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Odroid-C4 could be the Odroid you’re looking for

Apr 23, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 7312 views

Hardkernel has launched a $50 “Odroid-C4” SBC that runs Linux or Android on a 2GHz, quad Cortex-A55 Amlogic S905X3 with 4GB DDR4, an eMMC slot, 4x USB 3.0, GbE and HDMI, and a 40-pin GPIO.

Hardkernel’s new open-spec Raspberry Pi 4 competitor and lookalike is the first community-backed SBC we’ve seen to integrate Amlogic’s new S905X3 SoC. The $50 Odroid-C4 is heir to the similarly open-spec Odroid-C2, which was one of the most popular rivals of the Raspberry Pi 3. The Odroid-C4 will likely be one of the biggest hacker board introductions of the year, especially considering the pipeline of new SBC models has slowed in early 2020.



Odroid-C4 with and without standard heatsink
(click images to enlarge)

The Odroid-C4 falls between Hardkernel’s aging, low-end Odroid-C0 and Odroid-C1+ boards, which are based on a quad -A5 Amlogic S805, and last year’s $63 to $79 Odroid-N2 on the high end with its hexa-core Amlogic S922X (4x 1.8GHz -A73, 2x 1.9GHz -A53). It’s arguably a step up from the aging, SATA-ready Odroid-XU4, which still beats the Odroid-C4 on most of the Hardkernel CPU and GPU benchmarks discussed below. (See our updated catalog of 136 Linux hacker boards for a comparison chart among these and other community-backed SBCs.)

The 12nm fabricated Amlogic S905X3 is a modest update of the S905X2, moving from 4x Cortex-A53 cores to 4x Cortex-A55 cores with the same 2GHz maximum clock. Like the S905X2, the S905X3 has a Mali-G31 GPU and is similarly focused on the Android TV box market. Unlike the S905X2, the S905X3 is available with an optional 1.2-TOPS neural chip and Cortex-M3 and -M4 MPUs, but these options are not available on the Odroid-C4.



Hardkernel’s Odroid-C4 CPU benchmarks (left) and Amlogic S905X3 block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Although the Raspberry Pi 4 has more powerful Cortex-A72 cores, the SBC is clocked to 1.5GHz compared to 2GHz on the Odroid-C4. Hardkernel has posted benchmarks showing superior CPU and GPU performance compared with RPi 4 and much better than the Odroid-C2. It appears to be particularly strong in multi-core CPU performance, memory bandwidth, and low power consumption. Arm claims that the Cortex-A55 architecture delivers up to 18 percent higher performance and 15 percent better power efficiency compared to the Cortex-A53.

The CNXSoft story that alerted us to the C4 suggests that performance is likely similar to that of the Khadas Vim3L. This scaled-backed spin-off of the Vim3 has a quad -A55 Amlogic S905D3 SoC with a Mali-G31, as well as a 1.2-TOPS GPU, but only has 2GB instead of 4GB of RAM on the C4. It recently jumped in price from $50 to $70.



Odroid-C4 detail view and legend
(click images to enlarge)

If the Odroid-C4 is indeed faster than the Raspberry Pi 4, that is not its only advantage. Unlike the RPi 4, there’s open eMMC socket and 4x USB 3.0 host ports instead of a mix of USB 3.0 and 2.0. You also get wide-range power and an IR receiver. The RPi 4, however, has a second HDMI port, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, and built-in WiFi/Bluetooth, and it sells for $5 less.

The Odroid-C4 is further equipped with 4GB LPDDR4, a microSD slot, GbE and USB OTG ports, serial debug, an audio header with SPDIF, and a 40-pin GPIO header. There are numerous options, including a case. Supported distributions include CoreELEC, Android 9, LineageOS, and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, which launched today.

Specifications listed for the Odroid-C4 include:

  • Processor — Amlogic S905X3 (4x Cortex-A55 @ up to 2GHz); 12nm fab; Mali-G31 GPU @ up to 650MHz
  • Memory/storage:
    • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM (2640 MT/s)
    • empty eMMC socket with optional 8GB to 64GB
    • MicroSD slot
  • Networking:
    • Gigabit Ethernet port (Realtek RTL8211F) with 2x LEDs
    • Optional WiFi USB dongle
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI 2.0 port for up to [email protected] with audio output
    • Audio header with I2S, DC 5V, and SPDIF-out with optional SPDIF optical output
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 3.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port (no power)
    • Serial debug console
    • 40-pin GPIO header (2x I2C, SPI, UART, 6x PWM, 2x ADC, up to 25x GPIO, 2x DC 5V, 2x DC 3.3V, DC 1,8V, 8x GND)
  • Other features — IR receiver; heatsink; case ($4.50); numerous options including eMMC, microSD cards, cables, displays, and USB, audio, and GPIO based add-ons
  • Power – 5.5-17V DC input with LEDs and optional adapters (12V recommended); consumption: 3.64W CPU stress, 1.8W idle, 0.14W off
  • Dimensions — 85 x 56 x 1.0mm
  • Weight — 59 g including heatsink
  • Operating system — Ubuntu 20.04, CoreELEC, Android 9, LineageOS

 
Further information

The Odroid-C4 is available for $50 plus shipping with volume discounts. More information may be found on Hardkernel’s shopping page and wiki,

 

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