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$79 octacore hacker SBC runs Ubuntu and Android

Jul 14, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 14,509 views

Hardkernel unveiled a $74, open-spec “Odroid-XU4” SBC equipped with an octacore Exynos5422 SoC, 2GB RAM, eMMC flash, a GbE port, and dual expansion headers.

The Odroid-XU4 essentially replaces the similarly community-backed Odroid-XU3, with which it is claimed to be fully software compatible. The Odroid-XU3 won sixth place in our recent open hacker SBC survey at a price of $179, so the smaller Odroid-XU4, which has the same octa-core Samsung Exynos5422 system-on-chip, should be even more popular at a mere $79.

Odroid-XU4, with and without the cooling fan
(click images to enlarge)

This year, we’ve seen some amazing price drops in the open-spec SBC world — or boards like the Raspberry Pi 2 which have maintained their price while adding more powerful processors. Yet, the jump from $179 to $79 is fairly remarkable, even considering some I/O changes that are more negative than positive. The Odroid-XU4 appears to be the most affordable octacore board on the market, followed by the $99 LinkSprite Arches, which has a similarly configured Allwinner A80 SoC.

At 82 x 58 x 22mm, the Odroid-XU4 is considerably smaller than the 94 x 70 x 18mm XU3, and although it runs the same Exynos5422 SoC, it’s said to be more power efficient. The HMP-ready SoC, which combines four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 cores along with a Mali-T628 GPU, is kept cool with a standard cooling fan. As before, 2GB of DDR3 is supplied along with optional eMMC or iNAND flash.

Odroid-XU4 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

On the plus side, you move from 10/100 to 10/100/1000 Ethernet, and you gain a new 12-pin GPIO header in addition to the previous 30-pin connector. On the other hand, you lose the DisplayPort, leaving you with an HDMI type A port. The four energy monitoring chips are gone, although there’s still a PMIC available.

The USB 3.0 OTG port has now become a second USB 3.0 host port, and there’s only one USB 2.0 port instead of four. As before, there’s an option for a USB-based SATA 3 module, I/O board, and various wireless options.

There is no longer an onboard audio codec, nor is there is an audio jack. The HDMI port supports audio out, however, and you can use a USB port with an audio adapter, or tap into the I2S interface provided by the new GPIO header. (The FAQ notes there are no plans to build an external DAC board from the I2S interface.) A USB module option featuring an SPDIF optical output is still available, although the FAQ says this works only when running XBMC (Kodi) on Ubuntu.

Odroid-XU4 detail view
(click image to enlarge)

As usual, the well-established Odroid project provides full schematics and source code, and the software community is one of the more active around. In addition to supporting the board with Ubuntu 15.04 or Android 4.4, the project offers various experimental builds. As before, there are numerous expansion options, including wireless and I/O modules and various enclosures.

Odroid-XU4 layout
(click to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the Odroid-XU4 include:

  • Processor — Samsung Exynos5422 Octa SoC:
    • CPUs — 4x ARM Cortex-A15 cores @ 2.0GHz + 4x Cortex-A7 cores @ 1.4GHz
    • GPU — Mali-T628 MP6 (OpenGL ES 3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1 and OpenCL 1.1 full profile)
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3
  • Storage:
    • MicroSD slot
    • eMMC 5.0 socket with optional data card at up to 64GB (Toshiba) or up to 43GB (Sandisk iNAND Extreme)
  • Wireless — Optional USB module for 802.11b/g/n with antenna; optional USB Bluetooth and GPS modules
  • Networking – Gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI type A
    • 2x USB 3.0 host
    • USB 2.0 host
    • Serial console (debug)
    • 30-pin I/O connector
    • 12-pin GPIO connector (GPIO, I2C, I2S)
  • Other features – RTC; LED; active cooling fan with PWM; various plastic cases and enclosures; weather, expansion, and USB I/O daughter-card options; optional Oduino One Arduino and AHRS extensions; USB camera and audio adapters; optional shifter shield
  • Power — 5V @ 4A; PMIC
  • Dimensions — 82 x 58 x 22 mm
  • Weight — 38 g (60 g with cooler fan)
  • Operating system — Android 4.4.2 on Linux Kernel LTS 3.10; Ubuntu 15.04 + OpenGL ES + OpenCL on Kernel LTS 3.10; experimental Android 5.1 and mainline Linux 4.2 RC1 builds available

Odroid-XU4 hardware overview

Further information

The Odroid-XU4 is available now for $74 with worldwide shipping. More information may be found on Hardkernel’s Odroid-XU4 product page.

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7 responses to “$79 octacore hacker SBC runs Ubuntu and Android”

  1. Lucas says:

    Looks like regular HDMI? (Type A)

    Their technical picture says Type A, the description below says micro-HDMI. Regular HDMI would be a nice change.

  2. John Beetem says:

    ODROID-XU4 has a full-size HDMI A connector. One of the tables at is wrong.

  3. LinuxGizmos says:

    @John @Lucas: thanks for catching the hdmi error! fixed.

  4. david says:

    They could put intel i13 when there are no good linux support it’s useless. RPI 2 destroyed them.

  5. MHS says:

    I hate that loose and unreliable MicroSD slot but they urge to use it on all boards!

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