All News | Boards | Chips | Devices | Software | LinuxDevices.com Archive | About | Contact | Subscribe
Follow LinuxGizmos:
Twitter Google+ Facebook RSS feed
*   get email updates   *

Ringing in 2017 with 90 hacker-friendly single board computers

Jan 2, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 63,044 views
Please share: Tweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail to someone

Our New Year’s guide to hacker-friendly single board computers turned up 90 boards, ranging from powerful media playing rigs to power-sipping IoT platforms.

Community backed, open spec single board computers running Linux and Android sit at the intersection between the commercial embedded market and the open source maker community. Hacker boards also play a key role in developing the Internet of Things devices that will increasingly dominate our technology economy in the coming years, from home automation devices to industrial equipment to drones.

 

JUNE 2017 UPDATE!

We’ve now published an updated catalog and comparison table of 98 hacker-friendly SBCs in conjunction with our recently completed 2017 Hacker SBC Survey. Read the latest survey results and SBC info here:


 

During 2016, we identified 90 boards that fit our relatively loose requirements for community-backed, open spec SBCs running Linux and/or Android. This is up from 81 boards in our similar catalog of hacker boards, posted last June, which was followed later that month by a survey in which readers picked their favorite boards. A year ago in our New Year’s catalog we showcased 64 boards, up from 53, 40, and 32 entries in our previous reports.

Our annual winter round-up does not include a reader survey, which acts as a mid-year update, but below you will find individual summaries of all 90 SBCs with the most recent prices and updates. We also supply links to LinuxGizmos coverage and project websites, plus an extensive comparison table of major features of all 90 boards.

 
Hacker board expansion standards and other trends

We have seen plenty of new SBCs since last June, including major new products from well-known hardware communities. These include the Banana Pi M2 Ultra, MinnowBoard Turbo Quad, Udoo X86, and NanoPi A64, to name a few. There are also some newcomers such as the Khadas Vim.

The new entries reinforce the trends we examined in June: more 64-bit ARMv8 boards and more under-$20, mostly ARMv7 SBCs in which shipping costs in some cases rival the prices of the boards themselves. Board sizes have continued to shrink, and price/performance has improved for both 32- and 64-bit SBCs. For example, we’ve seen an increase in boards with onboard flash storage and wireless functions.

Prices of existing boards, however, have tended to stay flat or creep up rather than drop. The most significant price cut since June was found with Firefly’s Rockchip-based SBCs.

Although the hacker board market is still wonderfully diverse, several expansion interface standards continue to emerge to make it easier to find add-on boards. Most notably there’s the Raspberry Pi’s 40-pin expansion connector, which lets a wide variety of third-party SBCs make use of most RPi expansion boards. Similarly, we’re seeing Arduino-compatible I/O connectors showing up on many SBCs and computer-on-module carrier boards, and on SoC vendors’ reference designs.

Unlike the Raspberry Pi Foundation, BeagleBoard.org offers a certification program for the growing number of boards that borrow the BeagleBone Black’s TI Sitara processor, dual 46-pin expansion headers, and other base features. Other popular third-party expansion connector standards include Grove and MikroBus Click extensions.

The closest thing the community hacker board world has to a formal hardware standard is Linaro’s 96Boards spec. Over a half dozen 96Boards-compatible SBCs are officially supported, most using the Consumer Edition spec, which requires standardized 40- and 60-pin expansion connectors and some other basic features, while keeping the processor choice flexible.

 
Selection criteria

Selecting the final mix of products for this New Year’s round-up was a challenge. First, there is the matter of defining which boards can be called community-backed and open spec. Our requirements, which start with a $200 maximum price tag, and call for attention to aspects like community support, open source licensing, and posting of schematics, can be found toward the top of our intro to the June 1, 2016 catalog that accompanied our mid-2016 Hacker SBC Survey.

There, we said…

    The boards must ship with extensive specs, as well as schematics for at least the carrier portion of sandwich-style boards. Additionally, they need to offer open source Linux or Android distributions for download. In the case of recently introduced SBCs, we allow a bit of a grace period to post the above resources in a timely manner, although we recognize there’s a growing problem of projects that are tardy in posting schematics, or more importantly for most users, optimized firmware. The boards must also offer at least some community and technical support for individual developers… [such as] …forums, tutorials, and other resources for sharing tips and designs based on the SBCs. Ideally, there would be explicit open source licensing for creating derivative hardware, although this is not required.

In our winter edition, instead of requiring current availability as we did for our mid-2016 survey, we are allowing any board currently for sale that is due to ship in Q1 2017. This is a tighter window than used with our last winter edition, which stretched the deadline to Q2.

As projects spawn more and more minor variations of hacker boards, it can be tricky to determine when a variant deserves to stand on its own. In some cases, we mention very similar models in passing rather than giving them their own coverage. Older boards sometimes fall off the list when there’s very little reason to buy one in light of the price, performance, and backward compatibility of newer, more current models from the same family.

Some boards and entire projects have been dropped for other reasons. Marvell’s Andromeda Box Edge never seemed to quite materialize, and the Arndale project and Rockchip based Radxa project appear to have faded away, with no way to buy products.

Some have argued, with some justification, that none of the Raspberry Pi boards should be on our list since they lack the complete schematics offered by most of our boards. However, their enormous popularity, as well as their superior support on other open source checklist items lets them in the door.

Finally, per popular request, we have attempted to add some more details on software support, including some discussion of mainline Linux support. We realize that with so many boards sharing similar hardware feature-sets and prices, software support grows increasingly important.

Still, given the fast-changing nature of software support, and the many different distributions, versions, and sources used even within the same family of boards, we did not attempt a comprehensive comparison here. Mainline Linux support in particular seems to be changing month to month in some categories, especially among Allwinner-based SBCs, and there’s not usually a yes/no answer, as support can be partial or otherwise compromised.

We welcome reader comments on all of the above, especially in regard to your experiences with software and support. Please participate in the discussion area at the conclusion of this post. And keep your eyes open for an updated survey — complete with prizes — this June.

 

[Click here for a spreadsheet with the major features of all 90 boards]

 

Brief Descriptions and Key Specs of All 90 Boards

The following summaries are listed in alpha order, and are based on specs and lowest available pricing recorded in the last week of Dec. 2016, with products either shipping or promised in Q1 2017.

 

86Duino Zero

DM&P’s x86 based 86Duino boards are some of the smallest x86 SBCs around, with the One coming in at 102 x 53mm. The boards offer Arduino-compatible expansion, low power consumption, and a modular COM+baseboard design. Features include Fast Ethernet, USB 2.0, and microSD connections, plus 17x digital I/O pins and 6x analog inputs. A $69 One model adds HD audio and more expansion I/O. There’s also an EduCake mini-PC version and a SeeedStudio version of the One.

 

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 version
  • Price — $47 (45 Euros); $57 (55 Euros) for 4GB version

The A20-OlinuXino-Lime2 and Lime2-4GB (previously the Lime2-eMMC), double RAM to 1GB compared to the Lime1 models, which still sell for 33 Euros and 43 Euros (4GB NAND). They also move up to Gigabit Ethernet (GbE, or 10/100/100Mbps) from Fast Ethernet (10/100Mbps). The 84 x 60mm boards provide microSD, HDMI, LCD, 3x USB, battery support, and 160x GPIOs. Android 4.2.2 and Debian Jesse with Linux 3.4 images are available for download. The Lime2 recently switched to the same PCB Revision G used by the Lime2-4GB/eMMC, bringing up-to-date RTL8211E Ethernet PHY, grounded mount holes, and a streamlined shape without the cutouts found on the 4GB model.

 

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 NAND flash
  • Price — $57 (55 Euros); $65 (67 Euros) for 4GB 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. The 4GB NAND version is otherwise identical.

