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Ringing in 2015 with 40 Linux-friendly hacker SBCs

Dec 31, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 144,379 views

[Updated Jan 2, 2016] — 2014 brought us plenty of new open-spec, community-backed SBCs — from $35 bargains, to octa-core powerhouses — and all with Linux or Android support.

In May of this year, LinuxGizmos and Linux.com collaborated on a joint survey, asking our readers to choose their favorite open-spec hacker SBCs from a list of 32 that run Linux and/or Android. Our SBC survey winners, ranked one to five, included the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, Odroid-XU, CubieTruck, and Banana Pi single board computers. Thanks to the flood of new open-spec, community-backed boards, as well as the demise of others, we have updated our list for this end-of-year snapshot.

Note: See our Dec. 31, 2015 update to this post…
Ringing in 2016 with 64 open-spec, hacker friendly SBCs

 
Now, back to December 31, 2014…

We’re skipping the survey — and the prizes — this time around, but we hope to offer a similar, but updated list and survey in May or June 2015. With even better prizes.

We removed more than a dozen boards from the list that were no longer in stock, were not being actively supported, were just plain old, or scored too poorly in our last survey to merit inclusion. Some of these, such as the Odroid-XU, were fairly new boards but have already been replaced by newer models (Odroid-XU3). We also added about two-dozen new SBCs, thereby ending up with a total of 40 boards.





Nine sub-$50 SBCs that challenge the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black: 86Duino, A10-OLinuXino-Lime, Arduino TRE, Banana Pi, BPi D1, HummingBoard-i1, Odroid-C1, Orange Pi, and pcDuino3 Nano

Over the last year we’ve seen some new quad- and octa-core boards with more memory, built-in WiFi, and other extras. Yet, most of the growth has been in the under $50 segment where the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone reign. Based on specs alone, standouts in price/performance that have broken the $40 barrier include the new Odroid-C1 and pcDuino3 Nano, but other good deals abound here as well.

 
Downward pressure on commercial embedded board vendors

Deciding which boards are hacker friendly is becoming more difficult, especially as traditional embedded SBC vendors have begun experimenting with the low-end “maker” market. The success of the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, and several other open-spec boards have motivated embedded vendors to offer more information about their products, as well as open source Linux and Android builds, and in some cases, full hardware specs and open licensing.

There have always been embedded Linux vendors that have done this — mostly the smaller operations — but the trend has clearly accelerated. Traditional vendors are feeling the pressure from the community SBC world, and many are gradually changing their approach, addressing the needs of hobbyists, educators, and smaller developer shops that prefer open source boards for prototyping.

Still, if you aren’t allowed to build and sell a board based on the hardware design, even in small runs, or if the board is made available without community features such as forums or tutorials, it’s less likely to be included here. On the other hand, if we only allowed for boards that fulfill all the open source virtues, including the inclusion of a transparent GPU platform, we would have a much shorter list. By some definitions, the Raspberry Pi, which is the best-selling hacker SBC of all time, would not even qualify.

For now, we’re sticking with our original, fairly broad guidelines for acceptance, which we will once again revisit before our next survey project. Your feedback is welcome.

 
One Rockchip on rye, hold the mayo

One trend we noted last May has accelerated in 2014: the proliferation of open-spec SBCs that use a sandwich-style design. In this approach, which first appeared in the community board world with the Wandboard, a baseboard (carrier board) is wedded with one or more computer-on-modules and sold as an SBC.



A tasty sampling of sandwich-style SBCs: DMP 86Duino, MYIR MYD-IMX28X, Toradex Viola, Wandboard Quad
(click images to enlarge)

With the sandwich concept, which is more widely prevalent with traditional development boards, you can upgrade your processor, memory, and perhaps even the wireless capability, by adding a new COM without having to buy a new board and learn a new design. Sandwich-style boards that have made the cut here have an open baseboard design, even if the COM itself is not open source. Perhaps not coincidentally several, including the Wandboard and HummingBoard, use the Freescale i.MX6, which is available in a single-core, two dual-core, and one-quad-core version, and is intended for modular upgrades.

In our May survey, we required that the boards be publicly available and shipping, and not only to crowdfunding backers. This time around we are more lenient, allowing some designs that have been announced with at least primary specs, but which have not been priced or started shipping. We have used our best judgment as to which boards are likely to ship by the second quarter of 2015.

We have also included several boards such as the MinnowBoard Max, which had been announced prior to our May survey, but only shipped thereafter. In the case of the Arduino TRE, the board was announced a year ago, but still hasn’t shipped. (Look for the TRE in January, however.)

The 40 hacker-friendly SBCs are briefly described in the list below, in alphabetical order:

 

86Duino and 86Duino One

Summary:

Description — DM&P’s 86Duino features Arduino-compatible expansion and a modular COM+baseboard approach. For $30 more, the 86Duino One model supplies the same RAM, as well as Ethernet, USB, and microSD connections, and adds HD audio and more expansion I/O.

 

A10-OLinuXino-Lime

Summary:

  • Company/project — Olimex, OLinuXino, Mouser
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A10 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $37 (30 Euros)

Description — This tiny (84 x 60mm) Android- and Linux-ready SBC is also available with an optional mini-PC enclosure. I/O includes microSD, SATA, Ethernet, and HDMI, plus three USB ports and 160 GPIOs.

 

A20-OLinuXino-Micro

Summary:

  • Company/project — Olimex, OLinuXino, Mouser
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; optional 4GB NAND flash ($14 more) with preloaded Android
  • Price — $67 (55 Euros)

Description — The faster, dual-core OLinuXino model is 1080p-ready and has all the I/O of the Lime, but doubles the RAM and adds VGA, LCD/touch, and audio I/O. The A20-OLinuXino-Micro also adds UEXT expansion connectors, with optional modules.

 

Arduino TRE

Summary:

Description — The Arduino TRE features a full version of Linux, unlike the limited small-footprint Linux stack available on the earlier Arduino Yun. It also offers an 8-bit Atmel ATmega microcontroller for AVR-compatible control of “shield” expansion modules. Despite being announced back in Oct. 2013, the SBC is still under development, although a Dec. 12 blog post says that the final developer boards have been sent out, and that the commercial board will be released soon.

