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Ringing in the new year with 136 open-spec Linux SBCs under $200

Jan 3, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 7738 views

Our 2020 New Year’s edition SBC catalog shows a snapshot in time of hacker-friendly, open-spec SBCs under $200 that run Linux or Android. Below you’ll find updated descriptions, specs, pricing, and links for 136 SBCs.

A lot has been going on in the world of community-backed SBCs over the seven months since our June 3 hacker board roundup. The total count has jumped by 11 to 136, but considering the eight retirements, the number of new boards is greater than that. Of the 25 products tagged here with a “NEW” icon indicating product shipments since June 3., most are entirely new products while some are major new variants of existing boards that we’ve folded into existing blurbs. In other cases, where the new model is only a slight variant, we have not applied the NEW tag.



Raspberry Pi 4 (left) and Orange Pi 4
(click images to enlarge)

The most notable new SBC of the year was the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, which has a few glitches, primarily with heat buildup, but offers many welcome improvements The RPi 4 adds a new 4GB RAM option and advances to a 1.5GHz, quad -A72 Broadcom SoC, native GbE, and USB 3.0, and dual simultaneous displays.

 

January 2020 SBC spreadsheet links

Other major new products include the Rockchip RK3399 based Orange Pi 4, NanoPi-M4V2, and Radxa Rock Pi 4, as well as boards based on the AI-enhanced RK3399Pro, such as Radxa’s Rock Pi N10 and Vamrs’ VMARC RK3399Pro SoM Ficus2. The Khadas Vim3 showcases an even higher-end Amlogic AM311D with its own neural chip, and we saw the first major new BeagleBone design in a half decade with the NPU and DSP-enhanced BeagleBone AI.



Khadas Vim3 (left) and Rock Pi N10
(click images to enlarge)

There were fewer new boards in the under $35 category where FriendlyElec’s $10 ZeroPi was a standout. Nevertheless, prices have dropped more than they’ve increased, and there have been more than the usual number of pricing changes.


Zero Pi

We saw more new entries than usual, but also more discontinuations. Say goodbye to the last of the Intel-backed Minnowboards, as well as the Orange Pi Prime, Cloudbit Starter Kit, and SAMA5D4 Xplained Ultra. Two Allwinner A64 boards also faded away: the NanoPi A64 and Orange Pi Win Plus.

The following summaries are listed in alpha order and are based on specs and lowest available pricing recorded in the last two weeks of December 2019. Products must either shipping or available for pre-order with expected ship date in early 2020. Each vendor is limited to 15 entries, although with some of the larger projects with dozens of entries, we’ve ganged similar boards together. In cases in which a much older board lacks any significant price, performance, or feature improvement over a similar new model from the same vendor, we’ve often tucked that product into an existing blurb rather than give them their own entry. Yet, every pricing link in the roundup has been checked and updated.

Another way to tour the catalog is by using our comparative spreadsheet, available in various formats in the links farther above. For an analysis of SBC trends and requirements for inclusion in the survey, such as an under $200 price and significant open source and/or community support, see our June catalog introduction.

Below, note that our summaries do not usually provide an exhaustive list of features, such as the inclusion of almost universal features like microSD slots. In addition to referring to the spreadsheet, you can also follow the links to product pages and in most cases, LinuxGizmos stories for detailed specs. Along the way we’ve also mentioned some upcoming products such as the Banana Pi BPI-R64, Coral Dev Board Mini, S3-OLinuXino, Rock Pi X, and Tinker Edge R and T. Enjoy!

 

A20-OlinuXino-Lime2

  • Low-power Arm hacker board with GbE and 160 GPIOs
  • Company/project — Olimex
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; opt. 8GB eMMC, 8GB NAND, and 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $44 (40 Euros); 48 to 60 Euros ($67) for ext. flash versions

Bulgaria-based Olimex’s OlinuXino project was among the first wave of hacker board projects along with BeagleBoard.org, Wandboard.org, and the Raspberry Pi community. The aging A20-OlinuXino-Lime2 has dropped in price in recent months. It offers an Allwinner A20 with a Gigabit Ethernet (GbE, or 10/100/1000Mbps) port, microSD slot, HDMI port, LCD interface, and 3x USB ports. You also get battery support and 160 GPIOs. The 84 x 60mm SBC is available with Armbian and Debian Buster with Linux 3.4.1 mainline images with up to Linux 4.19.5. In November, Olimex teased specs for an upcoming, PoE-capable S3-OLinuXino SBC based on a single-core, -A7 Allwinner S3 and designed for IP camera applications.

 

A20-OlinuXino-Micro

  • Optional industrial temp support and I/O expansion modules
  • Company/project – Olimex
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; optional 4GB to 16GB eMMC or 8GB NAND
  • Price — $45 (41 Euros); 42 to 62 Euros ($69) with ext. flash

The A20-OlinuXino-Micro, which recently received its second price drop of the year, has all the I/O of the first-gen Lime models, and adds audio I/O, VGA, and an LCD interface with touch support. This larger, 142 x 83mm board offers expansion connectors with optional I/O modules. There’s a choice of various flash options, and like all the OlinuXino boards, optional -45 to 85°C support.

 

A33-OlinuXino

  • Smaller and less feature-rich than other Limes but with faster Allwinner A33
  • Company/project — Olimex
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A33 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; optional 8GB NAND
  • Price — $33 (30 Euros) or $44 (40 Euros) for 8GB version

The 71 x 66mm A33-OlinuXino has a faster quad-core Allwinner A33 compared to earlier OlinuXino boards, but with a reduced feature set. The only real-world ports are a mini-USB OTG port, audio jacks, and a 5V jack. Two unassembled 40-pin connectors support GPIO, as well as 1280 x 800-pixel LCD and dual MIPI-CSI camera interfaces. You can download images for Android 4.4 and Armbian. The price has dropped a bit since our June roundup.

 

A64-OLinuXino

  • First 64-bit OLinuXino
  • Company/project — Olimex
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM (2GB on 2G16G-IND ext. temp model); optional 4GB or 16GB eMMC (16GB eMMC on 2G16G-IND)
  • Price — $40 (36 Euros) with no flash; $42 (38 Euros) with 16MB SPI; $55 (50 Euros) for 4GB eMMC; $61 (55 Euros) for 16GB; $78 (70 Euros) for 2G16G-IND

Like Olimex’s open source (Teres-A64) laptop, the 90.0 x 62.5mm A64-OLinuXino runs Ubuntu/Linaro on a quad Cortex-A53 Allwinner A64. The SBC is available in models including a 1G version with 1GB RAM and no flash, a 1Gs16M that adds 16MB SPI flash, a 1Ge4GW with 1GB RAM and 4GB eMMC, a 1Ge16GW with 1GB RAM and 16GB eMMC, and a 2G16G-IND with 2GB RAM, 8GB eMMC, and -45 to 85°C support. Only the 1Ge4GW and 1Ge16GW ship with WiFi and Bluetooth. They all offer GbE, microSD, USB 2.0 host, micro-USB OTG, HDMI, and MIPI-DSI connections. There’s also a 40-pin GPIO connector and an RTC with battery connector with step-up and charging support. Two other A64-based SBCs — the NanoPi A64 and Orange Pi Win Plus — were discontinued in late 2019. Yet, there was also an A64-based newcomer: Source Parts recently launched a $199 Pocket P.C. handheld with a 5-inch HD touchscreen. It revives the design of defunct Next Thing’s PocketChip, but with a faster A64 SoC. There are no open source HW claims, however.

 

Arduino Yun Rev 2

  • Reboot of the first OpenWrt Linux-driven Arduino board may be the last
  • Company/project — Arduino
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Atheros AR9331 (1x MIPS 24kc @ 400MHz); Atmel ATmega32u4 MCU @ 16MHz
  • Memory — 64MB RAM; 16MB flash; 32KB flash for MCU
  • Price — $59

Arduino returned in 2018 with a reboot of its original, MIPS-based Arduino Yun. It similarly combines a WiFi-enabled, 400MHz AR9331 SoC running OpenWrt Linux with an ATmega32U MCU that runs Arduino code. The board is again equipped with a microSD slot and USB host, micro-USB, and 10/100 Ethernet ports. Improvements were made to the LAN and USB components, and you get SSL support for improved security.

 

Atomic Pi

  • Amazingly affordable Intel Cherry Trail board has dropped to $28
  • Company/project — Team IoT (Digital Loggers, Inc.)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom x5-Z8350(4x Cherry Trail @ 1.92GHz); Intel HD 400 Graphics
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3L RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $28; $99 for Neural Computing Development Kit bundle

Unveiled in December 2018 by Digital Loggers, Inc.s Team IoT project, the Atomic Pi is incredibly inexpensive for an Intel-based SBC, even considering its aging Cherry Trail design. The SBC is available for $36 at the product page link above and sells for $28 at Amazon and $38 at Ameridroid. The Atomic Pi is a modified version of Aaeon’s MF-001 SBC, which was used by Mayfield Robotics for its failed Kuri robot. According to a very negative Hackaday review, this is indeed a sell-off of old stock, although at 28,000 units, it might take a while. The 130 x 100 x 50mm SBC — the high profile is due to the heatsink — provides GbE, WiFi-ac, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, micro-USB 3.0 OTG, and an HD-only HDMI port with audio output. There’s also a 9-axis IMU, a debug interface, and a 26-pin GPIO connector with an optional $16 breakout board mounted on the bottom. It’s pre-installed with Kubuntu (Linux Kernel 4.15) but can also run Windows 10. Although it wasn’t clear at launch, the Atomic Pi is an open-spec board. This fall, Team IoT successfully launched a $99 Neural Computing Development Kit on Kickstarter that combines an Atomic Pi pre-loaded with Ubuntu and Intel’s OpenVINO with Intel’s Neural Compute Stick 2 AI accelerator, a camera, breakout board, and PSU. It appears to have shipped to backers but is not currently available.

 

Avenger96

  • Sandwich-style 96Boards Extended SBC taps ST’s new Cortex-M4-enhanced STM32MP1
  • Company/project — Arrow; DH Electronics
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — ST STM32MP157 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 650MHz); Vivante 3D GPU @ 533MHz; Cortex-M4 @ 209MHz
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3L RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $130

Built by DH Electronics, Arrow’s Avenger96 joins ST’s lower-cost STM32MP157A-DK1 and DK2 boards (see farther below) in extending ST’s STM32MP157 SoC. The SBC is a COM-and-carrier, sandwich-style design with the 96Boards CE Extended form factor. Unlike ST’s own dev boards, the compute module on the 100 x 85mm Avenger96 uses a version of the STM32MP157 that adds a 533MHz Vivante 3D GPU with support for up to 1280 x 800 @ 60fps video. Features include GbE, HDMI 1.4, micro-USB OTG, and 2x USB 2.0 host ports. The 96Boards 60-pin high-speed connector provides MIPI-DSI and -CSI, USB, I2C, and SD/MMC, and there’s also a 40-pin-low speed connector. Other features include WiFi-ac/BT and an 8-18V DC input. The board runs a mainlined open source Linux distro from Linaro.

 

Banana Pi BPI-F2S

  • Industrial SBC debuts SunPlus Plus1 SoC and features optional Artix-7 FPGA board
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — SunPlus SP7021/Plus1 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Microchip SAM9X60 and 80512 MCUs; opt. Artix-7 FPGA via Trenz add-on
  • Memory — 128MB or 512MB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $58

Announced in November, this collaboration with SunPlus recently showed up for $58 on AliExpress and 390 Yuan on Taobao ($56). Annoyingly, neither of these Banana Pi BPI-F2S shopping page clarifies whether this is for the 128MB or 512MB DDR3 model. The industrial-focused BPI-FS2 debuts an unusual SunPlus SP7021 (Plus1) SoC, which itself is a collaboration with Tibbo Technology. The quad -A7 SoC lacks a 3D GPU but has an 8051 MCU and an Arm9-based SAM9X60 SoC, which is used as a more powerful real-time core. There’s also support for adding an FPGA. The BPI-F2S SBC has an HDMI port that tops out at 720p, as well as a MIPI-CSI input. The 110 x 75mm SBC provides 2x 10/100 Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, and a single micro-USB port plus TPM and debug I/O. For expansion, there’s a HAT-compatible 40-pin GPIO link and dual 50-pin connectors that support a Trenz Electronic TE0725LP-01-100-2D module equipped with an Artix-7 FPGA and 95 I/Os. Images are available for Debian Buster and Fedora 31 Mate, both with Linux 4.19.37 and source on GitHub, but there are still no posted schematics.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry

  • Raspberry Pi sized variant of BPI-M2 Ultra with native SATA and camera support
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner V40 (4x Cortex-A7); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $36

The Banana Pi BPI-M2 Berry is based on the earlier BPI-Ultra design, and similarly offers native SATA. The Berry has a smaller Raspberry Pi-like 85 x 56mm footprint and a different quad -A7 Allwinner SoC: the camera enabled Allwinner V40 in place of the almost identical R40. The BPI-Berry offers 4x USB 2.0 host ports plus a micro-USB OTG power port. Other features include microSD, WiFi, Bluetooth, GbE, HDMI, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, audio I/O, and an RPi-like 40-pin connector. SinoVoip, which charges only $4 for shipments to the U.S. on AliExpress, has added many more Banana Pi models in recent years, including a new Banana Pi BPI-M4 (see farther below). However, it seems to have discontinued one model: The AliExpress page for the Allwinner A33 based BPI-M2 Magic says to “contact the supplier,” and SinoVoip still has no shopping page for it.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Ultra

  • BPI-M2 upgrade adds native SATA and 2GB of RAM
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner R40 (4x Cortex-A7); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $53

The Banana Pi BPI-M2 Ultra (BPI-M2U) can be found for $53 on AliExpress and $69.90 on Amazon. It superseded the similarly 92 x 60mm — and now defunct — BPI-M2 with a faster Allwinner R40 SoC that enables the Ultra’s native SATA connector. You get a generous 2GB of RAM, which is unusual for a Cortex-A7 SoC. The M2 Ultra is further equipped with GbE, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3x USB host, and single HDMI and micro-USB OTG ports. Other features include a 40-pin RPi connector, MIPI-DSI, an audio jack, and a mic interface.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M2 Zero

  • Raspberry Pi Zero W lookalike
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2+ (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $22.90

Selling for $22.90 on AliExpress, the 60 x 30mm Banana Pi BPI-M2 Zero mimics the Raspberry Pi Zero W, but has a faster Allwinner H2+. The H2+ is like an Allwinner H3, but with HD instead of 4K support. The feature set is almost identical to the RPi Zero W, with WiFi, BT, MIPI-CSI, 40-pin expansion, and mini-HDMI and power-only micro-USB OTG ports. There are two M2 Zero spinoffs: the BPI-P2 Zero, which adds 8GB eMMC and 10/100 Ethernet with PoE and the BPI-P2 Maker without the eMMC or WiFi (see below) They all run Ubuntu 16.04, Raspbian 9.4, and Android 4.4.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M3

  • Feature-rich, 32-bit octa-core SBC with SATA
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A83T (8x Cortex-A7 @ 1.8GHz); PowerVR SGX544MP1 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $60

With the arrival of the Banana Pi M4 in June, the Banana Pi M3 (BPI-M3) had one of the largest price drops of any board in the roundup in recent months, plunging from $99 $60 on Amazon. Featuring the octa-core Allwinner A83T SoC, the M3 has about the same size (92 x 60mm), layout, and features as the M2 Ultra, and similarly integrates a Pi-like 40-pin link. Like the M2 Ultra, the M3 supplies GbE, WiFi, SATA, 3x USB, and multiple display and camera options. Software support includes Android 5.1, Debian 8, Ubuntu 16.04 Mate, Raspbian Jesse Mate, and more.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M4

  • Banana Pi’s first Raspberry Pi 3 competitor has a novel Realtek SoC
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Realtek RTD1395 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-470 MP4 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR4 RAM; 8GB eMMC (possible opt. 2GB RAM/64GB eMMC)
  • Price — $38

In Feb. 2018, SinoVoip announced the Banana Pi BPI-M4 and then launched it shortly after our last hacker board roundup in June. Selling for $38 on AliExpress, the BPI-M4 is the only board in our catalog with a Realtek RTD1395 and only the second Banana Pi after the higher-end, $68 BPI-M64 with a 64-bit processor. Although at 92 x 60mm, the M4 is larger than the Raspberry Pi, it has an RPi 3-style layout, 40-pin GPIO, and similar feature set. It lacks the GbE port of the RPi 3B+, but similarly offers optional PoE. Like the similarly sized BPI-M64, there’s a WiFi-ac/BT 4.2 module and an M.2 E-Key slot for cellular. However, the M4’s HDMI port lacks 4K support, there are no MIPI interfaces, and there’s only 1GB RAM. The spec list mentions optional 2GB RAM and up to 64GB, but these do not appear to be purchase options, so you would likely need to add them on their own. Other features include 2x USB 2.0 host, 2x OTG, a single Type-C port, and an audio jack. The novelty of the RTD1395 initially slowed OS support, but there are now images for Android 8.1, Debian Buster, AArch, Raspbian, Ubuntu Mate 18.04, and Ubuntu Server 16.04, all with Linux 4.9.119.

 

Banana Pi BPI-M64

  • The high end entry in the Banana Pi line has 2GB RAM and 4K video
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $68

Until the recent arrival of the Banana Pi BPI-M4, the Banana Pi BPI-M64 was the only 64-bit Banana Pi around. Unlike the M4, the more feature rich M64 is not a Raspberry Pi lookalike, although it has a RPi-style 40-pin connector. The 92 x 60mm SBC provides 4K-ready HDMI, MIPI-DSI, and -CSI, as well as wireless and GbE connections. The BPI-M64 is further equipped with 3x USB host ports, and a micro-USB OTG port. The price has risen to $68 at AliExpress.

 

Banana Pi BPI-P2 Zero / BPI-P2 Maker

  • Spinoffs of RPi Zero W like BPI-M2-Zero with PoE-ready Ethernet
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2+ (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC (not available on Maker)
  • Price — $28 for Zero ($34 with PoE); $13 for Maker ($19 with PoE

The BPI-P2 Zero, which is also available in a version without WiFi/BT or eMMC called the BPI-P2 Maker, was announced in Aug. 2018 and began shipping in early 2019. When we checked on this Raspberry Pi Zero W pseudo-clone for our June SBC roundup, AliExpress said it was no longer available. It’s now back at AliExpress for $28 plus $6 for the PoE option. There’s also a stripped-down BPI-P2 Maker variant that sells for $13 on AliExpress or $19 with PoE. Otherwise, the features and Linux and Android support are the same as on the M2-Zero.

 

Banana Pi BPI-R2

  • Router board with 4x GbE ports, up to 2x SATA, and mini-PCIe 2.0
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT7623N (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.3GHz); Mali-450 MP4 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $84

The BPI-R2 follow-on to the popular BPI-R1 router board was announced in Jan. 2017 and is selling for $84 at AliExpress. Like the R1, the R2 offers 4x GbE ports and a WAN port, as well as HDMI 1.4 and MIPI-DSI outputs. The R2 has a faster, more network-capable quad -A7 MediaTek MT7623N SoC plus more RAM and storage and the option for a second SATA III interface. It also adds Bluetooth, mini-PCIe, 40-pin GPIO, and improved USB support: 2x USB 3.0 host and a micro-USB 2.0 OTG. The upcoming Banana Pi BPI-R64 will not be a clear upgrade to the R2. It offers a more network savvy, Cortex-A53 based MT7622 SoC, but there’s no GPU and only two CPU cores. The BPI-R64 will have no video outputs and is limited to only 1GB of RAM and single USB and SATA connections. The BPI-R64 will have the same 148 x 100.5mm dimensions as the R1 and R2, and most of the same features of the R2.

 

Banana Pi BPI-W2

  • Router board with dual SATA III, dual GbE, and triple M.2
  • Company/project — SinoVoip
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Realtek RTD1296 (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR4 RAM; 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $88

The BPI-W2 router and NAS board, which sells for a low of $88 on AliExpress, is a spinoff of the BPI-R1 and R2 boards. The 148 x 100.5mm SBC provides dual SATA III, dual GbE, and a WAN port. You also get 4x USB, including Type-C and 3.0 ports. For expansion there are 3x M.2 slots with PCIe support and a SIM slot, as well as 40-pin GPIO. Unlike most networking boards, the BPI-W2 can also bring it when it comes to multimedia: You get HDMI in and out, mini-DP, and an audio jack. The BPI-W2 runs Android 6.0, CentOS, Debian 9, Raspbian, Ubuntu 15.04, or OpenWrt on Realtek’s RTD1296, a NAS-oriented variant of the RTD1295 with a powerhouse Mali-T820 MP3 GPU.

