Intel may reign supreme in the desktop and laptop space, but ARM is eating its lunch almost everywhere else. That's not something the chipmaker can ignore, which is why it's having another crack at the hobby / developer market with Sharks Cove. The board, designed with Microsoft, has the stated aim of helping developers build apps and drivers for Windows and Android devices that use Intel chips. Since it's also available for everyone else to buy, it could also be quietly positioned as a more powerful alternative to boards like Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately, as with the NUC, there's a catch: the board will retail for $300.For all of that cash, however, you get the bones of a half-decent low-power PC, with a quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom chip, 1GB RAM and 16GB storage with a microSD slot for expansion. You can hook the board up to a display using either a MIPI connector or the full-size HDMI port, and can hook the unit up to the internet using the Ethernet port or with a WiFi dongle in the one USB 2.0 port. None of that may justify the cost compared to its low-power rivals, but the fact that the hardware comes with a full Windows 8.1 license may soften the blow a little. Still, at three benjamins, we can't imagine too many hobbyists will buy one just for noodling around -- so perhaps this will remain developer only gear.
Microsoft Windows 8.1