 

A33-OlinuXino-Lime

  • Company/project — Olimex, OlinuXino, Mouser
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A33 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 4GB NAND flash version available
  • Price — $37 (36 Euros) or $46 (44 Euros) for 4GB version

The new, IoT focused A33-OlinuXino-Lime advances to a quad-core A33 SoC, but is otherwise a far simpler board than Olimex’s Lime2 and Micro OlinuXino. The only real world ports are a mini-USB OTG port, audio jacks with 100dB codec, and a 5V jack. Two unassembled 40-pin connectors support GPIO, as well as up to 1280 x 800 LCD and dual MIPI-CSI (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 somewhat smaller than the A20-based Lime and Lime2 boards, and is similarly available in a 4GB flash version. You can download images for Android 4.4 and Debian Jesse with Linux 3.4.39. The promised 50 x 50mm H3-OLinuXino-NANO has yet to reach market.

 

Arduino Industrial 101

  • Company/project — Arduino Srl
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Atheros AR9331 (1x MIPS24k @ up to 400MHz)
  • Memory — 64MB DDR2 RAM; 16MB SPI flash
  • Price — $40

The Arduino wars are now over, thankfully, but it remains to be seen which boards will survive within 2017’s coming, unified Arduino Holding company. The sandwich-style Arduino Industrial 101, comes from the more Linux-oriented Arduino Srl fork. The board injects the Linux/WiFi capability of the discontinued 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. You can find it at RobotShop for $40.

 

Arduino Yun Mini

  • Company/project — Arduino Srl
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Atheros AR9331 (1x MIPS24k @ up to 400MHz)
  • Memory — 64MB DDR2 RAM
  • Price — $60

This Arduino Srl update to the original Yun runs the OpenWrt-based Linino on Qualcomm’s 400MHz AR9331 WiFi SoC while also running Arduino code on an Atmel Atmega32U4. Available for $60 at Amazon, the Yun Mini is smaller (71.1 x 22.9mm), lighter (16 grams), and cheaper than the original, in part by removing the Ethernet, USB, and microSD connections. These and other interfaces are available via optional “dog” accessories. Alternatively, buyers with existing Arduinos can use Arduino LLC’s $50, openWrt-driven Arduino Yun Shield, which brings a Yun experience to any Arduino board..

 

Arduino Tian

  • Company/project — Arduino Srl
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Atheros AR9432 (1x MIPS24k @ up to 560MHz); Atmel SAMD21G18 Cortex M0+ MCU (48MHz)
  • Memory — 64MB DDR2 RAM; 256KB for SAMD21G18
  • Price — $98

Compared to the Yun Mini, the Tian runs Linino on a faster Atheros AR9432, and uses a faster, 32-bit Atmel MCU. In addition to providing WiFi, the Tian adds a Qualcomm CSR8510 chip for Bluetooth EDR/BLE 4.0a support. Other features include Ethernet, micro-USB, 20x DIO, 12x PWM, and 6x analog pins. The Tian is available for a steep $98 at RobotShop.

 

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
  • Price — $46

The Banana Pi M2 Ultra essentially replaces the M2, which is still available for $44. The Ultra provides a faster Allwinner R40 SoC, and has an ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU instead of a PowerVR SGX544MP2. The key feature changes on this similarly configured 92 x 60mm board are the addition of a SATA connector enabled by the new R40, along with the resulting loss of one of the four USB host ports. There’s also a generous 2GB of RAM, which is unusual for a quad-core ARMv7 SoC. The M2 Ultra is further equipped with GbE, WiFi, Bluetooth, micro-USB OTG, and a 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible connector. There’s also a range of display and camera interfaces.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M2+

  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.6GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $35

Despite the name, the Banana Pi M2+ is not a simple update of the Banana Pi M2. The M2+’s Allwinner H3 is faster than the A31 on the M2 and about the same as the R40 on the new M2 Ultra. The board is smaller than the M2 Ultra, at 65 x 65mm, and has fewer coastline ports. The M2+ integrates 1GB DDR3, 8GB eMMC, GbE, WiFi, and Bluetooth. There’s also an HDMI port, MIPI-CSI camera port, dual USB 2.0 ports, and an RPi-compatible 40-pin connector.

 

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 — $74

SinoVoip’s Banana Pi M3 (BPI-M3) moves up to Allwinner’s octa-core A83T SoC, and offers 2GB RAM and 8GB of eMMC. It’s similar in size (92 x 60mm), layout, and features to the M2 Ultra, and similarly integrates a RPi 40-pin link. Like the M2 Ultra, the M3 offers GbE, WiFi, SATA, and multiple display and camera options. There are 3x USB ports including the micro-USB OTG.

 

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 — $74

SinoVoip’s first 64-bit Banana Pi has a high price compared to the similarly Allwinner A64-equipped Pine A64, but it’s loaded with 2GB RAM and 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, 1x micro-USB OTG, and an RPi 40-pin connector. Software support is much like other Banana Pi boards, including Android 5.1/6.0, Debian, Ubuntu, or Raspbian Linux. SinoVoip’s Allwinner support for Linux is still a work in progress, however.

 

Banana Pro

  • Company/project — LeMaker
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $48

Compared to the rival Banana Pi M2 boards from former partner SinoVoip, LeMaker’s own Banana Pi update sticks closer to the original, retaining the dual-core A20 SoC. The Banana Pro features a SATA connector and an RPi-like 40-pin connector. Other features include microSD, WiFi, 2x USB host, and micro-USB OTG. LeMaker also offers a LeMaker Guitar SBC, as well as the 96Boards-compatible HiKey board (see farther below).

 

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 — $48

The Debian-ready BeagleBone Black Rev C came in second in both our 2014 and 2015 hacker board reader surveys, and third in the similar June 2016 event. This industrial-oriented SBC stands out with its numerous expansion interfaces and programmable “PRU” MCUs, but perhaps its biggest attribute is the extensive Beagleboard.org community and ecosystem. In recent years, the design has spawned a number of Beagleboard.org authorized clones. In addition to two SeeedStudio BeagleBone Green models and Octavo’s BeagleBone Black Wireless (see items below), these include Element14’s new BeagleBone Black Industrial 4G, which is identical to the BB Black except for its conformal coating and -20 to 85°C support. Still on the horizon is an education-focused BeagleBone Blue collaboration with UCSD Robotics Lab that adds a robotics cape to a BB Black. SanCloud’s feature-rich BeagleBone Enhanced shipped to Indiegogo backers, and although the design is free to use, the board itself does not appear to be currently available. As for the dual-core Cortex-A15 based BeagleBoard-X15 successor to the larger BeagleBoard, — the world’s first successful open source Linux hacker board — BeagleBoard.org tells us the first production models are now becoming available. However, an RS Electronics page has the X15 available for pre-order for 192 Euros for a May 1, 2017 delivery. Considering it’s a few bucks over over $200 limit, and beyond our Q1 2017 cut-off, we’ll wait for next year.

 

BeagleBone Black Wireless

  • Company/project — Beagleboard.org; Octavo Systems
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCUs; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $68.75

This BeagleBoard.org backed, Octavo Systems built alternative to Seeed’s BeagleBone Green Wireless (see below), 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 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 — $39

SeeedStudio’s IoT-focused re-spin of the BeagleBone Black was developed with the blessing of BeagleBoard.org. The BB Green loses the BB Black’s underused micro-HDMI port and 5V barrel jack connector. However, it costs less and adds expansion connectors for Seeed’s Grove sensors. It also replaces the mini-USB connector with a micro-USB port. Seeed offers its own Grove-oriented BB Green developers site in addition to drawing on the support of the larger Beagleboard community.

 

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 — $45

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. For only $6 more, it also adds a TI WiLink8 module with Bluetooth, as well as 2.4GHz 802.11a/b/g/n with 2×2 MIMO and two antenna connectors. The Wireless model also adds three more USB host ports for a total of four, making it the USB leader among all the currently announced BB Black clones.

