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LeMaker Guitar review

With a remarkably familiar form-factor and intriguing name, does the LeMaker Guitar fill a hole in the computer-on-module market?

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LeMaker first raised hackles in the hobbyist computing market back in 2014 when it launched the Banana Pi, a blatant attempt at duplicating the success of the Raspberry Pi single-board computer. While the company was pilloried for its choice of name, later abandoned in favour of successor board the Banana Pro, the company’s first release was far from a slavish copy: boasting a more powerful processor, more memory, and SATA connectivity, the device proved a hit until the launch of the improved Raspberry Pi 2.

The Guitar, part of a new family of designs from LeMaker, may not carry the Banana branding but there’s no denying its influence. Rather than designing the device around the mainstream Raspberry Pi form factor, though, the company has this time opted to build a computer-on-module inspired by the Raspberry Pi Compute Module.

Anyone who has worked with the Compute Module will find the LeMaker Guitar immediately familiar. The system-on-chip processor, an Actions S500, sits alongside 1GB of memory, a combined audio and power management unit, and 8GB of NAND flash storage on an over-sized small-outline DIMM (SODIMM) form factor circuit board. This board then connects to a baseboard, supplied with the Guitar, which provides more accessible connectivity than the SODIMM’s 204 electrical contacts.

The baseboard isn’t a dumb breakout board, however: while the bulk of the active components are located on the Guitar itself, wired and wireless networking PHYs are installed on the baseboard. Those planning to integrate the Guitar module into a baseboard of their own design following prototyping will need to keep that in mind and add their own network connectivity accordingly.

Want to find out more about the LeMaker Guitar? Check out the full review in issue 162 of LU&D!

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