Playing with development boards and embedded computers is quite a lot of fun especially with small PC boards. These board features a processor with high processing power and various interface setups to hook it up with various systems. The main advantage of the small PC board is that it can perform the basic functions and some common functions that require only a small processing power of the full scale computer. Normally the small task performed by the computer requires all the other parts working which consumes lot of energy and requires a large space when compared to the small PC boards. In the other hand these boards consumes only mill watts of power to few watts at maximum. The board also features direct interface of electronic modules and sensors for simple analysis and home automation applications. The small pc board supports special versions of the conventional operation systems.
They come as bare PCB that is to be mounted within some protective case or to be fitted to a existing system with its own case or the computer boards comes with a dedicated enclosed case of outdoor uses. The PCB is usually few layers thick because of the specialized processor to minimize the component population and to make it more compact. Leading computer manufactures have their own mini/micro counterpart with limited functions mainly aiming to perform dedicated small tasks continuously at lower power consumption possible.
Small pc board like raspberry pi has USB interface for external hard wares like mouse keyboard and graphics display through HDMI ports. Some of the board like PI has their own operating system and in system programming functions to configure the input and output ports. Small pc system stands out with their price too with the price range starting from a few bucks.