 

Bubblegum-96

  • Company/project — uCRobotics
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Actions Semiconductor Actions S900 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.8GHz); PowerVR G6230 GPU @ 600MHz
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $89

Based on an earlier ActDuino S900 prototype, the uCRobotics Bubblegum-96 adopts Linaro’s 96Boards CE spec. The Bubblegum-96 lacks the rival 96Boards compatible DragonBoard 410’s GPS chip, but has a faster SoC with its Actions S900 and twice the RAM at 2GB. Aside from the 96Boards 40- and 60-pin expansion connectors, the Bubblegum-96 supplies an HDMI port, microSD slot, a micro-USB port, and dual USB host ports, one of which is USB 3.0. WiFi and Bluetooth are also onboard. 96Boards.org recently posted a survey about their users, showing that a quarter of them are working on commercial projects.

 

Chip

  • Company/project — The Next Thing Co.
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner R8 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 4GB flash
  • Price — $9 ($19 with VGA adapter)

The Chip’s $9 price jumps to $24 or $29 if you want VGA or HDMI ports, respectively, and it’s temporarily out of stock until Q1 2017, but the Chip is still a bargain for low-power IoT solutions. The 60 x 40mm SBC runs Debian on an Allwinner R8 with a single, 1GHz Cortex-A8 core. Base features include WiFi, BT, and USB and AV ports. Also available is the $69, Chip-based PocketChip handheld with a 4.3-inch touchscreen and keyboard. The latest addition is a free Pico-8 retro game emulator package, available in a $29 console kit with a Chip SBC, HDMI adapter, power adapter, and game controller. The Next Thing has also launched $16 COM version of the Chip SBC called the Chip Pro, plus a dev kit and a $6 SiP version of the Allwinner R8 SoC called the GR8. Like the Chip itself, these devices ship with mainline Linux support.

 

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 one Linux board in the popular, 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 connects to a Node.js-oriented cloud platform designed for monitoring IoT gizmos, and supports IFTTT scripting.

 

Creator Ci40

  • Company/project — Imagination Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Imagination cXT200 (2x MIPS InterAptiv @ 550MHz)
  • Memory — 256MB DDR3 RAM; 512MB flash
  • Price — $156 for full IoT kit

Imagination’s IoT-focused follow-on to the Creator Ci20 is now available in a $156 IoT kit, which includes several MikroBus Clicker wireless modules and Click daughterboards from MikroElektronika. The Ci40 replaces the Ci20’s more powerful Ingenic XBurst chip with the Imagination cXT200 — a slower, more power efficient MIPS InterAptiv chip, which lacks a GPU. Other major changes include better wireless support and the new MikroBus and Raspberry Pi expansion interfaces. A FlowCloud API is available for cloud-based IoT device management.

 

Cubieboard3 (CubieTruck)

  • Company/project — Cubieboard.org, Cubietech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; optional NAND or TSD flash
  • Price — $100

The CubieBoard3 (Cubietruck) has all the capabilities of the aging, but still available CubieBoard2, and more. The SBC offers 2GB of RAM, WiFi and Bluetooth, plus GbE, VGA, SPDIF, and 54-pin GPIO expansion. Optional configurations include dual microSD slots, or a mix of microSD and onboard flash. Cubietech Limited and Cubieboard.org always have plenty of cases and other add-ons, not to mention images including Debian, Linaro Ubuntu 14.04, and Android 4.4, with mainline Linux support. The Cubieboard community has also spawned third party products like a miniaturized touch-panel version of the CubieBoard2 from Ybmaker called the CubieScreen, and a rev’d up verson of the CubieBoard2 called the PremoBoard, currently available on Indiegogo. Cubietech itself is prepping an Einstein-A20 COM version of the CubieBoard3.

 

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 — $120

The Cubieboard4 is equipped with an octa-core Allwinner A80 SoC with a 64-core PowerVR G6230 GPU. The 111 x 111mm SBC offers generous storage expansion, plus VGA and HDMI ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, WiFi, Bluetooth, and Gigabit Ethernet. There’s also a 54-pin expansion connector. A metal case option is finally available in volume.

 

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 — $99

Launched in March, the CubieBoard5 showcases an Allwinner H8 with eight Cortex-A7 cores. The SBC provides microSD and SATA storage expansion, 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.

 

DE0-Nano-SoC Development Kit / Atlas-SoC 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

We discovered the DE0-Nano-SoC Development Kit from a reader tip. It looks like a commercial development board, but it appears to be fully open source, and it 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. The SoC similarly combines FPGA circuitry with dual Cortex-A9 cores running along Angstrom v2014.12 Yocto 1.7 with a Linux 4.0 kernel. The board has GbE, USB OTG, micro-USB, and a microSD slot with a 4GB data card. There’s also an accelerometer, an ARM-linked expansion header, as well as a variety of FPGA-linked interfaces, including a a 40-pin header and an Arduino shield connector. The Atlas-SoC version is identical, but is packaged for software rather than hardware developers. RocketBoards.org provides the community.

 

DPT-Board

  • Company/project — DPTechnics
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Atheros AR9331 (1x MIPS24k @ up to 400MHz)
  • Memory — 64MB DDR2 RAM
  • Price — $52 ($61 for Plus version)

The DPT-Board is a sandwich-style SBC that integrates a separately available DPT-Module COM with an Atheros AR9331 chip running OpenWrt. This power-sipping IoT board offers WiFi, GPIO, and JTAG plus dual 10/100 Ethernet ports and dual USB ports. A Plus version adds more interfaces, and there’s a 99-Euro ($103) IoT kit that combines the SBC with a mini-LCD, breadboard, a 9g micro servo, sensors, and other gizmos. All the boards ship with BlueCherry.io IoT connectivity software.

 

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 — $75

Built by Arrow Electronics, Qualcomm’s 96Boards CE compliant DragonBoard 410c was one of the first 64-bit ARM hacker SBCs, in this case showcasing Qualcomm’s quad-core, -A53 Snapdragon 410. At 85 x 54mm, the SBC is about the same size as the Raspberry Pi, but offers 96Boards-compliant, 40-pin low-speed and 60-pin high-speed connectors. There’s no Ethernet port, but you get WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, HDMI, microSD, and three USB ports. The SBC supports Android 5.1, Debian 8.0, and Windows 10 IoT Core. The rumored DragonBoard 600c model built around the Snapdragon 600 has yet to materialize.

 

Firefly FirePrime S/S+

  • Company/project — Firefly
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3128 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.3GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB LPDDR2 RAM; 8GB NAND flash (eMMC on FirePrimeS+)
  • Price — $79 (1GB) or $99 (2GB on S+)

The Firefly’s FirePrime S is a cheaper alternative to the Firefly-RK3288 (see below). It dual boots Android 5.1 and Ubuntu 15.04 on a slower quad-core -A7 Rockchip, and offers half the RAM and flash. 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. A FirePrime S+ version is identical except that it doubles RAM to 2GB and switches from NAND to eMMC. Like the S, it dropped in price by $20 since June. When comparing Firefly boards with much cheaper Allwinner based boards, consider the superior Linux support provided by Rockchip, as seen in the Firefly boards’ mainline Linux foundations.

 

Firefly-RK3288

  • Company/project — Firefly
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3288 (4x Cortex-A17 @ 1.8GHz); Mali-T760 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM with 16GB eMMC (4GB DDR3 RAM and 32GB eMMC on Plus model)
  • Price — $129 ($199 for Plus)

The Firefly-RK3288 dual boots Ubuntu and Android on a 1.8GHz, quad-core Cortex-A17 SoC. The 118 x 85mm board’s HDMI 2.0 port can output up to [email protected] video, says Firefly, a spinoff of T-Chip Technology Co. The board offers dual-band 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, a GbE port, and three USB ports. The SBC is further equipped with VGA, LVDS, eDP, MIPI-DSI, MIPI-CSI, SPDIF, serial debug, and IR connections. Additional I/O is available via dual 42-pin connectors. A “Plus” version doubles the RAM and flash, and like the standard version, is $30 cheaper than it was in June.

