What to Know About SBC Computers

So, what is a computer that uses an SBC and how does it work? An SBC or single-board computer has a microprocessor, an input, and an output, as well as a memory. It’s an entire computer that has been built into a unique and single circuit board. These computers are usually used for doing demos in schools or for presentations during educational and development systems.

Portable and home computers are also integrated onto a single circuit board. They don’t depend on expansion slots, and those built by hobbyists use inexpensive processors; some SBC computers are very compact. They can be plugged into a back-plane or carrier board.

As an example, one type of single-board computer that is used to teach computer science in schools and libraries is known as The Raspberry PI:

Application and Use

The density of integrated circuits can be increased by using single-board computers, as that is a good method of reducing the cost and quantity of circuit boards within a computer unit. Notebook computers are one of those types of SBC’s that are reliable since they function using a single-board system.

There is no need for a plug-in card especially when you have an SBC and therefore that is why SBC’s are very effectively almost always used within the gaming industry; specifically, for video poker and slot machines.

SBC’s that are embedded are small and the I/O is used a lot for industrial applications and use. There is no need for a disk drive anymore and a flash memory can easily be booted.
Single Board Computers are used for I/O cards and are plugged into back-planes and many times the I/O board can be stacked.

Where are SBC’s used?

Because SBC’s are small and lightweight, they have been efficiently used instead of multi-board computers for process control. When you go here, you will read about how SBC’s have been embedded into devices that need a rack mount format in order to travel into space, for example.

The Shuttle, ARRIANE, and the Pegasus Rocket have all utilized an SBC to function in one way or another. ALICE was a sea probe that went into the depths of the ocean by means of an SBC.


Since motherboards are mass manufactured, they, therefore, cost much less than SBC’s. The latter has a specific niche and is more expensive to make. It’s interesting to note, however, that both motherboards and SBC’s have similar areas and levels of features that need integration, and both are equally replaceable.

Types of SBC’s

Compact PCI, VMEbus, PICMG, and VXI are all good examples of SBC’s that are created and built to include an architecture that involves multi-processing and systems that require low power systems such as SPARC and RISC for processing.

Finally, there are single-board computers that contain hardware expansion capabilities that can be assembled and put together without the usual back-planes. Systems such as PC/104, EBX, and EPIC, which have embedded control systems, will use also stacking SBC’s.