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Catalog of 116 open-spec hacker boards

Jun 5, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 2798 views

This catalog accompanies our June 2018 reader survey of hacker-friendly, open-spec SBCs. Here, we provide recently updated descriptions, specs, pricing, and links to details for all 116 SBCs.

Our June 2018 round-up of hacker-friendly single board computers comprises three resources: an overview of recent SBC market trends; this catalog; and a Google docs spreadsheet that tabulates the boards’ key features. Click on the introduction link below to find the link to the SurveyMonkey site where you can vote for your favorite boards and win a chance at some free SBC prizes.

 

Catalog with brief descriptions of all 116 SBCs (you are here)

 
The following summaries are listed in alpha order and are based on specs and lowest available pricing recorded in the last two weeks of May 2018, with products either shipping or available for pre-order with expect ship date by the end of June. Note: Summaries for SBCs that are new in this edition of the round-up are marked with the “NEW” tag shown above. We have also added a brief one-line description in addition to the paragraph-sized blurbs.

 

86Duino Zero / Zero Plus

  • Legacy, low-power x86 hacker board
  • Company/project — DM&P, 86Duino.com
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — DM&P Vortex86EX (1x x86 @ 300MHz)
  • Memory — 128MB DDR3 (Zero), 1GB (Zero Plus)
  • Price — $39 (Zero); $54 (Zero Plus)

DM&P’s x86 based 86Duino boards are some of the smallest x86 SBCs around, but they haven’t been updated in a while, and forum traffic is getting thin. The boards offer Arduino-compatible expansion, low power consumption, and a modular COM+baseboard design. The Zero and Zero Plus provide 10/100Mbps “Fast” Ethernet, USB 2.0, and microSD connections, plus 17x digital I/O pins and 6x analog inputs. A $69, 102 x 53mm One model adds HD audio and more expansion I/O, and the $84 One Plus bumps the RAM from 128MB to 1GB.

 

A20-OlinuXino-Lime2

  • Mature, low-power Arm hacker board with GbE and 160 GPIOs
  • Company/project — Olimex, OlinuXino, Mouser
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; optional 4GB eMMC, 4GB NAND, or 8GB NAND flash
  • Price — $53 (45 Euros); $65 (55 Euros) for 4GB version

Bulgaria-based Olimex’s OlinuXino project is one of the older hacker board projects around. Its aging A20-OlinuXino-Lime2 offers an Allwinner A20 with a Gigabit Ethernet (GbE, or 10/100/1000Mbps) port, microSD slot, HDMI port, LCD interface, and 3x USB ports. You also get battery support and 160 GPIOs. The 84 x 60mm SBC is available with Android 4.2.2 or Debian Jessie with Linux 3.4.1 mainline images.

 

A20-OlinuXino-Micro

  • Optional industrial temp support and I/O expansion modules
  • Company/project — Olimex, OlinuXino, Mouser
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; optional 4GB eMMC, 4GB NAND, and 8GB NAND
  • Price — $65 (55 Euros); $77 (65 Euros) with 4GB eMMC

The A20-OlinuXino-Micro has all the I/O of the first-gen Lime models, and adds VGA, LCD with touch support, and audio I/O. This larger, 142 x 83mm board offers expansion connectors with optional I/O modules. New features include 4GB eMMC, 4GB NAND, and 8GB NAND versions, plus optional -45 to 85°C support on the microSD only and 4GB eMMC models (add 8 Euros for either).

 

A33-OlinuXino

  • Smaller and less feature-rich than other Limes but with faster quad-core Allwinner A33
  • Company/project — Olimex, OlinuXino, Mouser
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A33 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; optional 4GB NAND
  • Price — $42 (36 Euros) or $52 (44 Euros) for 4GB version

The A33-OlinuXino has a faster quad-core Allwinner A33 SoC compared to earlier OlinuXino boards, but it also has a reduced feature set. The only real-world ports are a mini-USB OTG port, audio jacks, and a 5V jack. Two unassembled 40-pin connectors support GPIO, as well as 1280 x 800-pixel LCD and dual MIPI-CSI camera (5- and 8-megapixel) interfaces. Other features include a debug connector, a LiPo charger, and a step-up converter. The 71 x 66mm SBC is smaller than the A20-based Lime and Lime2 boards. You can download images for Android 4.4 and Debian Jesse with Linux 3.4.39.

 

A64-OLinuXino

  • First 64-bit OLinuXino
  • Company/project — Olimex, OlinuXino, Mouser
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM (2GB on 2G16G-IND ext. temp model); optional 4GB eMMC (16GB eMMC on 2G16G-IND)
  • Price — $47 (40 Euros); $59 (50 Euros) for 4GB eMMC; $88 (75 Euros) for 2G16G-IND

Olimex has been expanding into ESP32 modules and open source laptops (Teres-A64) but it returned to Linux-based SBCs last June with the release of its first 64-bit board. Like the Teres-A64, the 90.0 x 62.5mm A64-OLinuXino runs Ubuntu/Linaro 4.7.3 on a quad Cortex-A53 Allwinner A64. The A64-OLinuXino is available in three models: a 1G0G version with 1GB RAM and no flash, a 1G4GW with 1GB RAM and 4GB eMMC, and a 2G16G-IND with 2GB RAM and 16GB eMMC that also offers -45 to 85°C support. The 4GB model, which is still the only one currently in stock, is also the only one with WiFi and Bluetooth. All three A64-OLinuXino models offer GbE, microSD, USB 2.0 host, micro-USB OTG, HDMI, and MIPI-DSI connections. Interfaces including LCD and MIPI-CSI are accessible via the 40-pin GPIO connector, which is not claimed to be Raspberry Pi compatible. Other extras include an RTC and a LiPo battery connector with step-up and charging support.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry

  • Raspberry Pi sized variant of BPI-M2 Ultra with native SATA that adds camera support
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner V40 (4x Cortex-A7); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $36

Since our last survey in June 2017, we have removed the $50 Banana Pi BPI-M2 and other older Banana Pi models due to their relatively high prices and the arrival of several more capable BPI-M2 follow-ons. Several new models have shipped since then, including the $32 Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry which is based on the earlier BPI-Ultra design (see below). Like the Ultra, the Berry is notable for offering native SATA support. The Berry is smaller, with a Raspbery Pi-like 85 x 56mm, and has a different quad -A7 Allwinner SoC: the camera enabled Allwinner V40 in place of the almost identical R40. The Berry lacks the Ultra’s eMMC storage, and it offers 1GB DDR3 instead of 2GB. In place of a 5V jack, you draw power via micro-USB OTG, and you won’t find the Ultra’s battery support, IR receiver, or debug UART. On the other hand, the Berry adds a fourth USB 2.0 host port and a MIPI-CSI camera connector. Other features include microSD, WiFi, Bluetooth, GbE, HDMI, MIPI-DSI, and audio connections, as well as an RPi-compatible 40-pin expansion.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic

  • Tiny quad-core board with MIPI-DSI and -CSI takes on the headless NanoPi Neo and RPi Zero
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A33 (4x Cortex-A7); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC (optional 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB)
  • Price — $21

Available for $21 on Alibaba, the Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic, or BPI-M2M, has a 51 x 51mm footprint that puts it in the same league as the tiny NanoPi Neo boards. The BPI-M2 Magic runs Debian, Ubuntu, Android, or a Raspberry Pi image on an Allwinner A33, and offers WiFi, BT, and a microSD slot to augment its 8GB and up eMMC. You also get USB and micro-USB OTG ports, and a 40-pin RPi header. Media interfaces include MIPI-DSI and -CSI, an audio jack, and an onboard mic.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Ultra

  • BPI-M2 upgrade adds native SATA and 2GB of RAM
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner R40 (4x Cortex-A7); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $56

The Banana Pi M2 Ultra (BPI-M2U) can be found for a low of $56 on Amazon. It essentially replaces the similarly 92 x 60mm BPI-M2, and offers a faster Allwinner R40, which also enables a native SATA connector. There’s also a generous 2GB of RAM, which is unusual for a Cortex-A7 SoC. The M2 Ultra is further equipped with GbE, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3x USB host, and a single HDMI and micro-USB OTG ports. A 40-pin connector supports Raspberry Pi add-ons, and you get MIPI-DSI, an audio jack, and a mic interface.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Zero

  • Raspberry Pi Zero W pseudo clone
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2+ (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $21

Selling for $21 on AliExpress, the 60 x 30mm Banana Pi BPI-M2 Zero mimics the Raspberry Pi Zero W, but has a faster Allwinner H2+, which is like an Allwinner H3, but with HD instead of 4K video support. The feature set is almost identical, with WiFi, BT, MIPI-CSI, 40-pin RPi expansion, and mini-HDMI and power-only micro-USB OTG ports. It also adds a debug UART to the mix and supports a wider variety of Linux and Android distributions.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M3

  • Feature-rich, 32-bit octa-core SBC with SATA and extensive OS support
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A83T (8x Cortex-A7 @ 1.8GHz); PowerVR SGX544MP1 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $79

SinoVoip’s Banana Pi M3 (BPI-M3) is out of stock in many places, but you can find it for $79 on AliExpress. This high-end board features the octa-core Allwinner A83T SoC, backed up with 2GB RAM and 8GB eMMC. The M3 has about the same size (92 x 60mm), layout, and features of the M2 Ultra, and similarly integrates a RPi-ready 40-pin link. Like the M2 Ultra, the M3 supplies GbE, WiFi, SATA, 3x USB, and multiple display and camera options. Software support is more extensive than with some other Banana Pi boards, although all have improved. Options include Android 5.1, Debian 8, Ubuntu 16.04 Mate, Raspbian Jesse Mate, Kano, Kali, CentOS, Gentoo, OpenSUSE, Arch, CRUX, and Fedora.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M64

  • First 64-bit Banana Pi offers 2GB RAM and 4K video
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $68

SinoVoip’s only 64-bit Banana Pi sells for $68 at AliExpress, which is pricier than the similarly Allwinner A64-equipped Pine A64. On the other hand, the Banana Pi BPI-M64 is loaded with 2GB RAM and 8GB eMMC, as well as numerous peripherals. You get 4K-ready HDMI, MIPI-DSI, and MIPI-CSI, as well as onboard wireless and GbE connections. The 92 x 60mm board is further equipped with 3x USB host ports, a micro-USB OTG, and an RPi 40-pin connector.

 

Banana Pi BPI-W2

  • Under $100 router board features dual SATA III, dual GbE, and triple M.2
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Realtek RTD1296 (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR4 RAM; 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $93

The Banana Pi BPI-W2 ripened to maturity in April on AliExpress, where it sells for $93. This 148 x 100.5mm router and NAS board gives you a lot for the price, including dual SATA III, dual GbE, and a WAN port. You also get 4x USB, including Type-C and 3.0 host ports. For expansion there are 3x M.2 slots with PCIe support and a SIM slot, as well as a 40-pin RPi 3 style connector. Unlike most networking-focused boards, the BPI-W2 can also bring it when it comes to multimedia: You get HDMI in and out, a mini-DisplayPort, and an audio jack. The BPI-W2 runs Android 6.0, CentOS, Debian 9, Raspbian, Ubuntu 15.04, or OpenWrt on Realtek’s RTD1296, a NAS-oriented variant of the RTD1295 with a powerhouse Mali-T820 MP3 GPU.

 

BeagleBone Black, Rev C

  • Open source legend focuses on industrial I/O — and community
  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $55

The industrial-oriented, Debian-ready BeagleBone Black Rev C stands out with its numerous expansion interfaces and programmable “PRU” MCUs, as well as its deeply rooted BeagleBoard.org community. The SBC is out of stock at several venues but is currently available for $55 at Arrow. The BB Black has been followed by more feature rich and/or lower cost clones that have been created or approved by BeagleBoard.org. Yet, the original still came in at 5th place out of 98 SBCs in our June 2017 survey. Farther below, check out our reports on two SeeedStudio BeagleBone Green models, as well as BeagleBoard.org’s own BeagleBone Black Wireless, BeagleBone Blue, and new PocketBeagle. Element14’s BeagleBone Black Industrial 4G, which is identical to the BB Black except for its conformal coating and -20 to 85°C support, appears to be out of stock.

 

BeagleBone Black Wireless

  • SiP-based BeagleBone Black follow-on with wireless and HDMI, but no Ethernet
  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org; Octavo Systems
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Octavo Systems OSD3358 SiP with TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCUs; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $68.75

BeagleBoard.org’s Octavo Systems built alternative to Seeed’s BeagleBone Green Wireless similarly adds 2.4GHz 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 BLE to the BeagleBone Black design. Unlike Seeed’s two BB Green models, the BeagleBone Black Wireless retains the BB Black’s micro-HDMI port, but removes the Ethernet port. It is otherwise identical to the BB Black with one big exception: It incorporates the Octavo Systems OSD3358 SiP (system-in-package) module, “which integrates BeagleBone functionality into one easy-to-use BGA package,” making it easier to create custom variations. Also see Octavo’s own OSD3358-SM-RED, a more advanced dev board for the same SiP package.

 

BeagleBone Blue

  • Robotics and STEM focused BeagleBone with servos, sensors, and wide-range power
  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Octavo Systems OSD3358 SiP with TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips and PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $80

This robotics-oriented, education-focused BeagleBoard.org collaboration with the UCSD Coordinated Robotics Lab is a BeagleBone clone that adds motion control and battery friendly power. It sells for a low of $80 at Arrow and Element14. Like the BeagleBone Black Wireless, the BeagleBone Blue integrates a TI WiLink 8 with WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE, as well as an Octavo Systems OSD3358 SiP module that encapsulates the Sitara AM3358 SoC, RAM, and flash along with a PMIC and other features. There’s no Ethernet port or display interfaces, but you get micro-USB 2.0 host and client ports, 8x servo outputs, 4x DC motor outputs, and 4x quad encoder inputs. Other features include an IMU, barometer, JTAG, GPS, and DSM2 radio. You also get a 9-18V DC input, a LiPo battery connector, extra user buttons and LEDs, plus the usual extensive list of BB Black interfaces. In addition to the default, real-time enhanced Debian stack, the SBC supports Ubuntu Core, ROS, and ArduPilot.

 

BeagleBone Green

  • IoT-focused BeagleBone clone with Grove sensor support
  • Company/project — SeeedStudio; BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $44

SeeedStudio’s BeagleBoard.org-sanctioned, IoT-focused re-spin of the BeagleBone Black lacks the BB Black’s micro-HDMI port and 5V barrel jack, but it costs less, and adds expansion connectors for Seeed’s Grove sensors. It also replaces the mini-USB port with a micro-USB. In addition to drawing on the support of BeagleBoard.org, you can find a Grove-oriented BB Green developers site at Seeed.

 

BeagleBone Green Wireless

  • Wireless version of BeagleBone Green with 4x USB host ports
  • Company/project — SeeedStudio; BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $52.90

The BeagleBone Green Wireless has the same base feature set as the BB Green, with identical additions and subtractions from the BB Black, including the addition of a Grove interface. The Wireless model adds WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as three more USB host ports for a total of four, making it the USB leader among all the BB Black clones. A TI WiLink8 module is now standard, boosting wireless capabilities to Bluetooth 4.1 LE and 2.4GHz 802.11a/b/g/n with 2×2 MIMO. The board costs $52.90 at Seeed and can be found at Amazon for $47.90 price although with an almost $20 shipping fee.

