In Pictures: 16 matchbox PCs - small but powerful

These tiny systems, ranging from bare-bones boards to full-blown, ready-to-run PCs, are ideal for hackers and hobbyists who want to create their own powerful machines.

In Pictures: 16 matchbox PCs - small but powerful next

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Basic boards: Part 1 Basic matchbox devices are bare, but functional -- they come with some form of operating system support (although you may need to prepare the device to run it), and so can be gotten up and running almost immediately after being uncrated.

Clockwise, starting at top left: The education-oriented Raspberry Pi ($35), the hobbyist-and-manufacturing-oriented Gumstix Overo series (from $99-$229) and the hacker-friendly BeagleBoard Black ($44.95) are three of the most popular devices in this category, each having already garnered a following.

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In Pictures: 16 matchbox PCs - small but powerful

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