I’ve been experimenting with alternatives to the Raspberry Pi for my visual standards application that I’ve been coding. I tried the beagle bone black as an alternative first, but I really couldn’t get on with it. Although on paper the BBB looked like a viable alternative, the reality was quite different. The performance seemed to be worse than the Pi v1.
Recently I discovered the Odroid’s from Hardkernel. They have a range of SOC development boards that range from the brilliant to exceptional!
Firstly I tried the C1+ which at $32 is great value for money. These are the specifications:
* Amlogic ARM® Cortex®-A5(ARMv7) 1.5Ghz quad core CPUs
* Mali™-450 MP2 GPU (OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1 enabled for Linux and Android)
* 1Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM
* Gigabit Ethernet
* 40pin GPIOs + 7pin I2S
* eMMC4.5 HS200 Flash Storage slot / UHS-1 SDR50 MicroSD Card slot
* USB 2.0 Host x 4, USB OTG x 1 (power + data capable)
* Infrared(IR) Receiver
* Ubuntu or Android OS
It run’s a full desktop of Ubuntu and does this with reasonable ease. It’s hard to believe that you’re actually using a computer that is about the size of a credit card. I opted for the eMMC card option 32gb with Ubuntu 14.04 pre-installed on it. There is a real time clock built in and all that is required is an optional RTC battery to store the date and time whilst the card is powered off.
There is a 40 GPIO pin interface on a .1″ pitch header, the same as a Raspberry Pi. I’ve not used the header yet in my project so I can’t really comment any more on this. But on the Odroid community, which is probably the second biggest community behind the pi, there are lot’s of projects using the GPIO and lot’s of help and advice.
The HDMI port is full size, so no fiddling with adapters or having to purchase new leads if you’re moving from a pi.
I’ve found the C1+ to be perfect for my project, I’m just deploying six of them across the wrapping lines at work. I’ll put a project update on here soon.
I’ve also purchased an XU4 which is the top end board at the time of writing this. It has a 2ghz Octa core processor and 2gb of DDR3 ram. But more about this another time.