 

BeagleBone AI

  • First major new BeagleBone design in five years rocks AI-infused TI AM5729
  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM5729 (2x Cortex-A15 @ 1.5GHz) with PRU MCU chips; PowerVR SGX544 GPU; Vivante GC320 2D GPU; 2x TI C66x DSPs; 4x EVE AI cores; 2x Cortex-M4
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3L RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $117.60

The BeagleBone AI is the first BeagleBone to break with the BeagleBone Black’s single-core -A8 TI Sitara AM3359 design. The TI AM5729 is still a 32-bit SoC and only bumps up to dual cores, but they are faster, 1.5GHz Cortex-A15. It’s loaded with co-processors, adding to the previous PRU cores and PowerVR GPU with dual DSPs, dual Cortex-M4, and 4x EVE cores for vision processing and AI acceleration. Selling for a low of $117.60 at Newark, the SBC retains the familiar BB Black footprint and Cape add-on connectors. The BeagleBone AI offers WiFi-ac/BT, as well as single GbE, HD-ready micro-HDMI, USB 3.0 Type-C OTG, and USB 2.0 host ports. You also get a PMIC, LCD with touch, and I/O including UART, I2C, SPI, and JTAG. Debian 8.9 is available.

 

BeagleBone Black, Rev C

  • Open source legend focuses on industrial I/O — and community
  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $62.38

The industrial-oriented, Debian-ready BeagleBone Black Rev C stands out with its numerous expansion interfaces and programmable “PRU” MCUs, as well as its deeply rooted BeagleBoard.org community. This legendary hacker board has jumped in price this fall to a low of $62.38 at Digi-Key and Mouser. The BB Black has been followed by more feature rich and/or lower cost clones, as well as 2019’s pricier, but more powerful BeagleBone AI (see item above). Farther below, check out two BeagleBone Green models from Seeed, as well as BeagleBoard.org’s own BeagleBone Black Wireless, BeagleBone Blue, and new PocketBeagle. Element14’s BeagleBone Black Industrial 4G, which is identical to the BB Black except for its conformal coating and -20 to 85°C support, is selling for $81.47 at AliExpress.

 

BeagleBone Black Wireless

  • SiP-based BeagleBone variant with wireless and HDMI, but no Ethernet
  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org; Octavo Systems
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Octavo Systems OSD3358 SiP with TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCUs; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $71.11

BeagleBoard.org’s alternative to Seeed’s BeagleBone Green Wireless sells for a low of $71.11 on Arrow, up about $5 since June. Like the BB Green Wireless, the SBC adds 2.4GHz 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 BLE to the BeagleBone Black design. Unlike Seeed’s two BB Green models, the BeagleBone Black Wireless retains the BB Black’s micro-HDMI port, but removes the Ethernet port. It is otherwise identical to the BB Black with one big exception: It incorporates the OSD3358 SiP (system-in-package) module from Octavo Systems, which built the SBC as well. Octavo sells a more advanced OSD3358-SM-RED BeagleBone compatible with the same SiP package, which recently slipped over our $200 limit.

 

BeagleBone Blue

  • Robotics and STEM focused BeagleBone with servos, sensors, and wide-range power
  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Octavo Systems OSD3358 SiP with TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips and PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $74.31

This robotics-oriented, education-focused BeagleBoard.org collaboration with the UCSD Coordinated Robotics Lab is a BeagleBone clone that adds motion control and battery friendly power. The Blue sells for a low of $74.31 at Arrow, up about $6 since June. Like the BeagleBone Black Wireless, the BeagleBone Blue integrates a TI WiLink 8 with WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE, as well as an Octavo Systems OSD3358 SiP module that encapsulates the Sitara AM3358 SoC, RAM, and flash along with a PMIC and other features. There’s no Ethernet or display I/O, but you get micro-USB 2.0 host and client ports, 8x servo outputs, 4x DC motor outputs, and 4x quad encoder inputs. Other features include an IMU, barometer, JTAG, GPS, and a DSM2 radio. You also get a 9-18V DC input, a LiPo battery connector, extra user buttons and LEDs, plus the usual extensive list of BB Black interfaces. Distro support includes the BeagleBone’s default, real-time enhanced Debian stack, as well as Ubuntu Core, ROS, and ArduPilot.

 

BeagleBone Green

  • IoT-focused BeagleBone clone with Grove sensor support
  • Company/project — Seeed; BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $44

Seeed’s BeagleBoard.org-sanctioned, IoT-focused re-spin of the BeagleBone Black lacks the BB Black’s micro-HDMI port and 5V barrel jack, but it costs less, and adds expansion connectors for Seeed’s Grove sensors. It also replaces the mini-USB port with a micro-USB. See also the wireless version in the item below.

 

BeagleBone Green Wireless

  • Wireless version of BeagleBone Green with 4x USB host ports
  • Company/project — SeeedStudio; BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips; PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $52.90

The BeagleBone Green Wireless has the same base feature set as the BeagleBone Green, with identical additions and subtractions from the BB Black, including the addition of a Grove interface. The Wireless model adds WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as three more USB host ports for a total of four, making it the USB leader among all the BB Black clones. A TI WiLink8 module is now standard, boosting wireless capabilities to Bluetooth 4.1 LE and 2.4GHz 802.11a/b/g/n with 2×2 MIMO.

 

C-SKY Linux Development Board

  • Low-cost IoT board showcases SoC with new C-SKY ISA
  • Company/project — Hangzhou C-SKY via Maker go
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Nationalchip GX6605S CK610M (1x C-SKY @ 574MHz)
  • Memory — 64MB DDR2 RAM
  • Price — $5.60

The C-SKY Linux Development Board showcases a new Nationalchip GX6605S SoC running a novel C-SKY ISA launched in China by Hangzhou C-SKY. It’s no longer available on AliExpress, but it’s back on Taobao for only 39 Yuan ($5.60) and goes for $15.90 on Tindie (from Maker go). The C-SKY dev board is supported with a Linux 4.16 based stack with Buildroot and uClibc-NG, and ships with schematics. The SBC is a bit smaller than a Raspberry Pi and offers an HD-ready HDMI port and dual USB 2.0 ports. One of the two micro-USB ports supports JTAG debugging and the other offers 5V/1A power with UART console. A 5-pin header supplies power and 3x GPIO, and you get a reset button and several user buttons and LEDs.

 

Chameleon96

  • Security-enhanced 96Boards CE board with Cyclone V SE FPGA SoC and dual-stream video
  • Company/project — Novtech, Arrow, RocketBoards.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Cyclone V SE SoC (2x Cortex-A9); Cyclone V FPGA with 110K LEs
  • Memory — 512MB or 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $136.17

Novtech’s 96Boards CE compatible Chameleon96 SBC recently dropped to $136.17 at Arrow. The first FPGA-based 96Boards entry runs Debian on a Cyclone V SE ARM/FPGA SoC. The Chameleon96 features SecureRF’s quantum-resistant security, as well as its Intel Video Suite for FPGA technology. The FPGA can stream 60fps 1080p video via the HDMI port, and can encode similar video via a two-lane MIPI-CSI interface. Other features include a microSD slot, a micro-USB OTG port, 2x USB 2.0 host ports, an audio interface, a USB Blaster, and a UART. Like most 96Boards SBCs, this 12V SBC offers WiFi and Bluetooth, but lacks Ethernet. It offers the usual 96Boards low- and high-speed I/O connectors.

 

Coral Dev Board

  • Google’s first Linux hacker board mixes an i.MX8M with its Edge TPU chip for AI
  • Company/project — Google
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz) with Vivante GC7000Lite/GC7000VLX GPU and 266MHz Cortex-M4 MCU; Edge TPU chip
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR4 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $150

Google’s sandwich-style Coral Dev Board, which sells for $150 at Seeed, runs a Debian based Mendel Linux distro on a 48 x 40mm Coral SOM module equipped with NXP’s i.MX8M. The module showcases Google’s Edge TPU chip, a stripped-down version of Google’s TPU Unit for accelerating TensorFlow Lite AI models. The Edge TPU, which also appears in a Coral-branded USB stick and PCIe card, is backed up by a Cloud Edge IoT stack for cloud-integrated IoT edge computing and analytics. The Coral SOM offers 8GB eMMC and a rather paltry 1GB RAM, as well as a crypto chip and dual-band 802.11b/g/n/ac with BT 4.1 BLE. The 0 to 50°C tolerant Coral Dev Board has a somewhat Raspberry Pi like size and layout and offers a 40-pin GPIO connector. Ports include GbE, USB 3.0, USB Type-C OTG, USB Type-C 5V power, and micro-USB console. Media I/O includes a [email protected] HDMI 2.0a port, 4-lane MIPI-DSI and -CSI interfaces, and audio I/O. Google just announced a smaller, cheaper Coral Dev Board Mini SBC due in the first half of 2020 that’s based on a quad -A35 MediaTek 8167s instead of the i.MX8M-based Coral SOM. Asus is prepping its own hacker boards built around the Coral SOM. The upcoming Tinker Edge T and more industrial CR1S-CM-A are loosely based on the Coral Dev Board.

 

CubieAIO-S700

  • A turbo-charged version of the CubieAIO-A20 that moves to a quad -A53 Actions S700
  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — CubieTech Actions S700 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-450 MP4 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $139

CubieTech and its Cubieboard.org community appear to be fading away, with its founder, Tom Cubie, having left long ago to launch the thriving Radxa enterprise. But the boards are still in stock and the forum gets occasional use so we’ll keep them around for a while. Our first CubieTech entry is the sandwich-style CubieAIO-S700, which features the quad-A53 Actions S700 via CubieTech’s Einstein-S700 module with integrated WiFi-ac/BT 4.0. Aside from the different Einstein processor module, the board is a very close match to the Allwinner A20 based CubieAIO-A20, which is now available only as part of a $127.90 touch-panel. The 170 x 106mm CubieAIO-S700 has a high, 20mm profile due to its 6x, double-stacked USB 2.0 ports. The HDMI port tops out at 1080p, but you get GbE, SPDIF, dual serial ports, a SIM slot, and dual mini-PCIe slots, one of which has non-native mSATA. The CubieAIO-S700 also has a 54-pin expansion header, RTC, IR, and more. The full CubieAIO-S700 kit starts at $139 at AliExpress. There’s also an apparently sidelined CubieAIO-S500 SBC which is almost identical to the CubieAIO-S700 but has an Einstein S500 module with a quad -A9 Actions S500.

 

CubieBoard4

  • Feature-rich, octa-core -A15 board with multiple storage options
  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A80 (4x Cortex-A15 @ up to 2GHz, 4x Cortex-A7 @ up to 1.3GHz); PowerVR G6230 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC, expandable to 64GB
  • Price — $117

The CubieBoard4 is equipped with an octa-core Allwinner A80 SoC with a 64-core PowerVR G6230 GPU. The 111 x 111mm SBC offers WiFi, Bluetooth, and GbE, as well as VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0, and 4x USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a 54-pin expansion connector. The SBC provides optional configurations including dual microSD slots or a mix of microSD and flash. There are plenty of cases and other add-ons, as well as images for Debian, Ubuntu, and Android, with mainline Linux support. The board costs $117 on AliExpress and $149.90 at Amazon.

 

CubieBoard5 (CubieTruck-Plus)

  • Octa-core -A7 board with SATA and dual display support
  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H8 (8x Cortex-A7 @ up to 2GHz); PowerVR SGX544 GPU @ up to 700MHz
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $119

The CubieBoard5, which sells for $119 at Amazon, showcases an Allwinner H8 with eight Cortex-A7 cores. The SBC provides microSD and SATA storage, with an optional RAID add-on board. For connectivity, you get WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a GbE port. Dual display support is available via the HDMI and DisplayPorts. The board is further equipped with a pair of USB host ports, an IR sensor, SPDIF audio, and an optional lithium battery.

 

CubieBoard6 / CubieBoard7

  • Monolithic cousins to the sandwich style CubieAIO boards with faster SATA and USB 3.0
  • Company/project — CubieBoard.org, CubieTech Limited
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — CubieBoard6: CubieTech Actions S500 (4x Cortex-A9 @ 1.2GHz, PowerVR SGX544 GPU); CubieBoard7: CubieTech Actions S700 (4x Cortex-A53, Mali-450 MP4 GPU)
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $89 (CubieBoard6); $99 (CubieBoard7)

The CubieBoard6 and CubieBoard7 SBCs, which are identical except for their processors, are the fully integrated SBC cousins to the sandwich-style CubieAIO-S500 and CubieAIO-S700, respectively. These updates to the four-year old CubieBoard2 have smaller 100 x 60mm footprints compared to the CubieAIO boards, as well as a reduced feature set. The key advantage in addition to their lower prices is that their non-native SATA ports piggyback on a faster USB 3.0 connection to offer an approximation of SATA III. The boards provide 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11n, and BT 4.0, as well as 2x USB 2.0 host ports and a mini-USB port. Other features include HD-ready HDMI, audio jacks, RTC, IR, a UART header, and dual 48-pin GPIO headers. Like the CubieAIO boards, they are supported with Actions-optimized Android 5.1.1 and Debian builds. The CubieBoard6 sells for $89 and the CubieBoard7 for $99, both at AliExpress. Last year, CubieTech posted a product page for a quad -A53 Actions S900 based CubieBoard9 replacement for the CubieBoard4, but it has yet to reach market.

 

DE0-Nano-SoC Development Kit

  • Dev board with Cyclone V SE FPGA SoC and Arduino shield support
  • Company/project — Terasic; RocketBoards.org
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Cyclone V SE (Cyclone V FPGA + 2x Cortex-A9 @ 952MHz)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $99 ($90 academic price)

The DE0-Nano-SoC Development Kit looks like a commercial development board, but it offers open specifications and is supported on the RocketBoards.org community site. The DE0-Nano-SoC uses the lower-end SE variety of Intel’s Cyclone V SoC, which is roughly equivalent to a Xilinx Zynq-7020. The SoC similarly combines FPGA circuitry with dual Cortex-A9 cores running Angstrom v2014.12 Yocto 1.7 with a Linux 4.0 kernel. The board has GbE, USB OTG, and micro-USB ports, as well as a microSD slot with a 4GB data card. There’s also an accelerometer, an Arm-linked expansion header, and a variety of FPGA-linked interfaces, including a 40-pin header and an Arduino shield connector.

 

Developer Board 4IoT

  • Company/project — Geniatech
  • Snapdragon 410E board with WiFi, GPS, and MIPI-CSI adopts tiny 96Boards IoT form factor
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 410E (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Adreno 306 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB or 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $55

Geniatech’s Developer Board 4IoT, which is listed simply as the 4IoT on Linaro’s 96Boards site, is the only 96Boards IoT Edition (IE) SBC that runs Linux except for the Orange Pi IoT (see farther below). Using the same Snapdragon 410 SoC as the 96Boards CE DragonBoard 410C (see following item), the 4IoT uses the smaller IE spec. Like the Orange Pi IoT, the 60 x 35mm SBC implements the “Standard Micro” IE format’s 40-pin low-speed expansion connector, which is required on the “Extended” format, rather than the 30-pin subset used on MCU-based IE boards such as Seeed’s Carbon. Arrow is selling the 4IoT for $55. Since 96Boards lists the price as $92.72, we’re guessing the Arrow version uses the base 1GB/8GB model instead of the 2GB/16GB config promoted on the Geniatech and 96Boards sites. The 4IoT is equipped with a microSD slot and WiFi/BT and GPS with antennas. There’s a micro-USB port for power, 6x LEDs, 2-lane MIPI-CSI, and -25 to 85°C support. OSes include Debian-based Linux, Android 5.1, and Win 10 IoT Core. Open hardware files have yet to be posted.

 

DragonBoard 410c

  • Company/project — Arrow; Qualcomm
  • Original 96Boards CE board offers built-in GPS
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Snapdragon 410 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Adreno 306 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $75

The Qualcomm-backed DragonBoard 410c and the now defunct HiKey were the first 96Boards Consumer Edition (CE) SBCs and the first 64-bit ARM hacker SBCs. The 85 x 54mm, Snapdragon 410 driven SBC lacks an Ethernet port, but you get WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, HDMI, microSD, 3x USB ports, and the 96Boards 40-pin low-speed and 60-pin high-speed connectors. The SBC supports Android 5.1, Debian 8.0, and Windows 10 IoT Core. Meanwhile, Arrow’s newer DragonBoard 820c CE Extended SBC based on the high-end Snapdragon 820E sells for $415 — far beyond our $200 limit. In early 2018, Arrow announced three new 96Boards CE Extended SBCs. The $130, STM32MP1-based Avenger96 is covered farther above. The AI-ML Board and Thor96 run Linux on NXP’s i.MX8X and i.MX8M SoCs, respectively. The AI-ML Board is still not in stock, and the Thor96 sells for $368.25.

 

Edge TPU Developer Board

  • Arm-based, 96Boards showcase for Bitmain’s BM1880 TPU AI chip with a RISC-V MCU
  • Company/project — Bitmain
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Bitmain Sophon BM1880 (BM1880 TPU with 2x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz and 750MHz RISC-V chip
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR4; 8MB eMMC
  • Price — $129

Late last year, Bitmain, which is known for its bitcoin mining systems, launched an open-spec, 96Boards CE compatible SBC to show off its 1-TOPS “BM1880 TPU” for deep learning applications. The board’s shopping page indicates the board is “coming soon,” with a name switch from the original Sophon BM1880 EDB (Sophon Edge) to the Edge TPU Developer Board. Almost as confusing as the name — as far as we know this has nothing to do with Google’s Edge TPU AI chip — it appears the board has already shipped, judging by this eBay listing selling the board in “new” condition for an inflated $199. The BM1180 SoC’s TPU is accompanied by dual Cortex-A53 cores running Linux, as well as a RISC-V companion MCU. Although this headless, Raspberry Pi sized board offers only the 96Boards 40-pin connector, not the 60-pin interface, 96Boards.org lists it as an official 96Boards offering. Raspberry Pi and Arduino add-on modules are optional. Other features include GbE, micro-USB UART debug, and 3x USB 3.0 host/OTG ports. You also get a microSD slot, JTAG, and USB-based WiFi/BT.

 

Firefly-RK3128 / Firefly-PX3-SE

  • Feature-rich, sandwich-style boards with low-power Cortex-A7 Rockchip SoCs
  • Company/project — Firefly
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3128 (Firefly-RK3128) or Rockchip PX3-SE (Firefly-PX3-SE) with 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.3GHz; Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB RAM with 8GB NAND (Firefly-RK3128); 256MB to 2GB DDR3 with 4GB to 8GB eMMC (Firefly-PX3-SE)
  • Price — $60

The Firefly-RK3128, which has long been available at a $60 promotional price, dual boots Android 5.1 and Ubuntu 15.04 on a quad-core -A7 Rockchip that is clocked slower than the RK3288 and offers half the RAM and flash of the Firefly-RK3288. The sandwich-style, COM/baseboard device includes GbE, WiFi, BT, HDMI, MIPI-DSI, MIPI-CSI, SPDIF, analog audio, LVDS, IR, and CVBS. The 117 x 85mm SBC is further equipped with 4x USB host ports, a micro-USB OTG port, and dual 42-pin expansion connectors. In 2018, Firefly introduced a similar, but extended temp Firefly-PX3-SE. This sandwich-style board has long been out of stock, but is now available for the same $60 price, although it’s unclear what RAM (256MB to 2GB) or eMMC (4GB to 8GB) you’ll get. The Firefly-PX3-SE’s Core-PX3-SEJ module has a quad -A7 Rockchip PX3-SE, which is almost identical to the RK3128 except for its -20 to 80℃ support. The Firefly-PX3-SE itself is almost identical to the Firefly-RK3128 from its footprint to its feature set. No open HW and SW resources are listed for the Firefly-PX3-SE on the download page, but since the SoCs and boards are almost identical, the Firefly-RK3128 resources should suffice.

