What are 4K SBCs (Single Board Computers)? And how do they benefit Embedded and Edge Computing Applications?

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Why do SBCs need to support 4K displays? 

Single board computers have the versatility to be integrated into a variety of different applications and deployments. In this case, SBCs are capable of supporting multiple UHD 4K displays for visual and graphical multimedia applications. As technology is advancing, displays have become higher quality with much larger resolutions. These attributes highlight the capabilities of SBCs as they deliver extraordinary flexibility for OEM designers to integrate into systems. SBCs that support 4K displays are adapted into a multitude of key applications:


  • Casino gaming machines
  • Digital signage
  • Interactive kiosks
  • Smart retail


  • IIoT
  • Industrial automation
  • Smart manufacturing

And much more

What is 4K resolution? Why is it Important? 

4K is the modernized standard pixel resolution for digital screens; stretching 4096 pixels wide to 2160 pixels tall (4096x2160). Some may have heard of 2160p, this is the exact same as 4K. The reason behind the craze for 4K is that it is four times the pixel density of the previous screen resolution standard, 1080p or FHD. There is a significant increase in details and image quality due to the hike in pixels. Additionally, larger screen sizes don’t suffer as much of a quality loss because of the increased pixel density. Digital signage applications take advantage of this next-gen technology to display high quality imagery that make text clearer to read and objects easier to identify. The dramatic escalation of pixel density makes it more difficult for viewers to see each individual pixel. Viewers that happen to identify these pixels may begin to lose interest as they are not fully immersed in the experience, or even become dissatisfied because of how distracting it can be. 4K resolution solves this common issue for a variety of multimedia applications and impresses viewers with how smooth and high quality the display imagery is.

4K SBC Applications: Digital Signage and Computer Vision for Medical Imaging

On top of that, the standardization of 4K has led to even greater supporting technologies that propel the advantages of 4K. Companies have begun creating content in 4K to accommodate for the higher resolution standard. Also, a technology called 4K upscaling has allowed lower resolution video or imagery to be displayed in higher quality through the 4K screen. Motion-smoothing, higher refresh rates, more vibrant LEDs, and many more technologies have been introduced with the new standardization. This shows how 4K displays have solidified their position as the new norm and will most likely be future proof for quite some time as 8K is not widely adopted in the industry.  

What SBCs can support 4K displays?

4K SBC with Intel Embedded SoC

Intel pioneered to be the first to introduce 4K display support in their embedded SoC processors. From the Kaby Lake generation and onwards, Intel had pushed their integrated HD Graphics to support 4K display in a single processor and later be capable of supporting multiple independent 4K displays simultaneously. Premio’s 3.5” Intel SBC utilizes Intel’s 8th Generation Whiskey Lake Mobile U processor to drive power, high-performance, and reinforced reliability to multitudes of embedded applications.

Learn more about Intel SBCs >>

4K SBC with AMD Ryzen Embedded SoC

AMD Ryzen Embedded has introduced two SoC processors that support multiple independent 4K displays, the R1000 and V1000. Utilizing AMD’s Radeon RX “Vega” discrete GPU architecture, AMD Ryzen Embedded processors can process smooth immersive graphics with high quality visuals. These features are incorporated into Premio’s AMD Ryzen SBC series in 3.5” and 1.8” form factors. AMD Ryzen SBCs are equipped with the necessary I/O and offer scalability with expandible storage and additional I/O to power the multimedia applications.

Learn more about AMD Ryzen Embedded SBCs >>

SBCs and why they are important for embedded computing designs?

Single Board Computers are embedded into almost every computing solution you see. From within smart appliances to interactive digital signage, there is an abundant number of applications where SBCs are deployed from behind-the-scenes. Why are SBCs embedded into all these applications? The main reason is that it is the ‘brains’ and ‘hearts’ of all its applications. The heart corresponds to the SBC’s capability to drive power and connectivity to all the IoT devices and sensors. The brain represents the SBC’s key role in processing, analyzing, and storing data that is collected from all the IoT devices. Without an SBC, the entire system cannot function.

OEM designers rely on the versatility and reliability of SBCs as they can integrate them into their systems seamlessly. SBCs are durable and purpose-built to withstand the harsh environments at the rugged edge. Their size, processing power, and I/O configurations are all fully customizable for designers to feel unrestricted on what they can create.

How do 4K SBCs enable Immersive Casino Gaming Experiences?

The standardization of 4K and introduction of 4K SBCs have innovated the casino gaming industry. Casino gaming machines require various specifications to deliver fun experiences reliably on the casino floor. 4K resolution, vibrant and attractive imagery/graphics, and many more defining features are powered by 4K SBCs. Here are some key reasons why 4K SBCs are a crucial component to casino gaming machines:

1. Supporting multi-screen 4K displays

First, the driving factor of the whole machine, the displays. Gaming machines need high quality graphics, like 4K displays, that attract and immerse players into their games to create memorable experiences. 4K SBCs provide the necessary processing power and connectivity to enable this high-resolution display. The jump from 1080p to 4K has populated the pixel density and improved graphical clarity. Players are more enticed to play on machines that have smooth vibrant colors and much higher resolution graphics. Moreover, distracting individual pixels are less likely to be noticed and reinforces player immersion.

4K SBC supports multiple 4K Displays and are Built Rugged. Built Ready.

2. Industrial-grade Reliability

Second, casino gaming machines will be operating 24/7 and remain reliable with little to no maintenance required. Downtime due to technical difficulties results in a loss of sales and traffic. Not only do out-of-service machines create a loss in sales, it leaves a bad impression on players when browsing the casino. SBCs are designed with industrial-grade materials, utilizing a power efficient TDP, and having a wide operating temperature range of -40°C-75°C to ensure reliability while operating on the casino floor. In addition, AMD and Intel have provided a 10-year and 15-year lifecycle roadmap for its embedded processors for lengthened support. The longevity and reliability of embedded processors coupled with the durability of Premio’s industrial-grade SBC gives OEM casino gaming designers the confidence to deliver competent gaming machines onto the casino floor.

Explore more about the importance of Built Rugged. Built Ready. >>

3. Space Constrained Deployment

4K SBCs Standardized Form Factors 3.5" and 1.8"

Lastly, 4K SBCs follow standardized form factors to be able to fit into space constrained locations. Traditional motherboards are large, use fans for thermal control, and use a bulky GPU to drive graphics. SBCs eliminate those requirements without sacrificing performance by:  

  • condensing its size to a standardized 3.5” to 1.8” form factor  
  • being passively cooled 
  • incorporating an embedded SoC processor 

Premio SBCs are ultra-slim with minimal height to fit into cabinet spaces, typically how casino gaming machines are constructed. Passive cooling eliminates the need for a fan which gives OEM designers more flexibility when integrating the SBC into the machine as it no longer requires ventilation holes and dust filters to accommodate for fans. AMD and Intel Embedded SoCs drive both processing power and graphics within a single chip. There is no need for a bulky dedicated GPU as it has been integrated into the processor as a discrete GPU.  

Overall, 4K SBCs are crucial components in embedded systems that allow 4K technologies to operate. Designers from any field can use the 4K SBC to deliver 4K display to their applications. Whether it be for digital signage purposes or casino gaming machines, these SBCs are purpose-built to reliably drive power to 4K displays and process 4K imagery while deployed to the rugged edge.