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January 2018 catalog of hacker-friendly SBCs

Jan 4, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 11182 views

This catalog accompanies our January 2018 round-up of hacker-friendly SBCs. Here, we provide brief descriptions, specs, pricing, and links to further details for all 103 SBCs.

Our January 2018 hacker-friendly single board computer round-up comprises three resources: an overview of recent SBC market trends; this catalog, which provides descriptions, specs, pricing, and links to related LinuxGizmos coverage and supplier product pages for all 103 SBCs; and a Google docs spreadsheet that tabulates the key features and pricing for all 103 boards. Links to all three parts of our round-up are in the box below.

 

January 2018 Hacker-Friendly SBC Round-up References

 
Our January 2018 catalog with brief descriptions and key specs of all 103 hacker-friendly single board computers follows below.

 

January 2018 Catalog of Hacker-Friendly SBCs

The following summaries are listed in alpha order, and are based on specs and lowest available pricing recorded in the last week of December 2017, with products either shipping or available for pre-order. Note: Summaries for SBCs that are new in this edition of the round-up are marked with the “NEW” tag shown above.

 

86Duino Zero / Zero Plus

  • Company/project — DM&P, 86Duino.com
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 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. There’s also an EduCake mini-PC version.

 

A20-OlinuXino-Lime2

  • 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); $72 (55 Euros) for 4GB version

Bulgaria-based Olimex’s OlinuXino project is one of the older hacker board projects around, and the forums are still busy. The project recently released a 64-bit A64-OLinuXino SBC (see below), and an open source, Linux-driven Teres-A64 laptop kit based on the same Allwinner A64. There’s still plenty of interest in the older A20-OlinuXino-Lime2, which 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 160x 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

  • Company/project — Olimex, OlinuXino, Mouser
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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) for 4GB eMMC version

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 micro-SD only and 4GB eMMC models (add 8 Euros for either).

 

A33-OlinuXino

  • 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 — $43 (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 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 up to 1280 x 800 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

  • Company/project — Olimex, OlinuXino, Mouser
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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,; $89 (75 Euros) for 2G16G-IND

Just when we were wondering if Olimex was abandoning Linux hacker boards for ESP32 modules and open source laptops (Teres-A64), the company launched its first 64-bit board in June. Like the Teres-A64, the 90.0 x 62.5mm SBC 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 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.

 

Arduino Industrial 101

  • Company/project — Arduino
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Atheros AR9331 (1x MIPS24k @ up to 400MHz)
  • Memory — 64MB DDR2 RAM; 16MB SPI flash
  • Price — $38.50

The now fully reunited Arduino community appears to be backing away from Linux hybrids and returning to its roots with its tiny MKR line of wireless-ready, MCU-based boards. There have been no new Linux-enabled Arduino SBCs in well over a year, and the only Linux-ready board in stock is the Arduino Industrial 101. (For our June 2018 SBC roundup, we’ll check up on the Arduino Yun / Yun PoE and Arduino Tian, which still have product pages, but since they currently lack a pre-order link, we have removed them from our list for now.) The sandwich-style Arduino Industrial 101 injects the Linux/WiFi capability of the Arduino Yun into a COM that is integrated with an Arduino-enabled baseboard. The module incorporates a soldered down Linino Chiwawa LGA module that runs Linino (a version of OpenWrt) on an AR9331 WiFi SoC, accompanied by 64MB DDR2 RAM and 16MB SPI flash. The carrier adds a 16MHz ATmega32u4 MPU along with 2.5KB SRAM and 32KB flash. There’s also a USB OTG port and 20x DIO pins that include UARTs, 7x PWMs, Ethernet, and 12x analog inputs.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry

  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner V40 (4x Cortex-A7); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $32

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 from SinoVoip. Three models have shipped since June, including the $32 Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry which is based on the earlier BPI-Ultra design (see below). Like the Ultra, the Berry offers native SATA support, which is still a rarity on ARM-based SBCs. The Berry is smaller, with an RPi-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 it lacks 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 RPi-compatible 40-pin expansion.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic

  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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

  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner R40 (4x Cortex-A7); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $52.75 (44.5 Euros)

The Banana Pi M2 Ultra (BPI-M2U) can be found for a low of $52.75 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

  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2+ (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $23 (19.6 Euros)

Selling for 19.6 Euros 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 only 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

  • 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 — $77 (65 Euros)

SinoVoip’s Banana Pi M3 (BPI-M3) is out of stock in many places, but you can find it for $77 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 some other Banana Pi boards, although all have improved (see the download locator here). 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

  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $60 (51 Euros)

SinoVoip’s only 64-bit Banana Pi has dropped down to $60 at AliExpress, but it’s still 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.