 

Firefly-RK3288

  • Quad -A17 board with wireless and 4K-ready HDMI 2.0
  • Company/project — Firefly
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3288 (4x Cortex-A17 @ 1.8GHz); Mali-T760 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB or 4GB DDR3 RAM; 16GB or 32GB eMMC
  • Price — $119 (2GB/16GB); $189 (4GB/32GB)

Starting at $119, this 118 x 85mm SBC dual boots Ubuntu 16.04 and Android 4.4 with mainline Linux 4.4 support on a 1.8GHz, quad -A17 RK3288 with Mali-T760 GPU. The Firefly-RK3288 has a 4K-ready HDMI 2.0 port, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, a GbE port, and 3x USB ports. It’s further equipped with VGA, LVDS, eDP, MIPI-DSI, MIPI-CSI, SPDIF, serial debug, and IR connections. More I/O is available via dual 42-pin connectors. Options include a “Fireasy” WiFi remote, touchscreens, fans, and cameras.

 

Firefly-RK3399

  • Powerhouse RK3399-based hacker board with M.2, mini-PCIe, and dual 4K display ports
  • Company/project — Firefly
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.42GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB or 4GB DDR3 RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $149 (2GB) or $209 (4GB)

The original Rockchip RK3399 hacker board sells for $149 with 2GB RAM and $209 with 4GB. (The 128GB eMMC Max version no longer appears to be available.) The SBC features an M.2 slot with SSD support plus a GbE port, WiFi-ac, Bluetooth 4.1 BLE, and a mini-PCIe slot that can load an optional LTE module with the help of a SIM card slot. DP and HDMI ports drive up to 4K @ 60Hz video, and you get MIPI-DSI, eDP, DVP, IR, and 2x MIPI-CSI. The Firefly-RK3399 offers 2x USB 3.0 ports (including a Type-C), 2x USB 2.0 ports, a 42-pin expansion header, and numerous audio options. The board dual-boots Android 7.0.1 and Ubuntu 18.04. Firefly also sells an RK3399 Coreboard COM version of the Firefly-RK3399. The CoreBoard is now available in a sandwich-style AIO-3399J board, which sells for $165. Note that three more Firefly boards are sold under the ROCx branding and are covered farther below.

 

Giant Board

  • Cortex-A5 SBC with an Adafruit Feather form factor and FeatherWing compatibility
  • Company/project — Groboards
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Microchip SAMA5D27 (1x Cortex-A5 @ up to 500MHz)
  • Memory — 128MB DDR2 RAM
  • Price — $50; $70 with WiFi

Having fulfilled its Crowd Supply backers, Groboards continues to sell the Adafruit Feather-like Giant Board at that venue, with current orders due at the end of February. The 51 x 23mm SBC runs Debian with mainline Linux kernel 5.0 on a Microchip SAMA5D27 SoC via Microchip’s ATSAMA5D27C-D1 System-In-Package (SiP), which packs in 128MB RAM. By dint of its micro-USB port, microSD slot, and optional WiFi, the Giant Board barely qualifies as an SBC. Yet, it can load stackable FeatherWing modules from a list of 60+, including Ethernet and LCD add-ons. I/O includes 6x ADC, 4x PWM, I2C, SPI, UART, and I2S. There’s also 3.7V LiPo battery support.

 

Habanero DVK

  • Dev kit expands upon Wave2 WiFi enabled module with 5x GbE ports
  • Company/project — 8devices
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm IPQ4019 (4x Cortex-A7 @ up to 717MHz)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3L RAM; opt. 1GB NAND; eMMC socket
  • Price — $119

The Habanero DVK showcases an equally open source, 49 x 45mm Habanero module that runs OpenWrt on a quad -A7 Qualcomm IPQ4019 SoC. The SoC lacks a 3D GPU, but has NEON support and Wave2 WiFi, a revised version of 802.11ac with dual-band MU-MIMO for simultaneous connections to multiple devices. The DVK is equipped with 5x Gigabit Ethernet ports, USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, and a 12-24V power socket. There’s a microSD slot and mention of both an eMMC socket and up to 1GB NAND flash. A wide range of I/O includes PCIe 2.0 and 46 GPIOs. See also 8devices’ similar Jalapeno board farther below.

 

HummingBoard CBi

  • An industrial spin of HummingBoard Edge that adds CAN and serial ports
  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Dual or Quad (2x or 4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.2GHz); Vivante 2D/3D GPU
  • Memory — Dual (1GB) or Quad (2GB) DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $189 (Dual); $255 (Quad)

Arriving at the end of 2018, the HummingBoard CBi (CAN bus interface) is an even more industrial variant of the HummingBoard Edge (see below) that swaps the HDMI port and GPIO for CAN and RS485 ports. It also comes standard with Edge options including an enclosure, heatsink, WiFi/BT, and -40 to 85°C support. It has the same footprint as the Edge and similarly runs Linux on a choice of dual- or quad-core i.MX6 based MicroSOM modules. Debian, Yocto, Buildroot, and OpenWrt stacks are available with Linux 4.4x. Except for an extra user button and LEDs, the board is identical to the Edge. The 2GB Dual version is described in the LG link above, and the 4GB Quad version may be found here.

 

HummingBoard Edge

  • Industrial-minded, sandwich-style i.MX6 board with wide-range power and optional -40 to 85°C
  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo, Dual, or Quad (1x, 2x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.2GHz); Vivante 2D/3D GPU
  • Memory — Solo (512MB), Dual or Dual-lite (1GB), and Quad (2GB) DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $112 (Solo); $136 (DualLite); $149 (Dual); $197 (Quad) for basic configs; up to $262 for max Quad

Like all the HummingBoards except for the i.MX8M based, HummingBoard Pulse, the HummingBoard Edge incorporates i.MX6 based MicroSOM modules. The 102 x 69mm HummingBoard Edge duplicates all the features of the smaller HummingBoard Pro and doubles the USB 2.0 count to four. It also adds M.2, SIM, and MIPI-DSI, provides a larger 36-pin GPIO connector, and boosts the power supply to a wide-range 7-36V. As with the Pro, there are numerous options including wireless modules. Extended and industrial temp versions are also available.

 

HummingBoard Gate

  • Stripped down version of HummingBoard Edge that adds MikroBus socket for Click modules
  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo, Dual, or Quad (1x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.2GHz); Vivante 2D/3D GPU
  • Memory — Solo (512MB), DualLite and Dual (1GB), and Quad (2GB or 4GB) DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $97 (Solo); $121 (DualLite); $154 (Dual); $162 (Quad) for basic configs; up to $242 for max Quad

As the name suggests, the HummingBoard Gate is designed primarily for IoT gateway duty. The SBC is almost identical to the HummingBoard Edge, with the same 102 x 69mm footprint, 7-36V power supply, mini-PCIe slot, and optional wireless modules and metal enclosure. However, it lacks Edge features like LVDS, analog audio, or M.2 storage. It also adds a MikroBus socket that accepts MikroElektronika’s 200-plus Click add-on I/O and sensor modules. Multiple temperature ranges are available.

 

HummingBoard Pro

  • Updated version of flagship HummingBoard with mini-PCIe and mSATA
  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo, DualLite, Dual, or Quad (1x, 2x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.2GHz); Vivante 2D/3D GPU
  • Memory — Solo (512MB), DualLite and Dual (1GB), and Quad (2GB) DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $97 (Solo); $121 (DualLite); $134 (Dual); $162 (Quad) for basic configs; up to $177 for max Quad

The HummingBoard Pro is an updated version of the HummingBoard Base, which is now available only by special order. The Pro is identical to the Base except that it adds mini-PCIe, mSATA, LVDS, analog audio, RTC, and IR. It also offers two more internal USB headers. Options on both models include microSD slots, a wireless module, a power adapter, and a custom enclosure.

 

HummingBoard Pulse / Pulse i.MX8M Mini

  • Sandwich-style i.MX8M SBC with mini-PCIe, M.2, 2x GbE, and optional Mini version with AI chip
  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M Dual or Quad or i.MX8M Mini Quad — 2x or 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz or 1.8GHz (Mini); Cortex-M4 MCU; Vivante GPU
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR4-3200 (Dual), 3GB or 4GB (Quad); 2GB LPDDR4-3200 for Mini; 8GB eMMC for all
  • Price — $182 (Dual), $242 (Quad), $212 (Quad Mini) for base configs; up to $276 for max Quad

The Pulse is newly available in an optional i.MX8M Mini model, which has the same carrier board as the i.MX8M version, but with a new Mini-based I.MX8M Mini SOM. On its own, the Mini-based module is available in Solo, Dual, or Quad versions, but the Pulse Mini board ships only with the Quad with 2GB RAM and 8GB eMMC. The Mini SOM is limited by the faster Mini SoC to HD video, but the module adds a GTI Lightspeeur 2803S Neural Accelerator chip. Only the lowest $182 configuration with an i.MX8M Dual, no wireless, and commercial temp support falls under our $200 limit. The HummingBoard Pulse replaces the GPIO in favor of single mini-PCIe, M.2, and SIM slots. Like the HummingBoard Gate, it provides a Mikrobus connector. The Pulse features dual GbE ports, 2x USB 3.0, USB Type-C, and HDMI 2.0 and micro-HDMI ports. You also get an RTC, IR, 7-36V input, a heatsink, and an optional enclosure. SolidRun is prepping a stripped-down HummingBoard Ripple version of the Pulse. It subtracts the M.2, MIPI-DSI, digital audio, PoE option, and one each of the dual GbE and MIPI-CSI links. It also switches the HDMI port to micro-HDMI but is otherwise identical and similarly runs Linux 4.4x. More info (but no price or photo) may be found here.

 

Jalapeno DVK

  • Dev kit for Wave2 WiFi enabled Jalapeno module has dual GbE ports
  • Company/project — 8devices
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm IPQ4018 (4x Cortex-A7 @ up to 700MHz)
  • Memory — 256MB DDR3L RAM; 128MB NAND
  • Price — $99

The Jalapeno DVK preceded the similar Habanero DVK and offers a lower price and fewer GbE ports. The headless, sandwich-style board incorporates a 47 x 32mm Jalapeno module that runs OpenWrt on a quad -A7 Qualcomm IPQ4018 SoC. The SoC lacks a 3D GPU, but has NEON support, crypto support, and built-in Wave2 — dual-band 802.11ac with support for simultaneous connections to multiple devices. The DVK is equipped with 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports, 2x USB 3.0, and a micro-USB port. I/O includes I2S, SPI, UART, GPIO, and JTAG. See also 8devices’ MIPS-based Komikan DVK.

 

Khadas Edge / Edge-V

  • The Edge and Edge-V offer RK3399 in MXM- and Vim-style formats, respectively.
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Wesion; Khadas project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 at up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53); Mali-T860 GPU; STM8S003 MCU
  • Memory — 2GB (Basic) or 4GB (Pro/Max) LPDDR4 RAM; 16GB (Basic), 32GB (Pro), or 128GB (Max) eMMC
  • Price — Edge: $100 (Basic), $220 (Max); Edge-V: $110 (Basic), $160 (Pro), $230 (Max)

The Khadas Edge was announced in July 2018 and launched on Indiegogo that November along with a similar Edge-V model and an RK3399Pro based Edge-1S. The Edge (see product link above) and Edge-V were delayed but finally shipped to backers and are now available on the Khadas shopping page. (The 32GB Edge Pro SKU is currently unavailable.) You can order numerous options including the $45, gaming-oriented Captain Carrier. The Edge has an MXM3 connector for deploying it like a compute module onto a cluster or carrier board such as the Captain. It also offers FPC connectors for hooking up options like the Edge IO serial debug and GPIO board. The Edge-V replaces the MXM3 and FPC links with a Khadas Vim-like 40-pin RPi connector and adds a GbE port, microSD, and M.2 2280 with NVMe support. The Edge-V also adds MIPI-CSI and -DSI, eDP 1.3, touch support, RTC, IR, gesture sensor, and 6-axis IMU. The still unavailable Edge-1S is identical to the Edge but adds a GbE port and advances to Rockchip’s RK3399Pro with a 3-TOPS NPU. Features found on all three RPi-sized Edge models include single USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports and 4K-ready DP and HDMI 2.0a, with a DisplayPort available via one of the two USB Type-C ports. Basic models (2GB/16GB) offer dual-band WiFi-ac and BT 4.1 while the Pro and Max boost the Bluetooth to 5.0 and add RSDB WiFi. There’s a wide-range DC input and support for Android Oreo, Ubuntu 18.04, Debian 9.0, and more, found at the Khadas GitHub page.

 

Khadas Vim1

  • 64-bit Amlogic based board focuses on video
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Wesion; Khadas project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905X (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 2GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB (Basic) or 16GB eMMC (Pro)
  • Price — $45 (Basic) or $55 (Pro)

This original Khadas Vim board, which was followed by a Vim2 and now, Vim3, models, recently saw price drops of $10 (Basic) and $15 (Pro). The 82 x 58mm Vim1 uses an Amlogic S905X, a lower-cost upgrade to the quad-core, -A53 Amlogic S905 found on the Odroid-C2. OS support includes Android 9.0, Android TV, Ubuntu 18.04, Armbian, LibreELEC, and mainline Linux 5.0. The Vim1 offers 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, Fast Ethernet, and 3x USB 2.0 host ports, one of which is a Type-C OTG with power support. Other features include HDMI 2.0a, IR, microSD, and 40-pin expansion. Shenzhen Wesion’s Khadas project also offers a $99.90 Khadas Tone Board audio add-on for all the Vim boards.

 

Khadas Vim2

  • Advanced, octa-core version of Vim1 with GbE and Pogo Pad controllers
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Wesion; Khadas project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S912 (8x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T820 MP3 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB (Basic), 3GB (Pro and Max) DDR4 RAM; 16GB (Basic), 32GB (Pro), and 64GB (Max) eMMC
  • Price — $80 (Basic); $100 (Pro); $120 (Max)

With the arrival of the faster, AI-enhanced Khadas Vim3, prices have dropped for the Khadas Vim2. The Vim2 has the same 82 x 58mm footprint as the Vim1, but advances to an octa-core Amlogic S912 and Mali-T820 GPU. OS support is the same as the Vim1 except for the older Android 7.1 build. Like the Vim1, the Vim2 is equipped with HDMI 2.0a with [email protected] decoding, 2x USB 2.0, a micro-USB OTG Type-C with 5V input, and 40-pin expansion. The Vim2 advances to GbE with WoL and adds an FPC link and two Pogo Pad I/O connectors, one of which controls an STM8S003 MCU for a programmable EEPROM. Other features include microSD, RTC, IR, and an acrylic case.

 

Khadas Vim3 / Vim3L

  • Latest Vim showcases hexa-core Amlogic A311D with Cortex-A73 and a 5-TOPS AI chip
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Wesion; Khadas project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor:
    • Vim3: Amlogic A311D (4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.2GHz, 2x Cortex-A53 @ 1.8GHz); Mali-G52 GPU; Cortex-M4; 5-TOPS NPU
    • Vim3L: Amlogic S905D3-N0N (4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.9GHz); Mali-G31 GPU; Cortex-M4; 1.2-TOPS NPU
  • Memory — 2GB (Vim3 Basic and Vim3L), 4GB (Vim3 Pro) LPDDR4 RAM; 16GB (Basic and Vim3L), 32GB (Pro) eMMC
  • Price — $50 (Vim3L); $100 (Vim3 Basic); $140 (Vim3 Pro)

The Khadas project’s Vim3 may well be the fastest Arm-based SBC in the roundup. Its 12nm Amlogic A311D SoC features 4x 2.2GHz -A73 cores, 2x 1.8GHz -A53 cores, a high-end Mali-G52 GPU, and a 5-TOPS neural processor. There’s also a cheaper new Khadas Vim3L that shifts down to a quad -A55 Amlogic S905D3 with a Mali-G31 and a 1.2-TOPS NPU. The NPU similarly supports deep learning frameworks such as TensorFlow and Caffe. The Vim3L is limited to the same 2GB RAM and 16GB eMMC of the basic Vim3 but is otherwise identical. The Khadas Vim3 boards have the same, somewhat Raspberry Pi-like 82 x 58 x 11.5mm footprint and layout as the earlier Vim boards. They similarly offer a 40-pin GPIO and support all the Vim accessories. There’s an M.2 2280 socket that can load NVMe modules plus a PCIe 2.0 x1 interface. Dual simultaneous displays are available via the [email protected] ready HDMI 2.1 and 4-lane MIPI-DSI. Other features include WiFi/BT, 4-lane MIPI-CSI, and GbE, USB Type-C OTG, and 2x USB 3.0 host ports. You also get RTC, IR, an accelerometer, and a 5-20V input. OS support includes Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Kernel 5.0, Armbian, LibreELEC, and Android 9.

 

Komikan DVK

  • Headless, sandwich-style OpenWrt-on-MIPS board features Wave 2 WiFi
  • Company/project — 8devices
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Realtek RTL819FS (1x MIPS 24Kc @ 1GHz)
  • Memory — 128MB RAM; 32MB flash; empty eMMC socket
  • Price — $59

8devices, which is known for MIPS-based modules such as the Carambola, has released an open-spec Komikan DVK board that features a not-so-open Komikan compute module. The module runs OpenWrt on a MIPS-based Realtek RTL819FS SoC accompanied by a Realtek RTL8822BEH chipset with Wave 2 WiFi and BT 4.1. Wave 2 provides concurrent 2.4GHz/5GHz, MU-MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac for up to 1.166Gbps throughput. Unlike most Wave 2 devices, the Komikan can operate withocut a heatsink with low 6W consumption. The Komikan DVK adds an eMMC socket, microSD slot, 10/100 and 10/100/1000Mbps ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports, and a USB Type-C for power and console duty. You also get antennas and a 20-pin GPIO. See also 8devices’ Habanero DVK and Jalapeno DVK for an Arm-based spin of Wave 2.

 

LeMaker Guitar

  • The typical mid-range Arm hacker SBC…if this was 2016
  • Company/project — LeMaker
  • Product page
  • Processor — Actions S500 (4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.6GHz); PowerVR SGX544 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $69

LeMaker’s aging, sandwich-style Guitar SBC integrates a COM with a quad-core Actions S500. Images are available for Android 5.0, Ubuntu Mate, Ubuntu Core, Lemuntu, Armbian, ArchLinux, and a LeMaker XBMC (Kodi) media playing variant called LeMedia. The 88 x 81mm baseboard offers WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, HDMI, micro-USB 3.0, and dual USB host ports. There’s also a MIPI-CSI interface and an RPi-compatible 40-pin connector.

 

Libre Computer Board ALL-H3-CC (Tritium )

  • RPi lookalike comes with choice of three Allwinner SoCs
  • Company/project — Libre Computer
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2+, H3, or H5 — 4x Cortex-A7 (H2+/H3) or -A53 (H5) cores with Mali-400 MP2 (H2+/H3) or Mali-450 MP2 (H5) GPU
  • Memory — 512MB, 1GB, or 2GB DDR3 RAM; empty eMMC socket with optional $20 16GB
  • Price — $15 (H2+ with 512MB), $20 (H3 with 1GB), or $30 (H5 with 2GB)

Libre Computer’s Kickstarter-backed Tritium orders have been fulfilled, and the SBC is now selling as the Libre Computer Board ALL-H3-CC on Amazon, or for $10 more, on LoverPi. The ALL-H3-CC a offers a choice of Allwinner H2+ (quad -A7 with HD resolution), H3 (quad -A7 with 4K), or H5 (quad -A53 with 4K) SoCs. It runs Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Android 7.1, Debian 9 Stretch, Armbian, Raspbian, and more, with upstream device drivers from the linux-sunxi community. Like the Amlogic S905X based AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato), the ALL-H3-CC has a Raspberry Pi 3-like form factor, layout, and 40-pin expansion interface. The only I/O difference we can see is the Tritum’s addition of an IR receiver. Options include 16GB eMMC ($20) and a $7 heatsink.