 

Bubblegum-96

  • Most affordable 96Boards CE board around
  • Company/project — uCRobotics
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Actions Semiconductor Actions S900 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.8GHz); PowerVR G6230 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $89

uCRobotics’ Bubblegum-96 is a 96Boards CE form-factor board with 2GB RAM. Aside from the 96Boards 40- and 60-pin expansion connectors, the affordably priced Bubblegum-96 supplies an HDMI port, a microSD slot, a micro-USB port, and dual USB host ports, one of which is USB 3.0. WiFi and Bluetooth are also available.

 

Chameleon96

  • Security-enhanced 96Boards CE board with Cyclone V SE FPGA SoC and dual-stream video
  • Company/project — Novtech, Arrow, RocketBoards.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel (Altera) Cyclone V SE SoC (2x Cortex-A9); Cyclone V FPGA with 110K LEs
  • Memory — 512MB or 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $129

Novtech’s 96Boards CE compatible Chameleon96 SBC is available for $129 at Arrow. This is the first FPGA-based 96Boards entry, running Debian on a Cyclone V SE ARM/FPGA SoC. Although it took awhile, the board has finally been listed on the official 96Boards CE roster. The Chameleon96 is notable for providing SecureRF’s quantum-resistant security, and for generating its video from the FPGA instead of the pair of Cortex-A9 cores. Its Intel Video Suite for FPGA technology can drive 60fps 1080p streams via the HDMI port, and can encode similar video via a two-lane MIPI-CSI camera interface. Other features include a microSD slot, a micro-USB OTG port, 2x USB 2.0 host ports, an audio interface, a USB Blaster, and a UART. Like most 96Boards SBCs, this 12V SBC lacks Ethernet, but is equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth. It offers the usual 96Boards low- and high-speed I/O connectors.

 

Chip Pro Dev Kit

  • Wireless enabled hacker board includes two Chip Pro modules
  • Company/project — Next Thing Co.
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner/Next Thing GR8 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB or 512MB DDR3 (SiP) RAM; 512MB NAND flash
  • Price — $49

The $9 Chip SBC has been out of stock for over a year, and like the last time we checked, it’s still said to be returning “soon” with Next Thing’s new open-spec, GR8 SiP version of the Allwinner R8 SoC. In the meantime, you can buy a sandwich style Chip Pro Dev Kit which ships with two GR8-based Chip Pro computer-on-modules that integrate 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2 BLE. One of these Chip-like modules is soldered on the board, and the other is included separately. The baseboard provides a USB 2.0 host port, a micro-USB port with UART support, an audio jack, and dual microphones. You also get 6-23V DC and 3.7V LiPo battery inputs, as well as PWM, UART, and GPIO interfaces. The kit includes a mini-breadboard, jumper wires, headers, and a WiFi antenna. Mainline Linux support is available with Buildroot and Debian. Next Thing also sells a $69, Chip-based PocketChip handheld with a 4.3-inch touchscreen and keyboard.

 

CloudBit

  • Miniature, minimalistic ARM9 IoT board lets you add LittleBits modules
  • Company/project — LittleBits Electronics
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX233 (1x ARM9 @ 454MHz)
  • Memory — 64MB RAM; 4GB microSD card
  • Price — $60

The lone Linux board in the Arduino-oriented LittleBits maker platform is one of the smallest SBCs around at 15 x 10mm. The CloudBit integrates WiFi, a power-only micro-USB port, and dual “BitSnap” connectors for adding standard LittleBits modules, six of which are provided in a $90 bundle. The Arch Linux based platform supports IFTTT scripting and connects to a Node.js-oriented cloud platform designed for monitoring IoT gizmos. This is the only board in the roundup with a processor based on the ancient, low power ARM9 architecture.

 

CubieAIO-A20

  • Mixing high-end features with a low-end SoC, this sandwich-style board has extensive USB and serial support
  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ up to 1GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB flash expandable to 32GB (eMMC) or 64GB (TSD)
  • Price — $83

Like the now retired CubieBoard 3, the CubieAIO-A20 is built around the Allwinner A20 SoC. The price has dropped in recent months to $83 at Amazon. The CubieAIO-A20 is notable for its wide, -20 to 70°C temperature range and its extensive support for USB and serial I/O. It’s equipped with 6x USB 2.0 host ports, a micro-USB OTG, and dual serial UART DIN sockets that support up to 6x serial ports via an extension. The sandwich-style board integrates CubieTech’s 75 x 50mm Einstein-A20 COM, which features WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, an RTC, 200-pin expansion, and its own micro-USB port. The COM and the SBC support the same Linux and Android distributions that run on the CubieBoard 2 and 3. The 172 x 106mm CubieAIO-A20 carrier offers a GbE port, as well as dual mini-PCIe slots with support for mSATA and 3G/4G modules, respectively. There’s also a SIM slot and antennas for the standard WiFi/BT module. Other features include microSD, IR, HDMI, VGA, SPDIF, 3.5mm audio, and a 54-pin expansion interface. The CubieAIO-A20 is also sold as an encased, All-in-One mini-PC version with a built-in 7-inch, 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen, available for $127.80 at AliExpress.

 

CubieAIO-S700

  • A turbo-charged version of the CubieAIO-A20 that moves to a quad -A53 Actions S700
  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — CubieTech Actions S700 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-450 MP4 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $139

Last July, CubieTech acquired the application processor unit of Actions Technology, and later announced several Actions-based open source SBCs. The sandwich-style CubieAIO-S700 features the quad-A53 Actions S700 via CubieTech’s Einstein-S700 module, which integrates an Ampak AP6212 chip with WiFi-ac and BT 4.0. Aside from the different Einstein processor module, the board is a very close match in features and layout with the Allwinner based CubieAIO-A20. The 170 x 106mm SBC has a high, 20mm profile due to its 6x, double-stacked USB 2.0 host ports. The HDMI port tops out at HD resolution, but you get a GbE port, SPDIF audio, dual coastline serial ports, a SIM slot, and dual mini-PCIe slots, one of which has non-native mSATA. The CubieAIO-S700 also has a 54-pin expansion header, RTC, IR, and more. The full CubieAIO-S700 kit sells for $139 at AliExpress. CubieTech has also posted details for a CubieAIO-S500 SBC which is almost identical to the CubieAIO-S700 but has an Einstein S500 module with a quad -A9 Actions S500 SoC. The board has yet to reach market.

 

CubieBoard4

  • Feature-rich, octa-core -A15 board with multiple storage options
  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A80 (4x Cortex-A15 @ up to 2GHz, 4x Cortex-A7 @ up to 1.3GHz); PowerVR G6230 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC, expandable to 64GB
  • Price — $119

The CubieBoard4 is equipped with an octa-core Allwinner A80 SoC with a 64-core PowerVR G6230 GPU. The 111 x 111mm SBC offers WiFi, Bluetooth, and GbE, as well as VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0, and 4x USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a 54-pin expansion connector. The SBC provides optional configurations including dual microSD slots or a mix of microSD and onboard flash. There are plenty of cases and other add-ons, as well as images for Debian, Linaro Ubuntu, and Android, with mainline Linux support. The boards costs $119 at Eleduino.

 

CubieBoard5 (CubieTruck-Plus)

  • Octa-core -A7 board with SATA and dual display support
  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H8 (8x Cortex-A7 @ up to 2GHz); PowerVR SGX544 GPU @ up to 700MHz
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $99

The CubieBoard5 showcases an Allwinner H8 with eight Cortex-A7 cores. The SBC provides microSD and SATA storage, with an optional RAID add-on board. For connectivity, you get WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a GbE port. Dual display support is available via the HDMI and DisplayPorts. You also get a pair of USB host ports, plus an IR sensor, S/PDIF audio, and an optional lithium battery.

 

CubieBoard6 / CubieBoard7

  • Monolithic cousins to the sandwich style CubieAIO boards with faster SATA and USB 3.0
  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — CubieBoard6: CubieTech Actions S500 (4x Cortex-A9 @ 1.2GHz, PowerVR SGX544 GPU); CubieBoard7: CubieTech Actions S700 (4x Cortex-A53, Mali-450 MP4 GPU)
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $79 (CubieBoard6); $98 (CubieBoard7)

The new CubieBoard6 and CubieBoard7 SBCs, which are identical except for their processors, are the monolithic cousins to the sandwich-style CubieAIO-S500 and CubieAIO-S700, respectively. These updates to the four-year old CubieBoard2 have smaller 100 x 60mm footprints compared to the CubieAIO boards, as well as a lesser feature set. The key advantage in addition to their lower prices is that their non-native SATA ports piggyback on a faster USB 3.0 connection to offer an approximation of SATA III. The boards provide 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11n, and BT 4.0, as well as 2x USB 2.0 host ports and a mini-USB port. Other features include HD-ready HDMI, audio jacks, RTC, IR, a UART header, and dual 48-pin expansion headers. Like the CubieAIO boards, they are supported with Actions-optimized Android 5.1.1 and Debian builds. The CubieBoard6 sells for $79 on Eleduino, and the CubieBoard7 costs $98 at Amazon.

 

DE0-Nano-SoC Development Kit

  • Dev board features Cyclone V SE FPGA SoC and Arduino shield support
  • Company/project — Terasic; RocketBoards.org
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Cyclone V SE (Cyclone V FPGA + 2x Cortex-A9 @ 952MHz)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $99

The DE0-Nano-SoC Development Kit looks like a commercial development board, but it offers open specifications and is supported on the RocketBoards.org community site. The DE0-Nano-SoC uses the lower-end SE variety of Intel’s Cyclone V SoC, which is roughly equivalent to a Xilinx Zynq-7020. The SoC similarly combines FPGA circuitry with dual Cortex-A9 cores running Angstrom v2014.12 Yocto 1.7 with a Linux 4.0 kernel. The board has GbE, USB OTG, and micro-USB ports, as well as a microSD slot with a 4GB data card. There’s also an accelerometer, an Arm-linked expansion header, and a variety of FPGA-linked interfaces, including a 40-pin header and an Arduino shield connector. (There’s also an identical “Atlas-SoC” variant that’s packaged for software rather than hardware developers.)

 

DragonBoard 820c

  • High-end DragonBoard 410C replacement with 96Boards CE Extended format and Snapdragon 820E
  • Company/project — Terasic; RocketBoards.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 820E (2x Kyro cores @ 2.35GHz, 2x @ 1.6GHz); Adreno 530 GPU, etc.
  • Memory — 3GB LPDDR4-1866 RAM; 32GB UFS 2.0
  • Price — $199 with free shipping

We finally removed the DragonBoard 410C, which has been out of stock for a while. It has now been succeeded by Arrow’s DragonBoard 820c, which advances from the Snapdragon 410 to the more powerful Snapdragon 820E. Like the original DragonBoard, this is a 96Boards Consumer Edition (CE) board, but it uses the larger Extended (100 x 85mm) version. In addition to the CE standard 40-pin low-speed and 60-pin high-speed connectors, the Extended format supplies a second 60-pin high-speed connector with 4L-MIPI DSI, SSC serial, and TSIF, and provides a separate analog audio header. The board is based on the Extended CE form-factor, eInfochips SD 600eval equipped with a Snapdragon 600, which Arrow had floated as a prototype called the DragonBoard 600c. The DragonBoard 820c was introduced as part of Linaro’s multi-board 96Boards.ai initiative. In this case, the AI is enabled via the Snapdragon 820E’s Spectra ISP, which supports Qualcomm’s Linux-driven Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine SDK. The DragonBoard 820c is equipped with 3GB LPDDR4-1866 RAM, 32GB UFS 2.0 UFS storage, HDMI 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, and a micro-USB OTG port. In addition to a GbE port, you get WiFi-ac, BT 4.2, GPS, an IMU, a magnetometer, and a wide-range power supply. Meanwhile, Geniatech is working on its own Snapdragon 820E based 96Boards SBC called the Developer Board 8.

 

Firefly-RK3128

  • Feature-rich, sandwich-style board with aging Rockchip SoC gets steep discount
  • Company/project — Firefly
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3128 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.3GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB RAM; 8GB NAND flash
  • Price — $60

Last June, we removed the Firefly-FirePrime S because it was no longer available, with no promise of return. But it’s back, at least for now, with a new name (Firefly-RK3128) and a much lower $60 promotional price. The same board is listed as “currently unavailable” at Amazon under the name “Firefly RK3128 FirePrime” The Firefly-RK3128 dual boots Android 5.1 and Ubuntu 15.04 on a quad-core -A7 Rockchip that is clocked slower than the RK3288, and offers half the RAM and flash of the Firefly-RK3288. The sandwich-style, COM/baseboard device includes GbE, WiFi, BT, HDMI, MIPI-DSI, MIPI-CSI, SPDIF, analog audio, LVDS, IR, and CVBS. The 117 x 85mm boardset is further equipped with 4x USB host ports, a micro-USB OTG port, and dual 42-pin expansion connectors.

 

Firefly-RK3288

  • Quad -A17 board with onboard wireless and 4K-ready HDMI 2.0
  • Company/project — Firefly
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3288 (4x Cortex-A17 @ 1.8GHz); Mali-T760 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM expandable to 4GB; 16GB eMMC expandable to 32GB
  • Price — $119 (2GB/16GB); $189 (4GB/32GB)

Starting at $119, this 118 x 85mm SBC dual boots Ubuntu 14.04 and Android 4.4 with mainline Linux 4.4 support on a 1.8GHz, quad -A17 RK3288 with Mali-T760 GPU. The Firefly-RK3288 has an HDMI 2.0 port that can output at up to 4Kx2K @ 60Hz. The board offers dual-band 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, a GbE port, and 3x USB ports, and is further equipped with VGA, LVDS, eDP, MIPI-DSI, MIPI-CSI, S/PDIF, serial debug, and IR connections. More I/O is available via dual 42-pin connectors. A “Fireasy” WiFi remote, as well as touchscreens, fans, and cameras, are optional.

 

Firefly-RK3288 Reload

  • Sandwich-style version of Firefly-RK3288 adds SATA, an HDMI input, and more USB and GPIO
  • Company/project — Firefly
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3288 (4x Cortex-A17 @ 1.8GHz); Mali-T760 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $159

The Firefly-RK3288 Reload has the same SoC and OS support as the Firefly-RK3288 but is recast as a sandwich-style COM/baseboard product. The 178 x 117mm baseboard connects to the 82 x 60mm COM via a 314-pin MXM connector. The Reload provides all the features of the Firefly-RK3288, and adds a second HDMI output, a new HDMI input, and a second DVP interface for a 5MP camera in addition to the 13MP-ready DVP. The Reload also adds a SATA port, a third USB host, and a micro-USB OTG, and boosts the expansion pins to 184. Last year, the Reload’s COM became separately available as a $105 Firefly-RK3288 Reload CoreBoard, which appeared in a 189 x 107mm, sandwich-style “All-in-One” development platform called the AIO-3288J. The AIO-3288J lacks the Reload’s SATA port, and has two HDMI ports instead of three, yet it offers more onboard interfaces. It also sells for a lower $139 price, including the CoreBoard.