 

BeagleBone Black, Rev C

  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 price has bumped up to $55 at Newark Element14, Mouser, and Arrow, and $56.25 at Digi-Key, and 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, Octavo’s BeagleBone Black Wireless, and BeagleBoard.org’s own BeagleBone Blue and new PocketBeagle. We did not include a separate blurb on Element14’s BeagleBone Black Industrial 4G, which is identical to the BB Black except for its conformal coating and -20 to 85°C support. It’s available for $70 at Element14. BeagleBoard.org also offers the dual-core Cortex-A15 based BeagleBoard-X15, which is available from Digi-Key, but exceeds our $200 limit, at $270.

 

BeagleBone Black Wireless

  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org; Octavo Systems
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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

Octavo Systems’ BeagleBoard.org backed 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.

 

BeagleBone Blue

  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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-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, and GPS and DSM2 radio interfaces. You also get a 9-18V DC input, a LiPo battery connector, extra user buttons and LEDs, and 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

  • Company/project — SeeedStudio; BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 is out of stock at the Banana Robotics for $39, but can be had for $44 at Seeed. The BeagleBone Green 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

  • Company/project — SeeedStudio; BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $49.90

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 is out of stock at Seeed, but can be found at Amazon for the same $49.90 price.

 

Bubblegum-96

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

The uCRobotics Bubblegum-96 adopts Linaro’s 96Boards CE spec. The SBC lacks the GPS chip of the rival 96Boards compatible DragonBoard 410c’s, but has a faster SoC and twice the RAM at 2GB. Aside from the 96Boards 40- and 60-pin expansion connectors, the 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

  • Company/project — Novtech, Arrow, RocketBoards.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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

Last March, Arrow announced Novtech’s 96Boards CE compatible Chameleon96 SBC, and it is now available for $129. This is the first FPGA-based 96Boards entry, running Debian on a Cyclone V SE ARM/FPGA SoC, although for reasons unknown, it’s not listed among the official 96Boards CE roster. Open source support is instead provided at RocketBoards.org. The Chameleon96 is notable for providing SecureRF’s quantum-resistant security, and for driving 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 serial UART. Like most 96Boards SBCs, this 12V SBC is equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth instead of Ethernet, and offers low- and high-speed I/O connectors.

 

Chip Pro Dev Kit

  • Company/project — Next Thing Co.
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 all 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, but many orders have yet to ship.

 

CloudBit

  • Company/project — LittleBits Electronics
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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.

 

CubieAIO-A20

  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $122

We have retired the aging, out-of-stock CubieBoard 3, but have replaced it with another Allwinner A20 board. The CubieAIO-A20 is notable for offering 6x USB 2.0 host ports plus a micro-USB OTG, as well as dual serial UART DIN sockets that support up to 6x serial ports via an extension. Available for $122 at Amazon, this 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. Like the Einstein-A20 COM, the 172 x 106mm CubieAIO-A20 SBC can handle -20 to 70°C temperatures. It 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 of the same name. The AIO model, which costs about $20 more, has a built-in 7-inch, 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen.

 

CubieAIO-S700

  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — CubieTech Actions S700 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-450 MP4 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $141 (118.95 Euros)

In July, CubieTech acquired the application processor unit of Actions Technology, and it recently 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 $141 at AliExpress. CubieTech has also posted details on a new CubieAIO-S500 SBC, which is almost identical to the CubieAIO-S700, but has an Einstein S500 module with a quad -A9 Actions S500 SoC. It was not available for sale at publication time.

 

CubieBoard4

  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $118

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 for all the CubieBoards, as well as images for Debian, Linaro Ubuntu 14.04, and Android 4.4, with mainline Linux support.

 

CubieBoard5 (CubieTruck-Plus)

  • 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 — $101

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

  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $88.50 (CubieBoard6); $98 (CubieBoard7)

The new CubieBoard6 and CubieBoard7 SBCs 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 CubieBoard6 and CubieBoard7 are identical to each other except for their different Actions processors. 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 prices listed above are from Amazon, and the CubieBoard7 is also available at AliExpress.

 

DE0-Nano-SoC Development Kit

  • Company/project — Terasic; RocketBoards.org
  • Product page
  • Processor — Atheros (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, is supported on the RocketBoards.org community site, and costs only $99, which seems like a reasonable deal for a Cyclone V based board. The DE0-Nano-SoC uses the lower-end SE variety, 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 410c

  • Company/project — Arrow; Qualcomm
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Snapdragon 410 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Adreno 306 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $85

Arrow’s Qualcomm-backed DragonBoard 410c was one of the first 64-bit ARM hacker SBCs, in this case showcasing Qualcomm’s quad-core -A53 Snapdragon 410. The only sales venue we could find is Amazon, where it goes for $85, $10 over the original price. At 85 x 54mm, the 96Boards CE compliant SBC is about the same size as the Raspberry Pi. There’s no Ethernet port, but you get WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, HDMI, microSD, 3x USB ports, and the 96Boards 40-pin low-speed and 60-pin high-speed connectors. The SBC supports Android 5.1, Debian 8.0, and Windows 10 IoT Core. In November, Arrow launched a 5-megapixel Camera Kit equipped with D3’s DesignCore Camera Mezzanine Board OV5640.

