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Open-spec SBC features octa-core -A53 SoC

Aug 25, 2017 — by Eric Brown 3,892 views

The “Khadas Vim2” SBC runs Android 7.1 or Ubuntu 16.04 on an octa-core, -A53 Amlogic S912 with up to 3GB DDR4, WiFi, GbE, HDMI 2.0, and dual USB ports.

Late last year, the Khadas project launched an open spec Khadas Vim SBC that runs on the Amlogic S905X, a cheaper version of the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905 used on Hardkernel’s Odroid-C2. Now, Khadas is back with a similarly open-spec Khadas Vim2 board that advances to the octa-core Amlogic S912.

Khadas Vim2, front and back in transparent case
(click images to enlarge)

The Khadas Vim2 maintains the same 82 x 57.5mm footprint as the Vim, as well as many of the same features. The community-backed SBC is available on GearBest for $94 for the Basic version with 2GB DDR4 and 16GB eMMC, or $114 for the Pro with 3GB/32GB or $132 for the Max with 3GB/64GB. However, there’s a 17-20 percent discount off these prices through Aug. 29.

Amlogic S912 (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Amlogic S912 us billed as a “high-end UHD HDR multimedia SoC” aimed primarily at DVB\OTT/IPTV STB and smart home applications.” The S912 features 8x Cortex-A53 cores that Khadas says can clock up to 1.5GHz. The block diagram suggests that this is a Big.Little SoC, so four of the cores are likely clocked lower. Together with its high-end Mali-T820 MP3 GPU, the 28nm fabricated SoC is capable of 10-bit, HW UHD H.265 and VP9 encoding at 60fps, as well as HDR 10 and HLD HDR video processing.

Aside from the differing memories, the only other difference between the three Khadas Vim2 models lies in the 802.11ac and Bluetooth radios. The Basic offers Bluetooth 4.1 and 2×2 MIMO while the Pro and Max offer Bluetooth 4.2 and 2×2 MIMO with RSDB (Real Simultaneous Dual Band). RSDB “lets VIM2 and other devices transmit and receive data over two bands at the same time,” says Shenzhen Wesion, the Chinese company behind the Khadas brand and project, as per the CNXSoft post that alerted us to the Vim2.

Khadas Vim2 angle (left) and port-side views
(click images to enlarge)

All three versions of the Vim2 include a GbE port with Wake-on-LAN, up from the Fast Ethernet port on the original Vim. Like the original, the board is equipped with a high-end HDMI 2.0a port with 4K@60Hz decoding, as well as dual USB 2.0 host ports and a micro-USB 2.0 OTG Type-C port with 5V power input. The Vim2 also similarly furnishes a 40-pin expansion connector, and it adds an FPC connector and two Pogo Pad connectors for additional I/O. One Pogo Pad array is dedicated to the programmable, 8-bit STM8S003 MCU, which is used for the EEPROM.

Khadas Vim2 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The Khadas Vim2 provides an RTC, IR receiver, user buttons, and a transparent case. There’s a wide-range 5-9V input in addition to the 5V micro-USB input. Android 7.1 and Ubuntu 16.05 are on tap, but unlike the original Vim, there’s no mention of support for Kodi or the Kodi-driven OpenELEC/LibreELEC. A special UEFI is still under development.


Specifications listed for the Khadas Vim2 include:

  • Processor — Amlogic S912 (4x 64-bit Cortex-A53 cores @ up to 1.5GHz) with Mali-T820 MP3GPU (@ 750MHz; programmable 8-bit STM8S003 MCU for EEPROM
  • Memory:
    • 2GB (Basic) or 3GB (Pro/Max) DDR4 RAM
    • 16GB (Basic), 32GB (Pro) or 64GB (Max) eMMC 5.0
    • 2MB 16Mbit SPI
    • MicroSD (TF) Molex slot
  • Wireless:
    • Basic – Ampak AP6356S module with 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1; IPEX antenna connector
    • Pro and Max — Ampak AP6359SA module with 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO RSDB and Bluetooth 4.2; IPEX antenna connector
  • Networking — 10/100/1000 Ethernet port with WoL
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports (1x 500mA, 1x 900Ma)
    • USB 2.0 OTG Type-C with 5V power input
    • HDMI 2.0a with 4K decoding (H.265/VP9 @60fps, 10-bit) and HDR (10 and HLG)
    • 40-pin GPIO expansion (USB, I2C, I2S, SPDIF, UART, PWM, ADC, ISO7816, GPIOs)
    • 10-pin FPC connector with I2C, GPIO, etc.
    • Pogo Pads array for USB, I2C, DVB-Bus, GPIO
    • Pogo Pads (7x) for MCU (SWIM, UART, ADC, NRST)
    • Fan header
  • Other features — RTC with battery support; LEDs; dual-channel IR receiver; 3x user buttons; 4x mounting holes; transparent case; optional VTV extension DTV board for STB application
  • Power — 5-9V input and USB 2.0 Type C port with 5V input; Pogo Pads for 4-pin VIN system power input; current limit switch
  • Dimensions — 82 x 57.5mm
  • Weight — 0.07 k
  • Operating systems — Android 7.1, Ubuntu 16.04 and later; Buildroot; Docker support; UEFI under development

Further information

The Khadas Vim2 is available at GearBest for a promotional price through Aug. 29 of $75 for the Basic version with 2GB DDR4 and 16GB eMMC, $95 for the Pro with 3GB/32GB, and $110 for the Max with 3GB/64GB. Prices will then rise to $94, $114, and $132. Shipping is free to the U.S. via unregistered mail. More information may be found on the Khadas documentation page, as well as GearBest shopping pages for the Basic, Pro, and Max Khadas Vim2 models.

(advertise here)

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