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Tiny, open-spec quad -A53 SBC offers GbE and wireless for $30

May 27, 2017 — by Eric Brown 3,042 views

FriendlyElec’s “NanoPi M2A” SBC combines the quad -A53 Samsung SoC of the NanoPi M2 with the footprint, layout, and more advanced features of the NanoPi M3.

FriendlyElec (FriendlyARM) has released a community-backed, open source “NanoPi M2A” SBC that replaces the earlier NanoPi M2, which is now out of stock. The remarkably small (64 x 60mm) SBC runs Android 4.4/5.1, Debian 8.1, and Ubuntu Core with Qt on the same quad-core Samsung S5P4418 SoC, and is only $5 more expensive at $30.

NanoPi M2A, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Yet, the NanoPi M2A shares far more in common with the octa-core Samsung S5P6818 based NanoPi M3, which sells for $35. In fact, the footprint, layout, and features appear to be identical except for the addition of an onboard mic and a switch from a 5V @ 2A to a 5V @ 3A input.

NanoPi M2A angle (left) and detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Unlike the NanoPi M2, the NanoPi M2A offers onboard WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. Other features include GbE, HDMI, LCD, LVDS, DVP, and audio connections. You get 2x USB 2.0 host ports and two more USB headers, plus a micro-USB port. A 40-pin, RPi-ready header is also available.


Specifications listed for the NanoPi M2A include:

  • Processor — Samsung S5P4418 (4x Cortex-A53 cores @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz; 3D GPU)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; microSD slot
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0 dual mode; porcelain antenna IPX interface
  • Networking — 10/100/1000 Ethernet port
  • Multimedia I/O:
    • HDMI 1.4a port
    • LCD interface
    • LVDS interface
    • DVP camera interface
    • 3.5mm audio jack
    • I2S audio interface
    • Onboard mic
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 host headers
    • Micro-USB 2.0 client port
    • Debug serial port header
    • 40-pin, Raspberry Pi compatible GPIO connector for UART, SPI, I2C, PWM etc.
  • Other features — Power and reset buttons; power and status LEDs
  • Power — DC barrel jack; +5V @ 3A; RTC Battery header; AXP228 PMU
  • Dimensions — 64 x 60mm
  • Operating system — Android 4.4 and 5.1, Debian 8.1, and Ubuntu Core with Qt

Further information

The NanoPi M2A is now available for $30. More information may be found at FriendlyElec’s NanoPi M2A product and currently bare bones wiki pages.

(advertise here)

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One response to “Tiny, open-spec quad -A53 SBC offers GbE and wireless for $30”

  1. chip says:

    Unfortunately all these S5P4418 based boards have no serious support for mainline kernel and or standard Debian. Among their boards I would stay away of anything but the M1* and Neo* and the likes, and consider the K2 (which is an almost identical clone of the Odroid C2) for heavier tasks; all other boards by FA (and many others sadly) will depend on binary blobs by the manufacturer which will make them obsolete much earlier.
    Also beware: that CPU contains the Trustzone potential backdoor.

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