 

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, which shaved $30 off its price since June, has the same processors and OS support as the Firefly-RK3288, but is recast as a sandwich-style COM/baseboard product. The 178 x 117mm baseboard connects to an 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, this time only 5MP instead of 13MP. The Reload also adds a SATA port, a third USB host, a micro-USB OTG, and an increase in expansion pins to 184. T-Firely is only a thousand dollars away from meeting its $50K Kickstarter goal for a $149 Firefly-RK3399 SBC, which has two Cortex-A72 and four Cortex-A53 cores. The campaign ends Jan. 9, and shipments begin in March. Last summer, 10-year old T-Firefly launched an Arduino Uno compatible Fireduino SBC, but it doesn’t run Linux.

 

Galileo Gen 2

  • Company/project — Intel
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Quark X1000 (1x Pentium-compatible @ 400MHz)
  • Memory — 256MB DRAM
  • Price — $68

Intel’s IoT-focused Galileo offers a power-sipping Quark X1000, Arduino compatibility, optional 12V PoE, and a smattering of USB, PWMs, and GPIOs. With Intel’s Quark focus shifting to the non-Linux Quark SE in the Intel Curie module, the Galileo seems to be fading fast. Intel appears to be focused more on its Edison and new Joule modules. The price of the Galileo Gen 2 has risen to the $68 (Seeed) to $75 range.

 

Gizmo 2

  • Company/project — AMD, GizmoSphere.org, Symmetry Electronics
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — AMD G-Series GX210HA SoC (2x x86 @ 1GHz); Radeon HD 800 graphics
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Price — $165

This Symmetry (Semiconductorstore.com) backed GizmoSphere.org’s G-Series SoC showcase offers HDMI, microSD, mSATA, and USB 3.0 ports. The Gizmo 2 ships with Timesys Embedded Linux, but supports other Linux distros. Like Intel’s equally aging Minnowboard, the Gizmo 2 has been overshadowed by cheaper, more capable x86 hacker boards, although few are as fully open source.

 

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 — $75 (1GB) or $109 (2GB)

The flagship 96Boards compatible Hikey SBC is now made by Lemaker (Banana Pro), and ships with 8GB flash, with a choice of 1GB or 2GB RAM. This 64-bit, octa-core SBC adopts the 85 x 54mm 96Boards Consumer Edition form-factor, featuring a 40-pin low-speed GPIO connector and 60-pin high-speed connector. Features include WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, MIPI-DSI, and three USB ports. Like other 96Boards SBCs, it’s supported by up-to-date Linaro Debian Linux (4.4.11) and Linaro/AOSP Android distributions.

 

PICO-IMX6UL-KIT

  • Company/project — Wandboard.org; Technexion; NXP
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 UltraLite (1x Cortex-A7 @ 528MHz); WXGA graphics
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $90

The sandwich-style PICO-IMX6UL-KIT is last year’s HobbitBoard rebranded and boosted up to 512MB RAM. Instead of supporting Google’s Brillo OS, it is pre-loaded with Google’s revamped version of Brillo, called Android Things. In fact, it’s the defacto reference platform for the IoT-oriented OS, which also supports the Raspberry Pi 3 and the Intel Edison. Like the HobbitBoard and the almost identical NXP I.MX6UL Development Platform [PDF], the PICO-IMX6UL-KIT is based on a TechNexion PICO-IMX6UL COM (sold by NXP as the NXP Pico). Despite the commercial foundations, Marcel vandenHeuvel of Technexion, which sponsors Wandboard.org, tells us the COM and carrier have been released with full schematics and open licensing. Aside from the RAM and the OS, the PICO-IMX6UL-KIT is identical to the HobbitBoard, and features a low-power i.MX6 UltraLite SoC, plus WiFi, BT 4.0, 10/100 Ethernet, dual USB ports, an audio jack, and a PMIC. The COM can be removed and plugged into the 70-pin Hirose socket on an Intel Edison carrier. When connected to the 100 x 45mm PICO-IMX6UL-KIT carrier, the Edison connector remains active. The board also offers a MikroBus socket for Click add-ons, as well as four Wandboard-compatible board-to-board expansion headers.

 

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 — $74 to $130

Like the HummingBoard-Pro, the -Base edition is a sandwich-style, 86 x 55mm boardset, and like the HummingBoard-Gate and -Edge models (see below) it supports a choice of MicroSOM computer-on-modules based on i.MX6 Solo, DualLite, Dual, and Quad SoCs featuring optional WiFi and Bluetooth. In October, SolidRun released revised MicroSOM 1.5 versions, which are available for all the HummingBoard models, as well as 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 SPDIF audio. As with the other HummingBoard models, 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-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 — $83 to $210 (Pro)

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.

 

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 — $98 to $252

The HummingBoard-Edge is larger (102 x 69mm) than the HummingBoard-Pro, and doubles the USB 2.0 count to four, while adding optional onboard eMMC. It has all the other Pro features, and adds an M.2 slot, a SIM slot, and a MIPI-DSI connector. Other additions include a larger 36-pin GPIO connector and wide-range 7-36V power. As with the Pro, SolidRun offers numerous options including wireless modules, and in the case of the Quad model, which exceeds our $200 limit in the higher configurations, 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 — $83 to $235

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, 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.

 

Inforce 6410Plus

  • Company/project — Inforce Computing
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (4x “Krait” cores clocked at 1.7GHz); Adreno 320 GPU; QDSP6V4 DSP
  • Memory — 2GB PCDDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $143

The Inforce 6410Plus is aimed primarily at the commercial market, but is an open platform that has attracted interest among makers. The Plus model that arrived in 2015 updates the original with robotics and IoT focused features including GPS, MIPI-CSI, MIPI-DSI, a beefier 12V power supply, a slimmer, 16mm profile, and a new 34-pin PAC expansion header. The 100 x 70mm Pico-ITX board runs Ubuntu Linux (“periodic upstream” Kernel now at 3.4) or Android 4.4 on the quad-core, Cortex-A15-like Snapdragon 600. Inforce has replaced LVDS with dual MIPI-DSI interfaces that join the pre-existing micro-HDMI port. Other features include GbE, microSD, SATA, WiFi, BT, and three USB ports, including an OTG port.

 

Intel Edison Kit for Arduino

  • Company/project — Intel
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom “Tangier” (2x x86 @ 500MHz); Quark coprocessor
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $100

The Intel Edison is a COM, not an SBC, but it’s also sold as part of a sandwich-style SBC called the Edison Kit for Arduino. Intel is now focusing on its Intel Joule follow-on, but the Edison should be around for awhile. Intel’s Edison Kit for Arduino goes for $100 at Sparkfun, among other sites. The 36 x 25mm Edison module runs a Yocto Project build on a 22nm Intel Atom that has been stripped of its HD graphics. The full kit offers WiFi, Bluetooth LE, a microSD slot, and dual micro-USB ports. Other I/O includes an Arduino connector and a 70-pin header that has been adopted by third party boards. Arduino extensions are also found in many of the specialized Edison hacker kits available from third parties like SeeedStudio (Grove sensors) and DSF Robot. A 900MHz Explorer Board for Edison recently funded on GroupGets.

 

Khadas Vim

  • Company/project — Khadas
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905X (4x Cortex-53 @ up to 2GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB or 16GB (Pro) eMMC
  • Price — $50 or $65 (Pro)

Chinese startup Khadas debuted its media-oriented Khadas Vim just in time for the holidays. The 82 x 58mm board 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 built-in Kodi-17 media software, as well as Ubuntu 16.04, Buildroot, and 7.0 versions of the Kodi-oriented OpenELEC and forked LibreELEC. A Pro version boosts eMMC 5.0 storage from 8GB to 16GB, and advances to 802.11ac WiFi instead of 802.11n. Both versions also 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). On the plus side (for some of us): There’s free shipping to the U.S.