 

Firefly-FirePrime S

  • 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, and at a much lower $60 promotional price that makes it less than half the cost of the Firefly-RK3288. (The board has bumped up to $119 at Amazon, and the FirePrime S+, which doubles the RAM and flash, remains out of stock.) The FirePrime S 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

  • 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)

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 offers 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

  • Company/project — Firefly
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 original, 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. This year, the Reload’s COM became separately available as a $107 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. The AIO-3288J appears to be open source in software only, however.

 

Firefly-RK3399

  • Company/project — Firefly
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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. 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. HDMI and DP 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. In September, Firefly launched a RK3399 Coreboard COM version of the Firefly-RK3399. The CoreBoard is now available in a sandwich-style AIO-3399J, a $209 board that is similar to the Firefly-RK3288 Reload CoreBoard powered AIO-3288J (see above), and similarly lacks open schematics. VideoStrong offers an OEM variant of the Firefly-RK3399 starting at $250 called the VS-RD-RK3399.

 

Firefly-ROC-RK3328-CC (Renegade)

  • Company/project — Firefly, Libre Computer
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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)

Firefly is reselling Libre Computer’s Renegade SBC, which launched on Indiegogo a year ago as the Firefly-ROC-RK3328-CC. 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 up to 4GB and an eMMC slot. The 4GB and eMMC options are not listed on the shopping page, however. 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

  • Company/project — LeMaker
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — HiSilicon Kirin 6220 (8x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali 450-MP4 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $120 (1GB) or $140 (2GB)

The octa-core HiKey was the flagship 96Boards Consumer Edition form factor SBC. It’s in limited stock at Amazon, available on separate 1GB and 2GB pages at prices that have risen considerably since June. It’s currently out of stock at Lenovator. 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. Both LeMaker and ArcherMind recently 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. Also: LeMaker’s Banana Pro SBC has been removed from the company’s featured product page, and is no longer available on Amazon. It’s still documented in wikis, and a handful of the boards are left at Diigiit Robotics. Time to say goodnight to this one-time SBC star.

 

HummingBoard-Base

  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $86 to $216

Like the HummingBoard-Pro, the Base edition is a sandwich-style, 86 x 55mm boardset, and like the HummingBoard-Gate and Edge, it provides optional WiFi/Bluetooth, and supports a choice of MicroSOM computer-on-modules based on all four versions of the i.MX6. In Oct. 2016, SolidRun released revised MicroSOM 1.5 versions of the COMs, which are available for all the HummingBoard models, and 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 HummingBoard Base carrier has Raspberry Pi-like ports and layout, as well as the original 26-pin RPi connector. Both the -Base and -Pro offer dual USB 2.0 ports, as well as HDMI, MIPI-CSI, and S/PDIF audio. As with the other HummingBoards, the GbE port is limited to 470Mbps due to i.MX6 thresholds, and there are Debian, Yocto Project, and Android versions available based on mainline kernels.

 

HummingBoard-Edge

  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $111 to $261

The HummingBoard-Edge is larger (102 x 69mm) than the HummingBoard-Pro (see below), and shares all its features. It also doubles the USB 2.0 count to four, and 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.

 

HummingBoard-Gate

  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 $246

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.

 

HummingBoard-Pro

  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 $226

The HummingBoard-Pro is 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.

 

Khadas Vim

  • Company/project — Khadas
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905X (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 2GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB or 16GB (Pro) eMMC
  • Price — $50 or $60 (Pro)

Chinese startup Khadas debuted its media-oriented Khadas Vim at the end of 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, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905 found on the Odroid-C2. Khadas supports Android 6.0 with Kodi-17 media software, as well as Ubuntu 16.04, Buildroot, and 7.0 versions of the Kodi-oriented OpenELEC/LibreELEC. A Pro version boosts eMMC 5.0 storage from 8GB to 16GB, and advances from 802.11n to 802.11ac WiFi. Both versions offer 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 Vim2

  • Company/project — Khadas
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S912 (8x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR4, 16GB eMMC (Basic); 3GB/32GB (Pro); 3GB/64GB (Max)
  • Price — $90 (Basic), $110 (Pro), $130 (Max)

Khadas sells the new Vim2 on the same Geekbuying page where it offers the original Vim, but the boards are sufficiently different to merit separate write-ups. The Vim2 has the same 82 x 58mm footprint, 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

  • 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 — $59

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.

