Single Board Computer (SBC) category

Wand-Pi-8M: New Open Source SBC

The Wand-Pi-8M is an open source hardware project with community support and a full range of Linux-based distros, starting with Yocto, Ubuntu, and Android Oreo. The board schematics and software source will be available for free download.

This Raspberry Pi like SBC comes in three different  models:

  • Wand-Pi-8M-Lite ($89) – 1GB of DDR4 and 4GB eMMC
  • Wand-Pi-8M-Pro ($99) – 2GB DDR4 and 8GB eMMC
  • Wand-Pi-8M-Deluxe ($119) – 2GB DDR4 and 16GB eMMC

All three Wand-Pi-8M models use the quad-core, Cortex-A53 i.MX8M Quad clocked at up to 1.3GHz.

Specifications

  • Processor — i.MX8M (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.3GHz); Vivante GC7000Lite GPU; Cortex-M4 MCU
  • RAM — 1GB DDR4 (Lite) or 2GB DDR4 (Pro and Deluxe)
  • Storage — 4GB (Lite), 8GB (Pro), or 16GB (Deluxe) eMMC
  • Display — HDMI port at up to 3840 x 2160 (4K HDR)
  • Wireless (Pro and Deluxe only) — Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 module with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2 (BR+EDR+BLE) and MHF4 antenna connector
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port (Atheros AR8035)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 host port
    • USB 3.0 Type-C port with 5V input support
    • Micro-USB debug port
    • 2x MIPI-CSI
  • Expansion — 40-pin RPi-compatible GPIO header; mikroBus connector
  • Other features — Reset button
  • Power — 5V DC input via USB Type-C; NXP PF4210 PMIC
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 50°C
  • Shock resistance — 50G/25ms
  • Vibration resistance — 20G/0-600Hz
  • Dimensions — 85 x 56 x 19.3mm
  • Operating system — Linux, Yocto, Ubuntu, Android Oreo

UDOO X86 Microboard Breakdown

The UDOO X86 board is a single board computer based on Intel quad core 64-bit chipset that runs Windows 10 and any flavor of Linux. The board also has a separate chipset with a full implementation of Arduino. But what make it special is the 64-bit operating system, the USB 3.0 support, up to 8GB of RAM, eMMC/M.2 SSD/MicroSD/SATA, Intel HD graphics, Gigabit ethernet, Separate non-shared data buses and it’s very good expandability. To learn how it’s compared to Raspberry Pi, check the full article by James Chambers here.

Tritium SBC – Linux/Android Board for just $9

Libre has released a three flavor board called Tritium. The first board is a 32bit Allwinner H2+ based with 512MB onboard memory and costs only $9. The next one is in the range of $19, and is based around the 32-bit Allwinner H3, has 1GB onboard and is capable of 4K30 output via the HDMI socket. The most expensive model is the $29 2GB board, based around the 64-bit Allwinner H5 chip. All three of the boards have a proprietary Mali-400/450 GPU onboard. The boards are available on kickstarter and have 58 days to go.

It can be used to tinker with electronics, teach programming, build media centers, create digital signage solutions, play retro games, establish bi-directional video, and unlock imaginations. It is available in 512MB 32-bit 1080P, 1GB 32-bit 4K30, and 2GB 64-bit 4K30 configurations while utilizing a large existing collaborative ecosystem of parts for creators to build new and exciting products and services.

BPi M2 Zero, A Clone of Raspberry Pi Zero

A few days ago, we talked about the Banana Pi M2 Magic as the smallest Banana Pi board. Now we have the Banana Pi M2 Zero, another board by Sinovoip that follows the Raspberry Pi Zero form factor.

The BPi M2 Zero features Allwinner H2+ quad-core processor with 512MB SDRAM memory. The board size is only 60mm x 30mm, the same size of Raspberry Pi Zero W and also has the same interfaces.

BPi M2 Zero

M2 Zero design makes it ideal for light-weight systems with some space-limited applications. Like other members of Banana Pi, it supports both Linux and Android operating systems.

