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Khadas Vim3 SBC starts at $100 with NPU-equipped Amlogic A311D

Jun 25, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 1987 views

The open-spec “Khadas Vim3” SBC is on pre-order for $100 (2GB/16GB) or $140 (4GB/32GB) with an Amlogic A311D with a 5-TOPS NPU instead of the planned S922X. Other features include 40-pin GPIO, HDMI 2.1, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, USB 3.0 and Type-C, and M.2 with NVMe.

Shenzhen Wesion’s Khadas project announced the Khadas Vim3 in mid-May with the same Amlogic S922X found on Hardkernel’s Odroid-N2. Earlier this month it announced the June 24 launch date along with pricing of $70 (2GB/16GB) and $100 (4GB/32GB). Last week, however, a blog post announced a switch to the similar, but more powerful and AI-enhanced Amlogic A311D. Today, the board went on pre-order at $100 and $140 with the A311D, with shipments expected on Aug. 10.



Khadas Vim3, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The chip switch was due to the arrival of a faster Amlogic A311D model that clocks its four high-end Cortex-A73 cores to 2.2GHz instead of 1.7GHz on the originally planned S922X-A used by the Odroid-N2. Since the S922X-B is not yet available, the Khadas project is initially going with the similarly clocked and pin-compatible Amlogic A311D, which also adds the 5-TOPS neural processor. (A week ago, Khadas said it was 2.5-TOPS.)

Khadas suggests that a version of the Vim3 will ship later with the S922X-B. In either case, your Khadas Vim3 is going to be one of the fastest Arm hacker boards around, easily beating the impressive new Raspberry Pi 4 with a 1.5GHz, quad -A72 Broadcom BCM2711.



Khadas Vim3
(click image to enlarge)

The thoroughly documented Amlogic A311D (PDF) was first revealed last August and has reached production. The 12nm-fabricated SoC is further equipped with a supercharged Arm Mali-G52 MP4 GPU and a Cortex-M4 MCU. Unlike the S922X-A, the A311D supports MIPI-CSI, which is available on the final Vim3.

The Khadas Vim3 follows the quad-core Amlogic S905X based Khadas Vim1 and octa-core Amlogic S912 Khadas Vim2. The Vim3 has the same, somewhat Raspberry Pi-like 82 x 58 x 11.5mm footprint and layout as the earlier Vim boards, and similarly offers a 40-pin GPIO.

The open-spec Khadas Vim3 supports Ubuntu 18.04+ with mainline Linux 5.0 or later and Android 9 Pie. Schematics and other hardware details have already been posted.

The Khadas Vim3 is equipped with a microSD slot in addition to the 16GB or 32GB of eMMC, and there’s an M.2 2280 socket that supports high-speed NVMe storage in addition to other PCIe or USB cards. Dual simultaneous displays are now available via the [email protected] ready HDMI 2.1 port and the new 4-lane MIPI-DSI interface with touch-panel support.



Khadas Vim3 detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The Vim 3 offers a GbE port with Wake-on-LAN, as well as 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0. There’s a mention about PoE support in the promo copy, but we did not see this in the specs. Since the board was originally announced, the 2x USB 2.0 ports have become 3.0 ports. Wide-range, 5-20V DC support is available via a USB Type-C OTG port or a VIN connector.

In May, the SBC was promoted for its new PCIe 2.0 x1 interface, which was said to be accessible via a combo socket that can switch to USB 3.0. There’s no longer any mention of this, however, except in a footnote.

Media features include HDMI 2.1 with audio support, a MIPI-DSI interface, and the new MIPI-CSI connection. There’s also an RTC, an IR receiver, an accelerometer, and a ton of options shown in the spec list below. These include a Khadas Tone Board with audio DAC and an M2X Extension Board with 10/100 PoE Ethernet, M.2 M- and B-key slots for SSD and wireless, a nano-SIM slot, and GPIO.



Khadas Tone Board (left) and M2X Extension Board

The Vim3 offers several advantages over the much cheaper Odroid-N2 — $63 for 2GB or $79 with 4GB — including eMMC, accelerometer, and the M.2 option for NVMe. On the other hand, Hardkernel’s board has 4x USB 3.0 host ports, SPDIF, and an audio DAC.

Specifications listed for the Khadas Vim3 include:

  • Processor — Amlogic A311D (4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.2GHz, 2x Cortex-A53 @ 1.8GHz); 12nm fab; Mali-G52 GPU @ up to 800MHz with 6x 846MHz EEs; Cortex-M4; 5-TOPS NPU with INT8 inference up to 1536 MAC
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
    • 16GB or 32GB eMMC
    • 16MB SPI flash
    • MicroSD slot
    • NVMe via M.2 (see expansion below)
  • Networking:
    • Gigabit Ethernet port with WoL
    • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2X2 MIMO with RSDB (AP6398S)
    • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI 2.1 port for up to [email protected] with 3D audio, HDR, CEC, HDCP 2.2
    • MIPI-DSI (4-lane) at up to 1920 x 1080
    • MIPI-CSI (4-lane) for dual up to 8MP cameras
    • Dual independent displays
    • Touch-panel support
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 host ports
    • USB 2.0 OTG Type-C port (with power)
    • Fan connector
  • Expansion:
    • M.2 2280 socket with NVMe, PCIe 2.0, USB 2.0, etc.
    • 40-pin GPIO header: CPU) USB, I2C, I2S, SPDIF, UART, PWM, ADC; MCU) SWIM, NRST, PA1
  • Other standard features — RTC with battery header; IR receiver; tri-axis digital accelerometer; 3x LEDs; 4x mounting holes
  • Optional features — heat sink ($9.90), cooling fan ($14.90); DIY case ($14.90); 5-inch cap touchscreen ($49.90); Khadas Tone Board ($99.90); M2X Extension Board ($25); metal plate; Type-C adapter, IR remote, metal plate, cables
  • Power — 5-20V DC VIN input (XPWR pads) or USB Type-C; ; function, reset, power buttons; 2x current limit switches
  • Dimensions — 82 x 58 x 11.5mm
  • Weight — 28.5 g
  • Operating system — Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (XFCE) with Kernel 5.0 and U-boot, Armbian LibreELEC, and Android 9 Pie

 
Further information

The Khadas Vim3 is available for pre-order at $100 (2GB/16GB) or $140 (4GB/32GB) with shipments due Aug. 10. More information may be found on the Khadas Vim3 product, shopping, and documentation pages.
 

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