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$10 Orange Pi One pits quad-core Cortex-A7 against Pi Zero

Jan 29, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 9,594 views

Shenzhen Xunlong launched a $10, Linux- and Android-friendly “Orange Pi One” hacker board with a quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC and a Pi-compatible expansion port.

Even with competition from the $9 Chip and $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, 2015’s biggest price/performance breakthrough among open-spec SBCs was arguably the $15 Orange Pi PC. Unlike the single-core Chip and Zero, the Orange Pi PC delivered the performance goods with a quad-core Cortex-A7 Allwinner H3 SoC, while offering more ports, including HDMI, Ethernet, quad USB, and Pi-compatible expansion. Now Shenzhen Xunlong has spun a similar, stripped down Orange Pi One variant for only $10 — or $13.77 if you want it shipped to the U.S.

Orange Pi One top (left) and bottom views
(click images to enlarge)

Like the Orange Pi PC. the Orange Pi One is built around an Allwinner H3 SoC, which can theoretically handle up to a 1.6GHz clock rate, but is unrated here. (CNXSoft, which appears to be the first site to post news about the Orange Pi One, says it clocks its SoC at 1.2GHz.)

Angled views of the Orange Pi One
(click images to enlarge)

Other features the Orange Pi One has in common with the Orange Pi PC include microSD, HDMI, 10/100 Ethernet, micro-USB 2.0 OTG, and CSI camera connections, as well as a Pi-compatible 40-pin expansion connector. The One has only half the RAM of the PC version, at 512MB, and only one USB host port instead of three. There’s no longer a separate AV output or audio input, and there’s no longer a mention of a UART debug port or an IR receiver.

Orange Pi One front (left) and back details
(click images to enlarge)

All that belt-tightening means a much smaller, 69 × 48mm footprint, compared to 85 x 55mm for the Orange Pi PC and 65 x 30mm for the Raspberry Pi Zero. Despite the drastic reduction in size, weight has only drooped from 38 to 36 grams, compared to 23 grams for the Zero. Once again, a DC jack — presumably still 5V — handles power instead of the micro-USB.

Orange Pi One (left) compared to Raspberry Pi Zero, shown to scale
(click images to enlarge)

Firmware support includes Android 4.4, Ubuntu, Debian, and a Raspberry Pi image. Keep in mind that Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi project suffers from a spotty reputation regarding software updates and documentation, especially if you’re accustomed to the Raspberry Pi experience. The Orange Pi One appears to be an open-spec SBC, although unlike with the Orange Pi Plus, Mini, Mini2, and PC models, schematics have yet to be posted.

Specifications listed for the Orange Pi One include:

  • Processor — Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU @600MHz; 256KB L1, 1MB L2 cache
  • Memory – 512MB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage — microSD slot (up to 64GB)
  • Networking — 10/100Mbit Ethernet (RJ45)
  • Multimedia:
    • HDMI output — supports audio, HDCP, CEC, 30 function
    • Camera interface — CSI input supports 8-bit YUV422 CMOS sensor interface, CCIR656 protocol for NTSC and PAL, SM pixel camera sensor, and video capture at up to [email protected]
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 Host port
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port (does not support DC power input)
    • GPIO connector with 3x GPIO lines
  • Expansion — 40-pin header compatible with Raspberry Pi B+
  • Other features — power & status LEDs; power button
  • Power — DC barrel jack; +5V @ 2A (max.)
  • Dimensions — 69 × 48mm
  • Weight — 36gm
  • Supported OSes — Android, Lubuntu, Debian, Raspberry Pi Image

Orange Pi Plus2
(click to enlarge)

Other recent Orange Pi models include a $49, Allwinner H3-based Orange Pi Plus2, which came out in time for our year-end roundup of 64 Linux-ready hacker SBCs. The board adds 2GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB eMMC flash, a GbE port, and onboard WiFi to a feature set that is very similar to the Orange Pi PC. Shenzhen Xunlong is also working on an Orange Pi Plus3 model that moves up to a quad-core, 64-bit Cortex-A53 Allwinner H64.

Further information

The Orange Pi One is available at AliExpress for $9.99, plus $3.78 shipping costs to the U.S., for a total of $13.77. Shipping is listed as 10-15 days. More information may be found at Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi One product page.

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One response to “$10 Orange Pi One pits quad-core Cortex-A7 against Pi Zero”

  1. agumonkey says: states in bold that 1.2GHz is the nominal frequency, everything above is overclocking and overheating potential.

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