Brian Benchoff, a well-known developer, has presented the cheapest, and fully functional, PC that we have seen so far. It is a totally portable computer, with screen and keyboard included, that is prepared to work with light versions of Linux, and could be manufactured at a cost of approximately 15 dollars.
There is no doubt that, with that cost, it would have everything to become, as we have anticipated, the cheapest PC available, but we must introduce some nuances, and that figure does not include the costs derived from assembly and shipping, and to reach that range it would be necessary to buy its components in a minimum order of 10,000 units.
However, what I have mentioned above leave us good news, and it is that the costs derived from the assembly and the shipment could be offset by exceeding that minimum order of 10,000 units. You already know how this works, the cost of many components varies depending on the quantity we order. Thus, placing an order for 1,000 units of a given part will have a higher unit cost than if we were to place the same order but for 10,000 units.
It’s the cheapest PC ever built, but you can’t buy it yet
Yes, I know it’s a little disappointing, but don’t worry, because Brian Benchoff is evaluating different options to be able to move forward with this interesting project. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if he resorted to a crowdfunding campaign and I think, in fact, that that would be your best alternative.
As for the specifications of the device, the truth is that they are not bad at all to be the cheapest PC of the moment, always taking into account that requirement of being “fully functional”. These are your keys:
- 2.3-inch screen (without touch interface) with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels.
- Allwinner F1C100s ARM9 processor at 533 MHz.
- 32MB of DDR memory.
- MicroSD card slot and 64 GB card for storage.
- 48-key keyboard with silicone membrane.
- USB Type-A 2.0 connector for data.
- USB Type-C connector for power.
- Two AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries.
Its specs may not surprise our younger readers, but this rig has enough power to do a lot of things, like play DOOM, a title that has been executed even in the Touch Bar of the MacBook, work as an authentication device or even as a digital wallet for cryptocurrencies.
It is possible that its specifications will improve before it reaches production, but right now, with the current costs of its components, and despite the shortage that prevails in the supply chain of computer components, it would be totally feasible to move forward. with a cost of materials, not including assembly or shipping, of $14.16.
The person in charge of the project has confirmed that everything related to the cheapest PC of the moment, including from the design files to the software, will be Open Source, and it will be available so that any user can customize it to their liking.