 

Libre Computer Board AML-S805X-AC (La Frite)

  • Smaller, less powerful spin of Le Potato has 40-pin GPIO
  • Company/project — Libre Computer
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S805X (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB or 1GB DDR4 RAM
  • Price — $20 (512MB) or $25 (1GB)

Libre Computer launched La Frite (AML-S805X-AC) on Kickstarter in Oct. 2018 and after many delays, the backers were fulfilled and LoverPi began selling the SBC in real time. The AML-S805X-AC is a smaller, stripped-down version of the Libre Computer Board AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato) described in the following blurb and is billed as a replacement for the Raspberry Pi Model A. Since it launched, an improved, $25 RPi 3 Model A+ arrived, which Libre Computer compared to La Frite in a Dec. 2018 update post. La Frite has a lower-powered, 1.2GHz S805X compared to the 1.5GHz S905X model found on Le Potato. Coastline ports include a low-profile 10/100 Ethernet, an HD-ready HDMI, 2x USB 2.0, and a micro-USB OTG port with power input. There’s also an RPi-style 40-pin header, an IR receiver, and a boot button. The board supports mainline Linux with Ubuntu, Debian, LibreELEC, Lakka, RetroPie, Android Oreo, and more.

 

Libre Computer Board AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato)

  • RPi 3 lookalike that adds HDMI 2.0 and optional eMMC
  • Company/project — Libre Computer
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905X (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 2GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB DDR3 RAM; optional 8GB to 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $35 (1GB) or $45 (2GB)

Launched on Kickstarter as Le Potato, the Raspberry Pi-like Libre Computer Board AML-S905X-CC is now available at LoverPi. It’s equipped with the same quad -A53 S905X SoC found on the original Khadas Vim, and has the same size, port layout, and basic features as the RPi 3, including 4x USB host ports, Fast Ethernet, and 40-pin expansion. There’s no WiFi/BT, but you get optional eMMC, IR, and an ADC + I2S header. Compared to the RPi 3, the HDMI port is upgraded to 2.0 with 4K. The board ships with schematics and source code for Linux 4.14 LTS, Buildroot with Linux 4.9, Armbian Debian and Ubuntu, LibreELEC 9, and Android builds up 8.0 (Oreo). Libre also launched a AML-S805X-AC (La Frite) board that’s like a stripped-down Le Potato. Libre has posted a teaser page for an AML-S912-PC SBC that was intended to launch in June on Kickstarter as the Tartiflette. The campaign never happened, and we can find no other details. The name suggests it runs on the Amlogic S912, an octa-core, -A53 SoC, which is also used on the Khadas Vim2, among other SBCs.

 

Lindenis V5

  • Camera and AI oriented board showcases Allwinner V5 V100 SoC and its visual analytics accelerator
  • Company/project — Lindenis Tech
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner V5 V100 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.5GHz); VPU, ISP, and AIE analytics acceleration engine
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $85.60 to $202

In Aug. 2018, a startup founded by former Allwinner employees launched an open-spec, 139 x 85mm SBC that debuted a 1.5GHz Allwinner camera SoC called the V5 V100. Instead of the usual Mali GPU, the SoC offers a custom VPU, a dual-core ISP, and an “AIE” acceleration engine for visual analytics. The Lindenis V5 runs Linux 4.4, as well as a homegrown Debian 9 stack called Linbian that supports the V5 V100 SoC and its AIE engine with OpenCV, Compute Library, Tensorflow, and GStreamer with hardware acceleration. Taobao has the lowest, $86 and up price and non-Chinese buyers can more easily purchase it for $95 at AliExpress, presumably with the base 1GB RAM. Features include GbE and 4K-ready HDMI ports, 4x USB 2.0, and a micro-USB port. You also get 2x MIPI-CSI2 interfaces with an optional camera module plus MIPI-DSI, audio, mic, optional WiFi/Bluetooth, and an RPi 40-pin header.

 

LinkIt Smart 7688

  • Tiny, wireless-enabled. MIPS-based SBC with Grove add-on support
  • Company/project — MediaTek Labs, SeeedStudio
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT7688AN (1x MIPS core @ 580MHz); Atmel ATmega32U4 MPU (Duo only)
  • Memory — 128MB RAM; 32MB flash
  • Price — $14.90 or $17.90 (Duo)

MediaTek Labs’ miniscule, Seeed-built LinkIt boards run OpenWrt on a 580MHz MIPS SoC and target IoT endpoints and gateways. The $15 model measures 56 x 26mm and offers WiFi, microSD, and dual micro-USB ports, while the $18, 61 x 26mm LinkIt Smart 7688 Duo adds an MPU for Arduino support. The boards provide GPIO, I2C, SPI, UART, PWM, and Fast Ethernet, plus I2S audio on the base model and ADC and SPI on the Duo. Seeed offers an optional breakout board for the standard LinkIt and provides three options for the Duo: breakouts for Arduino and Grove sensors and a more feature-rich Grove Starter Kit.

 

LinkSprite Acadia V3

  • i.MX6 SBC with dual SD slots, SATA, GbE, and an Arduino header
  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Quad (4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.2GHz); Vivante GC355 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DRAM
  • Price — $119

The LinkSprite Acadia runs Ubuntu 12.04 or Android 4.4 on an i.MX6 Quad. Compared to the V2 model covered in our original report linked to above, the V3 loses the onboard eMMC flash but furnishes both a microSD slot and dual SD slots. Other features include HDMI, LVDS, SATA, audio, and GbE, as well as three USB ports, dual cameras interfaces, and an Arduino-compatible header.

 

LinkSprite Arches

  • 32-bit octa-core SBC imitates Cubieboard4
  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A80 (4x Cortex-A15 @ up to 2GHz, 4x Cortex-A7 @ up to 1.3GHz); PowerVR G6230 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DRAM; 8GB flash
  • Price — $95

The LinkSprite Arches was unveiled as the pcDuino8 in May 2014, and then arrived in beta form later in the year with its current name before going final in 2015. The Arches runs Linux or Android on an octa-core Allwinner A80 and is configured much like the A80-based Cubieboard4. The SBC is equipped with microSD, HDMI, GbE, and three USB ports (one of them 3.0 OTG), as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, and a CSI interface.

 

MaaxBoard

  • Raspberry Pi-like i.MX8M board
  • Company/project — Embest (Avnet)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M Quad (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.4GHz); Vivante GC7000Lite GPU; Cortex-M4 MCU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR4; empty socket for up to 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $79.95

In September, Avnet-owned Chinese embedded vendor Embest announced the MaaxBoard for $60, but the only available SKU we see now costs $79.95 with 2GB RAM. (4GB is supported but may require a special order.) This does not appear to be a fully open source SBC, but the Dropbox wiki offers extensive hardware and software documentation, as well as an image and source code for a Yocto build based on Linux 4.14.78. There’s also support for Android 9.0. The Raspberry Pi-like board has a 40-pin GPIO header with “partial” HAT compatibility. Other features include a microSD slot, 802.11ac with Bluetooth 4.x, and GbE, HDMI, power-only USB Type-C, and 2x USB 3.0 ports. You also get MIPI-DSI and -CSI, SPDIF and SAI digital audio interfaces, and 0 to 70°C support. An upcoming MaaXBoard Mini SBC will tap the faster, but HD-only i.MX8M Mini.

 

MYS-6ULX SBC

  • Compact, low-power i.MX6 UL boards with optional -40 to 85°C support
  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 ULL or i.MX6 UL (1x Cortex-A7 @ 528MHz or 696MHz, respectively); 2D PXP GPU
  • Memory — 256MB DDR3 RAM; 256MB NAND
  • Price — $28.80 (i.MX6 ULL) or $29.80 (UL)

MYIR is primarily a commercial board vendor, but it has spun several open-spec hacker boards like the MYS-6ULX SBC that have crossover appeal to makers. Others include the Sitara-based Rico Board and Zynq-based Z-turn boards (see farther below). The MYS-6ULX offers a choice of i.MX6 UL (UltraLite) or its very similar sibling, the i.MX6 ULL. Each SBC model has its own unique super-power: The i.MX6 UL version offers -40 to 85°C support instead of 0 to 70°C, and the i.MX6 ULL model features a USB-powered WiFi radio. Otherwise, the 70 x 55mm boards are identical. You get a microSD slot, Fast Ethernet, USB host, and micro-USB 2.0 OTG ports, as well as a debug connector and an LCD interface for optional touchscreens. The dual 20-pin expansion connectors can be used to attach an optional baseboard. The MYS-6ULX comes with a Linux BSP with a 4.1.15 kernel and either Debian or Yocto Project with Qt. There’s no forum or dedicated community site, but you get full schematics, support, and extensive documentation.

 

NanoPC-T3 Plus

  • Upgrade to NanoPC-T3 doubles the memory and adds -40 to 80°C support
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung S5P6818 (8x Cortex-A53 @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz); Mali-400 MP GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $70

FriendlyElec (AKA FriendlyARM) is known for its many NanoPi SBCs, but it also offers some NanoPC models and also a ZeroPi and a SOM-RK3399 Dev Kit (see farther below). The NanoPC-T3 Plus replaced the NanoPC-T3, which was similarly equipped with an octa-core S5P6818. The earlier, almost identical NanoPC-T2 with a quad-core S5P4418 is still available for $49). The T3 Plus doubles the RAM and flash of the T3 and adds -40 to 80°C support. It’s slightly larger at 100 x 64mm, and switches one of the USB headers to a Type-A port so there are 3x coastline USB 2.0 host ports instead of two. Like the T3, the T3 Plus supplies WiFi, BT 4.0, and a GbE port, as well as microSD and micro-USB client connections. Media ports include HDMI, LVDS, LCD, MIPI-DSI, MIPI-CSI, and audio. In place of the 40-pin RPi connector found on NanoPi boards, the NanoPC-T3 Plus provides a 30-pin GPIO header. OS support includes Android 7.1.2, Debian, and the Ubuntu Core 16.04 based FriendlyCore. Available images for each of FriendlyElec’s boards may be found here and a common wiki index is here.

 

NanoPC-T4

  • Compact RK3399 hacker board with 40-pin GPIO
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 4GB DDR4 RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $110

When it debuted in early 2018, the 100 x 64mm NanoPC-T4 was the smallest RK3399 SBC around, an honor that in the summer fell briefly to FriendlyElec’s Raspberry Pi like NanoPi M4 and in the fall to the smaller, 1GB RAM only NanoPi Neo4 (see below). The relatively high price is due to a standard allotment of 4GB of RAM. FriendlyElec’s first Rockchip-based SBC is also its most powerful, combining the hexa-core RK3399 with advanced features like M.2 and native SATA. Display interfaces include HDMI 2.0, DP, eDP, and MIPI-DSI. You also get MIPI-CSI with dual-camera support, an RPi-compatible 40-pin interface, and a 0 to 80°C operating range. OS support includes Android 8, Lubuntu Xenial, and the similarly Ubuntu based FriendlyCore and FriendlyDesktop Bionic. Like most of the NanoPi and NanoPC SBCs boards, the NanoPi K1 Plus is available with extensive options ranging from cases to heat sinks to camera modules.

 

NanoPi Duo2

  • Tiny, affordable, quad -A7 SBC can be plugged into an optional 2G carrier
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2+ (Duo) or H3 (Duo2) with 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz, Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM
  • Price — $18; $20 with IoT-2G carrier

The tiny (50 x 25.4mm) NanoPi Duo was launched in Aug. 2017 as the first of several headless, COM-like NanoPi boards, including the more recent, 40 x 40mm NanoPi Neo Core and Core2 spins of the Neo and Neo2. The Duo was replaced by the NanoPi Duo2, which switches the HD-ready Allwinner H2+ to the similar, but 4K ready, H3 model. The NanoPi Duo2 also provides an optional IoT-2G Application Carrier Board that replaces the Duo’s optional Mini Shield carrier. The only other differences include the addition of Bluetooth and a narrower -20 to 70°C range. The Duo2 has 32x I/O pins via a dual-in-line interface designed to plug into the IoT-2G carrier or a 2.55mm pitch breadboard. Unlike the Core boards, the Duo2 supplies WiFi, a microSD slot, and a micro-USB port, qualifying it as standalone SBC. Headers supply 10/100 Ethernet, 2x USB host, audio, CVBS, and serial debug. The 85 x 56mm IoT-2G carrier offers dual USB 2.0 host ports, a quad-band, 2G GSM/GPRS module, a microSIM slot, and a 2G antenna. The NanoPi Duo2 is available with FriendlyCore 16.04 Xenial and OpenWrt, both with Linux 4.14. Despite the low prices, shipping to the U.S. is fairly expensive on all the NanoPi and NanoPC boards — single-unit prices range from $16 to $20, compared to under $4 or under for Banana Pi and Orange Pi boards.

 

NanoPi K1 Plus

  • RPi-like board is like a stripped down NanoPi K2, but with new camera and audio features
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.4GHz); Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $35

In April 2018, FriendlyElec engineered a spinoff of the $39, but now out of stock NanoPi K2. The new NanoPi K1 Plus switches from the K2’s Amlogic S905 to a similarly quad -A53 Allwinner H5 SoC and swaps out the WiFi/Bluetooth for a 2.4GHz WiFi-only module. It also demotes the HDMI 2.0 port to an HDMI 1.4 port with 4K video throttled back to 30fps. The K1 Plus subtracts one of the USB 2.0 host ports, leaving 3x USB 2.0 ports total along with a micro-USB OTG port with power input that fills in for the removed DC-in jack. It also adds a DVP camera interface, a mic, and a 3.5mm audio jack that outputs CVBS signals. Other features are the same, including the 2GB RAM, microSD slot, eMMC socket, and GbE port. You also get an IR receiver, a heatsink, a debug header, and a 40-pin connector. The K1 Plus is probably the closest NanoPi equivalent to the Allwinner A64 based NanoPi A64, which is no longer listed on FriendlyElec’s shopping site. You can still purchase the NanoPi A64 from Amazon and AliExpress for $58, compared to $20 earlier this year.

 

NanoPi M1 Plus

  • Upgrade to NanoPi M1 adds wireless and GbE
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $38

This more feature-rich update of the discontinued NanoPi M1 retains the Allwinner H3 but is slightly smaller at 64 x 60mm. The higher price of the NanoPi M1 Plus reflects the standard 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC, as well as new features like WiFi, Bluetooth, a mic, and Gigabit Ethernet. One of the three USB 2.0 host ports, however, has moved to an onboard header. Other features include HDMI, DVP camera, CVBS A/V, IR, and a microSD slot, plus a 40-pin RPi header. OS options include FriendlyCore Xenial, OpenWrt, and Debian.

 

NanoPi-M4 / M4V2

  • Affordable RK3399 based RPi pseudo-clone is joined by V2 model with 4GB RAM and faster WiFi
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T864 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB (M4) or 4GB (M4V2) DDR4 RAM; eMMC socket
  • Price — $50 (M4); $70 (M4V2)

The NanoPi-M4 with 2GB RAM has dropped by $15 to $50, and instead of the old 4GB model, there’s a $70 NanoPi-M4V2 with 4GB, which is sold on a separate shopping page. The MV42 model is otherwise the same except for the addition of power and recovery buttons and an upgrade of the WiFi to 2×2 MIMO. The other FriendlyElec boards based on the RK3399 include the smaller, $50 NanoPi Neo4 with 1GB and the larger, $110 NanoPC-T4 with 4GB. Unlike the NanoPC-T4, the NanoPC-M4 has a Raspberry Pi form factor, layout and 40-pin header. It also has a 24-pin header with 2x PCIe lanes. Other features include native GbE, 802.11ac, Bluetooth, HDMI 2.0a, USB Type-C, and 4x USB 3.0 ports. You also get audio I/O, an RTC, -20 to 70°C support, and two configurable MIPI-DSI/CSI interfaces. OS support includes Android 7.1.2, Lubuntu 16.04, FriendlyCore 18.04, and FriendlyDesktop 18.04.

 

NanoPi Fire3-LTS

  • Super-affordable octa-core -A53 board features RTC and advanced power management
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung S5P6818 (8x Cortex-A53 @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz); “3D” GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $30

In Nov. 2017, FriendlyElec replaced its NanoPi 2 Fire with two fiery new models: the NanoPi Fire3 with an octa-core S5P6818 and 1GB RAM and a NanoPi Fire2A with the same quad -A9 S5P4418 found on the defunct NanoPi 2 Fire. The two boards, which have recently dropped in price, are otherwise identical. FriendlyElec has now added “LTS” to the name of both the $30 Fire3 and $20 Fire2A to indicate long-term support. The chief differences between the new Fire3 and earlier 2 Fire include a realignment of the USB 2.0 port into a vertical position, and the replacement of the HDMI port with a micro-HDMI, enabling it to sit side-by-side with the GbE and USB ports. You also get a microSD slot plus RGB LCD, DVP camera, serial debug, and a RPi 40-pin interface. The 5V board is powered by a micro-USB OTG, and there’s an RTC with battery and PMIC. The 75 x 40mm Fire3 runs Android 5.0 and Linux distros including FriendlyCore. With the discontinuation of the NanoPi M2A, this is the only Samsung-driven NanoPi around. The Fire3 is also part of a 12-board, 96-core compute cluster.

 

NanoPi Neo-LTS

  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • Headless, IoT-focused quad -A7 boardlet is smaller than an RPi Zero
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB or 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $10 or $15 (512MB)

The Neo was the first of a sub-series of tiny NanoPi boards such as the wireless enabled Neo Air, quad -A53 Neo2-LTS, and the Neo Plus2 (see below). The Neo boards are among the world’s smallest and most affordable quad-core ARM SBCs. At 40 x 40mm, they occupy only 1,600 square millimeters, compared to 1,950 sq. mm for the 65 x 30mm Raspberry Pi Zero. The NanoPi Neo, which has now been given LTS status, is equipped with microSD, USB 2.0 host, and micro-USB OTG ports, but like the other Neo variants, it lacks a display interface. You get 36 GPIO pins instead of the usual RPi connector. The board runs Ubuntu Core or Mate on the Allwinner H3.

 

NanoPi Neo2-LTS / Neo2 Black

  • Quad -A53 version of Neo now joined by 1GB “Black” model with eMMC socket
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-450 GPU)
  • Memory — 512MB or 1GB (Black) DDR3; eMMC socket (Black)
  • Price — $20

In early 2017, the quad -A7, 40 x 40mm NanoPi Neo was joined by a quad -A53 near twin called the NanoPi Neo2, and later dubbed the Neo2-LTS (long-term support). The Neo2 was updated with a v1.1 model that added a 1GB RAM option, but this option is no longer available. Instead, FriendlyElec recently launched a 1GB NanoPi Neo2 Black that sells for the same $20 price. The black-colored Neo2 Black adds an empty eMMC socket that forced a downgrade of the 12- and 24-pin headers to 6- and 10-pin headers. The Neo2-LTS and Neo2 Black are the same as the Neo except for the faster H5 SoC, a switch to GbE from 10/100 Ethernet, two more USB headers, and the lack of a 256MB RAM option. In Dec. 2017, FriendlyElec launched COM versions of the Neo and Neo2 called the NanoPi Neo Core and NanoPi Neo Core2. The former is now called theNeo Core-LTS and sells for $17 or $20 depending on RAM. The Neo Core2-LTS goes for $28 to $36. Both are designed to work with an optional, $11, RPi-like Mini Shield carrier board. The sandwich-style design is much like the NanoPi Duo and its own Mini Shield variant except that the Core boards are true COMs rather than SBCs.

 

NanoPi Neo4

  • The smallest RK3399 SBC around is super affordable but limited to 1GB of RAM.
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.42GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; eMMC socket
  • Price — $50

When it launched in Oct. 2018, the $50 Neo4 was the world’s smallest, cheapest RK3399 based SBC, and although the Rock Pi 4 and then the Orange Pi 4 have since edged it out on price, it’s still the puniest. Although rich with features, it offers only 1GB of RAM, which may be just barely enough for the high-powered RK3399 SoC. At 60 x 45mm, the SBC is larger than other Neo boards, which lack its HDMI 2.0a port with [email protected] support and 4-lane MIPI-CSI. Other features include GbE, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 ports, a USB Type-C OTG port, and a USB 2.0 header. You also get WiFi/BT, a 40-pin header, and -20 to 70°C support. From the microSD slot or eMMC socket (add $13 for 16GB), you can boot Linux 4.4 LTS, Lubuntu 16.04, FriendlyCore 18.04, FriendlyDesktop 18.04, Armbian, and Android 7.1.2 or 8.1. FriendlyElec also sells two other RK3399 SBCs: the high-end, SATA-ready NanoPC T4 and the mid-range, RPi style NanoPi M4.