 

Le Potato

  • Company/project — Libre Computer
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 (AML-S905X-CC), Libre Computer is now selling the SBC for $45 at LoverPi and Amazon. It’s equipped with the same quad -A53 S905X SoC found on the original Khadas Vim, a slight downgrade of the S905 found on the Odroid-C2. Le Potato 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, but there’s no WiFi/BT. It adds 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 launched an Allwinner H2+/H3 based RPi clone called the Tritium on Kickstarter, but needs to raise another $40K or so by Jan. 13.

 

LinkIt Smart 7688

  • Company/project — MediaTek Labs, SeeedStudio
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT7688AN (1x MIPS core @ 580MHz); Atmel ATmega32U4 MPU (Duo only)
  • Memory — 128MB RAM; 32MB flash
  • Price — $12.90 or $15.90 (Duo)

MediaTek Labs’s tiny, SeeedStudio-built LinkIt boards run OpenWrt on a 580MHz MIPS SoC, and target IoT endpoints and gateways. The >$13 modelLinkIt Smart 7688 Duo 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

  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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, rather than the Allwinner SoCs typically used on LinkSprite’s pcDuino boards. 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

  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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

  • Company/project — ArcherMind (AlphaStar); MediaTek
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $193

The Android focused MediaTek X20 Development Board is not only the most expensive board in the round-up, bumping up against our $200 limit, but also one the most powerful. Available for $193 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

  • Company/project — Intel, ADI, MinnowBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom E3826 (2x Bay Trail @ 1.46GHz); Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3L RAM
  • Price — $146 or $171.39 (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 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

  • Company/project — Intel, ADI, MinnowBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom E3845 (4x Bay Trail @ 1.91GHz); Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3L RAM
  • Price — $190 or $195.58 (Dual-Ethernet)

The MinnowBoard Turbo Quad-core, which began shipping last May, 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, ADI and Intel posted preliminary specs for a MinnowBoard 3 that was supposed to ship in Fall 2017, but still lacks pre-order or shipdate info. 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

  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $24.80 (i.MX6 ULL) or $26.80 (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

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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) now offers 15 SBCs, so we’ve done a bit of combining to comply with our 10-product per vendor limit. The company has done a bit of trimming itself, for example, replacing the NanoPC-T3 with a similar NanoPC-T3 Plus. Like the NanoPC-T3, the T3 Plus is equipped with an octa-core S5P6818, moving up from the quad-core S5P4418 on the almost identical NanoPC-T2, which is out of 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 64 x 11.8mm, 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 supports includes Android, Debian, and the Ubuntu Core 16.04 based FriendlyCore.

 

NanoPi A64

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $20

FriendlyElec’s first of several 64-bit quad-core NanoPi models is currently on sale for $20. The NanoPi A64 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. Shipping NanoPi SBCs to the U.S. is expensive — single-unit prices range from $16 to $20, compared to under $4 for the Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi project.

 

NanoPi Duo

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 August, 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 Duo, which is the only Allwinner H2+ based board in the NanoPi lineup, 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 a $3, you get an aluminum heatsink that helps the SBC withstand industrial temperatures of -40 to 80°C. 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 Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial, including an Ubuntu Core image, as well as Linux 4.11.2 mainline.

 

NanoPi K2

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $45

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, as well as 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 RPi3’s Broadcom/VideoCore IV SoC, and supports 4K @ 60fps decoding and DVFS. Android 5.1 and Ubuntu Core images are available.

 

NanoPi M1 Plus

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 version of the recently discontinued NanoPi M1 retains the Allwinner H3, but is slightly smaller at 64 × 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, mic, and the advance to 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 Mate, Ubuntu Core, Debian, and Android.

 

NanoPi M2A

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 since May, replaced 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 Ubuntu Core with Qt.

 

NanoPi Fire3

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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-core -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 with the 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 the Ubuntu Core-based FriendlyCore.

 

NanoPi Neo/Neo2

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz with Mali-400 MP2 GPU) for Neo; Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz with Mali-450 GPU) for Neo2
  • Memory — 256MB or 512MB DDR3 RAM (Neo) or 512MB DDR3 (Neo2)
  • Price — $8 or $10 (512MB) for Neo; $15 for Neo2

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 is the same as the Neo except for the faster SoC, a switch to GbE from 10/100 Ethernet, two more USB headers, and the lack of a 256MB RAM option. Both boards, along with a wireless enabled Neo Air and new Neo Plus2 (see below), 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 and Neo2 are further equipped with microSD, USB 2.0 host, and micro-USB OTG ports. All three Neo boards, which run Ubuntu Core or Mate, lack display or camera interfaces. You get 36 GPIO pins instead of the usual RPi connector. In December, FriendlyElec launched COM versions of the Neo and Neo2 called the NanoPi Neo Core ($8) and NanoPi Neo Core2 ($25) that are designed to work with an optional, $11, RPi-like Mini Shield carrier board. The sandwich-style design is similar to that of the NanoPi Duo and its own Mini Shield variant except that the Core boards are true COMs rather than SBCs.