 

Firefly-RK3399

  • Powerhouse RK3399-based hacker board with M.2, mini-PCIe, and dual 4K display ports
  • Company/project — Firefly
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.42GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB or 4GB DDR3 RAM; 16GB eMMC (4GB/128GB for Max)
  • Price — $149 (2GB) or $209 (4GB); $259 for Max

With its Rockchip RK3399 with dual Cortex-A72, 4x -A53 cores, and Mali-T860, the Firefly-RK3399 is one of the most powerful hacker boards around. Starting at $149, it offers more extensive features than Vamrs’ cheaper Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire (see farther below). A $259 Firefly-RK3399 Max version features 128GB eMMC. Both models provide a microSD slot and an M.2 slot that can be used for an SSD. Other features include a GbE port, dual-band 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1 BLE, a SIM card slot, and a mini-PCIe slot that can load an optional LTE module. DP and HDMI ports drive up to 4K @ 60Hz video, and you get MIPI-DSI, eDP, DVP, IR, and 2x MIPI-CSI. The Firefly-RK3399 offers 2x USB 3.0 ports (including a Type-C), 2x USB 2.0 ports, a 42-pin expansion header, and numerous audio options. The board dual-boots Android 6.0.1 and Ubuntu 16.04. Last September, Firefly launched a RK3399 Coreboard COM version of the Firefly-RK3399. The CoreBoard is now available in a sandwich-style AIO-3399J, a $165 board. This is much like the Firefly-RK3288 Reload CoreBoard powered AIO-3288J (see above). VideoStrong offers an OEM variant of the Firefly-RK3399 starting at $250 called the VS-RD-RK3399.

 

Firefly-ROC-RK3328-CC (Renegade)

  • RK3328-based Raspberry Pi clone built by Libre Computer
  • Company/project — Firefly, Libre Computer
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3328 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DDR4; empty eMMC slot
  • Price — $35 (1GB), $50 (2GB), $80 (4GB)

Firefly’s Firefly-ROC-RK3328-CC is the new name of Libre Computer’s Renegade SBC, which launched on Indiegogo a year ago. Like Pine64’s Rock64 SBC (see farther below), this is an RK3328-based Raspberry Pi clone with an RPi 3-like footprint, layout, 40-pin interface, and very similar features. The main difference from the Raspberry Pi 3 is the lack of WiFi, Bluetooth, and MIPI-CSI and -DSI, and the presence of 3x USB host ports instead of four. Like the Rock64, however, the third port is USB 3.0. Also like the Rock64, you get GbE instead of 10/100 Ethernet, and HDMI 2.0 with 4K instead of an HD-only HDMI 1.4. There’s also an IR receiver, plus DDR4 RAM at up to 4GB and an eMMC slot. Firefly and Bay Libre assisted Libre Computers with software support, which includes Android 7.1 and Ubuntu 16.04, with the latter offering a choice of Rockchip’s Linux 4.4 Kernel and Mainline Linux 4.14 LTS. Libre also sells an Amlogic based Le Potato SBC (see below).

 

HiKey

  • World’s first 96Boards board
  • Company/project — LeMaker
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — HiSilicon Kirin 6220 (8x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali 450-MP4 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $140

The octa-core HiKey was the flagship 96Boards Consumer Edition form factor SBC. It’s in limited stock at Amazon with 2GB, and the 1GB version is no longer available. The board features the 96Boards standard 40- and 60-pin connectors, plus WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, MIPI-DSI, and three USB ports. The HiKey is supported by Linaro Debian Linux from a mainline Linux 4.4.1 kernel, as well as Linaro/AOSP Android 7.0. Last year, LeMaker and ArcherMind launched a 96Boards CE compatible Hikey 960 SBC using HiSilicon’s quad -A73, quad -A53 Kirin 960 SoC, but it’s over our limit at $239. In April of this year, Lenovator launched LeMaker’s 96Boards CE Extended “HiKey 970” SBC, but it’s even farther over the limit at $299. The HiKey 970 features an octa-core Kirin 970 SoC, 6GB LPDDR4, 64GB UFS storage, wireless, GbE, M.2, and CAN.

 

HummingBoard-Edge

  • Industrial-minded, sandwich-style i.MX6 board with wide-range power and optional -40 to 85°C
  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo, DualLite, Dual, or Quad (1x, 2x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.2GHz); Vivante 2D/3D GPU
  • Memory — Solo (512MB), DualLite and Dual (1GB), and Quad (2GB or 4GB) DDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC plus optional eMMC or NOR flash on MicroSOM
  • Price — $126 to $241

Like all the HummingBoards except for the new i.MX8M based HummingBoard Pulse, the HummingBoard-Edge is a sandwich-style board that incorporates i.MX6 based MicroSOM modules. In Oct. 2016, SolidRun released revised MicroSOM 1.5 versions of the COMs, which can also be bought separately. The rev 1.5 MicroSOMs add improved FlexCAN and TI WiLink8 wireless, as well as optional eMMC and NOR flash up to 8GB. The 102 x 69mm HummingBoard-Edge duplicates all the features of the smaller HummingBoard-Pro and doubles the USB 2.0 count to four. It also adds M.2, SIM, and MIPI-DSI connections. In addition, it provides a larger 36-pin GPIO connector, boosts the power supply to a wide-range 7-36V, and adds optional onboard eMMC. As with the Pro, there are numerous options including wireless modules and 4GB of RAM. The models are available in three temperature ranges including -40 to 85°C.

 

HummingBoard-Gate

  • Stripped down version of HummingBoard-Edge that adds MikroBus socket for Click modules
  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo, DualLite, Dual, or Quad (1x, 2x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.2GHz); Vivante 2D/3D GPU
  • Memory — Solo (512MB), DualLite and Dual (1GB), and Quad (2GB or 4GB) DDR3 RAM; optional eMMC or NOR flash
  • Price — $96 to $226

As the name suggests, the HummingBoard-Gate is designed primarily for IoT gateway duty. The SBC lacks HummingBoard-Edge features like LVDS, analog audio, or eMMC and M.2 storage. Otherwise, it’s almost identical, with the same 102 x 69mm footprint, 7-36V power supply, mini-PCIe slot, and optional wireless modules and metal enclosure. Its major new offering is a MikroBus socket that accepts MikroElektronika’s 200-plus Click add-on I/O and sensor modules. Multiple temperature ranges are available.

 

HummingBoard-Pro

  • Updated version of flagship HummingBoard with mini-PCIe and mSATA
  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo, DualLite, Dual, or Quad (1x, 2x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.2GHz); Vivante 2D/3D GPU
  • Memory — Solo (512MB), DualLite and Dual (1GB), and Quad (2GB) DDR3 RAM; optional eMMC or NOR flash
  • Price — $96 to $197

The HummingBoard-Pro is an updated version of the apparently discontinued HummingBoard-Base with the new MicroSOM v1.5 modules. It’s identical to the HummingBoard-Base except that it adds mini-PCIe, mSATA, LVDS, analog audio, RTC, and IR. It also offers two more internal USB headers. Options on both models include microSD slots, a wireless module, a power adapter, and a custom enclosure.

 

HummingBoard Pulse

  • Powerhouse i.MX8M board with mini-PCIe, M.2, HDMI 2.0, and dual GbE ports
  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M Dual or Quad (2x or 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.3GHz to 1.5GHz); Cortex-M4 MCU; Vivante GC7000 Lite GPU
  • Memory – Dual (2GB or 3GB LPDDR4-3200); Quad Lite (2GB or 4GB); Quad (2GB or 4GB); optional eMMC or NOR flash
  • Price — $160 (Dual), $170 (Quad Lite), $185 (Quad)

The HummingBoard Pulse opened for pre-orders in March, with shipments due in early June. The board advances to the 64-bit i.MX8M SoC via new i.MX8 SOM modules available in Dual, Quad Lite, or Quad versions. The Quad Lite has the same quad -A53 cores as the Quad and is “Lite” only in its lower default RAM allotment. The HummingBoard Pulse carrier is a bit larger than the first-gen HummingBoards at 102 x 69mm, and it replaces the GPIO expansion interfaces in favor of single mini-PCIe, M.2, and SIM-Card slots. Like the HummingBoard-Gate, it also provides a Mikrobus connector for adding Click modules. The Pulse is notable for its dual GbE ports. Other features include 2x USB 3.0, USB Type-C, and HDMI 2.0 ports. You also get an RTC, IR receiver, 7-36V input, a heatsink, and an optional metal enclosure. Software support has yet to be detailed, but Linux is a given. See also Wandboard.org’s Wand-Pi-8M farther below.

 

Khadas Vim Pro

  • 64-bit Amlogic based board focuses on video
  • Company/project — Khadas
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905X (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 2GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $60 (discounted from $90)

Chinese startup Khadas debuted its media-oriented Khadas Vim (Vim1) in late 2016 and has since shipped a more advanced Vim2 model (see below). The 82 x 58mm Vim adopts the Amlogic S905X, a lower-cost upgrade to the quad-core, -A53 Amlogic S905 found on the Odroid-C2. The Vim1 supports Android 6.0 with Kodi-17, as well as Ubuntu 16.04, Buildroot, and 7.0 versions of the Kodi-oriented OpenELEC/LibreELEC. Only the Pro version is still available, and on discount, but the joint shopping page for the Vim1 and Vim2 also says “sold out.” The Vim Pro offers 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, Fast Ethernet, and 3x USB 2.0 host ports, one of which is a Type C OTG port with power support. Other features include HDMI 2.0a, IR, microSD, and 40-pin expansion (but with no claims of RPi support). Shipping is free to the U.S. Khadas recently launched a $99 Khadas Tone Board audio add-on for both the Vim1 and Vim2.

 

Khadas Vim2

  • Advanced, octa-core version of Vim1 with GbE and Pogo Pad controllers
  • Company/project — Khadas
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S912 (8x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB (Basic) or 3GB (Pro, Max) DDR4 RAM; 16GB (Basic), 32GB (Pro), or 64GB (Max) eMMC
  • Price — $90 (Basic), $110 (Pro), $130 (Max)

Khadas sells the new Vim2 on the same Geekbuying page where it offers the original Vim1. Both are temporarily sold out. The Vim2 has the same 82 x 58mm footprint as the Vim1, but advances to an octa-core Amlogic S912 with a high-end Mali-T820 GPU. Software support is similar except that the Vim2 moves to Android 7.1. The Basic, Pro, and Max models differ only in their memory complements and their versions of WiFi and Bluetooth. The Max features 2×2 MIMO WiFi-ac with RSDB (Real Simultaneous Dual Band). Like the original, the board is equipped with HDMI 2.0a with 4K @ 60Hz decoding, 2x USB 2.0, a micro-USB OTG Type-C with 5V input, and a 40-pin expansion connector. The Vim2 advances to GbE with WoL and adds an FPC link and two Pogo Pad I/O connectors, one of which controls an STM8S003 MCU for a programmable EEPROM. Other features include microSD, RTC, IR, and an acrylic case.

 

LeMaker Guitar

  • The typical mid-range Arm hacker SBC…if you lived in 2016
  • Company/project — LeMaker
  • Product page
  • Processor — Actions S500 (4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.6GHz); PowerVR SGX544 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $69

LeMaker’s sandwich-style Guitar SBC integrates a COM with a quad-core Actions S500. Images are available for Android 5.0, Ubuntu Mate, Ubuntu Core, Lemuntu, Armbian, ArchLinux, and a LeMaker XBMC (Kodi) media playing variant called LeMedia. The 88 x 81mm baseboard offers WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, HDMI, micro-USB 3.0, and dual USB host ports. There’s also a MIPI-CSI interface and RPi-compatible 40-pin connector.

 

Libre Computer Board (Le Potato)

  • RPi 3 lookalike that adds HDMI 2.0 and optional eMMC
  • Company/project — Libre Computer
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905X (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 2GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB DDR3 RAM; optional 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $35 (1GB) or $45 (2GB)

After supplying its Kickstarter backers with the Raspberry Pi-like Le Potato, Libre Computer is now selling the SBC at LoverPi as the Libre Computer Board (AML-S905X-CC). It’s equipped with the same quad -A53 S905X SoC found on the original Khadas Vim, and has the same size, port layout, and basic feature set as the Raspberry Pi 3, including 4x USB host ports, Fast Ethernet, and 40-pin expansion. There’s no WiFi/BT, but you get optional eMMC, IR, and an ADC + I2S header, and the HDMI port is upgraded to 2.0 with 4K. The board ships with schematics and source code for Linux 4.14 LTS, Buildroot with Linux 4.9, Armbian Debian and Ubuntu, LibreELEC 9, and Android builds up to 8.0 (Oreo). Libre also created an RPi-like Renegade SBC with a Rockchip RK3388 that is sold by Firefly as the Firefly-ROC-RK3328-CC (see above). The company has also launched an Allwinner H2+/H3 based RPi clone called the Tritium (see farther below).

 

LinkIt Smart 7688

  • Tiny, wireless-enabled. MIPS-based SBC with Grove add-on support
  • Company/project — MediaTek Labs, SeeedStudio
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT7688AN (1x MIPS core @ 580MHz); Atmel ATmega32U4 MPU (Duo only)
  • Memory — 128MB RAM; 32MB flash
  • Price — $14.90 or $17.90 (Duo)

MediaTek Labs’ miniscule, SeeedStudio-built LinkIt boards run OpenWrt on a 580MHz MIPS SoC, and target IoT endpoints and gateways. The $15 model measures 56 x 26mm, and offers WiFi, microSD, and dual micro-USB ports, while the $18, 61 x 26mm LinkIt Smart 7688 Duo, which is currently on backorder, adds an MPU for Arduino support. The boards provide GPIO, I2C, SPI, UART, PWM, and Fast Ethernet, plus I2S audio on the base model and ADC and SPI on the Duo. SeeedStudio offers an optional breakout board for the standard LinkIt and provides three options for the Duo: breakouts for Arduino and Grove sensors and a more feature-rich Grove Starter Kit. A MediaTek Cloud Sandbox service is available for IoT data collection and analytics.

 

LinkSprite Acadia V3

  • i.MX6 SBC with dual SD slots, SATA, GbE, and an Arduino header
  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Quad (4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.2GHz); Vivante GC355 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DRAM
  • Price — $119

The LinkSprite Acadia runs Ubuntu 12.04 or Android 4.4 on an i.MX6 Quad. Compared to the V2 model covered in our original report linked to above, the V3 loses the onboard eMMC flash but furnishes both a microSD slot and dual SD slots. Other features include HDMI, LVDS, SATA, audio, and GbE connections, as well as three USB ports, dual cameras interfaces, and an Arduino-compatible header.