 

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 provides 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. The price has drifted up to $59.

 

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 model measures 56 x 26mm, and offers WiFi, microSD, and dual micro-USB ports, while the $16, 61 x 26mm LinkIt 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 cores @ up to 1.3GHz); PowerVR G6230 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DRAM; 8GB flash
  • Price — $95

The LinkSprite Arches was originally unveiled as the pcDuino8 in May 2014, and then arrived in beta form later in the year, 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.

 

MarsBoard AM335x

  • Company/project — Haoyu Electronics, MarsBoard.com
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $60

This unofficial BeagleBone Black clone is designed for those looking for a modular, sandwich-style alternative. The CM-AM335 module is also available separately. The board is almost identically spec’d as the BB Black, right down to the dual 50-pin connectors, although the port layout is different. Prices have dropped to $60.

 

MarsBoard RK3066

  • Company/project — Haoyu Electronics, MarsBoard.com
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3066 (2x Cortex-A9 @ 1.6GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $58

The MarsBoard RK3066 is a modular, COM+baseboard SBC that runs Linux and Android on the dual-core RK3066. There are five USB ports and a 10/100 Ethernet port, along with HDMI, SPDIF, IR, and camera interfaces. An almost identical PX2 version is designed more for industrial usage, and there’s also a more feature-rich Pro model (see below).

 

MarsBoard RK3066 Pro

  • Company/project — Haoyu Electronics, MarsBoard.com
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3066 (2x Cortex-A9 @ 1.6GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC flash
  • Price — $140

Haoyu’s MarsBoard RK3066 Pro, which is sold by Waveshare, has the same RK3066 SoC, memory, and modular, COM+baseboard design as the standard version, and similarly runs Linux and Android. This larger, pricier board sandwich adds more I/O, however, including an Arduino interface, a VGA port, a microSD slot, and 1-Wire, SPI, I2C, and UART interfaces. The Pro also offers the previously supplied five USB ports, 10/100 Ethernet, HDMI, LCD, SPDIF, IR, and camera interfaces.

 

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 — $199

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 the most powerful, rivaled perhaps only by the Intel Braswell based Udoo X86. Available in the U.S. at Seeed for $199, the board complies with the 96Boards CE standard, and showcases MediaTek’s deca-core Cortex-A53 and -A72 Helio X20 SoC. The Helio X20 features a pair of Cortex-A72 cores clockable to 2.5GHz, plus two quad-core, Big.Little banks of Cortex-A53 cores at up to 1.95GHz. There’s also a powerful Mali-T880 MP4 GPU. 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 micro-SD, plus dual USB 2.0 host ports and a device-only micro-USB. An Android 6.0 BSP is on board.

 

MinnowBoard Turbot

  • Company/project — Intel, ADI, MinnowBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom E3826 (2x x86 @ 1.46GHz); Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3L RAM
  • Price — $140

Built by ADI Engineering, with the support of the Intel-backed MinnowBoard.org community, the 3.9 x 2.9-inch MinnowBoard Turbot replaces the CircuitCo-built MinnowBoard Max. The board includes a low-speed expansion header that provides Arduino-like prototyping I/O, as well as a 60-pin high speed expansion connector that supports homegrown add-on boards called Lures. Other I/O includes dual USB ports plus GbE, micro-HDMI, and SATA. The Turbot, which is also called the Turbo Dual, has been joined by an almost identical MinnowBoard Turbo Quad board that moves up to a quad-core, 1.91GHz Atom E3845 (see item below). In addition, last summer ADI announced a larger (103 x 99mm), still unpriced MinnowBoard Turbot Dual-E model that similarly runs Debian, Ubuntu, Yocto Project, Android 4.4, and Windows 10 on a dual-core Atom E3826, but also adds an option for a quad-core E3845. The Turbot Dual-E adds a second GbE port and an M.2/micro-SIM combo for WiFi, LTE, or SSD.

 

MinnowBoard Turbot Quad

  • Company/project — Intel, ADI, MinnowBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom E3845 (4x x86 @ 1.91GHz); Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3L RAM
  • Price — $190

The MinnowBoard Turbo Quad was announced two months after the larger, still unavailable Turbo Dual-E update, and is now available for presale at Netgate with shipments due in February. The Quad has the same 99 x 74mm footprint as the dual-core only Turbo, and much the same layout and feature set. The Quad also adds a heatsink and fan, and a faster Intel I210 GbE controller.

 

NanoPi A64

  • Company/project — FriendlyARM (FriendlyElec)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $25

Just in time for the holidays, FriendlyARM dropped its first 64-bit quad-core SBC, with a compact, 64 x 60mm footprint that matches that of the NanoPi M3. the NanoPi A64 is limited to two USB host ports and a power-only micro-USB, but you get HDMI, MIPI-DSI, and DVP camera connections, as well as an audio jack. The 5V SBC offers GbE and WiFi, but no Bluetooth. There’s also a microSD slot and the NanoPi-typical 40-pin Raspberry Pi expansion header. You can download images for Ubuntu Core and Ubuntu MATE.

 

NanoPC-T3

  • Company/project — FriendlyARM (FriendlyElec)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung S5P6818 (8x Cortex-A53 @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz); Mali-400 MP GPU
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $60

Equipped with an octa-core Samsung S5P6818, the 100 x 60mm NanoPC-T3 SBC is almost identical to the earlier, quad-core NanoPC-T2. In addition to the faster processor, the T3 also adds a 2GB RAM option. Other features common to both NanoPC boards include an SD slot, GbE, WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0. The boards also provide four USB host ports, and a micro-USB client port. Media ports include HDMI, LVDS, LCD, MIPI-DSI, MIPI-CSI, and audio. In place of the usual 40-pin RPi connector, the NanoPC-T3 provides a 30-pin GPIO header.

 

NanoPi M1

  • Company/project — FriendlyARM (FriendlyElec)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB or 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $13 or $16 (1GB)

While most of FriendlyARM’s open-spec SBCs run on Samsung SoCs, the 69 × 48mm NanoPi M1 adopts the quad-core Allwinner H3, the same SoC found on the $10, H3-based Orange Pi One. The NanoPi M1 offers more expensive $10 shipping to the U.S., resulting in total prices of $23 to $26. However, it adds several features missing from the Orange Pi One, including a CVBS A/V output, an IR receiver, a mic, and two more USB 2.0 host ports for a total of three. Standard features shared by both include microSD, Fast Ethernet, HDMI, DVP camera, and a 40-pin RPi connector. Images are available for Ubuntu MATE and Ubuntu Core. LinkSprite recently rebranded the NanoPi M1 as the pcDuino4 Nano (see farther below).

 

NanoPi M2

  • Company/project — FriendlyARM (FriendlyElec)
  • >LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung S5P4418 (4x Cortex-A9 @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz); 3D GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $25

The NanoPi M2 SBC was announced in early March, several weeks before the cheaper M1 model detailed above. The 64 x 56mm SBC uses a quad-core Samsung S5P4418 SoC instead of an Allwinner H3, and advances from 10/100 to 10/100/1000 Ethernet. There are only two coastline USB host ports instead of three, although two more host ports are available via headers. There’s also a micro-USB client port, plus HDMI, LCD, DVP camera, microSD, and audio connections. The NanoPi-M2 is further equipped with a mic, PMIC, RTC pins, a debug interface, and a 40-pin RPi interface.

