GizmoSphere Gizmo 2 SBC Pairs PC-Class Power With Raspberry Pi's Size

Using the same CPU and GPU architectures as found in the PS4 and Xbone (albeit heavily downclocked), the Gizmo 2 comes to provide DIY'ers with what the Raspberry Pi, and many other competing single-board computers, can't. The Gizmo 2 is about as tiny, at 4 x 4”, but can run operating systems designed for x86 CPUs (Windows and Linux, among others), and offers a bunch of high-speed interfaces to mess with.

 

Burly enough to need active coolingBurly enough to need active cooling

 

...As it should, given the price: $199 USD. Yikes! You can buy a cheap tablet or a PC motherboard with faster processor for cheaper, but you'll be forgoing the this-is-the-smallest-we-can-realistically-make-it PCB size and developer interfaces. The Gizmo 2 is also open source, with documentation available on most of its inner workings, unlike with most consumer electronics.

 

Densely-packed board surface with polymer capacitorsDensely-packed board surface with polymer capacitors

 

AMD's GX-210HA SoC, similar to the E1-2100 found in cheap laptops, anchors the Gizmo 2 with “85 GFLOPS performance”. It's got twin 1.0Ghz Jaguar CPU cores and Radeon 8210E graphics, paired with 1GB of RAM. Compared to the 700Mhz ARM11 and 512MB RAM in the various Pi revisions, the Gizmo 2 will more readily handle video streaming and games, besides projects that require multiple software processes  to be run at once.

 

That silver thing at bottom-center is the CMOS battery holderThat silver thing at bottom-center is the CMOS battery holder

 

Then there's the port payload. You get two each of USB 2.0 and 3.0, a header for extra USB 2.0, HDMI output, 3.5mm audio in/out, gigabit Ethernet, combination mini PCIe/mSATA, and a micro SD slot. I also spy solder pads for a SATA connector on the board's topside, close to the power and reset buttons.

Still more interfaces can be accessed through two card-edge connectors at the front of the Gizmo 2. Per the schematics, the “low speed” one provides 8x GPIO, 2x PWM, SPI I/F, 2x “COUNTER”, USB 2.0, and a system reset toggle. The “high speed” one provides two PCIe x1 slots, a DisplayPort output, and extra SATA and USB 3.0.

 

View of the card-edge expansion connectorsView of the card-edge expansion connectors

 

All in all, the Element14 product page describes the Gizmo 2 as providing high processing and graphics performance while still being suitable for hobbyist projects requiring lots of of inputs and outputs. A typical Raspberry Pi goes for 1/4 the price of a Gizmo 2, but those who really need the extra perks may be willing to swallow the premium.