 

LinkSprite Arches

  • 32-bit octa-core SBC imitates Cubieboard4
  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A80 (4x Cortex-A15 @ up to 2GHz, 4x Cortex-A7 @ up to 1.3GHz); PowerVR G6230 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DRAM; 8GB flash
  • Price — $95

The LinkSprite Arches was unveiled as the pcDuino8 in May 2014, and then arrived in beta form later in the year with its current name before going final in 2015. The Arches runs Linux or Android on an octa-core Allwinner A80 and is configured much like the A80-based Cubieboard4. The SBC is equipped with microSD, HDMI, GbE, and three USB ports (one of them 3.0 OTG), as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, and a CSI interface.

 

MediaTek X20 Development Board

  • High-end, 96Boards form-factor showcase for deca-core MediaTek Helio X20
  • Company/project — ArcherMind (AlphaStar); MediaTek
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek Helio X20 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.4GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.95GHz, 2x Cortex-A72 cores @ 2.5GHz); Mali-T880 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $199

The Android focused MediaTek X20 Development Board is not only tied for being the most expensive board in the round-up, bumping up against our $200 limit, but it’s also one the most powerful. Available for $199 at AliExpress, the board complies with the 96Boards CE standard, and runs Android 6.0 on MediaTek’s deca-core Cortex-A53 and -A72 Helio X20 SoC. The 85 x 54mm board has the usual 96Boards 40- and 60-pin connectors plus a 16-pin analog interface. You also get WiFi, BT, GPS, HDMI, and microSD, plus dual USB 2.0 host ports and a device-only micro-USB.

 

MinnowBoard Turbot Dual-Core / Dual-Ethernet Dual-Core

  • Intel backed, dual-core Bay Trail Atom SBC now available in Dual-Ethernet version
  • Company/project — ADI, MinnowBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom E3826 (2x Bay Trail @ 1.46GHz); Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3L RAM
  • Price — $146 or $171 (Dual-Ethernet)

Built by ADI Engineering, with the support of the Intel-backed MinnowBoard.org community, the 3.9 x 2.9-inch MinnowBoard Turbot Dual replaced the CircuitCo-built MinnowBoard Max. There’s also a MinnowBoard Turbo Quad-core (see item below). Prices range up to $160, but you can get the Dual for a low of $146 at Netgate. The board includes a low-speed expansion header that provides Arduino-like prototyping I/O, as well as a 60-pin high speed connector for add-on boards called Lures. Other I/O includes dual USB ports plus GbE, micro-HDMI, and SATA. Firmware support includes Debian, Ubuntu, Yocto Project, Android 4.4, and Windows 10. A long awaited Dual-Ethernet model is finally available for $171.39 at Netgate. It adds a second GbE port, as well as M.2/micro-SIM combo for WiFi, LTE, or mSATA SSD.

 

MinnowBoard Turbot Quad-Core / Dual-Ethernet Quad-Core

  • Quad-core Atom version of MinnowBoard Turbot with optional dual-GbE version
  • Company/project — Intel, ADI, MinnowBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom E3845 (4x Bay Trail @ 1.91GHz); Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3L RAM
  • Price — $190 or $196 (Dual-Ethernet)

The MinnowBoard Turbo Quad-core, which began shipping a year ago, has the same 99 x 74mm footprint as the dual-core Turbot Dual, and much the same layout and feature set. The Quad advances to the quad-core, 1.91GHz Atom E3845 from the same 22nm Bay Trail generation, and adds a heatsink, a fan, and a faster Intel I210 GbE controller. As with the Turbo Dual-core, there’s a new Dual-Ethernet model that similarly adds a second GbE port and M.2 and micro-SIM slots. The MinnowBoard Turbot Dual Ethernet Quad-Core sells for $195.58. In June 2017, ADI and Intel posted preliminary specs for a MinnowBoard 3 that was supposed to ship in Fall 2017, but has yet to reach pre-order stage. The MinnowBoard 3 features a quad-core, Apollo Lake Atom x5-E3940 clocked to 1.8GHz, along with 4GB LPDDR4, 8GB eMMC, 3x M.2 sockets, and an RPi compatible connector, among other features.

 

MYS-6ULX SBC

  • Compact, low-power i.MX6 UltraLight boards with optional -40 to 85°C support
  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 ULL or i.MX6 UL (1x Cortex-A7 @ 528MHz or 696MHz, respectively); 2D PXP GPU
  • Memory — 256MB DDR3 RAM; 256MB NAND
  • Price — $28.80 (i.MX6 ULL) or $31.80 (UL)

MYIR is primarily a commercial board vendor, but it has spun several open-spec hacker boards like the MYS-6ULX SBC that have crossover appeal to makers. Others include the Sitara based Rico Board and Zynq-based Z-turn boards (see farther below). The $25 to $27 MYS-6ULX offers a choice of i.MX6 UL (UltraLite) or its very similar sibling, the i.MX6 ULL. Each SBC model has its own unique super power: The i.MX6 UL version offers -40 to 85°C support instead of 0 to 70°C, and the i.MX6 ULL model features a USB-powered WiFi radio. Otherwise, the 70 x 55mm boards are identical. You get a microSD slot, Fast Ethernet port, USB host and micro-USB 2.0 OTG ports, a debug connector, and an LCD interface with optional touchscreens. The dual 20-pin expansion connectors can be used to attach an optional baseboard. The MYS-6ULX comes with an open source Linux BSP with a 4.1.15 kernel and either Debian or Yocto Project with ported Qt. There’s no forum or dedicated community site, but you get full schematics, support, and extensive documentation.

 

NanoPC-T3 Plus

  • Upgrade to NanoPC-T3 doubles the memory and adds -40 to 80°C support
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung S5P6818 (8x Cortex-A53 @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz); Mali-400 MP GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $75

FriendlyElec (AKA FriendlyARM) has replaced its NanoPC-T3 with a similar NanoPC-T3 Plus. Like the original, the T3 Plus is equipped with an octa-core S5P6818, moving up from the quad-core S5P4418 on the almost identical NanoPC-T2, which has returned to stock at $49. The T3 Plus doubles the RAM and flash of the T3 and adds -40 to 80°C support. It’s slightly larger at 100 x 64mm, and switches one of the USB headers to a Type-A port so there are now 3x coastline USB 2.0 host ports instead of two. Like the T3, the T3 Plus supplies WiFi, BT 4.0, and a GbE port, as well as microSD and micro-USB client connections. Media ports include HDMI, LVDS, LCD, MIPI-DSI, MIPI-CSI, and audio. In place of the 40-pin RPi connector found on NanoPi boards, the NanoPC-T3 Plus provides a 30-pin GPIO header. OS support includes Android, Debian, and the Ubuntu Core 16.04 based FriendlyCore. Available images for each of the NanoPC and NanoPi boards may be found here.

 

NanoPC-T4

  • Powerful new SBC is world’s smallest RK3399 hacker board
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 4GB DDR4 RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $129

The 100 x 64mm NanoPC-T4 dropped in just in time for the survey with claims to be the smallest of the new wave of Rockchip RK3399 based SBCs. It’s priced in the middle of the pack when you consider the default 4GB of RAM. FriendlyElec’s first Rockchip-based SBC is also its most powerful, combining the hexa-core RK3399 with advanced features like M.2 expansion, native SATA, and display interfaces including HDMI 2.0, DP, eDP, and MIPI-DSI. You also get MIPI-CSI with dual-camera support, an RPi-compatible 40-pin interface, and a 0 to 80°C operating range. Android 7.1 and Lubuntu Desktop 16.04 are both available.

 

NanoPi A64

  • Compact Allwinner A64 SBC is one of the cheapest 64-bit boards around
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $20

FriendlyElec’s NanoPi A64 — the first of several 64-bit quad-core NanoPi models — provides two USB host ports, a power-only micro-USB, and HDMI, MIPI-DSI, microSD, audio, and DVP camera connections. The 5V SBC offers GbE and WiFi, but no Bluetooth, and you get the NanoPi-typical 40-pin Raspberry Pi expansion header. The 64 x 60mm footprint matches that of the NanoPi M3. Images are available for Ubuntu Core and Ubuntu Mate. Like most of the NanoPi boards, the NanoPi A64 is available with a growing list of options ranging from cases to heat sinks to camera modules. As with other NanoPi and NanoPC SBCs, the prices are insanely cheap, but shipping to the U.S. is expensive — single-unit prices range from $16 to $20, compared to under $4 for Orange Pi boards.

 

NanoPi Duo

  • Tiny and insanely cheap, this quad -A7 SBC can be plugged into an optional, RPi-like carrier
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2+ (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB or 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $8 (256MB) or $12 (512MB); $18 or $22 with Mini Shield

Launched in Aug. 2017, the tiny, 50 x 25.4mm NanoPi Duo is the first of several new headless, COM-like NanoPi boards, including the more recent, 40 x 40mm NanoPi Neo Core and Core2 spins of the Neo and Neo2 SBCs (see farther below). The NanoPi Duo is similarly designed to plug into carriers and breadboards such as FriendlyElec’s optional Raspberry Pi-like carrier board, called a Mini Shield. (The Duo’s Mini Shield is different than that provided by the Core boards.) Unlike the Core boards, the Duo offers WiFi, a microSD slot, and a micro-USB port, qualifying it as a standalone SBC. The Allwinner H2+ based Duo supplies headers for 10/100 Ethernet, 2x USB host, audio, CVBS, and serial debug. You get 32x I/O pins via a dual-in-line interface designed to plug into the Mini Shield or any 2.55mm pitch breadboard. For an extra $3, you get an aluminum heatsink that helps the SBC withstand -40 to 80°C temperatures. The Mini Shield offers a somewhat RPi-like size, layout, and feature set, including a 10/100 Ethernet port, 4x USB 2.0 ports, a micro-USB port, a half-size mSATA interface, an audio port, and a GPIO header. The NanoPi Duo is available with FriendlyCore (Ubuntu Core) Xenial, as well as Linux 4.16 mainline.

 

NanoPi K1 Plus

  • RPi-like board is like a stripped down NanoPi K2, but with new camera and audio features
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor – Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.4GHz); Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $35

This slightly reduced version of the NanoPi K2 (see below) switches from the K2’s Amlogic S905 to a similar Allwinner H5 SoC. FriendlyElec has swapped out the K2’s WiFi/Bluetooth for a 2.4GHz WiFi-only module. It also demoted the HDMI 2.0 port to an HDMI 1.4 port with 4K video throttled back to 30fps. The NanoPi K1 Plus subtracts one of the USB 2.0 host ports, leaving 3x USB 2.0 ports total along with a micro-USB OTG port with power input that fills in for the removed DC-in jack. The K1 Plus also adds some multimedia features. There’s a new DVP camera interface, a mic, and a 3.5mm audio jack that also outputs CVBS signals. Other features are the same, including the 2GB RAM, microSD slot, eMMC socket, and GbE port. You also get an IR receiver, a heatsink, a debug header, and a 40-pin GPIO connector.

 

NanoPi K2

  • Videocentric Odroid-C2 clone that adds onboard WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $39

If the specs for the video-oriented NanoPi K2 look familiar, that’s because they almost perfectly mimic the $46 Odroid-C2, which aside from the processor is itself a near doppelgänger of the $35 Raspberry Pi 3. The NanoPi K2, which is $5 pricier than in May, has the same quad -A53 Amlogic SoC and 85 x 56mm footprint as the Odroid-C2. It also offers similar features like 2GB RAM, 4x USB, GbE, and a 40-pin RPi-like bus. Unlike the Odroid-C2, but like the RPi 3, the NanoPi K2 adds WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, so you don’t have to use up a USB port. The Amlogic S905 with Mali 450 GPU is considerably more powerful than the RPi 3’s Broadcom SoC and supports 4K @ 60fps decoding and DVFS. Android 5.1 and Ubuntu Core Xenial images are available.

 

NanoPi M1 Plus

  • Upgrade to NanoPi M1 adds wireless and GbE
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $38

This more feature-rich update of the recently discontinued NanoPi M1 retains the Allwinner H3 but is slightly smaller at 64 x 60mm. The higher price of the NanoPi M1 Plus reflects the standard 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC, as well as new features like WiFi, Bluetooth, a mic, and Gigabit Ethernet. One of the three USB 2.0 host ports, however, has moved to an onboard header. Other features include HDMI, DVP camera, CVBS A/V, IR, and a microSD slot, plus a 40-pin RPi header. OS options include Ubuntu, FriendlyCore Xenial, and Debian.

 

NanoPi M2A

  • Compact SBC is like a quad-core version of discontinued, octa-core NanoPi M3
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung S5P4418 (4x Cortex-A9 @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz); “3D” GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $42

The NanoPi M2A, which has risen in price by $12 over the last year, essentially replaces the similarly Samsung S5P4418 driven, $25 NanoPi M2. Aside from the quad-core SoC, the NanoPi M2A is almost exactly like the recently discontinued, octa-core NanoPi M3. The 64 x 60mm footprint, layout, and features are almost identical to the defunct M3 except for the addition of a mic and a switch from a 5V @ 2A to a 5V @ 3A input. The NanoPi M2A provides WiFi, BT 4.0, and a GbE port, plus media interfaces like HDMI, LCD, LVDS, DVP, and audio. The SBC includes 2x USB 2.0 host ports and two more USB headers plus a micro-USB port and a 40-pin RPi header. Images listed for the NanoPi M2A include Android 4.4 and 5.1, Debian 8.1, and FriendlyCore Xenial with Qt.

 

NanoPi Fire3

  • Super-affordable octa-core -A53 board features RTC and advanced power management
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung S5P6818 (8x Cortex-A53 @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz); “3D” GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $35

In November, FriendlyElec replaced its NanoPi 2 Fire (which previously replaced the NanoPi 2) with two fiery new models: a $35 NanoPi Fire3 with an octa-core S5P6818 and 1GB RAM and a $28 NanoPi Fire2A with the same quad -A9 S5P4418 found on the defunct NanoPi 2 Fire. The two boards are otherwise identical, but unless you’re buying in volume, the only reason we can see to choose the slower NanoPi Fire2A is to save on power. The chief differences between the new Fire3 and 2 Fire include a realignment of the USB 2.0 port into a vertical position, and the replacement of the HDMI port with a micro-HDMI, enabling it to sit side-by-side with the GbE and USB ports. You also get a microSD slot plus RGB LCD, DVP camera, serial debug, and a RPi 40-pin interface. The 5V board is powered by a micro-USB OTG, and there’s an RTC with battery and a PMIC with dynamic voltage control. The 75 x 40mm Fire3 runs Android and Linux distros including FriendlyCore.

 

NanoPi Neo

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • Headless, IoT-focused quad -A7 boardlet is smaller than an RPi Zero
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB or 512MB DDR3 RAM (Neo)
  • Price — $12 or $14 (512MB)

The Neo was the first of a sub-series of tiny NanoPi boards that include the wireless enabled Neo Air, quad -A53 Neo2-LTS, and the Neo Plus2 (see below). The Neo boards are among the world’s smallest and most affordable quad-core ARM SBCs. At 40 x 40mm, they occupy only 1,600 square millimeters, compared to 1,950 sq. mm for the 65 x 30mm Raspberry Pi Zero. The NanoPi Neo is equipped with microSD, USB 2.0 host, and micro-USB OTG ports, but like the other Neo variants, it lacks a display interface. You get 36 GPIO pins instead of the usual RPi connector. The board runs Ubuntu Core or Mate on the Allwinner H3.