WiFi and Bluetooth LE are supported by the AMPAK AP6212 module. An IPEX connector will allow you to install an external antenna to improve reception, increase range or install in a metal box. And there is no clarification if the antenna is shared with Bluetooth.

Banana Pi M2 Zero Specifications

  • CPU: quad-core cortex -A7 H2+CPU quad-core cortex -A7 H2+
  • GPU: Mali-400 MP2
  • Memory: 512MB DDR3 SDRAM (shared with GPU)
  • Storage support: MicroSD Card(up to 64GB)
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n (AP6212)
  • Bluetooth: BT4.0 (AP6212)
  • Video In: CSI connector that supports 8-bit YUV422 CMOS sensor CSI, CCIR656 protocol for NTSC and PAL, 5MP camera, 1080p video @30Hz
  • Video Out: Mini HDMI
  • Power Source: 5V 2A Micro USB
  • USB Ports: USB OTG(Micro USB)
  • Buttons: 2GPIO 40 Pins
  • OS support: Android and Linux etc.OS
  • Dimensions: 60mm x 30mm
  • Weight: 35g

BPi Zero Interface

The Banana Pi M2 Zero is available now on the AliExpress website at a price of $13 without shipping. Till now, only Ubuntu 16.04 and Arabian images are available on the download page. And also the documentation and drivers are not ready yet.

Ubuntu Core to the i.MX6 based TS-7970

Technologic Systems,Inc. announced that it will be partnering with Canonical to make Ubuntu Core available for their newest single board computer: the TS-7970. The TS-7970 is a high-performance single board computer based on the NXP i.MX6 CPU which implements the ARM® Cortex A9 architecture clocked at 1 GHz.

Bob Miller, founder of Technologic Systems said, “With the functionality of our TS-7970 and the flexibility of Ubuntu Core, I can see these powering virtually anything from industrial Internet of Things gateways, plant automation, network equipment, high definition digital signage, to remote monitoring stations.”

The TS-7970 is ideally suited for deployment into a wide range of robust industrial applications and is truly a high end general purpose single board computer ideal for smart devices, auto entertainment systems, medical systems, enterprise class intelligent control, plant automation, or any high-end embedded systems. Ubuntu Core is ideal for this environment because of its rich networking and protocol support. In addition, Ubuntu Core offers a secure, reliable, and remotely upgradeable platform to easily update and maintain IoT devices making for a more secure and cost-effective deployment.

Should you build or buy your next single-board computer?

by Markku Riihonen @ EDN Europe:

Does it make sense to design and build your own single-board computers? It used to be the sensible option for anyone concerned about matching features to production cost.
Traditionally, with your own board design, you have the freedom to add only the components that are absolutely vital to achieving the right level of functionality for the target application. But the relentless rise of the system-on-chip (SoC) device has changed that equation in a number of ways.

Should you build or buy your next single-board computer?- [Link]

1.7K Voters Choose From about 100 SBC’s — The Results of Linuxgizmos 2017 Survey

Each year, Linuxgizmos does a survey about Single Board Computers (SBC) to find out how many of hackers and makers are using each of which . The results this year show apparently, the domination of Raspberry Pi 3 over the other 97 boards by a proportion of 4-to-1. Raspberry Pi 3 was launched in the first quarter of 2016 and brought some enhancements to RPi2 especially in the CPU side which was 300 MHz faster than the RPi2 one, and an updated ARM architecture: Cortex-A53.

The scores for each SBC was calculated using a Borda scores format: (3 x first choices) + (2 x 2nd choices) + (1 x 3rd choices).

 

Survey Results. Image courtesy of Linuxgizmos

Raspberry Pi didn’t win the first place only, but also the second and the third places went to Raspberry Pi models — the new Raspberry Pi Zero W and Raspberry Pi 2 Model B a Cortex-A53 version of the Raspberry Pi 2.

Dozens of RPi-like clones where on the 98 list of SBCs. Only one has a good result; The Odroid-C2 was in the top 10.

Chinese cheap SBCs like Orange Pi and NanoPi Neo, the 8$ SBC,  which are among the leaders in price and performance on paper had poor results — Orange Pi Zero was in the 28th place and the 31st was for NanoPi Neo.