 

NanoPi M3

  • Company/project — FriendlyARM (FriendlyElec)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung S5P6818 (8x Cortex-A53 @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz); Mali-400MP GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $35

The NanoPi M3 appears to be the current price and footprint leader among octa-core hacker SBCs. The 64 x 60mm SBC is available with Debian and Android images that run on its Samsung S5P6818. WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 are onboard along with a GbE port. Multimedia interfaces include HDMI, LCD, LVDS, DVP camera, and audio. The SBC is further equipped with dual USB 2.0 host ports and two more USB headers, plus a micro-USB client port. A 40-pin, RPi-compatible header is also available. Too bad there is no 2GB RAM option to keep up with that 64-bit octa-core SoC.

 

NanoPi 2 Fire

  • Company/project — FriendlyARM (FriendlyElec)
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung S5P4418 (4x Cortex-A9 @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz); 3D GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $23

The NanoPi 2 Fire replaces the earlier NanoPi 2 SBC by swapping out the onboard wireless module for a Gigabit Ethernet port, and adding a PMIC. It similarly runs Android or Debian on a quad-core S5P4418 SoC, which is also used by the very similarly configured NanoPi M2. The 75 x 40mm SBC offers both an HDMI port and an LCD interface, and supplies a DVP camera link. Other features include a microSD slot, a 40-pin RPi connector, a micro-USB OTG port, and a USB host port — one less than the M2.

 

NanoPi Neo

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

The 40 x 40mm NanoPi Neo appears to hold the record for the world’s smallest and most affordable quad-core ARM SBC. At 40 x 40mm, it takes up only 1,600 square millimeters, compared to 1,950 sq. mm for the 65 x 30mm Raspberry Pi Zero. The Neo runs Ubuntu Core or MATE on an Allwinner H3, and like most Allwinner boards, it should soon get full mainline Linux support. The headless board lacks display or camera interfaces, and even sacrifices the usual NanoPi RPi compatible connector, instead offering 36 GPIO pins. The NanoPi Neo is further equipped with microSD, 10/100 Ethernet, USB 2.0 host, and micro-USB OTG (power and data) ports. For a more feature-rich, wireless version of the board, see the NanoPi Neo Air below.

 

NanoPi Neo Air

  • Company/project — FriendlyARM (FriendlyElec)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $18

The NanoPi Neo Air is a juiced up NanoPi Neo. This headless, IoT board has the same miniscule 40 x 40mm footprint, and similarly runs Ubuntu Core on an Allwinner H3 SoC. However, it comes standard with 512MB of RAM, and adds 8GB eMMC. Other new features on the Air model includes WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a DVP camera connector. The Air also sacrifices the Ethernet port, as well as the sole USB host port, 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 S2

  • Company/project — FriendlyARM (FriendlyElec)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung S5P4418 (4x Cortex-A9 @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz); 3D GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $45

The new NanoPi S2 is like a pumped up, wireless NanoPi 2 Fire, sharing the same 75 x 40mm footprint, and support for Debian or Android on a quad-core, -A9 S5P4418. Other common features include USB 2.0 host, micro-USB, microSD, a PMIC, a 40-pin RPi connector, and links for LCD and camera. The NanoPi S2 dispenses with the Fire’s GbE port, but adds WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. It also shrinks the HDMI port to mini-HDMI. Unlike the 2 Fire, the S2 features 8GB of eMMC, an ADC pin header, an audio jack, and an LVDS interface.

 

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 — $26.80 (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 is limited, however, to a single coastline port: HDMI. An optional Connector Pack lets you solder on real-world connections for onboard, unpopulated interfaces including dual USB host, serial console, IR, I2S, and a Raspberry Pi 40-pin interface. A battery connector with charging circuit supports an optional 3.7V Li-Po battery. Internet connectivity requires an optional WiFi dongle. As with all Odroid boards, the price includes worldwide shipping.

 

Odroid-C1+

  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S805 (4x Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $32

The Odroid-C1+ upgraded the earlier, very similar Odroid-C1 with features like a full-size HDMI port, a standard heatsink, and new I2S audio and USB-OTG (power) links. There’s also a CEC function that is independent of RTC. Otherwise it’s the same as the C1, with an Android- and Ubuntu-ready quad-core Cortex-A5 SoC, microSD or eMMC storage, a GbE port, and four USB host ports. The 85 x 56mm SBC also features a RPi-compatible 40-pin connector.

 

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 — $40

The Odroid-C2 has the same 85 x 56mm size and layout as the Odroid-C1+, but advances to a quad-core, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905 SoC. It matches or exceeds the specs of the Raspberry Pi 3, which came out a month later. The C2 doubles the RAM of the C1+ to 2GB, and offers a choice between up to 64GB of eMMC and an 8GB or 16GB SD 3.01 compatible UHS-1 microSD card that is touted for its speed. 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.

 

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
  • Price — $74

The Odroid-XU4 replaced the Odroid-XU3, and uses the same octa-core Exynos5422 and Mali-T628 GPU. It dropped a few interfaces, but it’s also less than half the price of the XU3. Hardkernel has removed the DisplayPort, leaving only an audio-ready HDMI port. The USB 3.0 OTG port has morphed into a second USB 3.0 host port, and there’s only one USB 2.0 port instead of four. There’s no longer an audio codec, so you’re dependent on HDMI, USB, or I2S for sound. As before, there’s an option for a USB-based SATA 3 module, an I/O board, and various wireless options. The XU4 advances from 10/100 to 10/100/1000 Ethernet, and adds a 12-pin GPIO header in addition to the previous expansion 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

Shenzhen Xunlong has a lot of shockingly affordable Orange Pi models — adding two more since our June round-up — with shipping to the U.S. for under $4. Many of the boards have been criticized for hardware and software quality issues, although the Orange Pi project appears to be improving on both. On software, Orange Pi’s are limited by the still evolving Linux support on Allwinner chips, but that is changing quickly, with the Armbian community picking up the slack by supporting the Allwinner H3 with Debian. OS images available from the Orange Pi site vary significantly by board, with different mixes of Linux and Android. 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, and it’s limited to half a gig of RAM. You do get microSD, WiFi, HDMI, MIPI-CSI, dual USB host, a micro-USB OTG port, and the usual Orange Pi 40-pin RPi header.

 

Orange Pi One

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $10

The outrageously affordable Orange Pi One preceded the similar $12 Lite version. The One offers 10/100 Ethernet instead of WiFi, and has only one USB host port instead of two. Otherwise, the specs are identical, including microSD, HDMI, MIPI-CSI, micro-USB OTG, and 40-pin connections. Comparing only by price, performance, and features, it clearly beats the $5 to $25 RPi Zero or $9 to $25 Chip. However, the H3-based $11 NanoPi M1 has a few more features. A hands-on report can be found here.

 

Orange Pi PC / PC Plus

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.6GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC on PC Plus
  • Price — $15 ($20 for PC Plus)

The $15 Orange Pi PC, which came in 14th out of 81 SBCs in our June hacker boards reader survey, has 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 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.

 

Orange Pi PC 2

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $20

Shenzhen Xunlong’s first 64-bit Orange Pi arrived in November, featuring a new Allwinner H5 SoC with four Cortex-A53 cores. This compares with a quad-core -A7 H3 SoC on the Orange Pi PC. The PC 2 has the same 85 x 55mm footprint and 40-pin RPi header, among other similarities. The new SBC is further equipped with 3x USB host ports, as well as micro-USB OTG, HDMI, GbE, microSD, CVBS, audio, and MIPI-CSI.

 

Orange Pi Plus2 / Plus 2E

  • 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 — $49 ($35 for Plus2E)

Like the Orange Pi 2 and the still available, $39 Orange Pi Plus1, the Orange Pi Plus2 and new Plus2E run distributions such as Lubuntu, Raspbian, and Android on a quad-core, 1.6GHz Allwinner H3. Compared to the Plus1, the Plus2 doubles the RAM to 2GB and expands slightly to 108 × 67mm. Other features appear to be identical, including an RPi-compatible 40-pin connector, four USB host ports, plus micro-USB, microSD, SATA, HDMI, CVBS, and CSI. Both WiFi and GbE connections are standard. The Orange Pi Plus2E swaps the four-port USB hub for three separate USB ports, and loses the SATA connection, but shaves $10 off the price.