 

NanoPi Neo Air

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $23

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 8GB eMMC, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a DVP camera connector. 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

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); ARM Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $30

Launched in July, the $25 NanoPi Neo Plus2 SBC 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, you get 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, and can be stacked on any of the Neo boards, with the combo housed in an optional aluminum casing. Other new hardware options that work with all the Neo boards include a $13, 150 x 90mm NAS Dock, which runs SATA signals over USB, and a $30 BakeBit Starter Kit. The Neo Plus2 runs Ubuntu Core 16.04 with Linux 4.x.y mainline kernel.

 

Odroid-C0

  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 C and C+ (see below). It has the same quad-core -A5 Amlogic SoC, and offers the same Ubuntu and Android 4.4 support with GCC 4.9.2 Linux toolchain. The C0’s only coastline port is an HDMI port. However, an optional Connector Pack lets you solder on real-world connections for unpopulated interfaces including 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. The main shopping link takes you to the wrong page, but you can order the SBC here.

 

Odroid-C1+

  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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, 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 is more fully open source, 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. The shopping link from the product page is not working properly, but it appears to be available.

 

Odroid-C2

  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905 (4x Cortex-53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; optional 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $46

The popular Odroid-C2 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 and more open source than the RPi 3, but there’s no WiFi or Bluetooth, and the price is $11 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-XU4

  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 uses the same octa-core Exynos5422 and Mali-T628 GPU, and provides a GbE port, audio-enabled HDMI port, 2x USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 2.0 port. The XU4 offers a 12-pin GPIO header in addition to a 30-pin expansion connector. Options include a USB-based SATA 3 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. The shopping page says the XU4 is sold out, but with its continuing popularity, we imagine this is temporary. A stripped down version of the board powers a $49 Odroid-HC1 mini-PC and a $220 Odroid-MC1 32-core cluster computer that can run Docker Swarm, Build Farm, and other parallel computing applications.

 

Orange Pi 2G-IOT

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — RDA RDA8810PL (1x Cortex-A5); Vivante GC860 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB LPDDR2 RAM; 500MB NAND
  • Price — $10.11 (8.42 Euros)

Shenzhen Xunlong now offers 18 Orange Pi SBCs, most of which have 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible connectors. The low prices are matched with generous, under-$4 shipments to the U.S. Shenzhen Xunlong has not trimmed its catalog like its rival FriendlyElec, so we’ve been forced to combine many of the boards to fit into our 10-per-vendor limit. The Orange Pi project has been criticized for poor Linux support and HW quality issues in the past, but it appears to be improving. The Armbian community is helping to improve Linux support, and in March, Shenzhen Xunlong partnered with Canonical to launch an Ubuntu snap app store for its Orange Pi SBCs. 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 Lite

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $12 (10.20 Euros)

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.

 

Orange Pi One Plus

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 only last week on AliExpress, essentially replacing the two-year old, 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 new quad-A53 H6 SoC with Mali-T720 GPU. The H6 (and One Plus) features [email protected] 60fps (H.264) or 6K @ 30fps (H.265) decoding, both with 10-bit HDR video processing for richer colors and higher brightness. 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 single USB host and micro-USB OTG ports, plus microSD, IR, mic, and MIPI-CSI I/O. Android 7.0 is available now, and Debian and Ubuntu are undergoing testing, and will initially be limited to an old Linux 3.1 Kernel. Along with the 26-pin connector and lack of H6-supported features like 2GB RAM, USB 3.0, and PCIe, the One Plus is somewhat disappointing, but a more feature-rich H6-based Orange Pi 3 Plus is said to be in the works. Still, the One Plus is a great deal for high-end video, and we feel most users will prefer the One Plus to the One, or will find happiness with the $12 Orange Pi Lite, which is very similar to the One, but adds WiFi.

 

Orange Pi PC / PC Plus / PC 2

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 with 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.6GHz and Mali-400 MP2 GPU (PC and PC Plus); Allwinner H5 with 4x Cortex-A53 and Mali-450 MP2 (PC 2)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC (PC Plus only)
  • Price — $15 (PC), $22 (PC Plus), $20 (PC 2)

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, USB OTG, and 10/100 Ethernet connections. A newer Orange Pi PC Plus model adds 8GB of eMMC flash. There’s also a similar new Orange Pi PC 2 available for $20 that advances to a quad -A53 Allwinner H5. The PC 2 has the same footprint, 40-pin header, and many features of the PC and PC Plus. However, it offers a more extensive feature set, including 3x USB host ports, as well as micro-USB OTG, HDMI, GbE, microSD, CVBS, audio, and MIPI-CSI.

