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RPi 3-like Le Potato SBC showcases fast Amlogic S905X SoC

Jun 30, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 3,763 views
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Libre Computers’s $25 to $35 “Le Potato” is an RPi 3 clone that runs Android 7.1 or Linux 4.13 on a quad -A53 S905X. There’s no WiFi, but you get HDMI 2.0.

A Shenzhen based Libre Computer Project from Shenzhen Libre Technology Co. Ltd. has gone to Kickstarter to launch the first of a series of “Libre Computer Boards” called Le Potato. The project has so far received less than $4K toward its $25K all or nothing goal, with the campaign due to finish on July 24. However, if the project doesn’t fund, “You will receive a refund from Kickstarter and we will utilize our other pre-prepared financing option and go directly to retail,” says the company.



Le Potato prototype, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Le Potato sells for $25 with 1GB RAM, $35 for 2GB, or $65 for a 2GB kit with an active cooling case, power adapter, heatsink, HDMI cable, and 32GB microSD card. There’s also a $99 version of the kit that adds 64GB eMMC.

Le Potato has the same size and port layout as the Raspberry Pi 3, as well as the familiar 40-pin expansion interface. Unlike most Pi pseudo-clones, there’s no promise of open source hardware support. On the other hand, it will run fresh Android 7.1 and offer basic upstream support in Linux 4.13. There are plans to support Linux 4.9 LTS with mainline distributions. Debian and Ubuntu images will be posted.

Oddly, the only mention we found of the SoC was in the detail view below. The Amlogic S905X, which is also found on the Khadas Vim SBC, is a lower-cost upgrade to the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905 used by the Odroid-C2.



Le Potato detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The board’s Amlogic S905X SoC has four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.5GHz, and there’s also a Mali-450 GPU with 4K support. Libre claims the SoC is 50 percent faster and consumes less power than the RPi 3’s 1.2GHz quad-core -A53 Broadcom BCM2837 SoC. Amlogic’s S905X also stands out for its support of Kodi.

Like the Raspberry Pi 3, Le Potato offers 4x USB 2.0 host ports, a Fast Ethernet port, and CVBS, S/PDIF and UART headers. It adds some features missing from the RPi 3, including the ability to add eMCC, and the addition of an IR receiver and an ADC + I2S header. In addition, the microSD slot offers UHS support, and the HDMI port moves from 1.3 to 2.0, enabling full 4K. Libre Computers also claims that unlike the RPi 3, bandwidth is not shared between LAN and USB.



Le Potato portside view (left) and with optional heatsink
(click images to enlarge)

RPi 3 features missing from Le Potato include DSI and CSI interfaces and a WiFi/Bluetooth module. More honestly than most, Libre Computers admits that its 40-pin header may not run all RPi add-on boards, despite similar header placements for I2C, SPI, PWM, 5V, 3.3V, and GPIO. In an email to LinuxGizmos, Libre Computers added: “We achieve much closer parity” to the Raspberry Pi than most vendors with 40-pin headers.

In addition, the Kickstarter page notes: “Most Raspberry Pi HATs can be supported by the hardware but the software bits to get them working on this board is simply not there yet.” Libre Computers added via email: “The issue is that the mainline Linux drivers for those HATs are garbage and not maintained. If they had properly implemented drivers, almost all of them will work correctly with minor changes to the device tree.”

 
Further information

Le Potato is available through July 24 on Kickstarter for $25 with 1GB RAM or $35 for 2GB (add $4 apiece if you miss the early bird models). You’ll pay $65 for a full 2GB kit with case, etc., and $99 for a 2G kit with 64GB eMMC. Shipments (only to U.S. and Europe) are due in August or September depending on the kit. More information may be found on the Le Potato Kickstarter page.
 

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3 responses to “RPi 3-like Le Potato SBC showcases fast Amlogic S905X SoC”

  1. Ed 3th named says:

    Hi…

    What i see is just another Odroid C2… Same look, same ideas, only a copy.

    However, some sites tell about 4 x 2 ghz chips, its not true… 1.7 maximus
    Amlogic cpu is not able to run the 4 cores @ 2 ghz, its a lie, only 1 core can be activated !

    I guess all the boards under 905 cpu are in the same case, isnt it ?

  2. Max says:

    “Unlike most Pi pseudo-clones, there’s no promise of open source hardware support” – not sure exactly how that was meant, but they do say “We will release the schematic design after launch”…

    • Goblin says:

      Open source hardware design != hardware support. Do you think the kernel and U-Boot will automagically boot on all new devices with all drivers in place?

Leave a Reply to Goblin Cancel reply