Even that the most used CPU architecture in the hobbyists’ SBCs is ARM architecture (83 of the 98 boards in Linuxgizmos catalog are ARM based), the list also has eight x86-based boards and seven MIPS-based boards. However, Udoo x86 came in the sixth place, and Aaeon’s Intel Atom based UP Squared came in the 13th.

Last year, the highest ranked from x86-based boards was Intel’s MinnowBoard Turbot Dual.

Talking about the most important features that makers look for in the SBC; Open source software and community support were the most important factors. The other important features are purely about technical specs, except for the price in 5th place and the open source hardware info in the 4th place.

Image courtesy of Linuxgizmos

 

Last but not least, the results of this survey seem to be North America- and Europe-centered as shown in the following diagram. The centric results have some logical explanation. The folks behind linuxgizmos said that SurveyMonkey is blocked in China,the biggest Asian country. Only eight respondents came from China.

To see the full report, please refer to linuxgizmos website, and you can see the linuxgizmos list of 98 SBCs with specs. A table of all SBC scores is available also.

ARM-Android open source platform for Linaro By Huawei

A development platform for the Android open source project (AOSP) has been created by Huawei. The ARM-based hardware is part of the Linaro open source collaborative engineering organization developing software for the ARM ecosystem.

Recently, Huawei has launched the HiKey 960 96Boards development platform to provide access to the latest ARM mobile technology for AOSP developers. Fortunately, You can find this new board  listed on the 96Boards website and is available through global distribution channels.

In fact, initial software support for the board is provided in the AOSP source tree based on the Android Common Kernel using the Linux 4.4 kernel release. Meanwhile, Linaro and Huawei are also working on the Linux 4.9 based Android Common kernel and maintaining support for the Kirin 960 SoC in the mainline kernel.org tree, allowing for the availability of multiple Linux distributions for this board in the future.

In addition, Huawei has released the source code with Linux and other open source libraries and programs for their Huawei Mate 9 / Mate 9 Pro and Huawei P10 / P10 Plus models powered by Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor. You can the source from Huawei open source page.

Full specifications of Hikey 960

  • SOC: Kirin 960 octa-core CPU
  • CPU: 4x Cortex-A53 cores to 1.8 GHz, 4x Cortex-A73 cores to 2.4 GHz
  • GPU: Mali-G71 MP8 GPU
  • Software: AOSP with 4.4 AOSP common kernel
  • Storage: 32GB UFS 2.0 flash storage, MicroSD card
  • Display interface: HDMI 1.2a up to 1080p plus 4-lane MIPI DSI
  • USB: 1 x USB 2.0 type C OTG port, 2 x USB 3.0 type A host ports
  • Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 with on board antennas
  • Camera: 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI
  • IO extended interface: 40 pin low speed expansion connector +1.8V, +5V, DC power, GND, 2x UART, 2x I2C, SPI, I2S, 12x GPIO, 60 pin high speed expansion connector 4L MIPI DSI, 2L+4L MIPI CSI, 2x I2C, SPI (48M), USB 2.0, PCIe Gen2 on M.2 M Key connector
  • MISC: 4x user LEDs, LEDs for WiFi & Bluetooth, Power button
  • Power supply: 12V/2A power supply recommended, 8V-18V/2A via 4.75/1.7mm power barrel (EIAJ-3 Compliant)
  • Dimensions: 85mm x 55mm

At this point, Hikey 960 is available for $239 on Amazon (USA), Seeed, Lenovator and many other stores.

“The HiKey 960 delivers on the goal of 96Boards to provide access to the latest ARM technology to the developer community, with support for the latest Huawei mobile SoC featuring high performance ARM Cortex-A73 cores coupled with the latest generation of ARM Mali GPU technology.” – George Grey, CEO of Linaro

Moreover, you can find information about the HiKey 960 board here and about running Android from here: http://source.android.com/source/devices.html. Also, Linaro is providing instructions for developers here: http://linaro.co/hikey960-start.