 

NanoPi Neo2-LTS

  • Quad -A53 version of tiny Neo offers long-term support
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-450 GPU)
  • Memory — 512MB or 1GB DDR3
  • Price — $20 or $37 (1GB)

In early 2017, the quad -A7, 40 x 40mm NanoPi Neo was joined by a 64-bit quad -A53 near twin called the NanoPi Neo2. The Neo2 was updated with a v1.1 model that added a 1GB RAM option, and it’s now referred to as the Neo2-LTS to signify it is a long-term support model that will be maintained and supported as is for “as long as possible.” The Neo2 is the same as the Neo except for the faster H5 SoC, a switch to GbE from 10/100 Ethernet, two more USB headers, and the lack of a 256MB RAM option. In December, FriendlyElec launched COM versions of the Neo and Neo2 called the NanoPi Neo Core ($8) and NanoPi Neo Core2 ($25), which are designed to work with an optional, $11, RPi-like Mini Shield carrier board. The sandwich-style design is much like the NanoPi Duo and its own Mini Shield variant except that the Core boards are true COMs rather than SBCs.

 

NanoPi Neo Air

  • Wireless version of Neo adds eMMC and a camera connector, but loses the LAN and USB ports
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 8GB or 32GB eMMC
  • Price — $28 or $39 (32GB)

The NanoPi Neo Air is a wireless variant of the NanoPi Neo. This headless IoT board has the same 40 x 40mm footprint, and similarly runs Ubuntu Core and Mate on an Allwinner H3. The Neo Air comes standard with 512MB of RAM, and adds WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a DVP camera connector. You also get 8GB eMMC, and since the launch FriendlyElec has added a 32GB eMMC option. The Air sacrifices the Ethernet port and the sole USB host port, however, leaving you only a micro-USB OTG for power and data. You can get more USB ports or a power connection via the split bank of 36 GPIO pins.

 

NanoPi Neo Plus2

  • As if a Neo Air mated with a Neo2, but then expanded
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); ARM Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $44

The NanoPi Neo Plus2 SBC now sells for $44, or $19 higher than its July 2017 launch price. The board combines the WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and 8GB eMMC of the Neo Air with the quad -A53 Allwinner H5 of the Neo2. It also boosts RAM to 1GB. It’s not a Neo drop-in replacement, however, as the dimensions have grown to 52 x 40mm. Like the other Neo boards, the SBC offers a bootable microSD slot, GbE port, dual USB 2.0 host ports, and a micro-USB for 5V power. As before, you get serial debug and audio interfaces, as well as two banks of expansion connectors: a high-speed 12-pin interface and a 24-pin low-speed connector. A $7, I2C-driven NanoHAT OLED display add-on with 128 x 64-pixel resolution ships with an open source driver and NanoHAT Motor Python Library. The add-on can be stacked on any of the Neo boards, with the combo housed in an optional aluminum casing. The Neo Plus2 runs Ubuntu Core 16.04 with Linux 4.x.y mainline kernel.

 

Odroid-C0

  • The smallest of the Amlogic-based Odroid-C boards targets IoT
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S805 (4x Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; optional eMMC 4.5
  • Price — $29.80 (with $1.80 Connector Pack)

Aimed at IoT and robotics, the Odroid-C0 is a smaller (65 x 56mm), somewhat stripped-down version of the Odroid-C1 and -C1+ (see below). It has the same quad-core, Cortex-A5 Amlogic SoC and offers the same Ubuntu and Android 4.4 support with GCC 4.9.2 Linux toolchain. Coastline ports are limited to a single HDMI, but an optional Connector Pack lets you solder on real-world connections for unpopulated interfaces. These include dual USB host, serial console, IR, I2S, and an RPi 40-pin interface. A battery connector with charging circuit supports an optional 3.7V Li-Po battery. Internet connectivity requires an optional WiFi dongle. As with all Odroid boards, the price includes worldwide shipping.

 

Odroid-C1+

  • A Raspberry Pi lookalike with optional eMMC and full-size HDMI
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S805 (4x Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; optional 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $35

The Odroid-C1+ upgraded the earlier and very similar Odroid-C1 with features like a full-size HDMI port, a standard heatsink, and I2S audio and micro-USB-OTG links. The C1+ has a price, footprint, and feature set that is almost identical to the original, 32-bit Raspberry Pi 2, but has a faster processor, and supports Android 4.4 in addition to Ubuntu 14.04. The C1+ is further equipped with a microSD slot and optional eMMC, as well as GbE, serial console, ADC, and a RPi-compatible 40-pin connector.

 

Odroid-C2

  • RPi 3 pseudo clone with 2GB RAM and up to 64GB (but no built-in WiFi)
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905 (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; optional 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $46

The Odroid-C2 came in seventh place out of 98 boards in our June 2017 survey. It has the same 85 x 56mm size and layout as the Odroid-C1+ and Raspberry Pi 3, but advances to a quad -A53 Amlogic S905 SoC. It’s faster than the RPi 3, but there’s no WiFi or Bluetooth, and the price is higher. The C2 doubles the RAM of the C1+ to 2GB and offers a choice of optional storage between up to 64GB of eMMC or an 8GB or 16GB SD 3.01 compatible UHS-1 microSD card. The Odroid-C2 can output 4K @ 60Hz video, and has almost everything the C1+ has, including GbE and HDMI ports, four USB host ports, and a 40-pin RPi connector. Images are available for Android 5.1 or Ubuntu 16.04, based on a Linux 3.14 LTS kernel.

 

Odroid-N1

  • New RK3399 entry boasts dual SATA III, HDMI 2.0, and the latest Android and Ubuntu builds
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-T860 MP4 GPU
  • Memory — 4GB DDR3 RAM; eMMC socket
  • Price — about $110

We’re gambling that Hardkernel is going to meet its promised June ship date, and that the price will be close to the estimated $110. Announced in February, the Odroid-N1 is built around a high-end RK3399 SoC with standard 4GB of RAM and storage expansion via microSD, optional eMMC 5.1, and dual native SATA III interfaces. The Odroid-N1 is further equipped with 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, GbE, and HDMI 2.0 ports. The 99 x 99mm board also offers an RTC, PMIC, serial console interface, heatsink, and a 40-pin GPIO interface. OS support includes Android 7.1, as well as Ubuntu 18.04 or Debian Stretch 9.3 with Kernel 4.4 LTS.

 

Odroid-XU4

  • Versatile octa-core SBC powers multiple Odroid cluster and NAS systems
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung Exynos5422 (4x Cortex-A15 @ 2.0GHz and 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.4GHz); Mali-T628 MP6 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; optional up to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $59

This 83 x 58mm Odroid-XU3 replacement came in fourth place in last year’s survey. It uses the same octa-core Exynos5422 and Mali-T628 GPU as the XU3, and provides a GbE port, audio-enabled HDMI port, 2x USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 2.0 port. The XU4 has a 12-pin GPIO header in addition to a 30-pin expansion connector. Options include a USB-based SATA 3.0 module, an I/O board, and various wireless add-ons. The Odroid-XU4 ships with several versions of Android up to 7.1 Nougat, as well as Ubuntu 16.04, based on a Linux 4.14 LTS kernel. A lightweight version of the board powers a $49 Odroid-HC1 mini-PC and up to four of them can be loaded onto a $220 Odroid-MC1 cluster computer. Hardkernel recently added a stackable, single-unit Odroid-MC1 Solo version for $48. The XU4 also drives the $54 Odroid-HC2 NAS platform.

 

Orange Pi 2G-IOT

  • $10 board with rarely seen Cortex-A5 SoC features 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — RDA RDA8810PL (1x Cortex-A5); Vivante GC860 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB LPDDR2 RAM; 500MB NAND
  • Price — $9.90

Most of Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi boards have 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible connectors and low prices that are matched with generous, under-$4 shipments to the U.S. The Orange Pi project has been criticized for poor Linux support and HW quality issues in the past, but it appears to be improving. Linux and Android OS images available on the Orange Pi site vary widely by board. The first Orange Pi on our list is somewhat atypical. The 68 x 42mm Orange Pi 2G-IOT can withstand -10 to 65°C temperatures, and runs Android 4.4, Ubuntu, Debian, or an RPi image on a single-core, Cortex-A5 RDA RDA8810PL SoC (typically 1GHz) with an integrated 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE baseband. The $10 board offers WiFi, BT, and a SIM card slot with 2G antenna. Other features include LCD, MIPI-CSI, and audio interfaces, as well as USB 2.0 host and micro-USB OTG ports. There’s also a 40-pin RPi connector.

 

Orange Pi 3G-IOT

  • Android-powered 3G cellular board also offers WiFi, BT, GPS, and FM
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT6572 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP1 GPU
  • Memory – 512MB DDR2 RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $24.90

The Orange Pi 3G-IOT arrived a week ago, providing a middle ground between the Orange Pi 2G-IOT (above) and Orange Pi 4G-IOT (below). Thanks to its low-end smartphone oriented, dual -A7 MediaTek MT6572 SoC, there’s built-in support for 3G GSM, WiFi, BT, GPS, and FM. The 68 x 52mm board has little in common with the other IOT branded Orange Pi boards. The modest feature set includes an LCD interface, MIPI-CSI, audio jack and mic, and USB 2.0 host and micro-USB power ports. You also get a 40-pin expansion connector. Right now, OS support is limited to Android 4.4.

 

Orange Pi 4G-IOT

  • 4G LTE board runs Android 8.1 on a quad -A53 SoC
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT6737 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-T720 MP1 GPU
  • Memory – 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $45

Despite the similar names, the new Orange Pi 4G-IOT has little in common with the lower-end Orange Pi 2G-IOT and 3G-IOT SBCs except for their integrated cellular modems, which in this case is 4G LTE. There’s no Ethernet port, but you also get WiFi, BT, FM, and GPS. The Orange Pi 4G-IOT is typical of many Orange Pi boards in that it has a Raspberry Pi like footprint (85 x 55mm) and 40-pin expansion header. An HDMI port is available along with LCD, camera, and audio connectors. Other features include 3x USB OTG host ports, a micro-USB port, an IR receiver, and fingerprint reader support. One potential drawback is the rather arcane quad -A53 MT6737 SoC. Android is still the only supported OS, although since the March launch, it’s been updated to Android 8.1.

 

Orange Pi i96

  • The world’s only Linux-based 96Boards IoT Edition board costs $9
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — RDA RDA8810PL (1x Cortex-A5); Vivante GC860 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB LPDDR3 RAM; 500MB NAND flash
  • Price — $8.80

The 60 x 30mm Orange Pi i96 is the second 96Boards IoT Edition (IE) board after Seeed’s BLE Carbon, and the first to run Linux. The SBC, which sells for $8.80 on AliExpress, uses the same 1GHz, Cortex-A5 based RDA8810PL SoC from RDA Microelectronics adopted by the $10, 68 x 42mm Orange Pi 2G-IOT, but without the 2G GPRS baseband. The SBC implements the “Standard Micro” IE format’s 40-pin low-speed expansion connector option required by the “Extended” format, rather than the 30-pin subset used on the Carbon board. The board offers Android, Ubuntu, and Debian images. Features include WiFi/Bluetooth with external antenna, as well as microSD, USB host, and micro-USB OTG ports. There are no LCD or audio interfaces, but you get a CSI camera interface, 3x GPIO, and a 40-pin connector.

 

Orange Pi Lite

  • Quad -A7 board gives you WiFi, HDMI, and MIPI-CSI on the cheap
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $12

The fetchingly priced Orange Pi Lite, a WiFi variant of the Orange Pi One, offers the 1.2GHz version of the quad-core H3 SoC, compared to 1.6GHz on the Orange Pi PC. It’s also limited to a half gig of RAM, and lacks an Ethernet port, but you get a second USB host port. Other features include microSD, WiFi, HDMI, MIPI-CSI, micro-USB OTG, and the usual 40-pin RPi header. Also check out the new, Allwinner H6 powered Lite 2 board below.

 

Orange Pi Lite2

  • Faster upgrade to the Orange Pi Lite adds WiFi-ac and BT 4.1, but loses the 40-pin link
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H6 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-T720 MP2 GPU
  • Memory – 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $25

The Orange Pi Lite2 arrived in early January with the same 69 x 48mm footprint and much the same layout and feature set as the Orange Pi Lite. The big change was the shift to the quad- A53 H6 SoC, which is not only faster than the H3, but offers HDR and other media-related goodies. The Lite2, which sells for about twice as much as the Lite ($25 at AliExpress), doubles the RAM to 1GB and switches one of the two USB host ports to USB 3.0. The Lite2 also swaps out the WiFi-only chip for a faster 802.11ac model that adds Bluetooth 4.1 and an antenna. Other enhancements include a power management unit (PMU), and an upgrade to Android 7.0. Ubuntu and Debian are also supported. The big sacrifice here is that the 40-pin header has shrunk to 26 pins.

 

Orange Pi One Plus

  • A high-end video SoC plus HDMI 2.0 and GbE for only $20
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H6 (4x Cortex-A53); ARM Mali-T720 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Price — $20

The $20 Orange Pi One Plus appeared at the end of December for $20 on AliExpress. The One Plus essentially replaces the Allwinner H3-based Orange Pi One, which is still available for $10 at AliExpress. The One Plus has as an almost identical feature set, layout, and 68 x 48mm footprint as the One, and advances to Allwinner’s quad-A53 H6 SoC with Mali-T720 GPU. The H6 (and One Plus) features [email protected] (H.264) or 6K @ 30fps (H.265) decoding, both with 10-bit HDR video processing. Other differences include a doubling of RAM to 1GB, a GbE port instead of 10/100, and HDMI 2.0a instead of 1.3. On the other hand, you’re limited to an old-school 26-pin expansion connector instead of an RPi 3-compatible 40-pin link. Other features are identical, including USB host, micro-USB OTG, microSD, IR, mic, and MIPI-CSI I/O. Debian Jessie and Ubuntu have now joined Android 7.0 on the download page. A more feature-rich Orange Pi 3 Plus is said to be in the works that more fully exploits the H6 SoC.

 

Orange Pi PC / PC Plus

  • RPi 2 lookalikes keep it simple
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 with 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.6GHz and Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC (PC Plus only)
  • Price — $15 (PC), $24 (PC Plus)

The $15 Orange Pi PC provides an Allwinner H3, a Raspberry Pi-like 85 x 55mm footprint, and RPi-compatible 40-pin expansion. It has twice the RAM of the Lite and original One models, and provides microSD, HDMI, CVBS, CSI, and 10/100 Ethernet connections. You also get 3x USB host ports and a micro-USB OTG. A newer Orange Pi PC Plus model adds 8GB of eMMC flash. A more advanced version of this design can be seen in the quad -A53 Orange Pi PC 2 below.

 

Orange Pi PC 2

  • Super-affordable, 64-bit upgrade to the Orange Pi PC advances to GbE
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $20

The Orange Pi PC 2, which is available for $20 at AliExpress, builds on the Orange Pi PC design, but advances to a quad -A53 Allwinner H5. The PC 2 has the same footprint, 40-pin header, and features of the PC and PC Plus. It moves up to Gigabit Ethernet, but lacks the onboard eMMC of the Plus model, depending solely on microSD.