 

NanoPi Neo Air-LTS

  • Wireless version of Neo adds eMMC and a camera connector, but loses the LAN and USB ports
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $20

The NanoPi Neo Air-LTS is a wireless variant of the NanoPi Neo. This headless IoT board has the same 40 x 40mm footprint, and similarly runs Ubuntu Core and Mate on an Allwinner H3. The Neo Air adds WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a DVP camera connector, but sacrifices the Neo’s Ethernet port and the sole USB host port, leaving you only a micro-USB OTG for power and data. You can derive more USB ports or a power connection via the split bank of 36 GPIO pins. Now an LTS (long-term support) product, the Neo Air is $8 cheaper than in June, but there’s no longer an eMMC option beyond the standard 8GB.

 

NanoPi Neo Plus2 V2.0

  • As if a Neo Air mated with a Neo2, but then expanded
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $29

The NanoPi Neo Plus2 is now available in a V2.0 model that loses the 512MB option. The V2.0 design switches the bootable microSD slot to a short-size slot, making room for a 512MB RAM chip on either side of the board compared to a single RAM chip on the back side. This may have contributed to the $13 price drop on the sole 1GB model. The SBC combines the WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and 8GB eMMC of the Neo Air with the quad -A53 Allwinner H5 of the Neo2. It’s not a Neo drop-in replacement, however, as the dimensions have grown to 52 x 40mm. Like the other Neo boards, the SBC offers a GbE port, dual USB 2.0 ports, and a micro-USB for 5V power. As before, you get debug and audio interfaces, as well as two expansion connectors: a high-speed 12-pin interface and a 24-pin low-speed connector. A $7, I2C-driven NanoHAT OLED display add-on with 128 x 64-pixels features an open source driver and NanoHAT Motor Python Library. The add-on can be stacked on any of the Neo boards, with the combo housed in an optional aluminum casing.

 

NanoPi R1 / R1S-H3 / R1S-H5

  • Tiny IoT gateway SBCs with dual Ethernet ports
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (R1/R1S-H3) or H5 (R1S-H5) (4x Cortex-A7 or A53 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 or -450 (R1S-H5) MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB or 1GB (R1 only) DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC (only on R1 1GB RAM SKU)
  • Price — $29 (512MB) or $39 (1GB/8GB) for R1; $20 for R1S-H3; $23 for R1S-H5

The NanoPi R1 mini router board was recently joined by two cheaper and similarly headless models that lack the R1’s optional 1GB RAM with 8GB eMMC SKU. The NanoPi R1S-H3 and NanoPi R1S-H5 lose one of the R1’s two USB 2.0 host ports, as well as the RTC and UART interface, and the dual-band WiFi/BT module has been changed to a 2.4GHz WiFi chip without Bluetooth. On the other hand, they give you dual GbE ports instead of 10/100Mbps and 10/1000/1000Mbps on the R1. (The new second GbE is a slower, USB-driven model.) The new boards are smaller at 55.6 x 52mm compared to the 60 x 55.5mm R1 and both the board and free case are redesigned. Unlike the R1, for only $3 more you can advance to a quad -A53 Allwinner H5 with the NanoPi R1S-H5. Common features for all three boards include a microSD slot, micro-USB port, and -20 to 70°C support. OS support includes FriendlyCore (Ubuntu Core) with Linux-4.14-LTS, Armbian, and FriendlyWrt (OpenWrt). For an even cheaper FriendlyElec board with an H3 SoC and a tiny footprint, see the single-GbE ZeroPi SBC at the end of the roundup.

 

Nitrogen8M_Mini

  • First i.MX8M Mini-based hacker board has a PCIe slot and optional PoE
  • Company/project — Boundary Devices
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M Mini Quad (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz to 2.0GHz); Cortex-M4F @ 400MHz; GCNanoUltra for 3D, GC320 for 2D GPUs
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR4 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $135; $155 with WiFi/BT; $155 with dev kit but no WiFi/BT; $175 with dev kit and WiFi/BT

The Nitrogen8M_Mini features NXP’s i.MX8M Mini SoC, which is faster than an i.MX8M, but is limited to HD video. The 114.3 x 88.9mm board offers a choice of pre-certified WiFi-ac/BT with or without a dev kit, which includes a 5V power supply, an 8GB microSD card with Linux, a battery, and a serial console cable. At publication time, the wireless models of the board and dev kit were not available. The standard SKUs offers 2GB LPDDR4 and 16GB eMMC, but the board was originally announced with 2GB or 4GB RAM and 8GB to 128GB eMMC. The Nitrogen8M_Mini board provides a GbE port with optional PoE, USB 2.0 host, and a micro-USB OTG port. You also get MIPI-DSI and -CSI, with the latter available with an optional 5MP camera. The SBC offers dual audio jacks, a PCIe slot, an RTC, a PMIC, and a choice of 0 to 70°C or -40 to 85°C ranges. OS support starts with Linux kernel 4.9x and includes Yocto, Ubuntu 18.04, Debian Buster 10, and Android 9. Boundary Devices also sells a more expensive, sandwich-style offering based on its Nitrogen8M_Mini SOM, but it starts at $299. Also note that CompuLab is pairing a Mini-based UCM-iMX8M-Mini module with an open-spec carrier, but the combo costs $201 in single units.

 

Odroid-C0

  • The smallest of the Amlogic-based Odroid-C boards targets IoT
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S805 (4x Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; optional eMMC 4.5
  • Price — $29.80 (with $1.80 Connector Pack)

Aimed at IoT and robotics, the Odroid-C0 is a smaller (65 x 56mm), somewhat stripped-down version of the Odroid-C1+ (see below). It has the same quad-core, Cortex-A5 Amlogic SoC and offers the same Ubuntu and Android 4.4 support with GCC 4.9.2 Linux toolchain. Coastline ports are limited to a single HDMI, but an optional Connector Pack (currently out of stock) lets you solder on real-world connections for unpopulated interfaces. These include dual USB host, serial console, IR, I2S, and an RPi-like 40-pin interface. A battery connector with charging circuit supports an optional 3.7V Li-Po. Internet connectivity requires an optional WiFi dongle.

 

Odroid-C1+

  • A Raspberry Pi lookalike with optional eMMC and full-size HDMI
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S805 (4x Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; optional 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $35

The Odroid-C1+ upgraded the earlier Odroid-C1 with features like a full-size HDMI port, a standard heatsink, and I2S audio and micro-USB-OTG links. The C1+ has a price, footprint, and feature set that is almost identical to the original, 32-bit Raspberry Pi 2, but has a faster processor, and supports Android 4.4 in addition to Ubuntu 14.04. The C1+ is further equipped with a microSD slot and optional eMMC, as well as GbE, serial console, ADC, and a Pi-compatible 40-pin connector.

 

Odroid-C2

  • RPi 3 pseudo clone with 2GB RAM and up to 64GB (but no built-in WiFi)
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S905 (4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; optional 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $46

The Odroid-C2 has the same 85 x 56mm size and layout as the Odroid-C1+ and Raspberry Pi 3, but advances to a quad -A53 Amlogic S905 SoC. It’s faster than the RPi 3 or 3+, but there’s no WiFi or Bluetooth, and the price is higher. The C2 doubles the RAM of the C1+ to 2GB and offers a choice of optional storage between up to 64GB of eMMC or an 8GB or 16GB SD 3.01 compatible UHS-1 microSD card. The SBC can output 4K @ 60Hz video, and has almost everything the C1+ has, including GbE and HDMI ports, four USB host ports, and a 40-pin RPi connector. Images are available for Android 5.6 or Ubuntu 18.04, based on a Linux 3.16 LTS kernel.

 

Odroid-H2

  • First Intel Gemini Lake hacker SBC may be fastest hacker board around
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Celeron J4105 (4x Gemini Lake cores @ 2.3GHz); 10W TDP; Intel UHD Graphics 600
  • Memory — 0GB to 32GB DDR4 RAM; eMMC socket for up to 128GB
  • Price — $176 with 8GB DDR4 and 16GB eMMC ($111 without memories)

The world’s first Intel Gemini Lake hacker board — and possibly the fastest board in our roundup — touched down in Nov. 2018 after an October announcement. The Odroid-H2 was out of stock for a while, but now sells without RAM or eMMC for $111. The cheapest 8GB eMMC module in the Hardkernel store costs $12.90, and a list of compatible RAM modules includes an under $52 Kingston/Corsair module with 8GB DDR4, which sounds like a good starting point. So for an 8GB/16GB combo we’ll add $65 for a total of $176. Hardkernel’s first x86 based Odroid runs Ubuntu 19.04 on a 2.3GHz Celeron J4105 from Intel’s recent Gemini Lake family. The 110 x 110mm SBC offers 2x SATA 3.0, 2x GbE, HDMI and DP, 4x USB (2x 3.0), and an M.2 slot for NVMe storage. Other features include a 14-20V DC input, RTC, and a heatsink that supports 70°C temperatures at full load. A RevB model arrived in June with minor improvements to the PCIe-to-SATA bridge, SATA power, NVMe I/O, and BIOS. In November, DFRobot’s Gemini Lake based LattePanda Delta SBC relaunched for only $188 barebones, supporting Linux or Windows. This deal — the first time we’ve seen a LattePanda Delta or Kaby Lake-based Lattepanda Alpha under $200 — no longer appears to be available. The cheapest price we saw was $228 at AliExpress. The older, Intel Cherry Trail based LattePanda starts at $178 at Digi-Key. The LattePandas are not open source boards, but Linux support is improving.

 

Odroid-N2

  • Debut platform for high-end Amlogic S922X offers 4x USB 3.0, GbE, HDMI 2.0, an audio DAC, and a 40-pin header.
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Amlogic S922X (4x Cortex-A73 @ up to 1.8GHz; 2x -A53 @ up to 1.9GHz); Mali-G52 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB or 4GB DDR4 RAM; empty eMMC socket
  • Price — $60 (2GB) or $70 (4GB); $65 (2GB RAM) or $75 (4GB) for new Odroid-N2 CoreELEC Edition

The Odroid-N2 was arguably the most significant SBC launch of early 2019. It replaces the RK3399-based Odroid-N1, which never came to market. The N2 features a faster new hexa-core Cortex-A73 and -A53 based Amlogic S922X with advanced Mali-G52 graphics for around the same price as the most competitive RK3399 boards. It’s one of the fastest Arm SoCs in our roundup, but can’t quite match the Khadas Vim3’s Amlogic AM311D. Available with 2GB or 4GB RAM, the 90 x 90 x 17mm SBC runs Android 9 Pie and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Linux 4.9.162 LTS. The board has a GbE port and optional USB WiFi adapter that fits into one of the 4x USB 3.0 host ports. Other features include micro-USB OTG, composite A/V, and an HDMI 2.0 port with [email protected] with HDR, CEC, and EDID. There’s also an RPi-like 40-pin header and a 7.5-20V DC input plus RTC, IR, console, and options including SPDIF and a cooling fan. In August, Hardkernel released the Odroid-N2 CoreELEC Edition, which bundles the board with CoreELEC, an Amlogic-optimized fork of LibreELEC. The CoreELEC Edition costs $65 (2GB RAM) or $75 (4GB) with case, PSU, and 8GB microSD card.

 

Odroid-XU4 / -XU4Q

  • Versatile octa-core SBC now available in “Q” model with heatsink
  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung Exynos5422 (4x Cortex-A15 @ 2.0GHz and 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.4GHz); Mali-T628 MP6 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; opt. eMMC
  • Price — $49

The aging, but ever-popular Odroid-XU4 uses the same octa-core Exynos5422 and Mali-T628 GPU as the earlier XU3, and provides a GbE port, audio-enabled HDMI, 2x USB 3.0, and a single USB 2.0. There’s also a similarly priced Odroid-XU4Q model, which is identical, except that the fan is replaced with a heatsink. The XU4 has a 12-pin GPIO header and 30-pin expansion connector. Options include USB-based SATA 3.0, an I/O board, and various wireless add-ons. The Odroid-XU4 ships with several versions of Android up to 7.1 Nougat, as well as Ubuntu 16.04, based on a Linux 4.14 LTS kernel. A lightweight version of the board powers a $49 Odroid-HC1 mini-PC. Up to four XU4 SBCs can be loaded onto a $220 Odroid-MC1 cluster computer. Hardkernel also offers a stackable, single-unit Odroid-MC1 Solo version for $48, and the XU4 powers the $54 Odroid-HC2 NAS platform.

 

Omega2 Dash

  • Sandwich-style MIPS boardlet with a 3.2-inch touchscreen on the flipside
  • Company/project — Onion
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT7688 (1x MIPS core @ 580MHz)
  • Memory — 128MB RAM
  • Price — $69; $89 for Essentials and $124 for Ultimate Collections

Over the last year, Onion has ramped up production of its open-spec, OpenWrt-on-MIPS SBCs, following up on its year-old Omega2 Pro with an Omega2 LTE SBC released in August. A few weeks ago, it returned to Crowd Supply to successfully launch an Omega2 Dash model due in April. The Dash uses the same Omega2s+ module with built-in 2.4GHz WiFi found on the Omega2 LTE. Although it lacks that model’s 4G link, it features a 3.2-inch, 320 x 240 resistive touchscreen mounted on the bottom. The 82 x 70mm, Dash expands upon the Omega2S+ with a microSD slot, a USB 2.0 host port, and a micro-USB port with power and serial debug. There’s also 30-pin header that can load the same expansion modules available for other Omega2 products. You can order the Dash for $69 or buy an $84 Essentials Collection that adds Ethernet and ADC expansion modules. A $124 Ultimate Collection adds LAN and ADC plus NFC/RFID, Servo (PWM), and “Proto” modules.

 

Omega2 LTE

  • Omega variant with LTE Cat 4 and GNSS
  • Company/project — Onion
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT7688 (1x MIPS core @ 580MHz)
  • Memory — 128MB RAM
  • Price — $99; $129 for Essentials and $199 for Ultimate Collections

Designed for remote sensor hubs and real-time asset and fleet tracking gizmo, the Omega2 LTE features a Quectel EC25 LTE Cat 4 chipset with GNSS. It runs OpenWrt on Onion’s Omega2s+ module with a MediaTek MT7688, 128MB RAM, 32MB flash, and 2.4GHz WiFi. The 80 x 50mm Omega2 LTE supports a battery and is equipped with a USB Type-C port with power and serial communications. A 30-pin GPIO connector supports the same add-on modules that debuted on the Omega2 Pro. These include 10/100 Ethernet, 1-inch OLED, 16-signal servo, ADC, NFC/RFID, and a breadboard. Various mixtures of these are available in $129 Essentials and $199 Ultimate Collections.

 

Omega2 Pro

  • First SBC form-factor Omega board runs OpenWrt on MIPS
  • Company/project — Onion
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT7688AN (1x MIPS core @ 580MHz)
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 8GB flash
  • Price — $49

In Dec. 2018, Onion released an Omega2 Pro model that runs OpenWrt on the same MIPS-based, WiFi-equipped MediaTek MT7688AN SoC as its Omega2 compute module, but with real-world USB and micro-USB ports. The SBC has shipped and is still available for $49 on Crowd Supply. An $82 package adds Ethernet and OLED expansion modules via the new 30-pin expansion connector. A $169 package gives you all eight modules, including GPS, servo, relay, NFC/RFID, ADC, and prototyping options. Unlike the MT7688AN-equipped LinkIt board, there’s no Arduino companion chip. The 73 x 44mm SBC boosts RAM to 512MB (128MB RAM with 384MB flash swap file) and flash to 8GB compared to the Omega2 module. The 2.4GHz WiFi radio comes with AP support and antenna.

 

Orange Pi 2G-IOT

  • $10 board with rarely seen Cortex-A5 SoC features 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — RDA RDA8810PL (1x Cortex-A5); Vivante GC860 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB LPDDR2 RAM; 500MB NAND
  • Price — $9.90

Like most of Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi boards, the Orange Pi 2G-IOT has a 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible connector and a low price matched with generous, under-$4 shipments to the U.S. Linux and Android OS images available on the Orange Pi site vary widely by board. The Orange Pi 2G-IOT, however, is somewhat atypical in that it offers an integrated 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE baseband, 2G antenna, and SIM slot. Considering the decline of 2G services, the appeal may be limited. The 68 x 42mm board can withstand -10 to 65°C temperatures, and runs Android 6.1, Ubuntu Server, Debian, or Raspbian on a single-core, Cortex-A5 RDA RDA8810PL SoC (typically 1GHz). The 2G-IOT offers a WiFi/BT module, USB 2.0 host and micro-USB OTG ports, and LCD, MIPI-CSI, and audio links. The board sells for $9.90 at AliExpress.

 

Orange Pi 3

  • Allwinner H6 SoC enables HDMI 2.0, GbE, 4x USB 3.0, and mini-PCIe
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H6 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.8GHz); ARM Mali-T720 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; zero or 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $29.90 (1GB); $34.90 (1GB/8GB); $34.90 (2GB); $39.90 (2GB/8GB)

The Orange Pi 3 touched down in Jan. 2019 with the same Allwinner H6 SoC as the $20 Orange Pi One Plus and $25 Orange Pi Lite2 and offers the same 26- rather than 40-pin GPIO header. Unlike those smaller boards, the 90 × 64mm SBC supplies a mini-PCIe slot and 2GB RAM and 8GB eMMC options. Other features include microSD, GbE, 802.11ac, BT 5.0, HDMI 2.0a, audio AV, mic, IR, micro-USB 2.0, and micro-USB OTG. OS support includes Android 7.0, Ubuntu, and Debian. Annoyingly, AliExpress has four different shopping pages for the main RAM/eMMC combos, along with separate pages for various power supply/cable bundles, all available via an Orange Pi 3 search. In October, Shenzhen Xunlong launched an Orange Pi AI Stick Lite USB add-on designed to work with the Orange Pi 3 and other Allwinner based Orange Pi boards. It’s equipped with a GTI Lightspeeur SPR2801S NPU with 2.8-TOPS performance at 0.3 Watts, which is also found on the new Orange Pi 4B.

 

Orange Pi 3G-IOT

  • Low-cost 3G cellular board also offers WiFi, BT, GPS, and FM
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT6572 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP1 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB (A) or 512MB (B) DDR2 RAM; 512MB (A) or 4GB (B) eMMC
  • Price — $19.90 (A) or $24.90 (B)

The Orange Pi 3G-IOT provides an option between the Orange Pi 2G-IOT (above) and Orange Pi 4G-IOT (below). There are two SKUs: a 3G-IOT-A model with 256MB RAM and 512MB eMMC and a 512MB/4GB 3G-IOT-B model. Thanks to its budget smartphone oriented, dual -A7 MediaTek MT6572 SoC, there’s built-in support for 3G GSM, WiFi, BT, GPS, and FM. The 68 x 52mm board has little in common with the other IOT branded Orange Pi boards. The modest feature set includes an LCD interface, MIPI-CSI, audio jack, and mic. You also get USB 2.0 host and micro-USB power ports and a 40-pin expansion connector. An Ubuntu 16.04 image is available in addition to Android 4.4.

 

Orange Pi 4 / 4B

  • Affordable RK3399 board offers optional 2.8-TOPS NPU
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.42GHz); Mali-T860 GPU; GTI Lightspeeur 2801S 2.8-TOPS NPU on 4B model
  • Memory — 4GB DDR4 RAM; 16GB eMMC on eMMC and 4B models
  • Price — $49.90; $59.90 with 16GB eMMC; $69.90 for 4B with 16GB eMMC and NPU

The only new Orange Pi in 2H 2019 is a biggie: The Orange Pi 4 is similar in layout and features to the Allwinner H6-based Orange Pi 3, which preceded it by only about six months, but advances to a more powerful, hexa-core Rockchip RK3399 backed up with 4GB DDR4. The board is cheaper than the 4GB configurations of other RK3399 price leaders such as FriendlyElec’s $70 NanoPi M4V2, Radxa’s $65 Rock Pi 4, and Pine64’s $80 RockPro64. AliExpress offers shopping pages for $49.90 (no eMMC), $59.90 with $16GB eMMC, and $69.90 for the Orange Pi 4B with 16GB eMMC and a GTI Lightspeeur 2801S 2.8-TOPS NPU. All three models have WiFi/BT, GbE, HDMI, USB 3.0 Type-C with DP, and 2x USB 2.0 host ports. The standard Orange Pi 4, but not the 4B, also offers a USB 3.0 host port. Other features include dual LCD/MIPI-DSI connectors, dual MIPI-CSI headers, serial debug, a mic, and an audio jack. For expansion you get a 40-pin GPIO connector and a 24-pin PCIe interface. The latter can be converted into a standard mini-PCIe slot with a new, $3.90 expansion board. Android 8.1 and Ubuntu 18.04 are available.

