Conflicting Design Issues for Today's Single Board Computers

Back in the early days of Single Board Computers, the SBC technology-feature envelope was pretty well defined. Boards such as Intel's SBC80/10, an 8080A CPU on a Multibus card, were physically big. They needed large power supplies and fans, and they could do minimal tasks. They interfaced through industrial I/O and, optionally, with a dumb terminal. A floppy disk controller was a two-card set with bit-slice logic that could fry an egg or your finger.

For 25 years now, the SBC technology-feature envelope has expanded to cover more features, less power, smaller size and more for your money. The envelope's evolution was somewhat predictable next generation SBCs were just like yesterday's SBCs, but smaller, cheaper and faster.

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