 

Arndale Octa Board

Summary:

  • Company/project — ArndaleBoard.org, InSignal, Pyrustek
  • Product page
  • Processor — Samsung Exynos 5420 Octa (4x Cortex-A15 @ 1.8GHz and 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.3GHz); ARM Mali T-628 MP6
  • Memory — 3GB LPDDR3e RAM
  • Price — $199

Description — ArndaleBoard.org’s new Octa board sports Samsung’s faster new Exynos 5420 SoC. It offers generous helpings of display (HDMI, eDP, and MIPI DSI) and USB connections, plus MIPI-CSI camera support and an optional wireless module.

 

Banana Pi

Summary:

  • Company/project –SinoVoip/BananaPi.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A10 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $50

Description — This clone of the Raspberry Pi Model B has the same port positions, 24-pin header layout, and educational focus as the RasPi, but has a faster processor. The SBC adds to the RasPi’s feature set with twice the RAM, plus I/O including a SATA and micro-USB port. A new “Banana Pi M2” (below) clones the Raspberry Pi Model B+.

 

Banana Pi M2

Summary:

  • Company/project — SinoVoip, Bananapi.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A31 (4x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — N/A

Description — SinoVoip and the Banana Pi project it backs are prepping an M2 update to the original, $50 Banana Pi, while former backer LeMaker has jumped ship to launch its own Banana Pi Pro update (see below). Just as the original Banana Pi was a near clone of the Raspberry Pi Model B, the M2 closely resembles the Model B+, complete with a similar 40-pin expansion connector. The M2 moves from a dual- to a quad-core Allwinner SoC, and offers four USB host ports, a range of display and camera interfaces, a gigabit Ethernet port, and onboard WiFi.

 

Banana Pi Pro

Summary:

  • Company/project — LeMaker
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $62

Description — Compared to the rival Banana Pi M2 from former partner SinoVoip, LeMaker’s own Banana Pi update sticks closer to the original, retaining the dual-core A20 SoC. It expands to a Raspberry Pi Model B+-like 40-pin connector, switches the SD slot to microSD, and adds WiFi and a micro-USB OTG port. Unlike the M2, it provides a SATA connector, but it only has two USB host ports compared to the M2’s four. The Pro is currently available at Aliexpress for $62.

 

BD-SL-i.MX6 (formerly SABRE Lite)

Summary:

  • Company/project — Boundary Devices, Element14
  • Product page
  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6Quad (4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1GHz)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $190

Description — Freescale’s SABRE Lite dev board for the i.MX6 was spun off as a fully open spec “BD-SL-i.MX6” SBC, sold by Boundary Devices and Element14. The Linux-ready board features rich I/O including RGB, LVDS, and HDMI display connections, dual camera ports, a GbE port, dual SD slots, and a SATA interface. Three USB ports are provided, along with PCIe expansion and a CAN port.

 

BeagleBone Black

Summary:

  • Company/project — BeagleBone.org, CirtcuitCo
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM3358 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz)
  • Memory — 512MB RAM; 4GB flash
  • Price — $50

Description — The old BB Black is now gone, and a new Rev C model with double the flash (4GB) has taken its place. This Debian-ready SBC gives you a lot for your money, especially in expansion headers, but the real draw here is the large, vibrant Beagleboard.org community.

 

BeagleBoard-X15

Summary:

  • Company/project — Beagleboard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — TI Sitara AM5728 (2x Cortex-A15 @ 1.5GHz); PowerVR SGX544 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB RAM; 4GB flash
  • Price — N/A

Description — The first update in years to the original BeagleBoard boasts a dual-core Cortex-A15 SoC, dual GbE ports, and an eSATA port. The 4.2 x 4.0-inch SBC also has three USB 3.0 ports, plus HDMI, LCD, and other A/V interfaces. No pricing has yet been announced on the BeagleBoard-X15, which ships in February.

 

BPi-D1

Summary:

The 38 x 38mm, 10-gram BPi-D1 is one of the smallest hacker SBCs yet, although it can’t quite match the 15 x 10mm CloudBit (see below). The Linux-based BPi-D1 features a built-in camera that supports 1280 x 720p still-photo capture or video at 30fps. The CMOS sensor supports infrared night vision and has a viewing angle of 60°. The only real-world ports are a pair of micro-USB ports, one of which supports an optional WiFi module. The board recently began shipping as a Bananapi.org supported product for $40.

 

CloudBit

Summary:

  • Company/project — LittleBits Electronics
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Freescale i.MX233 (1x ARM9 @ 454MHz)
  • Memory — 64MB RAM; 4GB microSD card
  • Price — $60

Description — The popular, Arduino-oriented LittleBits maker platform added its first Linux SBC with the ARM9-based CloudBit. The tiny (15 x 10mm) board integrates WiFi, a USB port, and dual “BitSnap” connectors for adding standard LittleBits modules, six of which are provided in a $100 bundle. The Arch Linux based platform connects to a Node.js-oriented cloud platform designed for monitoring Internet of Things gizmos, and supports the IFTTT IF-THEN scripting language for social networking connectivity.

 

Creator CI20

Summary:

  • Company/project — Imagination Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Ingenic JZ4780 (2x XBurst MIPS32 @ 1.2GHz); PowerVR SGX540
  • Memory — 1GB RAM; 4GB flash
  • Price — $65

Description — Imagination’s first hacker SBC runs Android 4.4 or Debian 7 on Ingenic’s MIPS chip and features onboard WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. Other I/O includes HDMI, camera, and audio ports, as well as both USB OTG and host ports. You also get multiple analog inputs and digital I/Os, plus some serial UARTs. The Creator CI20 can run Imagination’s FlowCloud cloud platform for IoT device management.