 

Orange Pi 4G-IOT

  • 4G LTE board runs Android 8.1 on a quad -A53 SoC
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — MediaTek MT6737 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-T720 MP1 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $45

Despite the similar names, the new Orange Pi 4G-IOT has little in common with the lower-end Orange Pi 2G-IOT and 3G-IOT SBCs except for the presence of integrated cellular modem, which in this case is 4G LTE. There’s no Ethernet port, but you also get WiFi, BT, FM, and GPS. The 4G-IOT is typical of many Orange Pi boards in that it has a Raspberry Pi footprint (85 x 55mm) and 40-pin header. An HDMI port is available along with LCD, camera, and audio connectors. Other features include 3x USB OTG host ports, a micro-USB port, an IR receiver, and fingerprint reader support. Ubuntu 16.04 and Android 8.1 are available.

 

Orange Pi i96

  • Linux-based 96Boards IoT Edition SBC with a tiny footprint and price
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — RDA RDA8810PL (1x Cortex-A5); Vivante GC860 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB LPDDR3 RAM; 500MB NAND flash
  • Price — $8.80

The 60 x 30mm Orange Pi i96 was the only 96Boards IoT Edition (IE) board to run Linux until Geniatech’s more COM-like Developer Board 4IoT came around. The SBC, which sells for $8.80 on AliExpress, uses the same 1GHz, Cortex-A5 based RDA8810PL SoC adopted by the $10, 68 x 42mm Orange Pi 2G-IOT, but without the 2G GPRS baseband. The SBC implements the “Standard Micro” IE format’s 40-pin low-speed expansion connector option required by the “Extended” format, rather than the 30-pin subset used on the Carbon board. The Orange Pi i96 offers Android, Ubuntu, Raspbian, and Debian images. Features include WiFi/Bluetooth with external antenna, as well as microSD, USB host, and micro-USB OTG ports. There are no LCD or audio interfaces, but you get a CSI camera interface, 3x GPIO, and a 40-pin connector.

 

Orange Pi Lite / Lite 2

  • Faster, H6-based Lite2 upgrade to the Lite adds WiFi-ac and BT 4.1, but loses the 40-pin link
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (Lite) or H6 (Lite2) with 4x Cortex-A7 or -A53 (H6); Mali-400 MP2 (H3) or Mali-T720 MP2 (H6) GPU
  • Memory — 512MB (Lite) or 1GB (Lite2) DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $12 (Lite); $25 (Lite2)

The fetchingly priced Orange Pi Lite, a WiFi variant of the Orange Pi One, offers the 1.2GHz version of the quad-core Allwinner H3 SoC, compared to 1.6GHz on the Orange Pi PC. It was followed by the similar Orange Pi Lite2, which swaps out the H3 for an H6 and doubles the RAM to 1GB. The Lite2 has the same 69 x 48mm footprint and much the same layout and feature set as the Lite. The big change was the shift to the quad- A53 H6 SoC, which is faster than the H3 and adds HDR support. The Lite2 switches one of the two USB host ports to USB 3.0 and swaps out the WiFi-only chip for a faster 802.11ac with Bluetooth 4.1 module with antenna. Other enhancements include a PMU and an upgrade to Android 7.0. Ubuntu and Debian are also supported. The sacrifice here is that the 40-pin header has shrunk to 26 pins.

 

Orange Pi One Plus

  • A high-end video SoC plus HDMI 2.0 and GbE for only $20
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H6 (4x Cortex-A53); ARM Mali-T720 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Price — $20

Selling for $20 on AliExpress, the Orange Pi One Plus essentially replaces the Allwinner H3-based Orange Pi One, which is still available for $10 at AliExpress. The One Plus has as an almost identical feature set, layout, and 68 x 48mm footprint as the One, and advances to Allwinner’s quad-A53 H6 SoC with Mali-T720 GPU. The H6, which is also now available on the Orange Pi 3, features [email protected] (H.264) or [email protected] (H.265) decoding, both with 10-bit HDR. Other differences include a doubling of RAM to 1GB, a GbE port instead of 10/100, and HDMI 2.0a instead of 1.3. On the other hand, you’re limited to an old-school 26-pin connector instead of a 40-pin link. Other features are identical, including USB host, micro-USB OTG, microSD, IR, mic, and MIPI-CSI I/O. Debian Jessie Ubuntu, and Android 9.0 are on tap.

 

Orange Pi PC / PC Plus

  • RPi 2 lookalikes keep it simple
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.6GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC (PC Plus only)
  • Price — $15 (PC), $24 (PC Plus)

The $15 Orange Pi PC provides an Allwinner H3, a Raspberry Pi-like 85 x 55mm footprint, and RPi-compatible 40-pin expansion. It has twice the RAM of the Lite and the original One models, and provides microSD, HDMI, CVBS, CSI, and 10/100 Ethernet connections. You also get 3x USB host ports and a micro-USB OTG. A newer Orange Pi PC Plus model adds 8GB of eMMC flash. A more advanced version of this design can be seen in the quad -A53 Orange Pi PC 2 below. The Orange Pi PC and PC Plus provide images for Android 7.0, Ubuntu 16.04, Debian, and Armbian.

 

Orange Pi PC 2

  • Super-affordable, 64-bit upgrade to the Orange Pi PC advances to GbE
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $20

The Orange Pi PC 2, which is available for $20 at AliExpress, builds on the Orange Pi PC design, but advances to a quad -A53 Allwinner H5. The PC 2 has the same footprint, 40-pin header, and features of the PC and PC Plus. It moves up to Gigabit Ethernet, but lacks the onboard eMMC of the Plus model, thereby depending solely on microSD.

 

Orange Pi Plus 2E

  • RPi-like replacement for Plus2 is cheaper but loses the SATA
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.6GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB eMMC
  • Price — $41.90

In 2017, the Orange Pi Plus 2E replaced the Orange Pi Plus 2. The Plus 2E swaps out the four-port USB hub for three separate USB ports and removes the SATA interface. The 2E similarly runs distros including Lubuntu, Raspbian, and Android on a quad-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner H3 clocked to 1.6GHz. The 108 x 67mm SBC provides GbE, WiFi, micro-USB, microSD, HDMI, CVBS, CSI, and an RPi-compatible 40-pin connector.

 

Orange Pi R1

  • Compact, headless $14 SBC has dual 10/100 LAN ports and WiFi too
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 256MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $13.90

Not to be confused with the Banana Pi BPI-R1 or NanoPi R1 router boards, the Orange Pi R1 combines a tiny 60 x 45mm footprint and low price with dual 10/100 Ethernet ports, one of which is USB-based. Aimed at tiny gateways like the similarly Allwinner H2 based Orange Pi Zero boards, the headless R1 is equipped with WiFi with antenna, plus a microSD slot and micro-USB 2.0 OTG port with power input. You get a 26-pin header compatible with old RPi boards, plus GPIO, serial debug, and a 13-pin interface that includes TV out. Android 5.1, Ubuntu Xenial, Debian, Armbian, and OpenWrt are on tap. The R1 sells for $13.90 on AliExpress.

 

Orange Pi RK3399

  • Affordable RK3399 board has high-end features like mini-PCIe, mSATA, and an HDMI input
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.42GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $89.38

The first RK3399-based Orange Pi was one of the most affordable RK3399 SBCs when it launched. However, cheaper models, including the new Orange Pi 4, have pushed it to the middle of the pack, even after dropping to $89 at AliExpress. The Orange Pi RK3399’s high-end feature set is very close to that of the Firefly-RK3399, with GbE, WiFi-ac, BT 4.1, and a wide array of display, camera, and audio features. The only major difference is that all four of its USB 2.0 connections are coastline ports. There are also USB 3.0 Type-C, and HDMI 2.0 ports plus an HDMI input, DP 1.2, eDP, and 2x MIPI-DSI and -CSI interfaces. Audio features include SPDIF, I2S, and a 3.5mm jack. For expansion you get both a 40-pin connector and a mini-PCIe slot with mSATA support and a SIM slot. A second mSATA interface is standard. The 129 x 99mm SBC provides an array of sensors and runs Android 6.0 or Debian 9.

 

Orange Pi Zero H2+ / Zero Plus 2 H3 / Zero Plus 2 H5

  • Tiny Orange Pi Zero boards target IoT with various SoCs and features
  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H2+ (H2+) or H3 (H3), both with 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz with Mali-400 MP2 GPU; or Allwinner H5 with 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz and Mali-450 MP2 (H5)
  • Memory — 256MB DDR3 RAM (H2+); 512MB with 8GB eMMC (H3 and H5)
  • Price — $8.50 (H2+ with 256MB) $22.90 (H3), $23.90 (H5)

The Orange Zero Plus 2 H3 and Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5 are rev’d up versions of the Orange Pi Zero. The Zero, in turn was recently upgraded to an Orange Pi Zero H2+, with the same features as the Zero, but with a slightly improved Allwinner H2+ instead of an H2. All three boards have the same tiny, 48 x 46mm footprint, but with different processors. The Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H3 offers the Allwinner H3, which adds 4K support. The Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 H5 advances to a quad -A53 Allwinner H5, which also moves up to a Mali-450 GPU. Otherwise, the H3 and H5 devices are identical. Compared to the Zero H2+, the H3 and H5 models remove the mic, USB 2.0 host, and 10/100 Ethernet port. Yet, the headless Zero H2+ is limited to an AV-out interface available via a 13-pin function header while the Zero Plus 2 H3 and H5 boards add an HDMI port and MIPI-CSI. They also add 8GB eMMC and Bluetooth 4.2, which is provided on an Ampak AP6212 module along with the previously supplied WiFi. It all looks good for low-cost multimedia, except that the H5 version could really use a 1GB RAM option.

 

Pepper 43R / 43C

  • Customizable Cortex-A8 SBCs feature optional 4.3-inch touchscreens
  • Company/project — Gumstix
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3354 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 800MHz); PowerVR SGX530 3D GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM
  • Price — $169

The original Pepper that appeared back in 2013 was replaced with three new models, two of which are covered here. The Pepper boards have a TI AM3354 SoC that lacks the PRU MCUs of the original AM3359 but provide a 3D-ready PowerVR GPU. The $169 Pepper 43R and 43C are very similar, but the Pepper DVI-D is sufficiently divergent to deserve its own blurb below. The Pepper 43R can drive resistive touchscreens while the Pepper 43C supports capacitive. Both are available with optional 4.3-inch Newhaven touchscreens. The 43R version also adds a level shifter and a TI step-down converter. Both have a GbE port, microSD slot, dual micro-USB ports, a USB console port, and a TI WiLink 8 WiFi/BT 4.1 LE module. The Pepper 43 boards are further equipped with 20-pin GPIO, an audio jack, LiPo battery support, a PMIC, and LEDs. The boards can be customized in the Gumstix Geppetto online design and manufacturing service.

 

Pepper DVI-D

  • HDMI-focused Cortex-A8 SBC supports online customization
  • Company/project — Gumstix
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3354 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 800MHz); PowerVR SGX530 3D GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM
  • Price — $119

The Pepper DVI-D has the same size, TI AM3354 SoC, and 512MB RAM as the Pepper 43R and 43C (see above), but with a much lower price and a different layout and purpose. Instead of supporting touchscreens, the Pepper DVI-D features an HDMI port (via DVI-D) to support HD output instead of 720p. Other features include a microSD slot, GbE port, audio jack, console port, USB host port, and dual micro-USB device ports. As with the Pepper 43 boards, images are available for Yocto, Ubuntu, and Android. A community portion of the site shared with other Gumstix developers provides projects and tutorials. Like the other Peppers, the SBC is designed with the Gumstix Geppetto DIY design service.

 

Pine A64 / A64+ / A64-LTS

  • Oversized, $15 and up RPi 3 imitator available as 2GB version with LTS support
  • Company/project — Pine64, Inc.
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A64 (4x Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.2GHz and Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB (A64), 1GB (A64+ 1GB), or 2GB (A64+ 2GB and A64-LTS) LPDDR3 RAM; optional up to 128GB eMMC on A64-LTS
  • Price — $15 (A64 with 512MB); $21 (A64+ 1GB); $32 (A64-LTS 2GB)

This Raspberry Pi imitator provides microSD, HDMI, Fast Ethernet, audio, dual USB 2.0 host, and micro-USB ports. The 127 x 79mm board offers a Pi-compatible, 40-pin connector, a 14-pin Euler connector, an RTC, and -20 to 70°C support. Compared to the original A64 model with 512MB RAM, both the 1GB and 2GB A64+ models and newer 2GB A64 LTS model boost Ethernet to GbE and add MIPI-DSI and -CSI with touchscreen and camera options. The LTS board adds a 5-year longevity guarantee, microSD bootability, SPI boot flash, and up to 128GB eMMC. The Pine A64+ 2GB model is out of stock, but the 1GB model is still available. There are several dozen OS images listed for the A64+ here and a smaller list for the A64-LTS here. Pine64 also sells a SODIMM-style SoPine A64 COM featuring the guts of the Pine A64 with a baseboard for $35 to $40.

 

Pine H64 Model B

  • Latest rev of Allwinner H6 board adds WiFi/BT and SPDIF
  • Company/project — Pine64, Inc.
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H6 (4x Cortex-A53 cores); Mali-T720 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB or 4GB LPDDR3 RAM; eMMC interface for up to 128GB
  • Price — $36 (2GB) or $45 (3GB)

The Pine H64, went on sale in Feb. 2018 as a limited-edition developer model that quickly went out of stock. In early Mar. 2019, it was replaced by a Model B version that similarly features the high-end Allwinner H6 SoC. The video-focused H6, which is also found on the Orange Pi One Plus and Orange Pi Lite 2, features a Mali-T720 GPU and can push out [email protected] with HDR video over the Pine H64’s HDMI 2.0 port. The Model B adds a 2.4GHz WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 module with antenna, as well as an SPDIF audio interface. It also trims down to 86 x 54mm and adjusts the layout so that it can use the cases for Pine64’s Rock64 SBC (see farther below). The previous, dysfunctional mini-PCIe slot and 1GB RAM option have been removed. The Pine H64 is equipped with GbE, 2x USB 2.0, and optional eMMC. Like the Pine A64, it offers 40-pin and 14-pin Euler expansion connectors, and it adds a mini-PCIe slot. OS support includes Android 9.0, Armbian Debian Buster, LibreELEC, and AOSC (Anthon Open Source Community). Pine64 also sells an open source PinePhone based on the Allwinner H6, selling for $150 in a bleeding-edge “Braveheart” edition.

 

PocketBeagle

  • Tiny, minimalist BeagleBone variant can be plugged into a PC’s USB port for programming
  • Company/project — BeagleBoard.org
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Octavo Systems OSD335x SiP with TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with PRU MCU chips and PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM
  • Price — $22.56

BeagleBoard.org’s tiny PocketBeagle, which sells for a low of $22.56 at Arrow, barely qualifies as an SBC thanks to its microSD slot and micro-USB port. Like the BeagleBone Blue and BeagleBone Black Wireless, it’s built around an Octavo OSD335x SiP, which includes the BB Black’s AM3358 SoC with PRUs and PowerVR GPU along with 512MB RAM. The 56 x 35mm PocketBeagle is about the same size as the Raspberry Pi Zero. There’s no eMMC, wireless, or Ethernet port, but you can plug this COM-like board into a laptop as a USB key-fob. This lets you program the device using a web browser that provides access to the Linux command line and text editor. The PocketBeagle is not a true BeagleBone clone since it lacks dual 46-pin connectors for Cape add-ons, and it has 72 pin headers instead of 92. Yet, the Debian-driven SBC should run any BB Black software that does not access the unavailable pins.

 

Raspberry Pi Zero

  • Tiny, $5 and up Raspberry Pi variant has mini-HDMI and dual micro-USB ports
  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2835 (1x ARM1176JZFS core @ 1GHz) with FPU and VideoCore IV dual-core GPU
  • Memory — 512MB SDRAM
  • Price — $5 to $25 ($14 typ. minimal config)

The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero costs $14 to $30 or more for various cables and adapters. The 65 x 30mm Zero upgrades the same old-school ARM11 processor found on the Raspberry Pi A+ and B+ to 1GHz speed. The COM-like SBC ships with a microSD slot, a pair of micro-USB ports, and a mini-HDMI port with audio support, as well as an unpopulated composite video header for the VideoCore IV GPU. Missing are all the USB ports, DSI and CSI ports, and audio jacks found on the RPi 3 or 4.

 

Raspberry Pi Zero W / Zero WH

  • Wireless versions of RPi Zero include WH model with soldered 40-pin header
  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2835 (1x ARM1176JZFS core @ 1GHz) with FPU and VideoCore IV dual-core GPU
  • Memory — 512MB SDRAM
  • Price — $10 to $25 ($19 typ. config.); $14 base price for Zero WH

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is identical to the RPi Zero except for the addition of the same Cypress CYW43438 wireless chip found on the Raspberry Pi 3, providing 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 with BLE. The Zero W is available starting at only $10 but you need the same add-ons as the Zero to get real-world video and USB ports. The newer Raspberry Pi Zero WH model adds a soldered 40-pin GPIO header to the Zero W for easier prototyping and access to the GPIO Expander tool.

 

Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+

  • Compact, Model A reboot with RPi 3B+ specs, but with only 512MB RAM, one USB, and no LAN
  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2837B0 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.4GHz); VideoCore IV GPU
  • Memory — 512MB RAM
  • Price — $25

In Nov. 2018, an update to the retired, $20 Raspberry Pi Model A+ arrived with the same 65 x 56mm footprint, but also a raft of new features indicated by the “3” in the middle of the name. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ has the same 1.4GHz quad-A53 SoC, dual-band WiFi-ac, and 40-pin, HAT-compatible GPIO of the larger, higher-end RPi 3B+. Other similar features include the HDMI port, microSD slot, DSI and CSI interfaces, and composite port. The biggest sacrifice is the halving of RAM to 512MB. Although this is twice the allotment of the earlier A and A+ models, a 64-bit SoC like this deserves better. There’s also no LAN port, and instead of 4x USB 2.0 host ports, you get one.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

  • The most popular Linux hacker board for years has been eclipsed by its new 3+ and 4 sibling
  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2837 (4x Cortex-53 @ 1.2GHz); Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU @ 400MHz
  • Memory — 1GB SDRAM
  • Price — $35

Many if not most Raspberry Pi imitators are more open source than the Raspberry Pi boards, in part due to RPi Trading’s exclusive license for its Broadcom SoCs. However, the VideoCore GPUs are more accessible than most, and the Raspberry Pi Foundation has in recent years started posting reduced, if not full schematics. In addition, the Pi boards offer guaranteed Raspberry Pi add-on compatibility, the widest range of software support, and membership in a thriving community. Most buyers will want to skip over the RPi 3B for the 3B+ and 4 models covered below. You can also buy a Raspberry Pi Model B 2 v1.2 for $35, but with a slower, 900MHz quad -A53 Broadcom SoC and no WiFi or Bluetooth.

 

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

  • RPi 3 upgrade offers faster CPU, WiFi, and GbE with PoE
  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2837B0 (4x Cortex-53 @ 1.4GHz); Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU @ 400MHz
  • Memory — 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • Price — $35

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ has the same price and much the same layout and feature set of the RPi 3 Model B, but with both major and minor improvements. The 3B+ provides a faster, 1.4GHz Broadcom SoC and pre-certified, dual-band 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2. The LAN port has moved from a 10/100 port to a USB-powered, up to 300Mbps Gigabit Ethernet port, and there’s even a $20 Power-over-Ethernet POE HAT option. The initial PoE HAT had regulator problems, but RPi Trading offered a refund and a repaired model is now available. Other RPi 3B+ improvements include a better PMIC, a heat spreader, and 0 to 50°C support. Most of the listed distributors were out of stock, but Cana Kit and Micro Center were ready.