 

Orange Pi Plus2 / Plus2E

  • RPi 2 lookalike also available in cheaper Plus2E model without SATA
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.6GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $49 ($42 for Plus2E)

The $49 Orange Pi Plus2 and $42 Orange Pi Plus2E run distributions including Lubuntu, Raspbian, and Android on a quad-core, 1.6GHz Allwinner H3. The 108 x 67mm SBCs provide an RPi-compatible 40-pin connector, four USB host ports, a GbE port, and WiFi. The Plus2 is further equipped with micro-USB, microSD, SATA, HDMI, CVBS, and CSI connections. The cheaper Plus2E swaps the four-port USB hub for three separate USB ports, and loses the SATA connection.

 

Orange Pi Prime

  • Quad -A53 board offers wireless, 2GB RAM, and extended temp support
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $35.90

Like the $20 Orange Pi PC 2, the $36 Orange Pi Prime gives you a quad -A53 Allwinner H5, a 40-pin RPi header, 3x USB host ports, and micro-USB OTG, HDMI, GbE, microSD, CVBS, audio, and MIPI-CSI connections. This larger, 98 x 60mm SBC doubles the RAM to 2GB, however, and adds WiFi, Bluetooth, and extended -10 to 65°C support. Images are available for Android, Debian Desktop and Server, Ubuntu Desktop, and Arch Server.

 

Orange Pi R1

  • Compact, headless $14 SBC has dual 10/100 LAN ports and WiFi too
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $13.90

The new Orange Pi R1 stands out by combining a tiny 60 x 45mm footprint and low price with dual 10/100 Ethernet ports, one of which is USB-based. Aimed at tiny gateways like the similarly Allwinner H2 based Orange Pi Zero boards, the headless R1 is equipped with WiFi with antenna, plus a microSD slot and micro-USB 2.0 OTG port with power input. You get a 26-pin header compatible with old RPi boards, plus GPIO, serial debug, and a 13-pin interface that includes TV out. Android 4.4, Lubuntu, Debian, and Armbian are on tap. The R1 sells for $14 on AliExpress.

 

Orange Pi RK3399

  • Affordable RK3399 board has high-end features like mini-PCIe, mSATA, and an HDMI input
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.42GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $109

The first RK3399 based Orange Pi can’t match the low $60 to $80 price of the RockPro64, but it’s still one of the more affordable RK3399 SBCs around. It sells for $109 at AliExpress and TaoBao. The Orange Pi RK3399’s high-end feature set is very close to that of the Firefly-RK3399, with GbE, WiFi-ac, BT 4.1, and a wide array of display, camera, and audio features. The only major difference is that all four of its USB 2.0 connections are coastline ports. There are also USB 3.0 Type-C, HDMI 2.0, an HDMI input, DP 1.2, eDP, and 2x MIPI-DSI and -CSI. Audio interfaces include SPDIF, I2S, and a 3.5mm analog jack. For expansion you get both a 40-pin RPi style connector and a mini-PCIe slot with a mSATA support and a SIM slot. A second mSATA interface is standard. The 129 x 99mm SBC provides an array of sensors and runs Android 6.0 or Debian 9.

 

Orange Pi Win Plus / Win

  • RPi 3 pseudo-clones feature up to 2GB RAM and extended temp support
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM for Win Plus (1GB on Win); optional eMMC
  • Price — $36.90 (Win Plus) or $25 (Win)

While most of the new 64-bit Orange Pi models use the Allwinner H5, the 2GB Orange Pi Win Plus and 1GB Orange Pi Win tap the older Allwinner A64, which is much the same except for its weaker Mali-400 GPU. The Win boards can run Android 6.0, Debian Server and Desktop, Raspbian Desktop and Server, and Ubuntu Desktop/Server Xenial/LXDE/XFCE. The 93 x 60mm SBCs are only slightly smaller than the similarly priced and configured, H5-based Orange Pi Prime. Like the Prime, the Win SBCs provide micro-USB OTG, HDMI, GbE, microSD, audio, MIPI-CSI, and 40-pin RPi connections. They similarly furnish WiFi and Bluetooth and offer -10 to 65°C support. Differences include a MIPI-DSI LCD interface on the Win boards in place of RCA/CVBS/AV, and the availability of 4x USB host ports instead of three. You also get optional eMMC.

 

Orange Pi Zero H2+ / Zero Plus 2 H3 / Zero Plus 2 H5

  • Tiny Orange Pi Zero boards target IoT with various SoCs and features
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2+ (H2+) or H3 (H3), both with 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz with Mali-400 MP2 GPU; or Allwinner H5 with 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz and Mali-450 MP2 (H5)
  • Memory — 256MB or 512MB DDR3 RAM (H2+); 512MB with 8GB eMMC (H3 and H5)
  • Price — $8.50 (H2+ with 256MB) $22.90 (H3), $23.90 (H5)

The Orange Zero Plus 2 H3 and Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5 are rev’d up versions of the Orange Pi Zero. The Zero, in turn was recently upgraded to an Orange Pi Zero H2+, with approximately the same price and exactly the same features as the Zero, but with a slightly improved Allwinner H2+ instead of an H2. (Note that the 512MB RAM version no longer appears to be available.) All three boards have the same tiny, 48 x 46mm dimensions, but with different processors. The Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H3 has an Allwinner H3, which adds 4K support. The Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5 advances to a quad -A53 Allwinner H5, which also moves up to a Mali-450 GPU. Otherwise, the H3 and H5 devices are identical and only $1 difference in price. Compared to the Zero H2+, the H3 and H5 models remove the USB 2.0 host and 10/100 Ethernet ports, as well as the mic interface. Yet, the headless Zero H2+ is limited to an AV-out interface grouped along with other I/O on its 13-pin function header, while the Zero Plus 2 H3 and H5 boards add an HDMI port and MIPI-CSI. They also add 8GB eMMC and Bluetooth 4.2, which is provided on an Ampak AP6212 module along with the previously supplied WiFi. It all looks good for low-cost multimedia, except that the H5 version could really use a 1GB RAM option.

 

OSD3358-SM-RED

  • High-end BeagleBone clone designed for OSD335x-SM SiP prototyping
  • Company/project — Octavo Systems
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Octavo Systems OSD3358 SiP with TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCUs; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $199

After contributing its TI AM3358 based OSD335x SiP module to the BeagleBone Black Wireless and supplying its smaller OSD335x-SM module to the PocketBeagle, Octavo has launched its own open-spec BeagleBone clone based on the OSD335x-SM. The 108 x 54mm OSD3358-SM-RED is billed as a development platform for prototyping Octavo OSD3358 SiP based devices. Unlike the BB Black Wireless, there’s no WiFi/BT module, but there’s a GbE port, and you get 16GB eMMC compared to 4GB on the other BeagleBones. Like the BeagleBone Green, you get 4x USB host/device ports plus a micro-USB port. Other features include a micro-HDMI port, a pair of BeagleBone expansion connectors, a 9-axis IMU, a LiPo connector, and temperature and barometer sensors.

 

Parallella

  • Zynq-based SBC features parallel processing chip for clustering applications
  • Company/project — Adapteva, Parallella.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq-7020 or -7010 SoC (2x Cortex-A9 @ 667MHz plus FPGA); 16-core Epiphany RISC chip
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $127 (Micro-Server with -7010); $149 (standard with -7010); $265 (standard with -7020)

Is the Parallella era coming to a close? In a farewell blog post last July, Adapteva founder Andreas Olofsson suggested he was leaving in part due to his inability to “secure enough large investors and customers to reach the critical mass needed to compete with the likes of Nvidia and Intel.” He noted, however, that the company is profitable, and boasts 10,000 customers and a lively community. That was the last entry in the once lively blog. Aimed at power-efficient server clustering applications and parallel processing research, the Parallella features a Zynq ARM/FPGA SoC running an Ubuntu based Parabuntu. But the star of the show here is the homegrown 16-core Epiphany parallel computing coprocessor. There are still boards left, although not in every configuration. The standard model, which is available at Amazon for $149, provides microSD, GbE, micro-HDMI, and dual USB ports. Four 60-pin connectors express I/O linked to FPGA and the Epiphany chip. Digi-Key’s Micro-Server version with a Zynq-7010 that omits the USB, HDMI, and expansion I/O, is available for $127.

 

pcDuino8 Uno

  • Octa-core -A8 board keeps pcDuino legacy alive
  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H8 (8x Cortex-A7 @ 2GHz); PowerVR SGX544 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DRAM
  • Price — $49

The pcDuino 8 Uno isn’t listed on LinkSprite’s main pcDuino page, suggesting the SBC might be on the way out, but a shopping page is buried on the site. The board features an octa-core Allwinner H8 clocked to 2GHz, combined with the usual pcDuino Arduino expansion. The 92 x 54mm board provides microSD, GbE, USB host, USB OTG, HDMI, audio, MIPI-CSI, and IR connections. The old Cortex-S8 based pcDuino is still available for $30.

 

Pepper 43R / 43C

  • Customizable Cortex-A8 SBCs feature optional 4.3-inch touchscreens
  • Company/project — Gumstix
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3354 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 800MHz); PowerVR SGX530 3D GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM
  • Price — $169

The original, $250 Pepper that appeared back in 2013 has been replaced with three new models, two of which are covered here. The Pepper boards have a TI AM3354 SoC that lacks the PRU MCUs of the original AM3359 but provide a 3D-ready PowerVR GPU. The $169 Pepper 43R and 43C are very similar, but the Pepper DVI-D is sufficiently divergent to deserve its own blurb below. The Pepper 43R can drive resistive touchscreens while the Pepper 43C supports capacitive, and each are available with optional 4.3-inch Newhaven touchscreens. The 43R version also adds an 8-ch. bidirectional level shifter and a TI step-down converter. Both boards have a GbE port, microSD slot, dual micro-USB ports, a USB console port, and a TI WiLink 8 WiFi/BT 4.1 LE module. The Pepper 43 boards are further equipped with 20-pin GPIO, an audio jack, LiPo battery support, a PMIC, and LEDs. The boards can be further customized in the Gumstix Geppetto online design and manufacturing service.

 

Pepper DVI-D

  • HDMI-focused Cortex-A8 SBC supports online customization
  • Company/project — Gumstix
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3354 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 800MHz); PowerVR SGX530 3D GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM
  • Price — $119

The Pepper DVI-D has the same size, TI AM3354 SoC, and 512MB RAM as the Pepper 43R and 43C (see above), but with a much lower price and a different layout and purpose. Instead of supporting touchscreens, the Pepper DVI-D features an HDMI port (via DVI-D) to support HD output instead of 720p. Other features include a microSD slot, GbE port, audio jack, console port, USB host port, and dual micro-USB device ports. As with the Pepper 43 boards, images are available for Yocto, Ubuntu, and Android. A community portion of the site shared with other Gumstix developers provides projects and tutorials. Like the other Peppers, the SBC is designed with the Gumstix Geppetto DIY design service.

 

PICO-PI-IMX6UL

  • Rugged, sandwich-style i.MX6 UL board with RPi and MikroBus compatibility showcases Android Things
  • Company/project — Wandboard.org; TechNexion
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 UltraLite (1x Cortex-A7 @ 528MHz); WXGA graphics
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3L RAM; 4GB eMMC (expandable)
  • Price — $69

The sandwich-style, somewhat Raspberry Pi like PICO-PI-IMX6UL is a new version of the differently configured and now defunct PICO-IMX6UL-KIT, which was itself a rebrand of the HobbitBoard. Like the PICO-IMX6UL-KIT, the PICO-PI-IMX6UL is pre-loaded with Google’s lightweight, and mostly proprietary Android Things OS, but you can load other Linux distros as well. Like its progenitors, the SBC incorporates TechNexion’s PICO-IMX6UL COM. The COM integrates NXP’s low-power i.MX6 UltraLite (UL), plus memory, WiFi, and BT 4.0. The PICO-PI-IMX6UL carrier adds 10/100 Ethernet, a USB host port, a micro-USB debug port, an audio jack, an antenna connector, and a PMIC. There’s also 24-bit TTL RGB, GPIO, an RPi-compatible 40-pin header, and connectors for the Edison carrier and MikroBus Click add-ons. The board has 0 to 60°C support, plus shock and vibration resistance. The PICO-PI-IMX6UL may not last long since the almost identical, but i.MX7 based PICO-PI-IMX7 has arrived (see below).

 

PICO-PI-IMX7

  • Rugged i.MX7 boardset features Android Things and offers numerous add-ons
  • Company/project — Wandboard.org; Technexion
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX7 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); WXGA graphics; Cortex-M4 MCU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3L RAM; 4GB eMMC (expandable)
  • Price — $79

The PICO-PI-IMX7 has the same Android Things support, RPi-like, 85 x 56mm footprint, and almost all the same features of the PICO-PI-IMX6UL (see above). However, it advances to a faster and still very power efficient, dual-core i.MX7 SoC and swaps out the MikroBus connector in favor of a MIPI-CSI interface. There’s also a $169 PICO-PI-IMX7-STARTKIT model that adds a camera module and a 5-inch, 800 x 480 capacitive touchscreen. A $199 PICO-PI-IMX7-STARTKIT-RAINBOW-HAT is like the regular STARTKIT but adds Pimoroni’s Rainbow HAT for sensors, displays, and servo I/O.

 

Pine A64 / A64-LTS

  • Over-sized, $15 and up RPi 3 imitators include 2GB version with LTS support
  • Company/project — Pine64, Inc.
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 or R18 (A64-LTS), both with 4x Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.2GHz and Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB, 1GB, or 2GB (A64-LTS) DDR3 RAM; optional up to 128GB eMMC on A64-LTS
  • Price — $15 (512MB), $19 (1GB), $32 (2GB A64-LTS)

This quad-core, Raspberry Pi imitator provides microSD, HDMI, Fast Ethernet, audio, dual USB 2.0 host, and micro-USB ports. The 127 x 79mm Pine A64 offers a Pi-compatible, 40-pin connector, a 14-pin Euler connector, an RTC, and -20 to 70°C support. Compared to the 512MB model, both the 1GB A64 and 2GB Pine A64-LTS models boost Ethernet to GbE, and add a touch-panel interface, MIPI-DSI and -CSI ports, plus display and camera options. The 2GB model switches to an almost identical Allwinner R18 SoC, and adds a 5-year longevity guarantee, microSD bootability, SPI boot flash, and optional, up to 128GB eMMC. Mainline Linux based distros include Android 6.0/7.1, Remix OS 2.0, Debian Jesse Mate, and Ubuntu 16.04 in Mate, Base, and minimal images. The boards are further compatible with openSUSE, Armbian, Arch, Fedora, Gentoo, and more. Pine64 also sells a SODIMM-style SoPine A64 COM featuring the guts of the Pine A64, as well as an open source Pinebook laptop based on the same A64 processor, sold for $89 (11.6-inch) or $99 (14-inch). Over the last year, Pine64 has introduced the Pine H64, Rock64, and RockPro64 SBCs (see farther below).

