Re: How about an octal-core ARM based laptop/netbook?
The Pi3 is quite nice. I have one on my desk. But I also have an Odroid XU4, possibly the best bang for the buck in ARM boards.
The XU4 is $74 vs $35 for the Pi. But it's not actually twice the price, because you have to add at minimum an SD card to both, which is going to cost you a bit for a decent sized fast one. You also have to add a power supply to the Pi, which is probably going to set you back $20+. The XU4 comes with a 20 W power supply.
If you want a headless server to SSH into then you're done. Otherwise, add keyboard, mouse, monitor to both and the price difference starts to look trivial.
Once that's sorted out, the XU4 also has:
- about 2.5x the CPU power in each the main 4 cores (not even counting the LITTLE ones)
- 2 GB of fast DDR3 RAM vs 1 GB
- gig ethernet vs 100
- four or five times faster SD card interface (when used with a good card)
- PLUS an eMMC interface that is twice as fast as the SD card
- USB3 vs USB2
What's missing on the XU4?
- WIFI, Bluetooth, and 3.5mm sound out (but HDMI has sound)
The XU4 competes closely per core with a similar MHz core/core2. Think "White MacBook" of 2008 MacBook Air or something like that. But it's got twice as many (fast) cores.