 

Cubieboard2

Summary:

  • Company/project — Cubieboard.org, Wang and Tom Development, Ltd.
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM, 4GB NAND flash
  • Price — $59

Description — Identical to the original Cubieboard except for upgrading to the A20 SoC, the Cubieboard2 supports Android and Linux, and offers SATA, microSD, Ethernet, HDMI, and dual USB ports. It also supplies a 96-pin expansion connector.

 

CubieTruck (aka Cubieboard3)

Summary:

  • Company/project — Cubieboard.org, Wang and Tom Development, Ltd.
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM, optional NAND or TSD flash
  • Price — $89

Description — The CubieTruck offers everything the Cubieboard2 does, and more, but has fewer expansion pins (54) and lacks standard flash. You can choose between dual microSD slots, or a mix of microSD and flash options. New features include a generous 2GB of RAM, plus WiFi, Bluetooth, gigabit Ethernet, VGA, and SPDIF ports.

 

Galileo Gen 2

Summary:

  • Company/project — Intel
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Quark X1000 (1x Pentium-compatible @ 400MHz)
  • Memory — 256MB DRAM
  • Price — $60

Description — The Galileo Gen 2 is now shipping, with the lowest price ($60) currently found at NewEgg. Intel’s second-generation Galileo offers the same Quark processor, memory, and Arduino compatibility as the original. The updates are mostly minor, such as changing the USB host port from micro-USB to full-sized, updating the PWMs to 12-bit, and making the 12 GPIOs “fully native” for faster performance. There’s also optional 12V PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) support.

 

Gizmo 2

Summary:

  • Company/project — AMD, GizmoSphere.org, SemiconductorStore.com
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — AMD G-Series GX210HA SoC (2x x86 @ 1GHz)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Price — $199

Description — The Gizmo 2 swaps out the G-Series APU found on the original Gizmo board for a faster G-Series SoC model. The SBC also adds HDMI, microSD, mSATA, and USB 3.0 ports. The SBC ships with Timesys Embedded Linux, but supports other Linux distros, as well as Windows and Minoca OS.

 

HummingBoard

Summary:

  • Company/project — SolidRun
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6 Dual (HummingBoard-i2eX), DualLite (HummingBoard-i2), and Solo (HummingBoard-i1) SoCs (2x, 2x, and 1x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1GHz); Vivante GC2000 (i2eX) or GC880 (i2 and i1) GPU
  • Memory — 512MB (i1) or 1GB (i2eX and i2) DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $50 to $60 (i1), $75 to $95 (i2) or $100 to $120 (i2eX)

Description – This sandwich style carrier board is available with several modular “MicroSOM” COMs, letting you choose from two dual-core and one single-core i.MX6 configurations. The originally announced quad-core model didn’t reach market. Even with one core, the HummingBoard should be faster than the Raspberry Pi it partially clones here. The board offers Pi-like ports, layout, as well as a similar 26-pin connector. All three models offer dual USB 2.0 ports, as well as HDMI, MIPI-CSI-2, and SPDIF audio. The i2eX model, which has an i.MX6 Dual SoC with a better GPU than the DualLite, also adds LVDS, IR, Mini-PCIe, an RTC, and extra internal USBs.

 

LinkSprite Acadia

Summary:

  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6 Quad (4x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1.2GHz); Vivante GC355 GPU
  • Memory – 1GB DRAM; 8GB eMMC flash
    Price — $95

Description — The pcDuino Acadia 1 was announced without pricing in September, and is now listed as the “LinkSprite Acadia,” going for $95. The product does not appear to have shipped yet. (It’s currently listed as unavailable.) The Acadia runs Linux or Android on an i.MX6 Quad, rather than the Allwinner SoCs typically used on pcDuino boards. This full-featured board not only offers eMMC flash and dual microSD slots, but also HDMI, LVDS, SATA, and gigabit Ethernet connections. You also get three USB ports, dual cameras interfaces, and an Arduino-compatible expansion header.

 

MarsBoard RK3066

Summary:

  • Company/project — Haoyu Electronics, MarsBoard.com
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3066 (2x Cortex-A9 @ 1.6GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC NAND flash (expandable to 8GB)
  • Price — $58

Description — The MarsBoard RK3066 replaces earlier Allwinner-fueled MarsBoards, and similarly runs Linux and Android. The modular, COM+baseboard design incorporates a generous five USB ports, a 10/100 Ethernet port, along with HDMI, S/PDIF, IR, and camera interfaces.

 

MinnowBoard Max

Summary:

  • Company/project — Intel, CircuitCo
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Intel Atom E3815 or E3825 (1x or 2x x86 @ 1.46GHz or 1.33GHz, respectively)
  • Memory — 1GB to 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $99 (E3815) or $146 (E3825)

Description — The MinnowBoard Max is the most improved of the second-gen x86 hacker boards on our list. Intel moved to a much faster, more power efficient Atom E3800, and shrunk the board to 3.9 x 2.9 inches. It also added Debian and Android 4.4 in addition to the original Yocto-based Angstrom build. The low-speed expansion header is somewhat similar to that of the Raspberry Pi’s 40-pin connector, providing Arduino-like prototyping I/O and supporting add-on boards called Lures. I/O includes dual USB ports, gigabit Ethernet, micro-HDMI, and SATA. Note that the $99 single-core version has yet to ship, but is promised soon.

 

Odroid-C1

Summary:

  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor – Amlogic S805 (4x Cortex-A5 @ 1.5GHz); Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $35

Description — Now shipping at a hard to beat $35, Hardkernel’s latest Odroid skips the usual Samsung SoCs for a quad-core Cortex-A5 Amlogic S805 SoC. The Android- or Ubuntu-ready board offers a somewhat Raspberry Pi compatible 40-pin connector. The board replaces the Odroid project’s previously announced Odroid-W SBC, which was discontinued before shipping. The 85 x 56mm Odroid-C1 SBC offers microSD or eMMC storage expansion, as well as HDMI in and out, gigabit Ethernet, and four USB host ports.

