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64-bit Odroid SBC runs Linux on 1.5GHz quad-core Cortex-A53

Feb 3, 2016 — by Eric Brown 24,241 views

Hardkernel unveiled its first 64-bit hacker SBC. The Odroid-C2 matches the layout of the C1+, but has a quad-core, 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 SoC and a $40 price.

The Odroid-C2’s $40 price may not be as dramatic as that of the similarly 64-bit, ARMv8 Pine A64, which will start shipping to Kickstarter backers later this month starting at $15. However, it’s more affordable than Qualcomm’s $75 DragonBoard 410c, which has a quad-core, 64-bit Snapdragon 410. Clocked at 1.5GHz, the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905 SoC is likely faster than the 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 or Pine64’s quad-core, 1.2GHz Allwinner A64. The Odroid-C2 SBC also offers more features, especially compared to the Pine A64.

(click image to enlarge)

The Odroid-C2 will go on sale Mar. 2 and begin shipping on the 4th with pre-installed Ubuntu 16.04. Android 5.1 and other Linux distros are also supported. As usual with Odroid boards, this is a fully open spec design.

For only $5 more than the popular, $35 Odroid-C1, which came in fourth in our 2015 hacker SBC reader survey, and only $3 more than last summer’s Odroid-C1+ upgrade, the Odroid-C2 promises a lot more performance. In addition to the faster Amlogic S905 SoC, the C2 supplies twice the RAM, and with a higher frequency, and provides performance improvements to storage.


The board’s layout and most features are essentially the same as the C1+. The C2 loses two functions found on the C1+, but which are not supported by the S905 SoC: the real-time clock and the SPI interface. Hardkernel is working on an RTC add-on board.

Amlogic S905

The Amlogic S905 quietly began appearing in recent months in set-top boxes such as the 4K ready ZTE STB B860AV2, as well as Android media players like the $50 MXQ Pro.

Hardkernel has posted a number of in-house benchmarks comparing the C1 and the C2, showing two to three times the performance of the quad-core Cortex-A7 based Raspberry Pi 2 and at least twice the performance of the Odroid-C1, which has a Cortex-A5 based, 1.2GHz Amlogic S805.

Hardkernel’s benchmarks for Odroid-C2 vs. other boards
(click image to enlarge)

The Odroid-C2 does not, however, beat the $74 Odroid-XU4, which features an octacore, Cortex-A15/A7 Samsung Exynos5422 SoC. Apparently, the addition of the four extra Cortex-A7 cores clearly beats a mere upgrade from 32- to 64-bit operation. As the Odroid project notes, the Exynos5422 also offers a top-of-the-line Mali-T628 MP6 GPU. Like the Odroid-C1 and C1+, the Odroid-C2 has a mid-range Mali-450, but it’s a higher end version with a 700MHz clock instead of 600MHz, and five cores instead of two.

Odroid-C2 details

As mentioned, the Odroid-C2 is built around Amlogic’s S905 SoC, accompanied by 2GB DDR3 RAM memory. As with the C1/C1+, you get a choice between microSD and eMMC storage. However, the C2 ships with a faster SD 3.01 compatible UHS-1 MicroSD card with throughput clocked to 912MHz, making it about twice as fast as a typical microSD card, claims the Odroid project. The eMMC performance is also claimed to be faster, as shown in the project’s supplied benchmark results.

Odroid-C2 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The Odroid-C2 can output 4k/60Hz video with 3840 x 2160-pixel resolution, but “the rendering speed is quite slow,” says the Odroid project. This can be improved in Android by using the hardware mixer in conjunction with an FHD 1920 x 1080 GUI layer and UHD 3840 x 2160 video layer, says the project. Similar fixes are said to be under consideration for Linux. According to the project, the S905 datasheet will be released publicly in March or April.

Odroid-C2 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the Odroid-C2 include:

  • Processor — Amlogic S905 (4x 64-bit Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.5GHz) with penta-core Mali-450 MP2 GPU (3x fragment/pixel cores plus 2x vertex shader cores)
  • Memory:
    • 2GB DDR3
    • MicroSD slot UHS-1 @ 83Mhz with optional 8GB or 16GB UHS-1 card or optional eMMC 4.5 storage up to 64GB
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 device/OTG port with power support
    • Full-sized HDMI 2.0 out Type-A port (4K/60Hz and audio)
    • 40+7-pin GPIO expansion connector (GPIO/UART/I2S/I2C/ADC)
    • ADC 10-bit SAR interface (2x channels)
    • Serial console port
    • I2S audio bus
  • Other features — Standard heatsink; LEDs; IR receiver
  • Power — 5V2A DC input; consumes less than 0.5A in most cases, but can climb to 2A if many passive USB peripherals are attached)
  • Dimensions — 85 x 56mm (3.4 x 2.2 in.)
  • Weight — 40 g
  • Operating system – Ubuntu 16.04 (pre-installed) and Android 5.1 (both based on Linux Kernel 3.14 LTS)

Further information

The Odroid-C2 will go on sale March 2 for $40, with shipments beginning March 4. More information may be found at Hardkernel’s Odroid-C2 announcement and Odroid-C2 wiki.

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11 responses to “64-bit Odroid SBC runs Linux on 1.5GHz quad-core Cortex-A53”

  1. Robert Pogson says:

    Why only 2gB RAM? RAM’s cheap these days and software is bulky. What we need is an SBC that will really replace typical mobos in desktops and servers. How about a few SATA connectors? Otherwise, these are just crippled smartphones, not general-purpose computers.

    • werewolfc says:

      lol… 2GB of RAM is low… dude… keep dreaming. And perhaps when you wake up, in 2 years, maybe you’ll get 4GB of RAM, SATA3 and x86 CPU performance for 50$.

      Hope the support for this sbc will be even better than C1.

  2. haze says:

    Amlogic S905 : Quad Core Cortex™-A53 (ARMv8 64bit) processor with Triple Core Mali-450 GPU
    not penta Core Mali-450 GPU

  3. Dale Humphrey says:

    This is a great price considering the amount of USB ports, what all most all of them lack and need, at least 6 usb ports! 2x 3.0, 4x 2.0 and a power supply to run/handle multiple USB devices! any one using these SBC style computer will eventually agree, its obvious. 6x to 8x usb 2.0 even. my Rpi2 w/x105 expansion gives me 6x usb ports, with a hub attached, i still struggle with USB port availability…

  4. Jerry says:

    Oh snap. Another asian board with Mali GPU. Mali doesn’t have free drivers so it’s basically a headless system for Linux users. What a shame.

    • shaggy013 says:

      wright if you want to be negative because you don’t know that odroid is korean and that the support from odroid is quite good and the communnity is still growing and the boards are quite good and Mali support from odroid is better as other resources YOU must SHAME yourself

      • Jerry says:

        I have several odroid boards and half a dozen of Allwinner boards. They all run some version Mali. Software rendered framebuffer is the best you get on Linux. No OpenGL drivers. No HW acceleration for desktop. I wonder what better support you’re referring to.

        • Chris Lee says:

          I’m curious what he means as well. I wouldn’t say Linux 3.x kernel is that great of support either

  5. Gaukhar says:

    Look at this benchmark results from Odroid-C2 and Raspberry Pi 2 comparison

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