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Olimex spins open source Allwinner A64 based laptop kit

Feb 1, 2017 — by Eric Brown 2,936 views

Olimex unveiled an open source, Linux-driven “Teres I” laptop with an 11.6-inch display, an Allwinner A64, 1GB RAM, 4GB eMMC, WiFi, and modular I/O boards.

Olimex, which is known for its open spec, Allwinner A20 and A33 based OlinuXino hacker boards, has now taken on the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Allwinner A64 SoC. Yet, instead of releasing another SBC, it is delivering an entire open source laptop built around the SoC. The Teres I laptop, which will soon be available in kit form for 225 Euros ($242), is the first of several developer-oriented open source Linux laptops from Olimex based on a variety of SoCs.

Teres I laptop in black and white
(click images to enlarge)

The Teres I, which is named after the Thracian king that once reigned in Olimex’s home town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, is a completely open source design. It is available with hardware CAD files and Linux build scripts posted on GitHub, enabling hackers to build their own Teres I based designs.

The Teres I features a modular design, letting you add various I/O modules by plugging in PCB daughterboards manufactured by Olimex, or building your own. The standard, 225 Euro model already ships with a variety of modules, and there are plans for optional FPGA, digital storage, oscilloscope, and logic analyzer boards.

Teres I closed from two sides
(click images to enlarge)

The mainboard is built around the Allwinner A64 SoC, accompanied by a Mali-400 GPU. No clock speed was listed, but the A64 is typically clocked to 1.2GHz.


The mainboard integrates 1GB of DDR3L RAM, 4GB eMMC flash, WiFi (150Mb), and Bluetooth LE 4.0. The board is further equipped with HDMI and USB host ports, an audio interface, and battery management. A separate I/O board adds a second USB host port, an audio output, a speaker connector, and a microSD slot with a card featuring a Linux image.

Teres I mainboard (left) and internal view with major modules installed
(click images to enlarge)

The 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel eDP LCD display is supported with a touchpad module that is exposed within the separate keyboard. There’s also a camera board, a 7000mAh battery, dual speaker modules, an antenna, and a microphone, as well as various buttons, LEDs, screws, hinges, and cables. The 980-gram laptop is powered with a 100-240V input, 5V 2A output power adapter with UK and US compatible plugs.

Olimex has completed the basic hardware, available in white and black, and is now working on the expansion modules and the software. A Linux SDK is standard, but you can also download an Android image from Allwinner.

Further information

The Teres I laptop kit will soon be available for 225 Euros ($242). You can sign up for notification of pre-sales at Olimex’s Teres I product page. More information may be found on the Teres I spare parts page, showing available modules, and the Teres I assembly instruction page (PDF). The laptop will be demonstrated Feb. 4-5 at FOSDEM 2017 in Brussels, Hall AW.

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3 responses to “Olimex spins open source Allwinner A64 based laptop kit”

  1. AC says:

    1GB of RAM is not remotely enough.

  2. Richard Elkins says:

    For a laptop which I assume will be running a Desktop Linux, 1GB RAM is not enough. I predict significant swapping will occur. Also, since RAM is at a premium, it will be difficult if not impossible to set up RAM disks (tmpfs) for high-use disk trees like /tmp and /run.

    Why do I need a “separate card” (more $$$) for audio output and an SD card?

    Who really needs a camera and a microphone? They’re on our mobile phones. I’d rather have on-board storage (more RAM, some disk-based) and full audio output.

    Linux ( Looks like a modified clone of Linaro aarch64. Couldn’t find a desktop. Be prepared for a ground-up DIY process (which is fun for the right person). Don’t expect to download and install an ISO image like Raspbian or Ubuntu.

    After-thought: Their software state is similar to Pine 64/64+. Have fun!

    • CampGareth says:

      I’d like it if it were a full-featured laptop like say an ARM based chromebook, something you could get work done on. In that case yes the RAM and storage need upping (4GB RAM 32GB eMMC should be the target) but it’s still important to retain a camera and whatnot. Personally I need a camera about 3 times a week since my entire team is remote so we have meetings via video call.

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