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Open spec router SBC has M.2 and a pair each of SATA, GbE, and HDMI

Apr 12, 2018 — by Eric Brown 6,951 views

SinoVoip has launched a $93 “Banana Pi BPI-W2” multimedia router and NAS board that runs Android or Linux on a quad -A53 Realtek RTD129, and offers 2x GbE, 2x SATA 3.0, 3x M.2, HDMI in and out, and a 40-pin RPi connector.

After starting off its Spring collection earlier this week with a pair of ESP32 based Banana Pi boards, SinoVoip has returned to the Linux/Android world to release a Banana Pi BPI-W2 “multimedia network” and “smart NAS” router SBC. Available for $93 on AliExpress, the BPI-W2 has a faster processor and more advanced features than last year’s similarly sized (148 x 100.5mm) Banana Pi BPI-R2, which is available for $89.50 on AliExpress. However, the new model has only two Gigabit Ethernet ports instead of four.

Banana Pi BPI-W2
(click image to enlarge)

Designed for applications including “high wireless performance, home entertainment, home automation, and so on,” the BPI-W2 runs on a Realtek RTD1296 SoC with 4x Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.5GHz with a high-end Mali-T820 MP3 GPU. By comparison, the BPI-R2 uses a quad-core, Cortex-A7 MediaTek MT7623 with a Mali-450 MP4. SinoVoip shows screenshots of test images for Android 6.0, CentOS, Debian 9, Raspbian, and Ubuntu 15.04, and the board is also said to support OpenWrt.


Realtek has yet to document its RTD1296, which has also appeared on Synology DiskStation NAS servers such as the DS118, DS218, and DS418. This update to the widely deployed RTD1295 has the same CPU and GPU, but with updated peripheral support. SinoVoip has posted extensive specs on the RTD1296 at the end of this BPI-W2 wiki spec page, stamped “Realtek confidential.”


The updated I/O support is reflected in the BPI-W2’s dual SATA III ports, compared to only one on the single SATA interface found on the MT7623-based BPI-R2 and RTD1295-based devices. The BPI-W2 also has 8-64GB eMMC, a microSD slot, and 2GB of DDR4.

BPI-W2 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Although limited to dual GbE ports, the board also has a GbE WAN port for router applications. Unlike the R2, there is an HDMI input in addition to the HDMI output, and a mini-DisplayPort has replaced the earlier MIPI-DSI connection. In either case, you’re still limited to HD video.

Four USB ports are available, including single USB 3.0 and Type-C ports, and there’s a 40-pin header that is claimed to support Raspberry Pi 3 add-on boards. Other features include RTC, IR, debug, audio I/O, and a 12V input.

PCIe (M.2 E-Key) slots on front on BPI-W2 (left) and supported Linux distros
(click images to enlarge)

Like other Banana Pi boards, the BPI-W2 is billed as “open source,” and should eventually ship with schematics and other documentation. Not all the pieces have been assembled, however. For example, the AliExpress and wiki pages list and show PCIe 2.0 and 1.1/SDIO slots on the front as well as a single M.2 slot on the back. Yet the PCIe slots are also tagged as M.2 slots (E-Key), and it’s unclear which slots are capable of what. The PCIe slots are said to support up to 802.11ac WiFi, and there’s also a SIM card slot.

Specifications listed for the Banana Pi BPI-W2 include:

  • Processor — Realtek RTD1296 (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage:
    • 8G eMMC flash, expandable to 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB
    • MicroSD slot for up to 256GB
    • 2x SATA III interfaces
  • Media:
    • HDMI 1.4 out port with audio
    • HDMI in port
    • Mini-DisplayPort
    • Audio out jack
    • Audio I/O header
  • Networking — 2x GbE LAN ports; 1x GbE WAN port; RGMII interface with PIN
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 host port
    • 2x USB OTG ports
    • USB Type-C port
    • Fan interface
    • Debug UART
  • Expansion:
    • PCIe 2.0 slot (M.2 E-Key)
    • PCIe 1.1 with SDIO slot (M.2 E-Key)
    • M.2 interface
    • SIM card slot
    • 40-pin RPi 3 compatible expansion header
  • Other features — RTC battery support; IR interface; reset, power, U-Boot, and LSADC keys
  • Power — 12V/2A DC input
  • Weight — 100 g
  • Dimensions — 148 x 100.5mm
  • Operating system — Android 6.0, CentOS, Debian 9, Raspbian, Ubuntu 15.04, OpenWrt

Further information

The Banana Pi BPI-W2 is available now for $93 plus shipping on AliExpress. More information may be found on the BPI-W2 wiki page.


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