Hot on the heels of our coverage of an in-depth guide showing you how to make your own "NES Classic Edition" with a Raspberry Pi, ASUS strikes with a DIY kit that it says is about twice as fast as the RPi 3. The DIY retro gaming arena could be heating up with more powerful options!
The Tinker Board, as ASUS calls it, sports a Rockchip RK3288 SoC clocked at 1.2GHz. According to ASUS, and its GeekBench test, this chip is almost 2x faster than the RPi 3's Broadcom BCM2837, which is also clocked at 1.2GHz. Both chips are quad-core, but the Rockchip could help significantly with more processor-intensive tasks.
ASUS has other one-ups to talk about, too. Versus the RPi 3, the Tinker Board features a 1Gbps Ethernet post (vs. 100Mbps), H.264 4K decode capabilities, 192K/24-bit audio sampling rates (vs. 48K/16-bit), it has twice the RAM (2GB vs. 1GB), and includes the latest standard SDIO port, 3.0.
One area where the Tinker Board doesn't best the RPi 3 is with on-board storage. The Tinker Board, like the Raspberry Pi 3, doesn't have any, unfortunately. It's expected that the user will simply rely on the microSD slot. Fortunately, microSD cards have become very affordable over the years; you can score a fast 64GB model for a mere $19, or a 128GB for $39.
On the topic of pricing, that is one important bit of info we don't have about the Tinker Board. While ASUS' offering might very well be twice as fast as the RPi 3, its pricing is likely what will dictate its success. What we do know for sure is that it seems to have the goods to attract makers, single board computing enthusiasts and DIY retro gamers. Just think how it could up your game in the how-to build we showed you here.