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Raspberry Pi 3 clone offers Allwinner H2, H3, or H5 SoCs for $9 to $29

Nov 16, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 3,589 views
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Libre Computer’s open source “Tritium” SBCs run Ubuntu or Android on Allwinner H2+, H3, or 64-bit H5 SoCs, and have an RPi 3 like layout and 40-pin header.

Earlier this year, Shenzhen-based Libre Computer successfully funded its quad Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905X based Le Potato SBC on Kickstarter for $25 to $35. Now, the company has returned to Kickstarter to launch a second hacker SBC with a Raspberry 3-like form factor, layout, and 40-pin expansion interface. The Tritium is available in packages of $9, $19, or $29, depending on whether you want it configured with the Allwinner H2+, Allwinner H3, or Allwinner H5.



Tritium half-enclosed (left) and fully enclosed in polycarbonate case
(click images to enlarge)

The Tritium IoT (H2+), Tritium 1GB (H3), and Tritium 2GB (H5), are available on Kickstarter through Jan. 13, by which point Libre Computer will presumably meet its modest $10K goal. Shipments begin later in January.

The three Tritium models are also available in “Basic Kit” packages that add 8GB eMMC 4.x, a push-pin heatsink with thermal tape, a 5.1V 2.5A micro-USB supply, and an active cooling media center polycarbonate case. There’s also a Complete Kit that adds an 8GB microSD card, an HDMI cable, and a GenBasic Omni wireless RF remote with mini keyboard and touchpad.

The Tritium packages are as follows:

  • Tritium IoT — $9 or $39 (Basic Kit) or $59 (Complete) — Allwinner H2+, Mali-400 MP2, 512MB DDR3, [email protected], Linux only
  • Tritium 1GB — $19 or $49 (Basic Kit) or $79 (Complete) — Allwinner H3, Mali-400 MP2, 1GB DDR3, [email protected], Linux/Android 7.0
  • Tritium 2GB — $29 or $59 (Basic Kit) or $99 (Complete) — Allwinner H5, Mali-450 MP4, 2GB DDR3, [email protected], Linux/Android 7.1



Tritium fresh from the oven in two-packs, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Both the Allwinner H2+ and Allwinner H3 are 1.2GHz, quad-core, Cortex-A7 SoCs. However, the H2+ tops out at HD resolution while the H3 can generate 4K video. The Allwinner H5 moves up to four Cortex-A53 cores, and has a more powerful Mali-450 MP2 GPU and cryptographic acceleration.

Aside from the above differences, the three Tritium models are the same. This is an open hardware and software project with support for Ubuntu 16.04 and Android 7.1 (“Nougat”).

The basic features (see specs list below) and layout appear to be almost identical to the Raspberry Pi 3: a 10/100 Ethernet port, an HDMI port, 4x USB 2.0 host ports, a micro-USB port for power, and a CMOS camera interface. There’s also a 40-pin expansion header that “maintains as much compatibility as possible with the existing standard set forth by the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B,” says Libre Computer. The pin positions for I2C, SPI, PWM, UART, 5V, 3.3V, and GPIO are said to be equivalent.

Tritium specifications listed at Libre Computer’s website include:

  • Processor — Allwinner H2+/H3 SoC (4x ARM Cortex-A7 cores; ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU) or Allwinner H5 SoC (4x ARM Cortex-A53 cores; ARM Mali-450 MP4 GPU)
  • RAM — up to 2GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage:
    • MicroSD slot
    • eMMC 4.x interface
  • Multimedia:
    • HDMI 1.4 with HDCP 1.2
    • 3.5mm TRRS AV jack
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 2.0 Type A ports
    • IR Receiver
    • UART (header)
  • Expansion — 40-pin RPi 3 Model B style header (PWM, I2C, SPI, GPIO)
  • Power — 5V DC input via Micro-USB connector
  • Other features — U-Boot button
  • Operating system — Linux 4.16+/3.4, Debian 9, Ubuntu 16.04, Android Nougat

 
Further information

The Tritium is available on Kickstarter through Jan. 13, 2018 in packages of $9 (IoT), $19 (1GB), or $29 (2GB). Shipments begin later that month. The boards can also be ordered in volume, but probably not until retail sales begin in February. Customers with 500+ orders can customize the board with a choice of header pins on the top or bottom of the board, as well as ordering custom RAM configurations from 256MB to 2GB. More information may be found on the Tritium Kickstarter page and Libre Computer website.
 

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