 

Odroid-U3

Summary:

  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor –Samsung Exynos 4412 Prime (4x Cortex-A9 @ 1.7GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LP-DDR2 SDRAM
  • Price — $65

Description — The Samsung Exynos 4 based Odroid-U3 was the third-ranking open SBC in our reader survey. The U3 is software compatible with the discontinued U2, and supports Linux and Android KitKat. The price is kept low due to the lack of flash, but microSD and eMMC expansion options are available. Other I/O includes micro-HDMI, Ethernet, audio, and four USB ports. The 83 x 48 x 22mm dimensions reflect the built-in heat sink.

 

Odroid-XU3

Summary:

  • Company/project — Hardkernel, Odroid project
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor – Samsung Exynos5422 (4x Cortex-A15 @ 2.0GHz and 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.4GHz); Mali-T628 MP6 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Price — $180

Description — This update to the Odroid-XU continues to run Android and Ubuntu on a Big.Little octacore SoC with four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 cores. However, it advances to a faster new Exynos5422 model with a more advanced Mali-T628 GPU. Otherwise, the main improvement is the addition of an eMMC socket. Other standout features carried over from the XU include both micro-HDMI and DisplayPort connections, as well as SPDIF audio and Ethernet. You also get USB 3.0 host and OTG ports, plus four more USB 2.0 host ports and a 20-pin expansion connector.

 

Orange Pi / Orange Pi Mini

Summary:

  • Company/project — Shenzhen Xunlong Software
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — AllWinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $49 ($40 for Mini)

Description — We have combined the Orange Pi and similar Orange Pi Mini here, as both use the same Allwinner A20 SoC, and offer many similar features. Both boards mimic the Banana Pi, and by extension, the Raspberry Pi. The Orange Pi has a 26-pin RPi Model B compatible connector, plus an 18-pin extended interface, while the Mini has a B+-like 40-pin connector. Common features on the Orange Pi and Orange Pi Mini include SATA, GbE, SATA, and onboard WiFi. The Mini has two microSD slots compared to one for the Orange Pi, but has only two USB host ports instead of four. It also has a Parallel camera interface instead of digital CSI. An upcoming, and still unpriced, Orange Pi Plus SBC will feature a quad-core Allwinner A31, and is otherwise very similar to the Orange Pi.

 

Parallella

Summary:

  • Company/project — Adapteva, Parallella.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor –Xilinx Zynq-7020 or -7010 SoC (2x Cortex-A9 @ 667MHz plus FPGA); 16-core Epiphany RISC coproc.
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $99

Description — Aimed at power-efficient server clustering applications and parallel programming research, the Parallella features a Zynq ARM/FPGA SoC running Ubuntu, plus a homegrown 16-core Epiphany coprocessor. I/O includes microSD, gigabit Ethernet, micro-HDMI, and dual USB ports. Four 60-pin connectors provide for Epiphany and FPGA extensions. With both Digi-key and RS Components as distributors, these boards are now available worldwide. Over 10,000 are said to have shipped.

 

pcDuino3 Nano

Summary:

  • Company/project — LinkSprite Technologies
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 1GB DRAM; 4GB flash
  • Price — $30

Description — When LinkSprite announced the pcDuino3 Nano in September for $39, we were blown away by at the price/performance/feature mix. Now it’s selling for only $30. The Ubuntu- and Android-compatible Nano gives you SATA, gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and three USB ports, plus Arduino-style expansion. Audio, camera, and IR connections are also available.

 

Radxa Rock

Summary:

  • Company/project — Radxa
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Rockchip RK3188 (4x Cortex-A9 @ 1.6GHz); Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM; 8GB NAND flash (1GB/4GB on Radxa Rock Lite)
  • Price — $99 (Pro); $59 (Lite)

Description — This tiny, 100 x 80mm SBC runs Android or Linux on the quad-core RK3188. A Lite version with half the memory sells for $20 less. Both models offer WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as real-world HDMI, Ethernet, USB, and S/PDIF ports. Expansion headers support many more interfaces. Add $10 for a case and antenna. Radxa is prepping a “Rock 2” board based on the quad-core RK3288 SoC.

 

Raspberry Pi Model A+

Summary:

  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2835 (1x ARM11 @ 700MHz); Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU
  • Memory — 256MB SDRAM
  • Price — $20

Description — Compared to the $25 Model A, the Model A+ has been reduced in size to 65 x 56mm, and weighs in at just 23 grams. Power consumption has been reduced to 600mA. The board follows its more popular sibling the Model B+ in advancing to a 40-pin connector and switching from an SD slot to microSD. It also similarly offers an updated audio circuit, combines the audio and composite ports, and moves to a design with four mounting holes and rounded edges. Ports are similar to those of the B+ except that the A+ has no Ethernet port, and instead of having four USB host ports, it has one.

 

Raspberry Pi Model B+

Summary:

  • Company/project — Raspberry Pi Foundation
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Broadcom BCM2835 (1x ARM11 @ 700MHz); Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU
  • Memory — 512MB SDRAM
  • Price — $35

Description — The update to the world’s leading hacker board sticks with the Model B’s under-powered ARM11 processor and half gig of memory, but keeps the $35 price. The Linux-ready Model B+ also adds a new 40-pin GPIO header, two more USB ports, and a microSD slot, and is claimed to reduce power consumption by between 0.5W and 1W. The real draw here is the huge Raspberry Pi maker community, add-on market, and overall ecosystem.

 

Red Pitaya

Summary:

  • Company/project — Red Pitaya (Instrumentation Technologies)
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Xilinx Zynq-7020 (2x Cortex-A9 @ 800MHz plus FPGA)
  • Memory — 128MB DDR2 RAM
  • Price — $470

Description — The Linux-based Red Pitaya is designed for measurement and control applications, especially in education. Built around the FPGA enabled Zynq SoC, the open source board offers a pair of analog inputs and outputs for attaching optional diagnostic probes. It also includes a daisy chain connector, an analog signal extension connector with low-speed ADCs and DACs, and a digital signal extension connector. The Red Pitaya ships with apps for oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, waveform generator, frequency response analyzer, and PID controller functions.

