There’s a new MIPS-based board that has started shipping from the electronics bazaar at Seed Studio: it is called LinkIt Smart 7688 and comes equipped with a MIPS-based Mediatek MT7688 chip.

This Linux-based system supports 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity and is one of the industry’s lowest power consumption SoC of its kind, sporting a MIPS CPU clocked at 580MHz. In addition, the module includes 32Mb of flash memory, 128Mb of RAM, a USB host, and a microSD card slot.  MediaTek LinkIt Smart 7688_2

For as low as $13, developers also get a rich set of peripherals, including 22 GPIO pins, 4 PWM pins, 3 UART ports, one SPI master port, one SPI slave port, one I2C port, one I2S port. The board comes preinstalled with OpenWrt (a Linux-based distribution that runs optimally on multiple MIPS-based boards, including the new Creator kit) with an IoT development environment oriented on the Python, Lua and JavaScript languages.

MediaTek LinkIt Smart 7688_3
Recently, MIPS developer extraordinaire Serge Vakulenko ordered a unit ordered from Seeed Studio, and managed to install a fully featured Debian version on it. He used the microSD card as a root filesystem, and found the 128Mb of RAM enough to run all the system software, including the C/C++ compiler and debugger, a web server, and several other applications.

He also ran a few performance tests to see how fast the board runs – and the results have been quite impressive – for example, the Dhrystone test delivered 633 DMIPS. The microSD card is also very fast: write speeds are around 6.7Mbytes/sec, while read throughput is at 14.3Mbytes/sec. Finally, power consumption ranges from 130mA at idle (Wi-Fi receive mode) up to 230mA with active disk scanning (Wi-Fi transmit mode).

For developers looking to build IoT devices, this development board offers more advanced features and increased performance in comparison to some of the other commonly-used, low-cost IoT solutions available these days. The new LinkIt Smart 7688 joins the growing ecosystem of MIPS developer boards for IoT which includes products using chipsets from Microchip, Qualcomm Atheros, Ingenic, Ineda and Creator.

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About the author: Alex Voica

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Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

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