 

Pine H64

  • Allwinner H6 board has HDMI 2.0 plus RPi and mini-PCIe expansion
  • Company/project — Pine64, Inc.
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H6 (4x Cortex-A53 cores); Mali-T720 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB LPDDR3 RAM; eMMC interface
  • Price — $26 (1GB), $36 (2GB) $45 (3GB)

The Pine H64, which has the same dimensions and much the same layout as the Pine A64, went on sale in February featuring the high-end Allwinner H6 SoC, which is also found on the Orange Pi One Plus. With the help of its Mali-T720 GPU, the SoC can push out [email protected] with HDR video over the Pine H64’s HDMI 2.0 port. The board is currently out of stock — the first version came with warnings about being a bleeding edge developers version — but we imagine it will be back soon in a more stable, volume production version. Features include GbE, 2x USB 2.0, and optional eMMC and WiFi/BT ($10) Like the Pine A64, it offers Pi-compatible, 40-pin and 14-pin Euler expansion connectors, and it also adds a mini-PCIe slot. Android and Linux are supported.

 

PocketBeagle

  • Tiny, minimalist BeagleBone variant can be plugged into a PC’s USB port for programming
  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Octavo Systems OSD335x SiP with TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips and PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM
  • Price — $25

BeagleBoard.org’s tiny PocketBeagle barely qualifies as an SBC thanks to its microSD slot and micro-USB port. Like the BeagleBone Blue and BeagleBone Black Wireless, it’s built around an Octavo OSD335x SiP, which includes the BB Black’s AM3358 SoC with PRUs and PowerVR GPU along with 512MB RAM. The 56 x 35mm PocketBeagle is about the same size as the Raspberry Pi Zero. There’s no eMMC, wireless, or Ethernet port, but you can plug this COM-like board into a laptop as a USB key-fob. This lets you program the device using a web browser that provides access to the Linux command-line and text editor. The PocketBeagle is not a true BeagleBone clone since it lacks dual 46-pin connectors for Cape add-ons, and it has 72 pin headers instead of 92. Yet, the Debian-driven SBC should run any BB Black software that does not access the unavailable pins.

 

Raspberry Pi Zero

  • Tiny, $5 and up Raspberry Pi variant has mini-HDMI and dual micro-USB ports
  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2835 (1x ARM1176JZFS core @ 1GHz) with FPU and VideoCore IV dual-core GPU
  • Memory — 512MB SDRAM
  • Price — $5 to $25 ($14 typ. config)

Even when factoring in $5 to $25 more to add various cables and adapters, the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero is still a good deal for space-constrained IoT hacking projects. The 65 x 30mm Zero upgrades the same old-school ARM11 processor found on the Raspberry Pi A+ and B+ to 1GHz speed. The COM-like SBC ships with a microSD slot, a pair of micro-USB ports, and a mini-HDMI port with audio support, as well as an unpopulated composite video header for the juicy VideoCore IV GPU. Missing are all the USB ports, DSI and CSI ports, and audio jacks found on the Pi 2 and 3.

 

Raspberry Pi Zero W / Zero WH

  • Wireless versions of RPi Zero now include WH model with soldered 40-pin header
  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2835 (1x ARM1176JZFS core @ 1GHz) with FPU and VideoCore IV dual-core GPU
  • Memory — 512MB SDRAM
  • Price — $10 to $25 ($19 typ. config.); $14 base price for Zero WH

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is identical to the RPi Zero except for the addition of the same Cypress CYW43438 wireless chip found on the $35 Raspberry Pi 3, providing 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 with BLE. The Zero W is available starting at only $10 but you need the same add-ons as the Zero to get real-world video and USB ports. In January, a Raspberry Pi Zero WH model arrived that adds a soldered 40-pin GPIO header to the Zero W for easier prototyping and access to the new GPIO Expander tool. The Zero WH price has dropped from $18 to $14.

 

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

  • The world’s most popular Linux hacker board
  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2837 (4x Cortex-53 @ 1.2GHz); Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU @ 400MHz
  • Memory — 1GB SDRAM
  • Price — $30

The runaway winner of our recent surveys is still available at the same price as the faster, more feature rich new RPi 3 Model B+ (see below). Both boards typically cost $35, but MicroCenter has been running a retail store only promotion for $30 for either model. Other boards with the same RPI expansion compatibility can beat the Raspberry Pi 3 on price, performance, and features, but the comparison is far closer than it was between the earlier Raspberry Pi’s and their imitators. Most of the imitators are also more open source than the RPi 3, which like its siblings does not provide complete schematics or open source licensing. Yet, if you want guaranteed Raspberry Pi add-on compatibility, the widest range of software support, and membership in a thriving community, this is still your top pick. The largely open source VideoCore CPU adds to the RPi 3’s reputation as a good choice for video applications. Note that the RPi 3 Model B will likely fade with the arrival of a faster new RPi 3 Model B+ model (see below), and you can also buy a Raspberry Pi Model B 2 v1.2 for $35, but with a slower, 900MHz quad -A53 Broadcom SoC and no WiFi or Bluetooth.

 

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

  • RPi 3 upgrade offers faster CPU, WiFi, and Ethernet
  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2837B0 (4x Cortex-53 @ 1.4GHz); Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU @ 400MHz
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • Price — $30

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ arrived in March with the same price and much the same layout and feature set of the RPi 3 Model B, but with both major and minor improvements. There’s a faster, 1.4GHz Broadcom SoC and the wireless module has advanced to precertified, dual-band 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2. The LAN port has moved from 10/100 to USB-powered, up to 300Mbps Gigabit Ethernet, and there’s even a Power-over-Ethernet POE HAT option on the way. Other improvements include a better PMIC, a heat spreader, and 0 to 50°C support. The official price is $35, but Microcenter is offering the same retail-only $30 deal that it provides for the Model B.

 

Rico Board

  • Sitara based board with dual 40-pin expansion connectors
  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI AM437x (1x Cortex-A9 core @ up to 1GHz); PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM (alternatively 256MB or 1GB); 4GB eMMC flash
  • Price — $99 ($139 for full kit with cables etc.)

MYIR’s open-spec, 100 x 65mm Rico Board taps TI’s single-core, Cortex-A9, Sitara AM437x SoC. The SBC integrates HDMI, GbE, and dual USB ports, as well as a 24-bit LCD interface that supports optional 7-inch touchscreens. You also get camera interfaces and dual 40-pin expansion connectors with support for CAN and industrial I/O.

 

Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire

  • Display-oriented RK3399 board offers HDMI 2.0, DP, eDP, and MIPI-DSI
  • Company/project — Vamrs
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.42GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 4GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $149 ($349 for full Excavator EVB Kit

The 115 x 105mm Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire is a consumer relaunch of a board that Vamrs built as Rockchip’s official dev platform for the RK3399. It features a standard 4GB of RAM, and runs up-to-date Android 7.1, Yocto, and Debian with Linux kernel 4.4. This is a simpler board than the pricier Firefly RK3399. There’s no M.2 slot, wireless, or extensive audio I/O, for example, and it has only 3x USB ports. Media features are robust, however, with HDMI 2.0, MIPI-DSI, and eDP, as well as DisplayPort via a USB 3.0 Type-C port. Other features include MIPI-CSI, GbE, and a 40-pin, RPi-compatible header. The Sapphire can be extended via an MXM 310 connector with an Excavator carrier, which is currently available only as part of a $349 Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire Excavator EVB Kit. This is also the only model currently available, but we expect the standard version to return. The full kit includes a 7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536 touchscreen with eDP-based display sub-board. The carrier adds a second USB Type-C, a second GbE, 4x more USB 2.0 host ports, PCIe x8, WiFi/BT with antennas, and more. Vamrs is also prepping a 96Boards-compatible, RK3399-based Rock960 SBC, which has plenty of documentation, but still no estimated price.

 

Rock64

  • RPi 3 lookalike adds USB 3.0, bootable storage, and 4K-ready HDMI 2.0
  • Company/project — Pine64
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3328 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DDR3L; empty eMMC slot
  • Price — $24.95 (1GB), $34.95 (2GB), or $44.95 (4GB)

Like the Firefly-ROC-RK3328-CC SBC (AKA Libre Computer’s Renegade), Pine64’s Rock64 combines Rockchip’s mid-range, quad -A53 RK3328 with a Raspberry Pi like 85 x 56mm footprint and expansion, plus a somewhat similar feature set. The Rock64 lacks the RPi 3’s WiFi/BT module, except for an optional USB dongle, and you won’t find any DSI and CSI interfaces. In addition, it only has 3x USB ports instead of four. However, one of those three is a faster USB 3.0 port, and another is an OTG port. The microSD slot and empty eMMC socket are bootable, and you get a GbE port and HDMI 2.0 port with 4K HDR support. The board is supported with Rockchip versions of Android 7.1, Android with Kodi 16.1, and Linux distros including Debian, Yocto, and LibreELEC.

 

RockPro64

  • World’s cheapest RK3399 SBC has loads of display and camera links and a full-size PCIe x4 slot
  • Company/project — Pine64
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-T864 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4; empty eMMC slot
  • Price — $60 (2GB) or $80 (4GB)

The RockPro64 briefly went on sale this Spring as the most affordable of the rash of RK3399 SBCs that are storming the market. Like the Pine H64, however, it quickly ran out of stock, and it similarly comes with a disclaimer about being an early developer release. Features include HDMI, MIPI-DSI, eDP, 2x MIPI-CSI, Parallel camera, USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, and DisplayPort 1.2 via a USB Type-C port. The board stands out with a full-size PCIe x4 expansion slot in addition to its 40-pin RPi-style connector. For communications, there’s a GbE port and optional, $16 WiFi-ac with Blueooth 4.1 module. MicroSD and audio links are also available.

 

SAMA5D4 Xplained Ultra

  • Company/project — Newark Element14, Microchips
  • Developer board for Microchip’s SAMA5D4 SoC offers partial Arduino compatibility
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Atmel SAMA5D4 (1x Cortex-A5 @ 528MHz)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR2 RAM; 512MB NAND flash
  • Price — $107

SAMA5D4 Xplained Ultra is a collaboration between Atmel’s Linux4SAM developers site and Newark Element14. The Linux-ready, IoT-focused SBC showcases Microchip’s SAMA5D4 SoC, which like the earlier SAMA5D3 is limited to a single Cortex-A5 core. The SAMA5D4 adds NEON, L2 cache, and security features, and several models support 720p video. The 138 x 88mm Xplained board ships with 512MB each of RAM and NAND flash, and offers partial Arduino compatibility. You also get HDMI, Fast Ethernet, and three USB ports.

 

Seeeduino Cloud

  • One of the last available Linux-driven Arduino clones
  • Company/project — SeeedStudio
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Atheros AR9331 (1x MIPS 24kc @ 400MHz); Atmel ATmega32u4 MCU @ 16MHz
  • Memory — 64MB RAM; 16MB flash; 32KB flash for MCU
  • Price — $70

SeeedStudio’s Seeeduino Cloud is an Arduino Yun clone that may also be the only Linux-ready SBC with full Arduino compatibility remaining on the market. Arduino’s Yun and other Linux-equipped SBCs like the Arduino Industrial 101 have faded away. The SBC is a variation on its Seeeduino Arduino clone, and similarly adds Arduino support and the ability to connect the company’s Grove sensor and I/O add-ons. By integrating Dragino’s HE computer-on-module, the Seeeduino Cloud provides a Yun-like Atheros AR9331 WiFi subsystem that runs OpenWrt Linux. Other features include 10/100 Ethernet, USB host, micro-USB, 20x DIO pins, 7x PWM channels, and 12x analog inputs. Like the Seeeduino, the Seeeduino Cloud eases the interface between Arduino firmware and complex web services, in this case via a YunBridge library that delegates all network connections and processing of HTTP transactions to the Linux machine.

 

Tinker Board

  • RPi 3 pseudo clone has a quad -A17 Rockchip SoC with Mali T760 GPU
  • Company/project — Asus
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3288 (4x Cortex-A17 @ 1.8GHz); Mali-T760 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Price — $59.64

Asus’ Tinker Board is the first open spec hacker SBC from a major PC manufacturer. The RK3288 based SBC was also the first Rockchip-based hacker board with a Raspberry Pi style size, layout, feature set, and 40-pin connector. (It has since been followed by the Rockchip RK3388 based Rock64 and Firefly-ROC-RK3328-CC RPi lookalikes.) Compared to the RPi 3 B+, the Tinker Board offers a faster, although 32-bit, processor with a more powerful Mali T760 GPU with upscaled 4K/30fps playback and twice the RAM. The SBC is equipped with WiFi, BT 4.0, a GbE port, and 4x USB 2.0 ports. You also get microSD, micro-USB, HDMI, MIPI-CSI, and MIPI-DSI interfaces. A community site is available with a forum and schematics, 2D and 3D drawings, and other open-spec resources. In addition to Asus’ homegrown, Debian- and LXDE-based TinkerOS, there are images for Android 6.01 and Armbian 5.35, plus support for Ubuntu-LXQt, Lubuntu, FlintOS, DietPi, Volumio, and Yocto. The lowest price we found was $59.64 on pre-order at Shopbit, with shipments due in mid-June. In January, Asus announced an $80 Tinker Board S model that has yet to launch. The new model is the same except that it adds 16GB eMMC, HDMI-CEC support, a smart audio jack, and improved power management.

 

Tritium

  • RPi lookalike comes with choice of three Allwinner SoCs
  • Company/project — Libre Computer
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor – Allwinner H2+, H3, or H5 — 4x Cortex-A7 (H2+/H3) -A53 (H5) cores with Mali-400 MP2 (H2+/H3) or Mali-450 MP4 (H5)
  • Memory – 512MB, 1GB, or 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $20 (H2+ with 512MB), $30 (H3 with 1GB), or $40 (H5 with 2GB)

Libre Computer, which makes the Libre Computer Board (Le Potato) and Firefly’s Firefly-ROC-RK3328-CC (Renegade), has fulfilled its Kickstarter orders for a Tritium (ALL-H3-CC) SBC. The board runs Ubuntu 16.04 or Android 7.1 (“Nougat”) on a choice of Allwinner H2+ (quad -A7 with HD resolution), H3 (quad -A7 with 4K), or H5 (quad -A53 with 4K). The current LoverPi pre-order prices are $11 higher than at KS but are still reasonable. Like Le Potato, Tritium has a Raspberry 3 Model B-like form factor, layout, and 40-pin expansion interface. The only difference we can see is the addition of an IR receiver. There’s no mention on the pre-order page of KS add-ons such as eMMC, heatsink, and acrylic case.