 

RIoTboard

Summary:

  • Company/project — Newark Element14, RIoTboard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6Solo (1x Cortex-A9 @ up to 1GHz)
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM; 4GB eMMC flash
  • Price — $79

Description — The RIoT (“Revolutionizing the Internet of Things”) board runs Android or Linux on a low-power, single-core Cortex-A9 SoC. The 120 x 75mm SBC offers several advantages over the similar Wandboard Solo, including twice the RAM, built-in flash, and many more USB ports.

 

SAMA5D3 Xplained

Summary:

  • Company/project — Newark Element14, Atmel
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Atmel SAMA5D3 (1x Cortex-A5 @ 536MHz)
  • Memory — 256MB DDR2 RAM; 256MB NAND flash
  • Price — $58

Description — Atmel and its Linux4SAM developers site collaborated with Newark Element14 to produce this Linux-ready SBC in order to showcase Atmel’s new SAMA5D3 processor. Designed for wearables and other low-power devices, the 125 x 75mm SBC includes dual LAN ports and Arduino compatibility.

 

Udoo Quad

Summary:

  • Company/project — Udoo
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6Quad (4x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz) or optional DualLite; Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 MCU
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $135

Description — This Wandboard competitor features a Cortex-M3 based Arduino Due subsystem. The 110 x 85mm Udoo Quad offers a pair of lower cost, dual-core i.MX6DualLite options: a $99 Udoo Dual that lacks SATA and the Quad’s faster Vivante GC355 GPU, and a $79 Dual Basic that foregoes WiFi and gigabit Ethernet.

 

USB Armory

Summary:

  • Company/project — Inverse Path
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Freescale i.MX53 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 800MHz)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Price — $130 (crowdfunding price)

Description — At publication time, the USB Armory had just surpassed its Crowd Supply funding goals, with a month left to go. The tiny (65 x 19), low-power SBC is designed for secure computing applications. It features Trustzone security, USB emulation, and a secure boot feature that lets users apply verification keys that ensure only trusted firmware can be executed on a specific device. The Linux- and Android-ready board is limited to two real-world ports: a USB 2.0 OTG port and a microSD slot.

Viola SBC

Summary:

  • Company/project — Toradex
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Freescale Vybrid VF5x (1x Cortex-A5 @ 400MHz) standard via Colibri TF50 COM
  • Memory — 128MB DDR3; 64MB DDR3 with ECC 128MB NAND flash
  • Price — $69

Description — The sandwich-style Viola is typically sold as a carrier board for Toradex’s Colibri modules, but it ships as a hacker-friendly Viola SBC when pre-integrated with the company’s Colibri VF50 module. The CF50 integrates a Freescale Vybrid VF5x SoC with a single Cortex-A5 core. The board provides LCD, Ethernet, and dual USB ports, as well as a variety of serial, analog, and industrial interfaces including CAN. The SBC ships with a Linux image, and Android is supported as well. The CF50 module can be swapped out for seven other Colibri modules that use Nvidia Tegra 2 or 3 SoCs, as well as Marvell PXA SoCs.

 

Wandboard Quad

Summary:

  • Company/project — Wandboard.org
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6Quad (4x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz) or optional Solo or Dual
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM (1GB for Dual, 512MB for Solo)
  • Price — $129

Description — Wandboard.org is one of the more popular open board communities, although like a handful of other offerings listed here, the Wandboard is designed as a modular, sandwich-style, COM+baseboard assembly that makes it more of a “DBC” than an SBC. The combo’s COM includes the i.MX6 and RAM, plus wireless, SD, and camera interfaces. A $99 DualLite-based Wandboard Dual loses the SATA, and a $79, single-core Solo version skips the wireless radios.

 

Warpboard

Summary:

  • Company/project — Freescale, Warpboard.org, Revolution Robotics
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor – Freescale i.MX6 SoloLite (1x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz) with Kinetis KL16 MCU
  • Memory – N/A
  • Price — $149

Description — Freescale announced its tiny, wearables-focused Warpboard almost a year ago at CES, and although it’s now available for pre-order at $149, shipments are not expected until January 2015. Android or generic Linux runs directly on the Warpboard’s single-core i.MX6. Meanwhile, real-time data collection chores are offloaded to the Cortex-M4-based Kinetis microcontroller on the Kinetis KL16 daughter card, which also includes dual Freescale Xtrinsic sensor modules.

 

ZedBoard

Summary:

  • Company/project — Avnet
  • LinuxGizmos coverage
  • Product page
  • Processor –Xilinx Zynq-7020 (2x Cortex-A9 @ 667MHz plus FPGA)
  • Memory — 512MB DDR3 RAM; 4GB SD card
  • Price — $395

Description — Avnet seems more focused on its similarly Zynq-based MicroZed modules than on the ZedBoard, but there are still boards available. The pricey SBC offers the I/O you’d expect from a typical $100 ARM board, but supplements it with extensive FPGA-based expansion I/O.

 

 

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

47 responses to “Ringing in 2015 with 40 Linux-friendly hacker SBCs”

  1. Matthew says:

    I believe you have some incorrect details:

    BeagleBoard-X15
    “Price — $55”
    “No pricing has yet been announced on the BeagleBoard-X15, which ships in February.”
    (The price is unknown at present and is expected to be over $100.)

    MarsBoard RK3066 Pro
    “… dual gigabit Ethernet ports …”
    (But it only has one GbE port.)

    • LinuxGizmos says:

      Thanks. Actually, the board we covered is the “MarsBoard RK3066” (not Pro), so I adjusted the listing slightly to indicate a lower price and single 10/100 Ethernet port.

  2. Mitch says:

    I’m not sure if you can call any of those SBCs that have an SoC containing a PowerVR GPU as ‘linux friendly’.

    You can’t get OpenGL nor OpenCL running on PowerVR GPUs on linux, short of hacking android on top of linux and throwing mesa/gallium out the window.

    Imagination Technologies is as ‘unfriendly’ as they get.

    • jojo says:

      thanks for the head up regarding powerVR and openGL (or not) under linux

    • RGD2 says:

      Huh. Didn’t know that.