 

Orange Pi Zero

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB or 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $7 or $9 (512MB)

This recent Orange Pi entry is the smallest and cheapest in the lineup. Just a bit smaller than the RPi Zero board, the 48 x 46mm SBC uses an Allwinner H2 SoC that is much like an H3, but is limited to HD instead of 4K video. The headless, IoT-oriented Orange Pi Zero has only a single USB 2.0 host port, as well as a micro-USB OTG for power, but it offers both WiFi and Ethernet. There’s a 26-pin header compatible with Raspberry Pi B, as well as a separate 13-pin high-power interface, 3x GPIO, debug serial, and a mic interface.

 

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 Ubuntu, 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 its novel Epiphany parallel processing chip. Adapteva also offers a $75 Micro-Server version with a Zynq-7010 that omits the USB, HDMI, and expansion I/O. In April, a major SDK update arrived with stock versions of Ubuntu/Linaro 15.04 and Linux kernel 4.4. In recent weeks, the company released a long awaited, $29.50 Parallella Aluminum Case with a heat spreading plate and thermal pad. A new Epiphany-V chip with 4.5 billion transistors should be ready by the end of Q1 2017.

 

pcDuino Lite / Lite WiFi

  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A10 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB (Lite) or 256MB (Lite WiFi); no flash (Lite) or 2GB flash (Lite WiFi)
  • Price — $29 each

LinkSprite’s Ubuntu- and Android-ready pcDuino Lite and pcDuino Lite WiFi hold down the low end of the pcDuino product line, combining the Cortex-A8 based Allwinner A10 with Arduino-style expansion and HDMI ports. The Lite WiFi version replaces the Lite’s Fast Ethernet connection with WiFi. It also has half the RAM at 256MB, but unlike the Lite, it provides 2GB of flash. The WiFi version is also slightly smaller at 100 x 52mm.

 

pcDuino3 Nano

  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DRAM; 4GB flash
  • Price — $40

The 92 x 54mm pcDuino3 Nano offers most of the features of the larger pcDuino3, including Arduino expansion and Ubuntu and Android support. The Nano lacks the 3’s WiFi, LVDS, and I2S digital audio connections, but offers microSD, HDMI, GbE, MIPI-CSI, audio, and SATA ports. There are also two USB host ports and an OTG port. LinkSprite continues to sell a larger, A20-based pcDuino2 board for $50, as well as a $60 pcDuino3B that is identical to the pcDuino3 except that it switches from 10/100 to GbE.

 

pcDuino4 Nano

  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.6GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB RAM
  • Price — $25

If the pcDuino4 Nano looks familiar, that’s because LinkSprite licensed the NanoPi M1 design from FriendlyARM. The only difference we can see is the addition of a mic interface. Like the $16 version of the NanoPi M1, the pcDuino4 Nano has 1GB of RAM. (See NanoPi M1 blurb farther above.)

 

pcDuino8 Uno

  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H8 (8x Cortex-A7 @ 2GHz); Power VR SGX544 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DRAM
  • Price — $49

The pcDuino 8 Uno features an octa-core Allwinner H8 clocked to 2GHz, combined with the usual pcDuino Arduino expansion. The 92 x 54mm board provides microSD expansion, a GbE port, USB host and OTG ports, and HDMI, audio, MIPI-CSI, and IR connections. LinkSprite also offers an Android-only PCDuino 8 STB set-top box version for the same price that ships with slightly different I/O and an enclosure. It’s much like a pcDuino4 STB, except with 8x instead of 4x cores.

 

Pine A64

  • Company/project — Pine64, Inc.
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB (standard), 1GB ($19 Plus), 2GB ($29 Plus) DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $15 to $29

In 2015, 36,781 Kickstarter backers with $1,731,465 in funding helped bring this affordable quad-core, 64-bit Raspberry Pi clone to life. Standard features include microSD, HDMI, Fast Ethernet, audio, dual USB 2.0 host, and micro-USB ports. The 127 x 79mm board offers a Pi-compatible, 40-pin connector and a 14-pin Euler connector for more I/O. There’s also an RTC and -20 to 70°C support. The $15 model ships with 512MB RAM, but we recommend the $19 or $29 Plus models, available in 1GB and 2GB configurations, respectively. These models also boost Ethernet to GbE, and add a touchpanel interface, MIPI-DSI and MIPI-CSI ports, plus display and camera options. Curated OS images include Debian Jesse, Ubuntu 16.04, Android 5.1.1, and Remix OS 2.0

 

PixiePro / PixiePro Lite

  • Company/project — Code
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Quad (4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.0GHz); Vivante 2D/3D GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $130 or $99 (“Lite”)

The PixiePro, which runs Arch Linux on an i.MX6 Quad, is a wireless wizard, offering 802.11ac, Bluetooth, NFC, 3G, and GPS. Real-world ports include dual microSD slots, micro-HDMI, TOSLINK audio, micro-USB OTG, and dual USB host ports. A SATA interface is onboard, and there’s a pair of high-density, rear-mounted expansion connectors supporting GbE, PCIe, MIPI-CSI and -DSI, and various serial and industrial interfaces. Other features include accelerometers and a 0 to 85°C temperature range. Both the quad-core PixiePro and $44 PixiePro Starter Bundle, which offers a power supply, SD card, and WiFi antenna, were out of stock at publication time, but a newer PixiePro Lite model is available. Aside from offering a dual- instead of a quad-core i.MX6, the Lite model appears to be the same.

 

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 and up

Even when factoring in $5 to $25 more to add various cables and adapters — we’re calling it $14 in our updated hacker board comparison spreadsheet — the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero is still a good deal for space-constrained IoT hacking projects. The tiny, 65 x 30mm Zero upgrades the same ARM11 processor found on the Pi A+ and B+ to 1GHz speed, yet it seems more like a follow-on to the COM-like, $30 Raspberry Pi Compute Module. 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. Missing are all the USB ports, DSI and CSI ports, and audio jacks found on the Pi 2 and 3. Some have alleged that the often out of stock Pi Zero is a mirage used to squeeze competitors, but it’s in stock now for $5 at sites like Adafruit.

 

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Trading
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2836 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 900MHz) or on v1.2 model, Broadcom BCM2837 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 900MHz) Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU @ 250MHz
  • Memory — 1GB SDRAM
  • Price — $35

With the arrival of the Raspberry Pi Zero, 2, and 3, we’ve dropped the earlier ARM11-based Model B+ and Model A+ from our list. The RPi 2 replaced the 700MHz ARM11 Broadcom SoC with a 900MHz, quad-core, Cortex-A7 with an ARMv7 architecture and 1GB of RAM, thereby enabling more robust Linux OSes like Ubuntu. Recently, RPi Trading quietly released version 1.2 of the Raspberry Pi 2, replacing the Cortex-A7 based BCM2836 with the quad-core, Cortex-A53 BCM2837 used on the Raspberry Pi 3. The SoC is still clocked to 900MHz instead of 1.2GHz, and it lacks the RPi 3’s WiFi and Bluetooth module, but the upgrade keeps the RPi 2 design viable a bit longer. Aside from the CPU and RAM, both versions of the backward compatible Pi 2 are almost identical to the Model B+, with the same I/O, 85 x 56mm size, and 40-pin connector.

 

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 — $35

The world’s most popular Linux hacker SBC, and the first 64-bit RPi, is now widely available at the official $35 price at outlets like MCM Electronics. The Raspberry Pi 3 gives you everything the RPi 2 does at the same price, and adds a much faster processor plus WiFi and Bluetooth. A few other boards can beat it on price, performance, and features, and many of them offer RPI expansion compatibility, but they don’t offer the same thriving community and support. The RPi 3 was the most popular SBC in our June survey.

