordless peripherals, all for less than the price of a crappy USB keyboard.

Technically CHIP might be a dev board, but it can run a full Linux desktop and do everything that a normal computer does. Its small size (2.3 inches by 1.5 inches) certainly makes it a good fit for maker projects, but anyone could hook up power, run a video cable to a display, and surf with Chromium, chat in Pidgin, or watch videos in VLC using CHIP — just like on a regular PC.

How do you make a computer that costs $9? You yank the guts out of a dirt-cheap Chinese tablet, that’s how. CHIP uses an Allwinner SoC, the same one you’ll find inside numerous bargain-priced devices on sites like Aliexpress or Geekbuying. They’re reasonably powerful and the cost is tough to compete with, which makes their chips a good choice if you’re trying to build something like, say, a $9 computer.

Now for the catch: CHIP is a Kickstarter project, so you won’t be getting any of the goodies right away. CHIP starts shipping in May of 2016. If you want to get your hands on something similar much sooner, the new Raspberry Pi is a really nice board — and you can even run Windows 10 on it.



PC Tech

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