 

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

  • The latest Pi jumps to a quad -A72 SoC with 4GB RAM, native GbE, and USB 3.0
  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2711 (4x Cortex-A72 cores @ 1.5GHz); Videocore VI 3D GPU
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • Price — $35 (1GB); $45 (2GB); $55 (4GB)

The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B arrived unexpectedly at the end of June with some welcome goodies including up to 4GB RAM and a faster, 28nm fabricated Broadcom SoC with 4x 1.5GHz Cortex-A72 cores and an enhanced VideoCore VI GPU with up to 4Kp60 support. For the first time there’s a native PCIe Gen2 based GbE port, once again with optional PoE. Two of the four USB host ports are USB 3.0, and the micro-USB was switched to a more versatile USB Type-C port. There’s still no M.2 slot with SATA, but the faster USB 3.0 ports help out on storage. Like the RPi 3B+, there’s a WiFi-ac/BT module, 40-pin GPIO, microSD slot, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, and a composite video/audio jack. The RPi 4 has had more than the usual share of problems, led by overheating, and although the dual-display capability is useful to some, many users might have preferred a single HDMI instead of dual micro-HDMI ports. Still, the SBC is selling like crazy, in part due to its new Raspbian Buster distro based on Debian 10 Buster.

 

ReSpeaker Core v2.0

  • Upgraded far-field voice control SBC with 6x mic array and a 16-meter wake-word range
  • Company/project — Seeed
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3229 (4x Cortex-A7 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-400MP
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $99

In 2018, Seeed upgraded its original ReSpeaker far-field voice control board with a v.2.0 model that moved from running OpenWrt on a single-core MIPS CPU to running Debian on a quad -A7 RK3229. The RK3229 is implemented along with 1GB DDR3 via an “Axol Core” module. The hexagonal ReSpeaker v2.0 features a 6x mic array with 8-channel ADC and a 16-meter wake-word range. Unlike the original, audio is processed directly on the RK3229 with a mix of open source and proprietary algorithms, and you get 3.5mm and JST 2.0 audio outputs. Other features include 4GB eMMC, a microSD slot, a fast Ethernet port, and WiFi/BT. You also get HDMI 2.0, 2x USB 2.0, and micro-USB OTG and device ports plus GPIO and Grove expansion. The ReSpeaker has some competition in an open-spec, Allwinner backed Hichips-Parrot mic array board SBC, which only costs $80, but is disqualified here for its 10+ minimum purchase requirement.

 

Rico Board

  • Sitara based board with dual 40-pin expansion connectors
  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI AM437x (1x Cortex-A9 core @ up to 1GHz); PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM (alternatively 256MB or 1GB); 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $99 ($139 for full kit with cables etc.)

MYIR’s open-spec, 100 x 65mm Rico Board taps TI’s single-core, Cortex-A9, Sitara AM437x SoC. The SBC integrates HDMI, GbE, and dual USB ports, as well as a 24-bit LCD interface that supports optional 7-inch touchscreens. You also get camera interfaces and dual 40-pin expansion connectors with support for CAN and industrial I/O. There’s no organized open source community, but you get schematics and detailed documentation.

 

ROC-RK3308-CC

  • RK3308-based Raspberry Pi clone aimed at voice apps offers PoE and a mic array
  • Company/project — Firefly
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3308 (4x Cortex-A35 @ 1.3GHz)
  • Memory — 128MB to 512MB DDR3; 128MB to 256MB NAND; 4GB to 128GB eMMC
  • Price — $40

We missed the ROC-RK3308-CC when it was unveiled almost a year ago. It’s unclear when it shipped, but it’s available now. Unlike Firefly’s other ROC-branded boards, there’s no indication this was made by Libre Computer. The SBC taps the headless, audio-focused RK3308 with 4x -A35 cores, which is found on boards like Radxa’s Rock Pi S (see farther below). It’s unclear what RAM and flash you get for the $40 price. The Raspberry Pi-like, 85 x 56mm SBC has an RPi-style 40-pin connector, WiFi/BT, a 10/100 Ethernet port with PoE, and USB 2.0 host and Type-C OTG ports. Audio features include I2S, SPDIF, and a 6-mic, far-field array with a 63dB SNR. There’s also a “phone” jack plus I2C, ADC, UART, and debug I/O. An LCD interface supports a tiny, optional (but unpriced) 480p “MCU display”. The unusual, Linux-based OS support includes ROS, Alexa, Baidu’s DuerOS voice assistant AI stack, and coming soon, Alibaba’s AliOS Things. The board has a -20 to 80°C range.

 

ROC-RK3328-CC (Renegade)

  • RK3328-based Raspberry Pi clone built by Libre Computer
  • Company/project — Firefly, Libre Computer
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3328 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DDR4; empty eMMC slot
  • Price — $35 (1GB), $50 (2GB), $80 (4GB)

The ROC-RK3328-CC, which recently added a 4GB RAM version, is the Firefly version of Libre Computer’s Renegade SBC, which launched on Indiegogo in 2017. Like Pine64’s Rock64 SBC, this is an RK3328-based Raspberry Pi clone with an RPi 3-like footprint, layout, and 40-pin interface, as well as very similar features. The main differences from the Raspberry Pi 3 include the lack of WiFi, Bluetooth, and MIPI-CSI and -DSI, as well as the presence of 3x USB host ports (one of them 3.0) instead of four. Like the Rock64, you get GbE instead of 10/100 Ethernet, and HDMI 2.0 with 4K instead of an HD-only HDMI 1.4. Firefly and Bay Libre assisted Libre Computers with software support, which includes Android 8.1 and Ubuntu, with the latter offering a choice of Rockchip’s Linux 4.4 Kernel or Mainline Linux 4.14 LTS.

 

ROC-RK3399-PC (Renegade Elite)

  • RK3399 board with HDMI 2.0, 2x DP, and GbE with optional PoE
  • Company/project — Firefly, Libre Computer
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 at up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 4GB DDR4 RAM; opt. eMMC
  • Price — $89

The Renegade Elite launched on Indiegogo in July 2018, and although it did not meet its flexible funding goal, Libre Computer finally released the board to Firefly, which sells it as the ROC-RK3399-PC. The price recently dropped to $89. Libre Computer also sells the same SBC for $100 on LoverPi as the Libre Computer Board ROC-RK3399-PC and has its own product page. Co-developed with Firefly and touted for its excellent mainline Linux support, the 120 x 72 x 11.9mm SBC updates the RK3328 powered ROC-RK3328-CC (Renegade). The ROC-RK3399-PC offers all the high-end features you’d expect from an RK3399 board. You get 4GB RAM, HDMI 2.0, and 2x USB Type-C ports with DP support. Standout features include a GbE port with optional Power-over-Ethernet, as well as dual 60-pin expansion headers, with the high-speed connector supporting PCIe x4 2.1.

 

Rock64

  • RPi 3 lookalike adds USB 3.0, bootable storage, and 4K-ready HDMI 2.0
  • Company/project — Pine64
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3328 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DDR3L; empty eMMC slot
  • Price — $24.95 (1GB), $34.95 (2GB), or $44.95 (4GB)

Like Firefly’s ROC-RK3328-CC SBC (AKA Libre Computer’s Renegade), Pine64’s Rock64 combines Rockchip’s mid-range, quad -A53 RK3328 with a Raspberry Pi like 85 x 56mm footprint and expansion. The Rock64 lacks the RPi 3’s WiFi/BT module, except for an optional, $7 to $22 USB dongle, and you won’t find any DSI and CSI interfaces. In addition, it only has 3x USB ports instead of four. However, one of those three is a faster USB 3.0 and another is an OTG port. The microSD slot and empty eMMC socket are bootable, and you get a GbE port and HDMI 2.0 port with 4K HDR support. Options include $8 or $13 enclosures, a variety of $9 power supplies, and a $15 audio DAC board. The extensive OS support includes Android 9 and Linux distros including Debian, Armbian, Bionic, and more. In 2019, Pine64 also launched an updated, 14-inch Pinebook Pro Laptop based on the faster Rockchip RK3399 selling for $199.

 

Rock Pi 4A / 4B

  • Raspberry Pi lookalike is one of the cheapest RK3399 boards around
  • Company/project — Radxa
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 1.8GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.4GHz); Mali-T864 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB LPDDR4; empty eMMC slot
  • Price — $39 (1GB), $49 (2GB), or $65 (4GB) for Rock Pi 4A; $49 (1GB), $59 (2GB), or $65 (4GB) for Rock Pi 4B ($75 with WiFi/BT)

Starting at $39 (4A) or $49 for the 4B version with a wireless module, the Rock Pi 4 is available on Allnet China or Seeed. Prices are a bit higher ($55 and up) at Innet24 in Germany. The Rock Pi is one of the most affordable RK3399 SBCs around, although the new Orange Pi 4 has it beat on the 4GB configuration. Both the 4A and 4B models are available in “Performance Set” kits with a power adapter, case, heatsink, and USB cable. Like the RK3399-based NanoPi M4, the Rock Pi 4 closely matches the Raspberry Pi layout and feature set, including the 40-pin connector. There’s a native GbE port and unlike the NanoPi M4, an M.2 slot for SSDs. However, it lacks the M4’s 24-pin GPIO interface. You get a pair each of USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports and a 4K-ready HDMI 2.0 port in addition to 2-lane MIPI-DSI and -CSI. Other features include an audio jack with mic, an RTC, and a USB Type-C port. The SBC has a 0 to 80°C range, a 5.5-20V input, and support for Android 9.0. Debian, and Ubuntu Server. Most of the SKUs at Allnet China offer the v1.4 update for both the 4A and 4B, which arrived in late June. The new version adds 4MB SPI to enable NVMe support on the M.2 module along with other minor tweaks to the antenna, audio jack, etc. At the same time, Radxa launched a $20 Rock Pi Poe HAT for the Rock Pi 4, which joins other accessories such as a $14.40 Rock Pi 4 Prototyping HAT and a $49.90 Rock Pi 4 Cluster Set. In December, Radxa launched Dual ($25) and Quad ($35) SATA HATs that work on the RPi 4 or Rock Pi 4 at up to 400 MB/s via USB 3.0. There’s also a faster, 800 MB/s $49 “Penta SATA HAT” for the Rock Pi 4 that uses PCIe to support 5x drives. (They can all be found on this Allnet China page.) In October, Radxa posted specs for a $75 Rock Pi 4C variant of the Rock Pi 4B that adds a 2-lane mini-DisplayPort for dual simultaneous displays. It has yet to go on sale. Finally, note Radxa’s newly arrived Rock Pi N10, below, which is based on the AI enhanced RK3399Pro.

 

Rock Pi N10

  • Built around SMARC module with RK3399Pro with 3-TOPS NPU and up to 8GB RAM
  • Company/project — Radxa, Vamrs
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399Pro (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-T860 GPU; 3-TOPs NPU
  • Memory — Model A: 4GB LPDDR3 (3GB CPU, 1GB NPU), 16GB eMMC; MB: 6GB (4GB/2GB), 32GB eMMC; MC: 8GB (4GB/4GB), 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $99 (MA); $129 (MB); $169 (MC)

Radxa’s Rock Pi N10, which runs Debian or Android 8.1 on an AI-enhanced RK3399Pro, just began shipping, starting at $99 at Allnet China and Seeed. The RK3399Pro is essentially the same as the RK3399, but with slightly higher clock rates and an up to 3-TOPS NPU. It’s built around Vamrs’ SMARC form-factor VMARC RK3399Pro SoM, which Vamrs’ 96rocks project pairs with its new 96Boards Enterprise Edition Ficus2 carrier board. The Ficus2 with VMARC is available now as the $199 VMARC RK3399Pro SoM Ficus2 Evaluation Board (see farther below). Like Vamrs’ $299 (6GB RAM/32GB eMMC) Toybrick RK3399Pro, Geniatech’s unpriced DB3399 Pro (up to 6GB/32GB), and Asus’ upcoming Tinker Edge R (up to 6GB/16GB), the Rock Pi N10 has a maximum RAM allotment beyond the RK3399’s 4GB limit so it can feed the NPU. Despite the different layout, the 100 x 100mm Rock Pi N10 has almost identical specs as the RPi-style, RK3399-based Rock Pi 4, including 40-pin GPIO and an NVMe-ready M.2 slot. It has one less USB 3.0 port and there’s a second M.2 slot for an optional WiFi/BT module.

 

Rock Pi S

  • Tiny, headless RK3308 board focuses on IoT and voice control
  • Company/project — Radxa
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3308 (4x Cortex-A35 @ up to 1.3GHz)
  • Memory — 256MB or 512MB RAM; opt. 1GB NAND
  • Price — $10 to $24 for various combos of RAM, NAND, WiFi/BT, and PoE (512MB only)

The Rock Pi S runs Debian Buster, Ubuntu Bionic, and Slackware on the headless, audio-focused RK3308, which is also found on Firefly’s ROC-RK3308-CC. Despite the Allnet China and Seeed shopping pages listing the board at 38.1 x 38.1mm, these pages, as well as the wiki, also list it as 1.7-inch sq., which comes out to a still tiny 43.18 x 43.18mm. Now available in a v1.2 model, the Rock Pi S offers flexible pricing for both the 256MB or 512MB models, with or without 1GB NAND and/or WiFi/BT. The 512MB version also offers a PoE option. Features include 10/100 Ethernet, USB 2.0 host, and USB 2.0 Type-C OTG ports, as well as a microSD slot and dual 26-pin GPIO headers. Audio interfaces include a VAD (Voice Activity Detector). Radxa also recently announced two boards that have yet to launch. There’s a Rock Pi E with a quad -A53 Rockchip RK3328 with both GbE and 10/100 Ethernet ports with optional PoE. Also in the works is a Rock Pi X SBC with an Intel “Cherry Trail” Atom x5-Z8300 with up to 4GB LPDDR3 and 128GB eMMC.

 

RockPro64

  • One of the most affordable RK3399 SBC has loads of media links and a full-size PCIe x4 slot.
  • Company/project — Pine64
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 1.8GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.4GHz); Mali-T864 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4; empty eMMC slot
  • Price — $60 (2GB) or $80 (4GB)

The RockPro64 is one of the more affordable RK3399 boards on the market and stands out with its full-size PCIe x4 expansion slot. The RockPro64 has the same 127 x 79mm dimensions and many of the same features found on Pine64’s Allwinner H6 based Pine H64. You get HDMI, MIPI-DSI, eDP, 2x MIPI-CSI, Parallel camera, USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, and DisplayPort 1.2 via USB Type-C. For communications, there’s a GbE port and optional, $16 WiFi-ac with Bluetooth 4.1. MicroSD. audio links are available along with a 40-pin RPi-style connector. Images are available for Armbian, Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Slackware, DietPi, and more.

 

Rock960 Model B

  • First 96Boards RK3399 SBC offers HDMI 2.0, DP, and optional M.2 NVMe storage
  • Company/project — Vamrs
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 1.8GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.4GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 4GB LPDDR3 RAM; 32GBeMMC
  • Price — $139 (Model B)

Last September, the delayed Rock960 appeared as the heir apparent to Vamrs’ larger, pricier Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire SBC, which is still unavailable. The 85 x 55mm Rock960 provides the usual 96Boards low- and high-speed connectors, as well as HDMI 2.0 and DP support via USB Type-C OTG. The SBC provides USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, and an NVMe-ready M.2 M-key slot via an optional $10 adapter. The 8-18V board supports Android 7.1 AOSP, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, LibreELEC, Lakka, and FlintOS, among others. Note that the $99 Model A with 2GB/16GB is no longer available, so your only choice is the 4GB/32GB Model B. A year ago, Vamrs announced a feature-reduced “Model C” version of the Rock960 (see below), and it collaborated with Rockchip on a larger Toybrick RK3399Pro with the same AI-enhanced RK3399Pro SoC, which is also found on the Khadas Edge-1S and Rock Pi N10. The Toybrick exceeds our $200 limit, selling for $249 with 3GB/16GB and a rich set of features, including 4x PCIe lanes and a mini-PCIe slot. In April, Linaro and Beiquicloud announced an RK3399Pro-based TB-96AI module along with a carrier board, but the combo costs well over our $200 limit on Taobao. The module debuts a new 96Boards Compute Module spec along with an RK1808-based TB-96AIoT module that uses the same carrier, which is also over our limit.

 

Rock960 Model C

  • Stripped-down Rock960 variant subtracts the eMMC, DP-ready Type-C, and 2×2 MIMO
  • Company/project — Vamrs
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 1.8GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.4GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB or 2GB LPDDR4 RAM; empty eMMC socket
  • Price — $69 (1GB); $79 (2GB)

A year ago, Vamrs announced a lower-cost version of its Rock960 called the Model C. The 96 Boards CE compatible board adds a 1GB configuration and boosts RAM to LPDDR4 but has an empty eMMC socket instead of 32GB eMMC on the 4GB Model B. The USB 3.0 Type-C port with DP support has switched to a USB 2.0 Type-C without DP, leaving you only the HDMI 2.0 port. The Model C also uses a slower, lower-cost version of the dual-band 802.11ac module without 2×2 MIMO. Otherwise, it’s all the same, including the optional M.2 adapter with NVMe support. Vamrs sells the board from the link above, and Seeed offers separate 1GB and 2GB pages, although it sells the latter at $99 — $20 more than at Vamrs. Stock is in short supply all around, and the 4GB model is out of stock at both sources.

 

Seeeduino Cloud

  • One of the last available Linux-driven Arduino clones
  • Company/project — SeeedStudio
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Qualcomm Atheros AR9331 (1x MIPS 24kc @ 400MHz); Atmel ATmega32u4 MCU @ 16MHz
  • Memory — 64MB RAM; 16MB flash; 32KB flash for MCU
  • Price — $49.95

Seeed’s Seeeduino Cloud, which has dropped in price by $20 over the last year, is a clone of the rebooted Arduino Yun (see farther above). It’s also one of the few Linux-ready SBCs with full Arduino compatibility remaining on the market. The Cloud is a variation on its earlier Seeeduino Arduino clone, and similarly adds Arduino support and the ability to connect the company’s Grove sensor and I/O add-ons. By integrating Dragino’s HE computer-on-module, the Seeeduino Cloud provides a Yun-like Atheros AR9331 WiFi subsystem that runs OpenWrt Linux. Other features include 10/100 Ethernet, USB host, micro-USB, 20x DIO pins, 7x PWM channels, and 12x analog inputs. Like the Seeeduino, the Seeeduino Cloud eases the interface between Arduino firmware and complex web services, in this case via a YunBridge library.

 

SOM-RK3399 Dev Kit

  • Feature-rich, sandwich-style RK3399 alternative to NanoPi M4 and Neo4 with SBC-like COM
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 1.8GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.4GHz); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $120; $75 for SOM-RK3399 module on its own

The SOM-RK3399 Dev Kit is the only other FriendlyElec board here aside from the new ZeroPi without NanoPi branding. Larger and more feature-rich than the similarly RK3399-equipped NanoPi M4 and NanoPi Neo4, the kit combines a carrier board with an open-spec SOM-RK3399 module that costs $75 on its own. The module, which supports up to 64GB eMMC, but here ships with 16GB, can even be considered an SBC on its own due to its pair of USB Type-C ports: one for power and the other supporting USB and DP. It also provides WiFi-ac with BT 4.1. Android 8.1 and various Ubuntu-derived distros with Linux 4.4-LTS are available. The carrier is equipped with GbE, 4x USB 3.0, HDMI in and out, and eDP, MIPI-DSI, MIPI-CSI, and more. Options include a 7-inch touchscreen ($29) and a $35 Quectel LTE module that plugs into a mini-PCIe slot with micro-SIM. An M.2 slot supports NVMe storage.