 

Orange Pi Plus2 / Plus2E

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.6GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $50 ($40 for Plus2E)

The $50 Orange Pi Plus2 and $40 Orange Pi Plus2E run distributions such as 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 boards 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

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $30

Like the $20 Orange Pi PC 2, the $30 Orange Pi Prime offers 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 4.4, Debian Desktop, Ubuntu Desktop, Arch Server, Raspberry Pi, and Banana Pi.

 

Orange Pi R1

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $14

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 them is USB-based). Aimed at tiny gateways like the similarly Allwinner H2 based Orange Pi Zero boards, the R2 offers 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 Win Plus / Win

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $35 (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, which appear to be named for promised Windows 10 IoT support that never materialized, can run Android 6.0, Ubuntu Desktop/Server Xenial, Debian Server Jessie, and a Raspberry Pi image. 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

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $7 or $9 (H2+) $19 (H3), $20 (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 rev’d up to an Orange Pi Zero H2+, with the same $7 (256MB) and $9 (512MB) price, and the same features as the Zero, but with a slightly improved Allwinner H2+ instead of an H2. All three boards, which have been squeezed together here due to the proliferation of Orange Pi models, 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 the 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.

 

Orange Pi i96

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — RDA RDA8810PL (1x Cortex-A5); Vivante GC860 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB LPDDR3 RAM; 500MB NAND flash
  • Price — $9

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 $9 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 board has recently appeared on the 96Boards IoT Edition page. 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 a micro-USB OTG ports. There are no discrete LCD or audio interfaces, but there is a CSI camera interface, 3x GPIO, and a 40-pin expansion connector without promises of RPi support.

 

Parallella

  • Company/project — Adapteva, Parallella.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $99

Aimed at power-efficient server clustering applications and parallel programming research, the Parallella features a Zynq ARM/FPGA SoC running an optimized Ubuntu distro called Parabuntu, plus a homegrown 16-core Epiphany coprocessor. I/O includes microSD, GbE, micro-HDMI, and dual USB ports. Four 60-pin connectors provide extensions for I/O linked to FPGA and the Epiphany parallel processing chip. Adapteva also offers a Micro-Server version with a Zynq-7010 that omits the USB, HDMI, and expansion I/O, that is available for $126, but it appears to be on the way out. A Meta module version of the Parallella with 256 Epiphany cores, as well as its AD953-1 carrier board, are sampling and up on GitHub, and they appear to be close to release. An Epiphany-V chip with 4.5 billion transistors is overdue. In a farewell blog post in 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.

 

pcDuino8 Uno

  • 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. We have at least temporarily retired the old-school, Allwinner A10 based pcDuino Lite, which is out of stock, but with a note to “check back later.” Linksprite said the same thing about the A20-based pcDuino3 Nano last May, and it’s still unavailable.

 

Pepper 43R / 43C

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

Gumstix, which is known for its Overo and DuoVero modules and associated carrier boards, has also shipped some Pepper SBCs in recent years, now supported with full schematics. The original, $250 Pepper that appeared back in 2013 has been replaced with three new models, two of which are combined here. The boards have a TI AM3354 SoC that lack the PRU MCUs of the original AM3359, but it’s still paired with 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 $39, 4.3-inch Newhaven touchscreen options. The 43R version also adds an 8-ch. bidirectional level shifter and a TI step-down converter among other minor variations. 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 with access point mode and U.FL connectors. 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

  • 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, and supports further user customization of I/O using Geppetto. You can then send your design to the related Gumstix Geppetto short-run, fast-turnaround manufacturing service.

 

PICO-PI-IMX6UL

  • 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 Android Things. 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 Wandboard seems to be putting more energy behind its almost identical, but i.MX7 based PICO-PI-IMX7 (see below).

 

PICO-PI-IMX7

  • Company/project — Wandboard.org; Technexion
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX7(1x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); WXGA graphics; Cortex-M4 MCU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3L RAM; 4GB eMMC (expandable)
  • Price — $79

The new 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), but it instead offers a faster, but still very power efficient i.MX7. The only other difference we can see is that the PICO-PI-IMX7 dropped the MikroBus connector in favor of a MIPI-CSI camera interface. The PICO-PI-IMX7 can also be purchased as part of a $119 PICO-PI-IMX7-RAINBOW-HAT kit that includes Pimoroni’s Rainbow HAT, an RPi add-on that offers a “buffet of sensors, inputs and displays to explore Android Things.” There’s also a $169 PICO-PI-IMX7-STARTKIT 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 the Rainbow HAT.