      Imagination Technologies, long ago (2002 or so) had provided a binary linux driver for OpenGL acceleration under Linux 2.4
      Unfortunately, it tended to work either well, or sometimes without obvious error excepting much worse performance.
      This was back in the days of the Kyro and KyroII.

      When they gave up on the PC as a platform they gave up on the Linux driver as well as the windows one.

      I think the only reason they lost out was due to so many reviewers pairing it up with a celeron, leaving it badly starved of enough CPU to keep the card fed with tile lists. No hardware T&L, remember.

      I once saw a KyroII run ut2003 at 1280×1024 and maintaining an 85 FPS minimum on Antalus: because the PC running it had two Xeons. I think this was achieved with cheating by using a shim to falsely report hardware T&L to the game, whilst farming it out to the second CPU. I did demand the side of the computer come off to verify it was the KyroII, because I’d just upgraded to a “faster” Nvidia card at the time. (Which, by ut2003 performance at least, it wasn’t).

      The Kyro3 they had under development would have had the hardware T&L, and even at lower peak specs (the Kyro 2 had the same bandwidth and pixel rate as a TNT2) it would have been extremely competitive, even when paired up with a cheap CPU.

      (Ok, yes: I am being a somewhat bitter fanboy about this. )

      Anyway, I’m fairly sure whoever was calling the shots at imagination tech was left with a bitter taste in their mouth regarding driver development, and OSS support in particular.

      But hey, you’re right: they never gave the community a chance to actually provide an open source driver at all, and they’re still not.

      It’s a pity, because their hardware is so damned good.

      Well, thanks for the heads up, at least now I know to keep avoiding them 🙁

    • Alexandru Voica says:

      Hi Mitch,

      Creator CI20 runs OpenGL under Debian.

      Regards,
      Alex.

    • Rob says:

      you can get pvr blobs for gles support (and possible gl and/or cl depending on device), but you are really at the mercy of the vendor to provide this. And if a board doesn’t have good vendor support (or once is is eol’d), then things get painful. Because of the kernel/userspace/firmware coupling, and because pvr blobs are built for one specific gpu, it gets hard to take blobs from some other device, the way you can with most (all?) of the other closed src gfx drivers..

  3. Rob says:

    imho, notable omissions: inforce ifc6410 and ifc6540 (snapdragon), as well as tegra jetson board.

  4. gm says:

    The ODroid W wasn’t discontinued before shipping, it was discontinued shortly after the first round.

    I ordered one the day it was announced and received it.

    It looks like they still have stock of it, actually – but it’s “not recommended for new designs” because they won’t be making any more…

  5. Jim F. says:

    Not to ruin the linux party, but a quick grep returns not a single mention of BSD. Interestingly, it begs the question, “Why?”

    • Luke Leighton says:

      jim: each and every one of those boards requires a special custom-built kernel that required significant effort to develop. unlike in the x86 (standard desktop / laptop) world where there is a BIOS that normalises presentation of access to basic features that an OS expects, and where the remaining buses are general-purpose (SATA, PCIe, USB) there is no BIOS and there is invariably direct memory-mapped access to peripheral buses, each of which is done in a hardware-customised SoC-specific way.

      even when two or more wildly-disparate SoC manufacturers license the exact same hard macro (Mentor Graphics USB2 Host implementation, known as musb in the linux kernel tree) for example, often they will memory-map it in such radically different ways (at 16-bit offsets to the registers instead of 32-bit for example) that they end up writing *different* device drivers.

      does that help make it clear why the much smaller BSD teams simply do not have the resources to port the BSD OSes to these completely different systems?

      don’t worry though: not even linus torvalds fully comprehends quite how complex the situation really is in the ARM world, and nor, to be frank, do the remaining linux kernel developers. they believe that device-tree will help reduce code bloat, whereas unfortunately ARM SoCs are so wildly different that the anticipated code-sharing simply does not happen. in the x86 and PPC worlds however it is utterly different: device-tree has been an amazing success. the difference? even in the PPC world a BIOS is used and the motherboards are designed around the x86 architecture principles of providing PCIe buses, USB buses and SATA buses.

      solving this is therefore nothing to do with device-tree but is instead about making sensible hardware architecture decisions. that’s why i created the EOMA68 standard, and have been working on making hardware available for people to buy. the first unit will be a micro-desktop dock with an EOMA68-A20 CPU Card. the crowdfunding page is in sign-up mode here:

      https://www.crowdsupply.com/eoma68/micro-desktop

    • Andy says:

      The sad answer is, because the support is in very very alpha to beta, when it does exist, the word is not really spread that for at least some boards, there is even freebsd-support.

      Also the FreeBSD project itself does not have the resources to do support. This is where the community comes into perspective.

      Two days ago I received my pcduino 3 nano(A20), very nice board, with ubuntu preinstalled, however I need to get comfortable with the arm-way having used FreeBSD since 5.0 prereleases on pcs it’s a bit of a learning challenge. Also I just want to do something with this board aside from fiddling with getting at least a FreeBSD-kernel installed to boot.

      Cubieboard has the A20 along with the mali400 same memory configuration as the pcduino3,
      I think that is aside from raspberrypi a good chance to have some quick success.

      However I want to get FreeBSD up and running on that board, because everytime I use Linux I just feel visiting someones messy flat instead of a well ordered a comforting loft. Especially when it comes to sources of the basic system.

      But, from the snapshot dirs below you can see where there are at least images availiable(2)
      However search the web revealed there is also a possibility to run cubieboard(3).

      FreeBSD-10
      – BEAGLEBONE
      – RPI-B

      FreeBSD-10.1
      – BEAGLEBONE
      – PANDABOARD
      – RPI-B
      – ZEDBOARD

      FreeBSD-11.0

      FreeBSD-11.0-current
      – BEAGLEBONE
      – PANDABOARD
      – RPI-B
      – WANDBOARD-QUAD
      – ZEDBOARD

      (1) http://kernelnomicon.org/
      (2) http://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/snapshots/arm/armv6/ISO-IMAGES/
      (3) https://wiki.freebsd.org/FreeBSD/arm/Cubieboard
      (4) http://blog.khubla.com/freebsd/freebsd-11-on-wandboard

  6. Manuel says:

    Apart from A10-OLinuXino-Lime and A20-OLinuXino-Micro, there’s been A20-OLinuXino-Lime available for a while with similar prices (actually 2 variants to fix an early problem, I think).