 

STM32MP157A-DK1 / DK2

  • Dev boards unlock Cortex-M4-enhanced STM32MP1 with RPi and Arduino GPIO
  • Company/project — STMicroelectronics
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — ST STM32MP157 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 650MHz) with Cortex-M4 @ 209MHz
  • Memory — 4GB DDR3L RAM
  • Price — $69 (DK1); $99 (DK2)

STMicroelectronics launched four development boards to support its new MCU-enabled, IoT-focused STM32MP1 SoC. The two high-end models — the STM32MP157A-EV1 and STM32MP157C-EV1 — exceed our price limit at $383, but the STM32MP157A-DK1 and STM32MP157A-DK2 sell for $69 and $99, respectively, both with a generous 4GB of DDR3L. The DK2 model adds a WiFi/BT module and a 4-inch, 800 x 480, capacitive touchscreen. In the Feb. 2019 announcement, ST said the STM32MP1 SoC would offer an optional Vivante 3D GPU, but the HDMI port and MIPI-DSI interface on the DK1/DK2 boards appear to be limited to 2D graphics and VGA. Other coastline ports include USB Type-C, USB Type-A OTG, and GbE ports. You also get an audio jack, debug, and both RPi-style 40-pin and Arduino GPIO connectors. The dev boards run a new “mainlined, open-sourced” OpenSTLinux distro based on Yocto and OpenEmbedded. Schematics and other resources are posted for the SBCs. The STM32MP1 SoC is also available on Arrow’s Avenger96 SBC (see farther above).

 

Tinker Board S

  • RPi 3 pseudo clone has a quad -A17 Rockchip SoC with Mali T760 GPU
  • Company/project — Asus
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3288 (4x Cortex-A17 @ 1.8GHz); Mali-T760 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM; 16GB eMMC
  • Price — $89.65

Asus’ Tinker Board is still the only open spec hacker SBC from a major PC manufacturer. The original Tinker Board, which is still available on Amazon for $61.25 was superseded by the pricier Tinker Board S, which adds 16GB eMMC, HDMI-CEC support, a smart audio jack, and improved power management. Like the original, the S model offers a Raspberry Pi style size, layout, feature set, and 40-pin connector. Compared to the RPi 3 B+, the SBC has a faster, although 32-bit, processor with a more powerful Mali T760 GPU with upscaled 4K/30fps playback and twice the RAM. The SBC is equipped with WiFi, BT 4.0, a GbE port, and 4x USB 2.0 ports. You also get microSD, micro-USB, HDMI, MIPI-CSI, and MIPI-DSI. A community site is available with a forum, schematics, and other resources. Asus provides Debian and Android versions of its homegrown TinkerOS distro. The SBC sells for a low of $89.65 at Amazon and goes for $91.99 at B&H Photo. Earlier this year, Asus unveiled upcoming Tinker Edge T and more industrial CR1S-CM-A boards based on the i.MX8M and Edge TPU equipped Google Coral SOM. It also announced an upcoming, RK3399Pro based Tinker Edge R.

 

VMARC RK3399Pro SoM Ficus2 Evaluation Board

  • 96Boards EE SBC built around an AI-enabled, RK3399Pro-based SMARC module
  • Company/project — Vamrs
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399Pro (2x Cortex-A72 @ up to 1.8GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.4GHz); Mali-T860 GPU; 3-TOPs NPU
  • Memory — Model A: 4GB LPDDR3 (3GB CPU, 1GB NPU), 16GB eMMC; MB: 6GB (4GB/2GB), 32GB eMMC; MC: 8GB (4GB/4GB), 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $199 (MA); $219 (MB); $249 (MC)

Like Radxa’s Rock Pi N10, the VMARC RK3399Pro SoM Ficus2 Evaluation Board is a sandwich style-SBC featuring Vamr’s SMARC form-factor VMARC RK3399Pro SoM. The module is equipped with the RK3399Pro, a special version of the RK3399 with an up to 3-TOPS NPU. Vamrs’ 96rocks project pairs the module with its new 96Boards Enterprise Edition Ficus2 carrier board, which is based on a board announced back in 2018 called the Rock960 Enterprise Edition (Ficus). Vamrs offers the same RAM/eMMC configurations as the Rock Pi N10, with up to half the RAM dedicated to the AI chip. Vamrs also offers a $299 (6GB RAM/32GB eMMC) Toybrick RK3399Pro, which is over our price limit. The only version of the Ficus2 that makes the cut is the $199 4GB/16GB version. The 160 x 120mm carrier board offers more features than the Rock Pi N10, including GbE and Fast Ethernet, WiFi-ac/BT 5.0, RTC, IR, HDMI, eDP, LVDS, MIPI-DSI, audio I/O, USB 3.0 OTG, and 2x USB 2.0 host ports. For expansion, there’s a mini-PCIe slot with an optional 4G module and SIM slot, as well as a 4-lane PCIe connector and 96Boards EE 40-pin low- and 60-pin high-speed slots. Vamrs uses OS images from its partner Rockchip, which include a dual-boot Fedora 17/Android 8.1 and a beta version of Debian Stretch.

 

Udoo Neo

  • Compact, i.MX6 SoloX board taps Cortex-M4 for Arduino compatibility
  • Company/project — Udoo (Seco)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 SoloX (1x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz); Cortex-M4 MCU; Vivante GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3L RAM (1GB on Plus version)
  • Price — $49.90 (Basic) $59.90 (Extended), $64.90 (Full)

Like the larger Udoo Quad/Dual SBCs, the IoT-focused, 85 x 59mm Udoo Neo runs Linux or Android on a Cortex-A9 based i.MX6. The Neo, however, is optimized for the single-core i.MX6 SoloX variant and taps its Cortex-M4 MCU to mimic an Arduino. The specs differ slightly from the Kickstarter package referenced in the LinuxGizmos link above. The Udoo Neo Basic provides Ethernet, microSD, USB host, micro-USB OTG, micro-HDMI, LVDS with touch, and a Parallel camera interface. There’s also an Arduino connector, as well as GPIO, UART, CAN, PWM, I2C, and SPI interfaces. For $10 more, the Neo Extended bumps the RAM to 1GB, adds 3-axis motion sensors, and replaces Ethernet with a WiFi/Bluetooth module. The Neo Full, which continues to be out of stock but has a notification sign-up button, is identical to the Extended but offers both Ethernet and wireless.

 

Udoo Quad / Dual / Dual Basic

  • Arduino compatible i.MX6 SBC supplies WiFi and GbE on most models and SATA on the Quad version
  • Company/project — Udoo (Seco)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Quad or DualLite (4x or 2x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz with Vivante GPUs); Atmel SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $99 (Dual Basic); $115 (Dual); $135 (Quad)

Seco’s Udoo project offers three SKUs for its flagship, 110 x 85mm Udoo SBC. The Udoo Dual Basic and Udoo Dual provide the dual-core i.MX6 DualLite while the Quad has the quad-core i.MX6 with a higher-end Vivante GPU. All three boards integrate a Cortex-M3 based Arduino Due subsystem. The boards offer microSD, HDMI, LVDS with touch, audio, and CSI connections. You also get dual USB host and dual micro-USB ports, one of which is OTG. There are 76 GPIO pins in addition to the Arduino interface. The Udoo Dual adds WiFi and GbE connections, and the Quad also adds SATA.

 

Udoo X86

  • High-end Intel Braswell based board has M.2 and SATA III
  • Company/project — Udoo (Seco)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Braswell quad-core SoCs (Advanced Plus: Celeron N3160 @ up to 2.24GHz; Ultra: Pentium N3710 @ up to 2.56GHz); Intel Gen 8-LP GPU
  • Memory — 4GB (Advanced Plus) or 8GB (Ultra) DDR3L RAM; 32GB eMMC on Advanced Plus and Ultra
  • Price — Advanced Plus $174; Ultra $267

The Udoo X86 is one of the more fully open source entries among the small crop of under-$200 x86 hacker boards. Only the $174, Celeron N316 based Advanced Plus version is eligible under our $200 limit. Although the Udoo X86’s Intel Braswell SoCs are several generations old, having been followed by Apollo Lake and Gemini Lake, they similarly use a 14nm process and have a low, 5-6W TDP. An extensive feature list includes M.2, GbE, SATA III, HDMI, 2x DP, wireless, and 20x GPIO. Other features include 3x USB 3.0 ports, analog and digital audio I/O, plus an RTC, IR, and an IMU. There are loads of options, including a heatsink, case, cables, and an M.2-based dual Ethernet module. The 120 x 85mm board runs Linux, Android, and Windows 7/8.1/10. In 2018, Seco’s Udoo Project launched the Udoo Bolt hacker board on Kickstarter, featuring AMD’s x86-based Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC. It’s currently available at Udoo and is on pre-order at Mouser, starting at $340, well over our $200 limit.

 

UP board

  • Intel Cherry Trail based Raspberry Pi lookalike offers GbE and up to 64GB eMMC
  • Company/project — Aaeon; UP Community
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom x5-Z8350 (4x Cherry Trail @ 1.44GHz/1.92GHz burst); Intel HD 400 Graphics
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DDR3L RAM; 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $99 (1GB/16GB), $109 (2GB/16GB); $119 (2GB/32GB); $149 (4GB/32GB); $169 (4GB/64GB)

Like the later UP boards, the original UP is not backed up with full schematics. Yet, the UP Community now supplies far more extensive documentation, including some 2D and 3D files, open source downloads, tutorials and support. The UP board runs Ubuntu 16.04, Ubilinux 4.0 Beta 2, OpenBSD 2.0, or Windows 10/8.1 on a quad-core, 1.44GHz/1.92GHz Atom x5-Z8350 of the 14nm Cherry Trail generation. The 85.6 x 56.5mm board not only looks like a Raspberry Pi, but it provides a 40-pin expansion bus via an Altera MAX V CPLD that is said to provide RPi 2 compatibility. The UP is equipped with a GbE port, a USB 3.0 OTG port, 4x USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 headers. Other features include HDMI, DSI, CSI, I2S, and eDP. Accessories on all the UP boards include fans, enclosures, wireless kits, cameras, touchscreens, cables, UPS batteries, and more. Other Cherry Trail SBCs include the smaller Up Core, the much more affordable Atomic Pi, and the upcoming Rock Pi X.

 

UP Core

  • Smaller version of UP board with up to 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC
  • Company/project — Aaeon; UP Community
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom x5-Z8350 (4x Cherry Trail @ 1.44GHz/1.92GHz burst); Intel HD 400 Graphics
  • Memory — 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB DDR3L RAM; 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB eMMC
  • Price — $99 (1GB/16GB); $109 (2GB/16GB); $119 (2GB/32GB); $149 (4GB/32GB); $169 (4GB/64GB)

The UP Core, which began shipping to the public in Mar. 2018 after its 2017 Kickstarter launch, is a smaller, 66 x 56.5mm version of the UP board. It runs the same Linux and Windows software and offers a similar feature set except that you get WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 BLE instead of a GbE port. The UP Core is limited to 2x USB 2.0 headers, compared to 4x USB 2.0 ports and 2x USB headers on the UP board. It similarly offers a single USB 3.0 and HDMI ports. Other features include dual MIPI-CSI, eDP, I2S audio, and a 100-pin docking connector with RPi HAT compatibility. The board has the same five configurations of RAM and eMMC as the UP board, with the same prices.

 

UP Core Plus

  • Smaller version of UP board with up to 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC
  • Company/project — Aaeon; UP Community
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom x5-E3930, x5-E3940, or x7-E3950(4x Apollo Lake @ 1.3GHz/1.8GHz, 1.6/1.8GHz, and 1.6/2.0GHz); Intel HD Graphics 500/505
  • Memory — 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB DDR3L RAM; 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB eMMC
  • Price — $149 (2GB/32GB, E3930); $209 (4GB/64GB, E3940); $289 (8GB/64GB, E3950); $329 (8GB/128GB)

Aaeon launched an UP Core Plus SBC on Kickstarter in 2018 as the centerpiece of an UP AI Edge family that includes optional, AI add-on boards. The family also includes a higher end UP Squared AI Vision Kit based on the UP Squared board, which like most of the UP Core Plus configurations is beyond our $200 limit. The 90 x 56.5mm UP Core Plus is larger than the Intel Cherry Trail based UP Core and has a choice of three quad-core “Apollo Lake” Atom SoCs. OS support is the same as the UP Core except that it also supports XenServer 7.2. The UP Core Plus is equipped with a DisplayPort, eDP, and 2x MIPI-CSI interfaces plus USB 3.0 host and OTG ports and 2x USB 2.0 ports. Dual 100-pin high speed GPIO connectors are compatible with UP board add-ons. There’s no Ethernet, but you get 802.11ac and Bluetooth, and there’s a GbE port on the optional $49 high-speed I/O carrier board option. There’s also a $49 low-speed I/O carrier board add-on among the many other options including cooling systems, enclosures, mini-PCIe based 3G and LTE cards, and the UP AI Core module.

 

UP Squared

  • High-end Apollo Lake SBC with mini-PCIe, M.2, SATA, and a pair each of GbE and HDMI
  • Company/project — Aaeon; UP Community
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Celeron N3350 (2x Apollo Lake @ 1.1GHz/2.4GHz) or Atom x5-E3940 (4x Apollo Lake @ 1.6GHz/1.8GHz); Pentium N4200 (4x Apollo Lake @ 1.1GHz/2.5GHz); Intel Gen9 HD 500/505 graphics; Altera Max 10 FPGA
  • Memory — 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB LPDDR4; 32GB eMMC 5.0, expandable to 128GB
  • Price — $149 (Celeron with 2GB/32GB), $179 (Celeron with 4GB/32GB), $199 (Atom x5-E3940 with 4GB/32GB); $239 (Pentium with 4GB/32GB), $239 (Atom x7-E3950 with 4GB/64GB); $249 (same config with Ubuntu/OpenVino); $289 (Atom x7-E3950 with 8GB/64GB); $299 (Pentium with 8GB/64GB); $309 (same config with Ubuntu/OpenVino); $339 (Pentium with 8GB/128GB)

The Up Squared shipped to Kickstarter backers in mid-2017 and is now a bit pricier — only three models fit under our $200 limit. The 90 x 86mm UP Squared offers 4K encode and decode, dual GbE ports, dual HDMI outputs, and SATA, M.2, and mini-PCIe. You also get eDP, dual MIPI-CSI, 3x USB host, a micro-USB 3.0 OTG port, and a 60- and 40-pin GPIO tied to an Altera Max 10 FPGA. OS support is the same as on the UP Core Plus, and the extensive hardware options also appear to be similar. A few weeks ago, Aaeon opened public sales for its KS-backed UP Xtreme board with an Intel 8th Gen Whiskey Lake-U CPU. It starts at $299, however. At the same time, Aaeon launched an UP Xtreme based UPX Edge computer with -20 to 70°C support and preloaded Ubuntu 18.04, starting at $499. When the UP Xtreme was originally announced in Mar. 2019, Aaeon also announced a line of second-gen AI Core X M.2 and mini-PCIe modules for its compatible UP boards that advanced to Intel’s Movidius Myriad X VPU. These were followed in October by line of based AI Edge Computing Modules. These M.2 and mini-PCIe modules feature Kneron’s energy-efficient, dual Cortex-M4-enabled KL520 AI SoC, which offers 0.3 TOP NPU performance on only half a Watt.

 

Wandboard

  • One of the earliest open-spec Linux hacker boards showcases the i.MX6
  • Company/project — Wandboard.org; TechNexion
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo, DualLite, or Quad (1x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz); Vivante GPU
  • Memory — 512MB (Solo) 1GB (Dual), 2GB (Quad and QuadPlus) DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $89 (Solo); $109 (Dual); $139 (Quad); $149 (QuadPlus)

Technexion’s Wandboard.org was of the earliest open hardware communities. The Wandboard received a “Reload” update in early 2017 that added the i.MX6 QuadPlus and brought an improved Vivante GC2000+ GPU, an SPDIF audio interface, and faster WiFi/BT. Features include dual microSD slots plus GbE, HDMI, camera, serial, USB, and USB OTG connections. The Dual lacks the Quad’s SATA connection, and the Solo also foregoes the WiFi and Bluetooth found on the Quad and Dual. Technexion also offers some similarly sandwich-style, but more commercial dev kits based on NXP processors. The i.MX7-based PICO-PI-IMX7, which has been recast from an Android Things SBC to a general Linux board, lists a $149 price, but the only currently available option appears to be a $199 kit version with 5-inch, VGA touchscreen and optional camera and VoiceHAT. The PICO-PI-IMX7 has the same RPi-like, 85 x 56mm footprint and almost all the same features of the i.MX6 UL-based PICO-PI-IMX6UL which is still available for $84 at Digi-Key. The rugged PICO-PI-IMX7 supports Linux, Yocto, Ubuntu, and Android. There’s also a $175, i.MX8M-based PICO-PI-IMX8M board with an RPi-like footprint, layout, and 40-pin header. Other features include GbE, 4K-ready HDMI 2.0, micro-USB debug, and 2x USB 2.0 ports. A similar i.MX8M Mini based PICO-PI-IMX8M-Mini dev kit starts at $240, as does a similar FLEX-IMX8M-Mini. Other kits include the $250 XORE-WIZARD-IMX8M-MINI built around a 30 x 30mm, i.MX8M Mini based XOREIMX8MM module. Finally, Technexion is also working on a AXON-IMX8M-Mini SBC.

 

ZeroPi

  • Tiny headless IoT board with a single GbE port
  • Company/project — FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM)
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
    li>Price — $10

The first FriendlyElec SBC without a “Nano” in the name combines the quad -A7 Allwinner H3 of the NanoPi Neo with the Gigabit Ethernet port of the Allwinner H5-based NanoPi Neo2. The ZeroPi shares the 40 x 40mm footprint, USB 2.0 host, micro-USB, and debug header of these earlier models, and it offers the -20 to 70℃ range of the Neo. However, it lacks a GPIO header. Aside from the GbE upgrade, the only improvement we can see from the Neo is a connector for adding SPI flash. For $5 more, there’s a metal case that also includes a heatsink. Images are available for Ubuntu Core 16.04 and OpenWrt, both with Linux-4.14, as well as Armbian.

 

Z-turn Board

  • Built on a Zynq FPGA SoC, this SBC has a CAN interface and onboard sensors.
  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq-7010 or -7020 (2x Cortex-A9 cores @ 667MHz, plus FPGA)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $99 (7010) or $119 (7020), incl. 4GB microSD card

The Z-turn Board, which spun off a Z-turn Lite model (see below), runs Linux on a choice of two Xilinx Zynq SoCs which combine dual Cortex-A9 cores with two FPGA choices: the Zynq-7010 (28K logic cells) or Zynq-7020 (85K). The 102 x 63mm SBC features HDMI, GbE, and dual mini-USB ports, as well as a CAN port and a variety of sensors, buzzers, switches, buttons, and LEDs. Dual 80-pin expansion connectors express the FPGA signals and can be configured as LVDS pairs. A $139 (7010) or $159 (7020) kit version adds a power adapter, cables, and a 4GB data card. For software, there’s a customized Linux 3.15 BSP.

 

Z-turn Lite

  • Smaller, cheaper version of Z-turn, but with lower-end Zynq options
  • Company/project — MYIR
  • LinuxGizmos report
  • Product page
  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq-7007S or -7010 (1x or 2x Cortex-A9 cores @ 667MHz, plus FPGA)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC
  • Price — $69 (7010) or $75 (7020), incl. 4GB microSD card

This cheaper, smaller (91 x 63mm), stripped-down version of MYIR’s Z-turn board offers a different mix of ARM/FPGA Xilinx Zynq options. The previous low-end model — the Zynq-7010 (28K logic cells) — is the Lite model’s high end, and the new low end is the Zynq-7007S with 23K FPGA logic cells and only one Cortex-A9 core instead of two. RAM has been halved, but unlike the original Z-turn, you get 4GB eMMC in addition to the 4GB microSD card that ships with both boards. The Lite reduces the number of programmable I/O lines to 84 and omits features such as the HDMI and CAN ports, as well as temperature and motion sensors. Expanded kits cost $89 or $95, and MYIR also offers a $29, 91 x 63mm Z-turn Lite IO Cape designed specifically for the Lite that gives you a real-world HDMI port, as well as camera, LCD, Pmod, and GPIO interfaces. Digilent recently announced an open-spec, Zynq 7020 based Eclypse Z7 SBC, but the unpriced board is still listed as “coming soon.” At the same time it launched a Genesys ZU board based on the higher-end Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC that costs $1,149. Avnet offers an updated Ultra96-V2 96Boards CE with the UltraScale+ MPSoC, but it starts at $249.

 

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