 

Pine A64 / A64-LTS

  • Company/project — Pine64, Inc.
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 and a 14-pin Euler connector. There’s also an RTC and -20 to 70°C support. The $29 2GB version is out of stock, and Pine64 recommends you go with the new, 2GB stocked Pine A64-LTS, which adds a 5-year longevity guarantee, microSD bootability, 128Mb SPI boot flash, and a socket for optional, up to 128GB eMMC. The LTS version also switches to an almost identical Allwinner R18 SoC. Compared to the 512MB model, both the 1GB A64 and 2GB A64-LTS models boost Ethernet to GbE, and add a touchpanel interface, MIPI-DSI and -CSI ports, plus display and camera options. 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 offers a SODIMM-style SoPine A64 COM featuring the guts of the Pine A64. It also launched an open source Pinebook laptop based on the same A64 processor, sold for $89 (11.6-inch) or $99 (14-inch).

 

PocketBeagle

  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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

The only new BeagleBone spin-off since our June roundup is BeagleBoard.org’s tiny PocketBeagle, which barely qualifies as an SBC due to its microSD slot and micro-USB port. Like the BB Blue and BB 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 SBC is about the same size as the similarly minimalist 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. The PocketBeagle costs $25 at Digi-Key and Mouser, and sells for $41.69 at Arrow and Element14.

 

Raspberry Pi Zero

  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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

  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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.)

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.

 

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2837 (4x Cortex-53 @ 1.2GHz); Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU @ 400MHz
  • Memory — 1GB SDRAM
  • Price — $30

The world’s most popular Linux hacker SBC — and the runaway winner of our recent surveys — is typically $35, but MicroCenter is currently running a retail store only promotion for $30. Many other boards with the same RPI expansion compatibility can beat the Raspberry Pi 3 on price, performance, and features. In addition, many are 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 you can also buy a Raspberry Pi Model B 2 v1.2 for the same $35 price as the RPi 3, but with a slower, 900MHz quad -A53 Broadcom SoC and no WiFi or Bluetooth.

 

Rico Board

  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 ($149 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 other industrial I/O.

 

Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire

  • Company/project — Vamrs
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.42GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 4GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $75 (currently discounted from $149)

We’re not sure how long the recently announced Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire’s $75 discount price will last, but at publication time there were only 10 SBCs in stock, so you may want to move fast. The 115 x 105mm SBC 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 only open source competition — the much pricier Firefly RK3399. There’s no M.2 slot, onboard 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, and you get 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 a MXM 310 connector with an Excavator carrier, which is currently available only as part of a $349 Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire Excavator EVB Kit. The 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 no price or pre-order button.

 

Rock64

  • Company/project — Pine64
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 onboard wireless, except for an optional USB dongle, and you won’t find the RPi 3’s 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.

 

SAMA5D4 Xplained Ultra

  • Company/project — Newark Element14, Atmel
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Atmel SAMA5D4 (1x Cortex-A5 @ 528MHz)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR2 RAM; 512MB NAND flash
  • Price — $90.12

SAMA5D4 Xplained Ultra is a collaboration between Atmel’s Linux4SAM developers site and Newark Element14. The Linux-ready, IoT-focused SBC showcases Atmel’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.

 

SavageBoard

  • Company/project — Poslab Technology
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo, DualLite, or Quad (1x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz); Vivante CG880 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB (Solo) or 1GB DDR3 RAM; 4GB (Solo) or 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $59 (Solo); $79 (DualLite); $99 (Quad)

This 125 x 95mm SBC is a pseudo Wandboard clone. It’s a bit larger, and lacks the Wandboard Quad’s 2GB of RAM, but it’s $10 to $20 cheaper, depending on the configuration. Unlike the Wandboard, the SavageBoard offers onboard eMMC storage, although it lacks the Wandboard’s second microSD slot. Among other differences, the SavageBoard’s SDIO/UART connected WiFi and Bluetooth module is a $35 option whereas wireless is standard on the DualLite and Quad Wandboards. The SavageBoard lacks the Wandboard’s user-available mini-PCIe slot, as well as its S/PDIF audio interface, although it does provide MIPI-DSI in addition to HDMI and MIPI-CSI ports. Other features are similar, including a GbE port, 2x USB 2.0 ports, micro-USB OTG port, and COM and audio ports. BSPs are available for Android 6.0, Yocto Project, and Arch Linux. Poslab has also has a product page for an apparently open source HobbitBoard. The SBC is said to be available, but has no price or shopping page. The HobbitBoard is based on the SavageBoard, but with a different mix of features.

