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BeagleBone Green - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 8
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 7
Demo Software was of good quality: 9
Product was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 10
The price to performance ratio was good: 6
TotalScore: 50 / 60
  • RoadTest: BeagleBone Green
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: Similar to sister boards BeagleBone Black and Blue. It is also very similar to the RaspberryPi 3B+ and 4.
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: I haven't encountered any issues with the board.

  • Detailed Review:

    Right out of the box I was really impressed with the looks of the BBG. I really liked the PCB's matte green on green design.

     

    SDR Host

    My plan for the BBG was to use it as a controller for an SDR (software-defined radio) to measure wireless channels. It has less processing power than other SBC (single-board computers) in its price range but still managed to have enough processing power to run some simple tasks. My original plan was to use the BBG to control ADALM-PLUTOs but a change to the project led to the boards being used to communicate with LTE modems directly. The BBG was able to log moderate amounts of data without any issues using the onboard storage. It was disappointing to only have 4 GB of flash memory onboard but an SD card would allow for more collection to happen. There was never any difficulty using BBG for the project. Beyond the project work, I started to play with additional features such as Node-RED but the timing limitations of the project did not allow for in-depth performance evaluation. 

     

    Workstation Extension

    I am presently a graduate student doing some research with an industry sponsor. My industry sponsor uses Windows 10 for most employee computers. I was unable to have my usual Ubuntu system and instead ended up with a locked down Windows 10 system. The BBG allowed for me to have a slave device that was Linux (Debian by default) and completely unrestricted in abilities, unlike my Windows computer. It wasn't powerful enough to be used as a desktop but had enough oomf to be run some moderately computationally heavy python scripts.

     

    Pseudo Network Card

    Most of the work I was performing required a computer with multiple network cards. My new computer only had one network card but the BBG allowed for me to effectively use it as an external NIC. This was extremely helpful since the BBG terminal can be accessed from a web browser on the host machine. There are a lot of features available from the host controller like Cloud IDE which gives access to a terminal.

     

    Summary

    While the BBG is a nice embedded system, there are others that give better bang for your buck. Having lots of GPIO is useful but lack of a graphics output was annoying at times. This is a solid board for getting introduced to embedded systems but I feel that another board such as a raspberry Pi 4 will give better price to performance and greater community support.


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