 

Udoo Neo

  • Compact, i.MX6 SoloX board taps Cortex-M4 for Arduino compatibility
  • Company/project — Udoo (Seco)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 SoloX (1x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz); Cortex-M4 MCU; Vivante GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3L RAM (1GB on Plus version)
  • Price — $49.90 (Basic) $59.90 (Extended), $64.90 (Full)

Like the larger Udoo Quad/Dual SBCs, the IoT-focused, 85 x 59mm Udoo Neo runs Linux or Android on a Cortex-A9 based i.MX6. The Neo, however, is optimized for the single-core i.MX6 SoloX variant, tapping its Cortex-M4 MCU to mimic an Arduino. The specs differ slightly from the Kickstarter package referenced in the LinuxGizmos link above. The Udoo Neo Basic provides Ethernet, microSD, USB host, micro-USB OTG, micro-HDMI, LVDS with touch, and a Parallel camera interface. There’s also an Arduino connector, as well as GPIO, UART, CAN, PWM, I2C, and SPI interfaces. For $10 more, the Neo Extended bumps the RAM to 1GB, adds 3-axis motion sensors, and replaces Ethernet with a WiFi/Bluetooth module. The Neo Full is identical to the Extended but offers both Ethernet and wireless.

 

Udoo Quad / Dual / Dual Basic

  • Arduino compatible i.MX6 SBC supplies WiFi and GbE on most models and SATA on the Quad version
  • Company/project — Udoo (Seco)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Quad or DualLite (4x or 2x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz with Vivante GPUs); Atmel SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $99 (Dual Basic); $115 (Dual); $135 (Quad)

Seco’s Udoo project offers three SKUs for its flagship, 110 x 85mm Udoo SBC. The Udoo Dual Basic and Udoo Dual provide the dual-core i.MX6 DualLite while the Quad has the quad-core i.MX6 with a higher-end Vivante GPU. All three boards integrate a Cortex-M3 based Arduino Due subsystem. The boards offer microSD, HDMI, LVDS with touch, audio, and CSI connections. You also get dual USB host and dual micro-USB ports, one of which is OTG. There are 76 GPIO pins in addition to the Arduino interface. The Udoo Dual adds WiFi and GbE connections, and the Quad also adds SATA.

 

Udoo X86

  • High-end Intel Braswell based board has M.2 and SATA III
  • Company/project — Udoo (Seco)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Braswell quad-core SoCs (Advanced Plus: Celeron N3160 @ up to 2.24GHz; Ultra: Pentium N3710 @ up to 2.56GHz); Intel Gen 8-LP GPU
  • Memory — 4GB (Advanced Plus) or 8GB (Ultra) DDR3L RAM; 32GB eMMC on Advanced Plus and Ultra
  • Price — Advanced Plus $174; Ultra $267

The fully open source Intel Braswell based Udoo X86 has an extensive feature list with highlights including M.2, SATA III, HDMI, 2x DP, wireless, and GPIO. It runs Linux, Android, and Windows 7/8.1/10. All but the $267, Pentium N3710 based Ultra version of the Udoo X86 are eligible under our $200 limit. However, among the others, only the Advanced Plus version is currently in stock. It’s unclear if the $125 Basic (quad-core Atom X5-E8000) and $149 Advanced (quad-core Celeron N3160) will have a life beyond Kickstarter. The 14nm fabricated Braswell SoCs range from 5-6W TDP power consumption, which is low for the x86 world.

 

UP board

  • Intel Cherry Trail based Raspberry Pi lookalike offers GbE and up to 64GB eMMC
  • Company/project — Aaeon; UP Community
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom x5-Z8350 (4x Cherry Trail @ 1.44GHz/1.92GHz burst); Intel HD 400 Graphics
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DDR3L RAM; 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $99 (1GB/16GB), $109 (2GB/16GB); $109 (2GB/32GB); $119 (2GB/16GB with “Cooler”); $109 (2GB/32GB); $149 (4GB/32GB); $159 (4GB/32GB with “Cooler”); $169 (4GB/64GB)

Like the new, small-footprint UP Core version of the UP board, as well as the more powerful UP Squared, the original UP is not backed up with full schematics. Yet, the UP Community now supplies far more extensive documentation, including some schematics, as well as open source downloads, tutorials and support. The UP board runs Yocto Project, Ubuntu 16.04, Android 5.0, or Windows 10 on a quad-core, 1.44GHz/1.92GHz Atom x5-Z8350 of the 14nm Cherry Trail generation. The 85.6 x 56.5mm board not only looks like a Raspberry Pi, but it provides a 40-pin expansion bus via an Altera MAX V CPLD that is said to provide RPi 2 compatibility. The UP features 16GB eMMC, a GbE port, a USB 3.0 OTG port, 4x USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 headers. The board is further equipped with HDMI, DSI, CSI, I2S, and eDP interfaces. The prices have increased by $10 since January, at up to $169 for 4GB RAM and 64GB flash. Several configurations have more expensive SKUs with “coolers,” which are not explained but appears to refer to fan add-ons. It’s unclear why the non-cooler 2GB/16GB and 2GB/32GB versions cost the same.

 

UP Core

  • Smaller version of UP board with up to 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC
  • Company/project — Aaeon; UP Community
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom x5-Z8350 (4x Cherry Trail @ 1.44GHz/1.92GHz burst); Intel HD 400 Graphics
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DDR3L RAM; 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $99 (1GB/16GB); $109 (2GB/16GB); $119 (2GB/32GB); $149 (4GB/32GB); $169 (4GB/64GB)

The UP Core, which recently began shipping to the public after its 2017 Kickstarter launch, is a smaller, 66 x 56.5mm version of the UP board, and runs the same Linux, Android, and Windows software. The feature set is the same except that it offers WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 BLE instead of a GbE port. In addition, it supplies 2x USB 2.0 headers, compared to 4x coastline USB 2.0 ports and 2x USB headers on the UP board. Like the UP board, it also has single USB 3.0 and HDMI ports. Other features include dual MIPI-CSI, eDP, I2S audio, and a 100-pin docking connector with RPi HAT compatibility. The board has the same five configurations of RAM and eMMC as the UP board, with the same prices. Last week, Aaeon announced an UP Core Plus SBC as the centerpiece of an UP AI Edge offering that includes a choice of AI-oriented add-on boards based on Intel’s Cyclone 10GX FPGA or Movidius Myriad 2 VPU. The 90 x 56mm UP Core Plus is larger than the UP Core, and has a choice of three quad-core “Apollo Lake” Atom SoCs. The UP Core Plus starts at $186 on Kickstarter for a low-end version of the SBC alone, ranging up to hundreds of dollars with various add-ons. Shipments are due in October.

 

UP Squared

  • High-end Apollo Lake SBC has mini-PCIe, M.2, SATA, and a pair each of GbE and HDMI
  • Company/project — Aaeon; UP Community
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Celeron N3350 (2x Apollo Lake @ 1.1GHz/2.4GHz) or Pentium N4200 (4x Apollo Lake @ 1.1GHz/2.5GHz); Intel Gen9 HD 500/505 graphics; Altera Max 10 FPGA
  • Memory — 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB LPDDR4; 32GB eMMC 5.0, expandable to 128GB
  • Price — $149 (Celeron with 2GB/32GB), $179 (Celeron with 4GB/32GB), $239 (Pentium with 4GB/32GB), $299 (Pentium with 8GB/64GB); $339 (8GB/128GB)

The “UP2” (or “UP Squared”), which may be the most powerful hacker-friendly SBC around, began shipping to Kickstarter backers a year ago and is now generally available. The prices have all risen by $10 in 2018, and the only models that fit under our $200 limits are the two dual-core Celeron SKUs. Like the quad-core Pentium SoCs on the pricier models, these derive from Intel’s “Apollo Lake” generation. The 90 x 86mm UP Squared offers 4K video encode and decode, dual GbE ports, dual HDMI outputs, a SATA interface, M.2 support, and mini-PCIe expansion. You also get eDP, dual MIPI-CSI, 3x USB host ports, a micro-USB 3.0 OTG, and both a 60-pin GPIO connector and a 40-pin interface tied to an Altera Max 10 FPGA. OS support includes Linux (Ubuntu, Ubilinux, Yocto), Android Marshmallow, and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise. For a bit more power, you might consider LattePanda’s new community-backed LattePanda Alpha ($129) and Delta ($269), which run Ubuntu and Windows 10 on Intel 7th Gen Core “Kaby Lake” chips. LattePanda Kickstarter shipments begin in June but are not included here because they lack open schematics and other maker-friendly extras.

 

USB Armory

  • Simple, security-enhanced board can also used as a USB stick computer
  • Company/project — Inverse Path (F-Secure)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX53 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 800MHz)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $150 with USB host adapter

This tiny (65 x 19mm), Crowd Supply funded SBC for secure computing applications features TrustZone security, USB emulation, and a secure boot feature that lets users apply verification keys that ensure only trusted firmware can be executed on a specific device. The fully open source USB Armory is limited to two real-world ports — a USB 2.0 OTG port and a microSD slot — but you can extend that with the adapter. Surprisingly, this thumbdrive-style SBC supports Android, as well as Linux. The base price is $140, but a $10 host adapter is required for stand-alone rather than USB stick mode.

 

VoltaStream Zero

  • Homespun audio streaming board with i.MX6 ULL SoC and TI BurrBrown PCM5121 DAC
  • Company/project — PolyVection
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 ULL (1x Cortex-A7 @ 996MHz); 2D PXP GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $38 (32.77 Euros)

The new VoltaStream Zero is a hobbyist, open source SBC project from Berlin based developer Philip Voigt aimed at audio streaming applications. Quantities are limited, and Voigt encourages developers to use the open KICAD design files to build their own. This minimally configured board runs custom Yocto and Debian builds on NXP’s low-power i.MX6 ULL, which in this case is clocked almost to 1GHz. The VoltaStream Zero ships with a TI BurrBrown PCM5121 DAC, which offers up to a 384kHz sampling rate and 106 SNR (signal-to-noise ratio). You can optionally swap that out for a pricier PCM5142 DAC with a higher 112dB SNR. A 3.5mm jack lets you output optical TOSLINK or analog audio, and there’s an SPDIF header. A free WiFi dongle plugs into the sole USB host port. A micro-USB device port supports 5V power, or you can use a power header. There’s also a microSD slot. The board has an RPi Zero-like 65 x 30mm footprint and 40-pin connector. Voight is working on adding support for common RPi audio HATs. The board is currently out of stock.

 

Wandboard

  • One of the earliest open-spec Linux hacker boards showcases the i.MX6
  • Company/project — Wandboard.org; TechNexion
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo, DualLite, or Quad (1x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz); Vivante GPU
  • Memory — 512MB (Solo) 1GB (Dual), 2GB (Quad and QuadPlus) DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $69 (Solo); $89 (Dual); $119 (Quad); $139 (QuadPlus)

The venerable Wandboard, a modular, sandwich-style, COM+baseboard assembly featuring a replaceable compute module, is $10 cheaper now that Wandboard.org has launched its quad -A53 i.MX8M based Wand-Pi-8M (see below). The original Wandboard received a “Reload” update in early 2017 that added the i.MX6 QuadPlus as an alternative to the Quad model, bringing an improved Vivante GC2000+ GPU and an SPDIF audio interface. The SBC’s WiFi was updated to 802.11ac and Bluetooth to 4.1 BLE. There’s also a new PMIC, and Wandboard.org has fixed an HDMI EDID + CEC problem. Features include dual microSD slots plus GbE, HDMI, camera, serial, USB, and USB OTG connections. The Dual lacks the Quad’s SATA connection, and the Solo also foregoes the WiFi and Bluetooth found on the Quad and Dual.

 

Wand-Pi-8M

  • Rugged SBC showcases i.MX8M SoC with HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0 Type-C, and a 40-pin RPi connector
  • Company/project — Wandboard.org; Technexion
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M Quad(4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.3GHz); Vivante GC7000Lite GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR4/4GB eMMC (Lite); 2GB/8GB (Pro), 2GB/16GB (Deluxe)
  • Price — $99 (Lite); $109 (Pro); $129 (Deluxe)

TechNexion and its Wandboard.org community launched pre-sales for its i.MX8M-based Wand-Pi-8M at the end of 2017, with shipments expected by June. Unlike the Wandboards, the smaller, Raspberry Pi like (85 x 56mm) Wand-Pi-8M-Lite, Wand-Pi-8M-Pro, and Wand-Pi-8M-Deluxe, are standard SBCs rather than sandwich-style COM-and-carrier products, and they all use the same quad -A53 i.MX8M Quad. The SoC supports 4K UltraHD with HDR video @ 60fps with H.265, plus VP9 support. The i.MX8M also provides a Cortex-M4 core and a security subsystem. Aside from memory, the only difference between the three models is that the Lite lacks the WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.2 found on the Pro and Deluxe. Coastline ports include GbE, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0 host, micro-USB debug, and USB 3.0 Type-C for 5V DC power input or debugging. There’s also a 40-pin Raspberry Pi connector, and dual MIPI-CSI. The Wand-Pi-8M has a PMIC and shock and vibration resistance, and supports Linux, Yocto, Ubuntu, Android Oreo.

 

Z-turn Board

  • Built on a Zynq FPGA SoC, this SBC has a CAN interface and onboard sensors
  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq-7010 or -7020 (2x Cortex-A9 cores @ 667MHz, plus FPGA)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $99 (7010) or $119 (7020), incl. 4GB microSD card

The Z-turn Board, which has now been joined by a Z-turn Lite (see below), runs Linux on a choice of two Xilinx Zynq SoCs which combine dual Cortex-A9 cores with different levels of FPGA circuitry: the Zynq-7010 (28K logic cells) or Zynq-7020 (85K). The 102 x 63mm SBC features HDMI, GbE, and dual mini-USB ports, as well as a CAN port and a variety of sensors, buzzers, switches, buttons, and LEDs. Dual 80-pin expansion connectors express the FPGA signals and can be configured as LVDS pairs. A $139 kit version adds a power adapter, cables, and a 4GB data card. There’s a customized Linux 3.15 BSP.

 

Z-turn Lite

  • Smaller, cheaper version of Z-turn, but with lower-end Zynq options
  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq-7007S or -7010 (1x or 2x Cortex-A9 cores @ 667MHz, plus FPGA)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $69 (7010) or $75 (7020), incl. 4GB microSD card

Last July MYIR launched a smaller (91 x 63mm), stripped down version of its Z-turn board with a lower price. The Z-turn Lite offers a different mix of ARM/FPGA Xilinx Zynq options. The previous low-end model — the Zynq-7010 (28K logic cells) — is now the high end. The new low end is the new Zynq-7007S with 23K FPGA logic cells and only one Cortex-A9 core instead of two. You get the same Linux 3.15 BSP, but there’s no longer mention of Ubuntu support. RAM has been halved, but unlike the original Z-turn, you get 4GB eMMC in addition to the 4GB microSD card that ships with both boards. The Lite reduces the number of programmable I/O lines to 84 and omits features such as the HDMI and CAN ports, as well as temperature and motion sensors. Last fall, MYIR released a $29, 91 x 63mm Z-turn Lite IO Cape designed specifically for the Lite that gives you a real-world HDMI port, as well as camera, LCD, Pmod, and GPIO interfaces.

 

Catalog with brief descriptions of all 116 SBCs (you are here)

 

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2 responses to “Catalog of 116 open-spec hacker boards”

  1. jh says:

    How can you sort the list. Can you please add the Spreadsheet one from google docs so that we can sort it? Thanks in advance

  2. Jeff Child says:

    Thank you for your suggestion.
    We’ve updated the page to include downloadable spreadsheet in both xlx and pdf formats.

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