 

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

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. Also available are camera interfaces and dual 40-pin expansion connectors with support for CAN and other industrial I/O.

 

RioTboard

  • Company/project — Newark Element14, RioTboard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo (1x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1GHz)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $79

The RioT (“Revolutionizing the Internet of Things”) board runs Android or Linux on a low-power, single-core Cortex-A9 SoC. The 120 x 75mm SBC offers several advantages over the similar Wandboard Solo, including twice the RAM, built-in flash, and many more USB ports.

 

Roseapple Pi

  • Company/project — Roseapplepi.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Actions S500 (4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.6GHz); PowerVR SGX544 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 4GB to 64GB eMMC 4.5
  • Price — $56

This 85 x 56mm Raspberry Pi imitator uses the same Actions Semi Bubblegum-S500 reference design adopted by the LemonPi RPi clone. The board runs Linux or Android on the quad-core S500 SoC. The LemonPi, which shipped to Indiegogo backers in March after significant delays, does not appear to be heading for the general public, as Embed Studio now points users to Roseapplepi.org for support. The two boards are almost identical, although while Indiegogo backers got the LemonPi for $35 or less, the Roseapple Pi currently goes for a low of $56 at Taiwan-based Tantron. The Roseapple Pi SBC is equipped with HDMI 1.4, MIPI-CSI-2, audio, USB 3.0, and two USB 2.0 ports. Other features include a microSD slot, 10/100 Ethernet, and a RPi-compatible 40-pin adapter. The board draws 5V/700mA power via micro-USB. For a hands-on report, click here.

 

SAMA5D4 Xplained

  • Company/project — Newark Element14, Atmel
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Atmel SAMA5D4 (1x Cortex-A5 @ 528MHz)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR2 RAM; 512MB NAND flash
  • Price — $95

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

 

Seeeduino Cloud

  • 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 a variation on its Seeduino 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 Seeduino, 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.

 

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 — $50 (Basic) $60 (Extended), $65 (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 is optimized for the single-core i.MX6 SoloX, tapping its Cortex-M4 MCU to mimic an Arduino. The specs differ slightly from the Kickstarter package referenced in the news 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, GPIO, and 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 Udoo board. They all measure 110 x 85mm, and are enhanced with a Cortex-M3 based Arduino Due subsystem. 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. The Dual Basic supplies 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 (Basic: Atom x5-E8000 @ up to 2.0GHz; Advanced and Advanced Plus: Celeron N3160 @ up to 2.24GHz; Ultra: Pentium N3710 @ up to 2.56GHz); Intel Gen 8-LP GPU
  • Memory — 2GB (Basic) or 4GB (Advanced/Plus) or 8GB (Ultra) DDR3L RAM; 32GB eMMC on Advanced Plus and Ultra
  • Price: Basic: $125; Advanced $149; Advanced Plus: $165; Ultra: $259)

The Kickstarter-backed Udoo X86 SBC has been delayed from its scheduled November release, but is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2017. This is the most fully open source of any of the new wave of third-party, non Intel/AMD backed x86 hacker board projects. Since our initial coverage, Seco’s Udoo project has added a Pentium N3710 based “Ultra” version with 8GB RAM and 32GB eMMC. The N3710 is from the same 14nm Intel Braswell family as the Advanced versions’ Celeron and Basic versions’ Atom. The SoCs range from 5-6W TDP power consumption, which is low for the x86 world. The Udoo X86 also includes an Intel Curie chip with a Quark MCU. The feature list on this 120 x 85mm device 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.

 

USB Armory

  • Company/project — Inverse Path
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX53 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 800MHz)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $141 (134 Euros); $154 (with USB host adapter); $192 (with adapter and 32GB microSD with Debian)

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 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. And yes, this thumbdrive-style SBC actually has support for Linux or Android.

 

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) DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $79 (Solo); $99 (Dual); $129 Quad

The aging, and somewhat pricy Wandboard from Technexion-backed Wandboard.org still has a lively open source community. The Wandboard is a modular, sandwich-style, COM+baseboard assembly featuring a replaceable compute module. Features include dual microSD slots, analog and SPDIF 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.

 

Z-turn Board

  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq-7010 or -7020 (2x Cortex-A9 cores @ 667MHz, plus FPGA) or optional Zynq-7020
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $99 (7010) or $119 (7020)

The Z-turn Board runs Linux on the Xilinx Zynq-7010 or -7020, which combine dual Cortex-A9 cores with different levels of FPGA circuitry. The 102 x 63mm SBC features HDMI, GbE, and dual mini-USB ports, as well as 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.

 

[Click here for a spreadsheet with the major features of all 90 boards]

 

 

JUNE 2017 UPDATE!

We’ve now published an updated catalog and comparison table of 98 hacker-friendly SBCs in conjunction with our recently completed 2017 Hacker SBC Survey. Read the latest survey results and SBC info here:


 

(advertise here)


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

15 responses to “Ringing in 2017 with 90 hacker-friendly single board computers”

  1. Ralph Martin says:

    Surprised you didn’t include any of the mbed boards, e.g. Nucleo series, or the Cypress Psoc boards.

  2. HackSlim says:

    Why did you leave out onion omegas and the VoCores?

  3. Neil says:

    Hi,

    The Sierra Wireless mangOH green is a nice platform :
    http://mangoh.io/
    and fully Open Hardware,

  4. 0xFFFF says:

    I do not like and would not recommend anything 96Boards or OrangePi.
    Anything from Hardkernel is a winner.
    Can’t go wrong with Raspberry Pi or BeagleBoard. Both are mature with huge communities.
    I’ve had a LinkIt Smart 7688 on my desk for over a month now. Should see what it’s like.

  5. max says:

    The RPi 2 is now in v1.2 with a quad core A53 (same CU as the RPi3).
    No WiFi and lower clock speed seems to be the only difference now.

    http://raspi.tv/2016/new-raspberry-pi-2b-1-2-with-pi3-bcm2837-processor

  6. max says:

    Please can anyone fix the article to update (add) the Raspberry Pi 2 version 1.2 that uses the same CPU as the Raspberry Pi 3, just clocked at 900Mhz.
    I don’t think the old Raspberry Pi 2 v1.1 can be purchased any longer (unless used)

    • LinuxGizmos says:

      Indeed, a model Pi 2 v1.2 was introduced in Oct. 2016 and has some advantages over the Pi 3 for certain types of apps. There are some interesting reader comments relative to potential benefits of the Pi 2 v1.2 over the Pi 3 below this blog post, and the differences in specs between the Pi 2 v1.2 and Pi 3 are tabulated in the table on this wikipedia page.

      • max says:

        How come the entry for the RPi 2 Model B in this article cannot be amended to either report also v1.2 or altogether just address that and add that older versions instead used a different CPU.

        I kind of know of the advantages that’s why given the big list you have here I thought of reporting it.

  7. haha says:

    Orange pi PC only $15, much cheaper than others, worth to try, it also works great! Highly recommend!

  8. Birger says:

    Does anyone know if any of these board have the ability to do H.265 4K encoding? Or any other SBC kit that does? Power consumption should not be over 4,5W.

  9. Joseph Heller says:

    The 9$ c.h.i.p. is not available after it’s introduction except for more expensive alternatives. To be fair against other sbc’s (note: even banned in EU as bait advertising), should it be removed from this list?

  10. LinuxGizmos says:

    Update — we’ve now published an updated catalog and comparison table of 98 hacker-friendly SBCs in conjunction with our 2017 Hacker SBC Survey. Read more here:.

    *2017 Hacker SBC Survey results and analysis*
    http://linuxgizmos.com/2017-hacker-board-survey-raspberry-pi-still-rules-but-x86-sbcs-make-gains/

  11. Yeon says:

    There’s also other excellent boards from other suppliers, such as Forlinx brand, its products (NXP i.MX6 series and TI AM335x series based single board computers) are very excellent.

Leave a Reply to haha Cancel reply