  7. Jay Sprenkle says:

    You might include the Intel Edison (and Galileo) boards:
    http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/do-it-yourself/edison.html

  8. rozie says:

    Could you elaborate how did you check price or just link sources? I see Banana Pi and Banana Pro for $38 and $51 respectively on AliExpress right now. Giving price is always difficult, as it’s likely to change, but 20% price difference may be misleading.

    Anyway, very interesting comparison, thank you!

  9. Stefan bethke says:

    Also missing: the offerings from ACME in Italy, http://www.acmesystems.it. In particular, I’m quite fond of the Arietta G25 as a cheap, bare-bones embedded controller.

  10. buddyglass says:

    MinnowBoard Max, per the product page, doesn’t have a version with 4GB RAM. It’s either 1GB (single-core) or 2GB (dual-core).

  11. buddyglass says:

    Question for the masses:

    I have a project that calls for a low-power multi-core processor (more cores the better) coupled with disproportionately large amounts of RAM and I/O bandwidth. 16GB and either SATA2 or the ability to use a min-PCIe SSD (or two, striped) would be ideal.

    I assume no such beast exists?

    • Luke Leighton says:

      you would be correct in that assumption. basically these mini low-cost boards are all based arounds 32-bit processors, which as you know automatically sets a hard limit of 4GB of addressable RAM, with many of these low-cost SoCs having only 14-bit or 15-bit address lines on a 32-bit-wide data bus to DDR3… meaning there’s a hard limit of 2GB of RAM. such SoCs with those hard limits include the Allwinner A20.

      in other words you will need to find something with a 64-bit processor. on the list presented here, that excludes absolutely every single device. the only 64-bit ARM processors are in development: debian is being ported to aarm64 by way of a special version of qemu, and ARM themselves have only very recently collaborated with a hardware manufacturer to produce an extremely limited set of very special prototype boards as proof-of-concept. so it will quite literally be about another 12 to 18 months before we see a single commercial ARM64 available for sale.

      you are therefore restricted to intel or amd processors. you *might* find something on this list for example that satisfies the requirements you are looking for: http://www.commell.com.tw/Product/SBC.HTM#5.25/3.5%20Embedded%20miniboard

      the first one of the 5.25in boards shows that it can do up to 16gb of RAM, has 6 SATA interfaces and a MiniPCIe slot including SIM card slot. the next one has 2 MiniPCIe slots. however by the time you get to the 3.5in boards they’re simply far too small to go above 8gb of RAM.

      if you really want to go smaller you will have to wait a few more years: LPDDR4 RAM is now actually faster and way more power-efficient than desktop DDR4 RAM (because the bus RAM widths are typically only 32-bit or possibly as high as 64-bit on embedded SoCs).

      • Peter Green says:

        You are a little behind the times luke, AIUI both AMD and APM now have devboards for sale though they are crazy expensive. Theres also a 64-bit arm nexus tablet out there now and someone has got arm64 ubuntu running on it. Unfortunately despite having 64-bit cores the nexus 9 only has 2GB of ram.

        Apple have been shipping 64-bit arm devices for some time too but I don’t count them because they are too locked down.

        None of this however changes the answer to buddyglass’s question which is if you need 16GB of ram in a small form factor atom based boards are about your only option.

        • Rob says:

          not to mention LPAE on 32b devices.. but that said, I’m also not aware of any existing arm based sbc that ships with that much RAM..

        • Luke Leighton says:

          quick google check…. ah yeah, thanks peter 🙂 AMD, HP, a few others, announced ARM64 servers back in oct / sep 2014. are they actually available for sale though?

      • buddyglass says:

        I was actually thinking of just going with a laptop. The problem I anticipate with non-mobile solutions is that even if they use mobile CPUs none of the other components are optimized for low power consumption.

        • Luke Leighton says:

          if you’re interested, i’m currently designing an open hardware 15.6in laptop which will use the exact same module (which linuxgizmos forgot to list here) and will have the (very popular, very-priced reasonably) LP156WH4 / B156XTN02 screen. it’s a 1366×768 resolution. battery will be 8900mAh single-cell, with a very simple power circuit. flat-out you’d be looking at around 3hr life, with care as the parts i am picking are designed for low-power devices you should get away with around 6-8hrs from that.

          i’m about 40% the way through the casework, and am currently sourcing all the parts: keyboard is the only one i haven’t secured yet. it’ll take me about another 3-4 months and i’ll have the first prototype and be able to launch the crowd-funding campaign, ok? if you’re interested you can keep an eye on progress here: http://rhombus-tech.net/community_ideas/laptop_15in/news/

      • Dale Farnsworth says:

        The Minnowboard Max has a 64-bit Intel Atom processor.

  12. Andy says:

    why can’t I see the FIrefly -RK3288?

  13. Goblin says:

    My choice is Raspberry A+ or B+. I don’t care about price or specs. The community and support is everything and the attempts to open source the GPU. It’s also more ethical because it’s non-profit vs all the for-profit companies

    • Chris says:

      There is nothing unethical about for-profit businesses, provided that (a) company is honest about the product and (b) the buyer is not being coerced. And frankly, I could say the same thing about nonprofits.

      I work for a for-profit business; they put food on my table. I bought this laptop from a for-profit company, and I am very happy with it. Almost everything I own was bought from a for-profit individual or business. I bought these things, because I wanted the thing more than the money. And the sellers wanted the money more than the thing. Everybody left the transaction happy, and nobody was harmed. What is unethical about that?

