My home office features a prominent shelf of single-board computers (SBCs). Notably, the Raspberry Pi puts in a showing with several variants including the Raspberry Pi 2, Raspberry Pi 3 B+, and Raspberry Pi 4. However, maker boards aren't limited to the Raspberry Pi, though it's easily the most popular device on the market. I'm pretty fond of Raspberry Pi competitors such as the Odroid XU4 and RockPro64. Because of its excellent support from both official channels and third-party sources, the ASUS Tinker Board remains one of my favorite SBCs. For a nifty, lightweight Linux-based experience, DietPi is a fantastic choice. Here's how to install DietPi on the ASUS Tinker Board!
What is the ASUS Tinker Board?A powerful development board, the ASUS Tinker Board packs a Rockchip RK3288 system-on-a-chip (SoC). There's a robust 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM, a microSD card slot, and powerful ARM Mali-T764 GPU for graphics processing. Onboard, you'll find H.264 and H.265 video playback support.
On the input/output side, the Tinker Board boasts a 40-pin GPIO header for connectivity with various LEDs, buttons, sensors, and switches. There's a DSI MIPI for hooking up touchscreens and displays, as well as a CSI MIPI connector for cameras. Gigabit Ethernet offers fast networking, and there's integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless networking. Four USB 2.0 ports provide data transfer capabilities, and there's a full-size HDMI port.
ASUS Tinker Board specs:
- Rockchip RK3288 Cortex-A17 quad-core SoC
- ARM Mali-T764 GPU
- Up to 4K video support
- 2GB DDR3
- 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 4 x USB 2.0 ports
- 15-pin MIPI CSI slot
- 40-pin GPIO header
- micro USB port for power
- 16GB eMMC
- Low-voltage input detection
- Plug-in detection, audio auto-switching
What is DietPi?DietPi is a Debian-based Linux operating system (OS). It's pretty lightweight and concentrates on delivering a minimalist Linux distribution (distro). Its base installer begins at a meager 400 MB. Still, it comes with a ton of software options. On the ASUS Tinker Board, DietPi lacks graphical user interface (GUI) capabilities, and runs a commandline-only operating system by default. As such, DietPi on the Tinker Board is well suited for a server environment, and may want to run it headless. But you can install a desktop environment and loads of different software options, so it's excellent as a desktop too.
How to Install DietPi on the ASUS Tinker BoardInstalling DietPi on the ASUS Tinker Board requires little more than the Tinker Board, a microSD card or eMMC module, peripherals such as a keyboard and mouse, monitor for first set up, and an active internet connection. A case is optional, though I highly recommend one for keeping your ASUS Tinker Board safe and protected.
What you'll need for a DietPi ASUS Tinker Board install:
- ASUS Tinker Board
- microSD card or eMMC module
- Case (optional, recommended)
- micro USB power supply
- DietPi for the ASUS Tinker Board image
- Image mounting software (i.e. Etcher)
- Image extraction software (i.e. 7Zip)
Download the ASUS Tinker Board flavor of DietPi. It's a 7Z file, so you'll need to decompress it with an application like 7Zip.
After extracting the image, use a program such as Etcher to mount the DietPi image to a microSD card or eMMC module. Once burning completes, remove your boot medium, pop it into the ASUS Tinker Board, and fire up your SBC.