 

Seeeduino Cloud

  • Company/project — SeeedStudio
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 Arduino Yun clone is the only Yun still around, as Arduino’s original appears to have been discontinued. 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

  • Company/project — Asus
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3288 (4x Cortex-A17 @ 1.8GHz); Mali-T760 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Price — $50

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.) The RPi 3 is $25 cheaper, but the Tinker Board has advantages like a faster, although still 32-bit, processor with a more powerful Mali T760 GPU, twice the RAM, and GbE instead of Fast Ethernet. It also supports upscaled 4K/30fps playback. RPi3-like features include WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and 4x USB 2.0 ports plus 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. It typically sells for $60, but MicroCenter currently has a promotional price of $50.

 

Udoo Neo

  • Company/project — Udoo (Seco)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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

  • Company/project — Udoo (Seco)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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, along with 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

  • Company/project — Udoo (Seco)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 Intel Braswell based Udoo X86 is the most fully open source of the handful of third-party, non-Intel backed x86 hacker board projects. The feature list on the 120 x 85mm Udoo X86 is too extensive to cover here, but highlights include 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. We imagine the $125 Basic (quad-core Atom X5-E8000) and $149 Advanced (quad-core Celeron N3160) will return eventually. The 14nm fabricated SoCs range from 5-6W TDP power consumption, which is low for the x86 world. The Udoo X86 also includes the now discontinued Intel Curie chip with a Quark MCU.

 

UP board

  • Company/project — Aaeon; UP Community
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $89 (1GB/16GB), $99 (2GB/16GB); $109 (2GB/32GB); $139 (4GB/32GB); $149 (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 offers far more extensive documentation, including some schematics, as well as open source downloads, and goes beyond the typical community site in offering 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. Various memory configurations are available up to a $149 4GB RAM, 64GB flash version. The 85.6 × 56.5mm board not only looks like a Raspberry Pi, but it offers 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 more USB 2.0 headers. The board is further equipped with HDMI, DSI, CSI, I2S, and eDP interfaces.

 

UP Core

  • Company/project — Aaeon; UP Community
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $89 (1GB/16GB), $99 (2GB/16GB); $109 (2GB/32GB); $129 (4GB/32GB); $149 (4GB/64GB)

The newly available UP Core 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, as well as the same prices, except that the 4GB/32GB model is $10 cheaper.

 

UP Squared

  • Company/project — Aaeon; UP Community
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $145 (Celeron with 2GB/32GB), $169 (Celeron with 4GB/32GB), $229 (Pentium with 4GB/32GB), or $289 (Pentium with 8GB/64GB); $319 (8GB/128GB)

The “UP2” (or “UP Squared”), which may be the most powerful hacker-friendly SBC around, began shipping to Kickstarter backers in May, and is now generally available with one month delays in shipping. 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 Atom-like “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. Available on Kickstarter through Feb. 5 with shipments in June, the latest LattePanda SBCs are not included here because they lack open schematics and other maker-friendly extras.

 

USB Armory

  • Company/project — Inverse Path (F-Secure)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX53 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 800MHz)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $150 (with USB host adapter); $140 without

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. A 10-Euro host adapter is required for stand-alone rather than USB stick mode.

 

VoltaStream Zero

  • Company/project — PolyVection
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 ULL (1x Cortex-A7 @ 996MHz); 2D PXP GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $39 (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.MX6ULL, 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 S/PDIF 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.

 

Wandboard

  • Company/project — Wandboard.org; TechNexion
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 now $10 cheaper. Wandboard.org is now selling a new quad -A53 i.MX8 based Wand-Pi-8M that continues the Wandboard tradition, but with a different feature set (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 S/PDIF 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, analog and S/PDIF audio, 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

  • Company/project — Wandboard.org; Technexion
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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 — $89 (Lite); $99 (Pro); $119 (Deluxe)

TechNexion and its Wandboard.org community recently launched pre-sales for its i.MX8M-based Wand-Pi-8M, with shipments expected this Spring. Unlike the Wandboards, the smaller, Raspberry Pi like (85 x 56 x 19.3mm) 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, 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

  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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

  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • 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

In 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. However, MYIR recently 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.

 

~~~ END OF LIST ~~~

 
Links to all three parts of our January 2018 hacker-friendly SBC round-up are in the box below.

 

January 2018 Hacker-Friendly SBC Round-up References

 

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5 responses to “January 2018 catalog of hacker-friendly SBCs”

  1. Jasper Nevens says:

    Missing the sbc’s from Boundary Devices ?

  2. Greg says:

    Hi.

    Great list! Great resource for everyone that is looking for a sbc for next project :)
    BUT: is there a way of sharing that spreadsheet with filtering enabled?

    Thank you and have a nice day.

  3. Piotr Mielnik says:

    Thank for putting up that list, could you include operating temperatures in the table next time?

  4. Edwin Peer says:

    The DragonBoard 410c is not available. I’m told by Arrow that they have no stock and no production run planned.

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