      Also, I’m convinced that “nonprofit” is often just another business model, but with tax advantages. But I digress. 😀

  14. jezra says:

    Are all of the device actually shipping? In the Guidelines for Acceptance you state that the devices must actually be shipping, yet last year you had the Improv on the list, so I just want to double check.

    • LinuxGizmos says:

      No, they’re not all shipping yet. As Eric explained in the introduction…

      “In our May survey, we required that the boards be publicly available and shipping, and not only to crowdfunding backers. This time around we are more lenient, allowing some designs that have been announced with at least primary specs, but which have not been priced or started shipping. We have used our best judgment as to which boards are likely to ship by the second quarter of 2015.”

      He tried to include a sense of the status in each board’s summary. The referenced guidelines were for the survey that we conducted in collaboration with Linux.com last Spring.

  15. Werewolfc says:

    @Eric
    Thanks for the list …. and Happy New Year!

  16. steven says:

    @Eric. Happy New Year! I have found http://m.aliexpress.com/search.htm?keywords=pcduino3+nano Please put the price tag these development board accurately, so that consumers can be better to compare. Thank you very much.

  17. Gordon Lennox says:

    So which board has true Gigabit ethernet support and SATA and 2GB of RAM and comes with hardware, especially the all important video acceleration, properly supported under current Linux distributions (not over 2 year old ones)?

  18. kamikaze says:

    ORLY? No Firefly-RK3288 ?

  19. Chris Elliott says:

    Any of these boards have a -40 to +85 temperature range?

  20. jhpark says:

    Great post! Happy new year.

  21. Ted Tagami says:

    Surprised you do not have the Intel Edison on this short list. High computation, low power and small form factor. Runs Yocto. About $60 with a break out board.

    From Intel’s web site: (http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/do-it-yourself/edison.html)

    Uses a 22nm Intel® SoC that includes a dual core, dual threaded Intel® Atom™ CPU at 500MHz and a 32-bit Intel® Quark™ microcontroller at 100 MHz.

    It supports 40 GPIOs and includes 1GB LPDDR3, 4 GB EMMC, and dual-band WiFi and BTLE on a module slightly larger than a postage stamp.

    The Intel Edison module will initially support development with Arduino* and C/C++, followed by Node.JS, Python, RTOS, and Visual Programming support in the near future.

    The Intel Edison module includes a device-to-device and device-to-cloud connectivity framework to enable cross-device communication and a cloud-based, multi-tenant, time-series analytics service.

  22. Rogério Brito says:

    Hi.

    I appreciate the effort that was put into this compilation of devices, but may I suggest an improvement for further iterations of such compilations? Below is what I posted on https://lwn.net/Articles/628413/

    —-

    I am on the same boat. I would also like one small machine where I could essentially just run XBMC/Kodi from my NAS (so that I can watch lectures, let my little one see his cartoons etc.)

    Unfortunately, the information provided on that site could use some improvements.

    For instance, if it were presented in a tabular fashion (ideally with rows that can be reordered, like in Wikipedia), that would help so much, because the way it is, it is very hard to visualize what are the features that one cares about and what are the features that one doesn’t.

    —-

    Please, consider this as a constructive criticism.

  23. Norbert says:

    Dear linuxgizmos!

    Thank you for review, but for real choose the comparative table is needed.

    Please add it.
    Possible table rows – CPU, RAM, SATA, DVI, D-SUB, HDMI, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPIO, NAND, size, weight, climatic, power (voltage, current, battery), Android support, supported distros.

  24. ljones says:

    While all these boards are intresting, unless you’re just planning on doing very simple educational type stuff or a low end server I’d say avoid all of these for now. The reason why? They all have problems one way or another. Not to go into a lengthy post the main two are low speed and propietary video (gpu).

    It means having to put up with sluggish performance (eg using a web browser but finding web browsing, scrolling, etc painfully slow) or video problems (no hd, no acceleration, No 3d etc). Propietary hardware/software also means you cannot “just” use any OS as well which causes problems. To give you an example the odroid U3 is plenty fast enough to play HD video, but can’t as the mali 400 drivers are propietary.

    I really don’t want to have to spend $100+ only to be able to run android it should be possible to put something like plain old debian on one of these devices. Sadly that often is not the case.

    If you are going to buy any of these devices always do your homework and checkup before buying.

    ljones

    • Rob says:

      The situation is getting better for graphics.. if you care about graphics, go for either r-pi (upstream vc4 gallium driver), something like freescale imx6 which has vivante gpu (etnaviv gallium driver.. not upstream yet, but I guess it should be sometime this year), or snapdragon such as inforce ifc6410, ifc6540, and compulab utilite2 (upstream freedreno gallium driver).

      I’m not sure why none of the snapdragon boards where covered in this review, nor why the open src mesa drivers for vc4 and vivante were not mentioned.

  25. John Geddes says:

    Arduino Tre – I don’t think price has been announced yet. Many are expecting it to be pitched nearer USD100 than the USD39 indicated

    • LinuxGizmos says:

      Thanks for pointing this out. We were also contacted by someone from the Arduino project, asking that we change the $39 pricing to TBD. Fixed.

  26. Luke Leighton says:

    folks could you kindly add the rhombus tech microdesktop dock with the EOMA68-A20 CPU Card as well? it qualifies under the criteria that you’ve set: the crowdfunding page is up in sign-up mode, having satisfied the successful prototyping criteria that crowdsupply set to go ahead: we are finalising details and will launch this month. many thanks.
    https://www.crowdsupply.com/eoma68/micro-desktop
    http://rhombus-tech.net/community_ideas/micro_desktop/news/

  27. LinuxGizmos says:

    If you would like to see how far we’ve come since the first decade of the 21st century, have a look at this interesting guide to SBCs and COMs that was published by LinuxDevices.com prior to its demise…

    Single Board Computer (SBC) Quick Reference Guide

    It was started around 2002, and was maintained until around 2009.

  28. Bert says:

    What we really need is a searchable database of boards… Having GigE and SATA are essential for me, but cpu/ram/etc aren’t so important so i’d want to narrow it down to only those boards which satisfy my requirements, and then pick the best value/spec for the other features.

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