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Rockchip's RK3399 is shaping up to be a favorite for single-board makers looking to satisfy demand for a high-powered take on the Raspberry Pi.
Last week Pine64 announced the $60 RockPro64 that comes with Rockchip's six-core RK3399 system on chip. It was notable because other RK3399 boards unveiled last week cost between $100 and $200.
However, Pine64 was able to cut costs by skipping out on storage and a wireless module. Pine64 also announced a $99 RockPro64-AI model that comes with RK3399 SoC, as well as a neural-network processing unit.
Now Hardkernel, the maker of Odroid single-board computers, has announced the Odroid-N1 with similar specs to the RockPro64.
As with the RockPro64, the Odroid-N1's RK3399 SoC has a six-core processor consisting of a dual-core ARM Cortex-A72 2GHz processor and a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 1.5GHz processor. It also features a Mali-T8640 MPF GPU, and 4GB RAM.
There are also two SATA3 ports, an eMMC flash storage module, a microSD slot, two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an HDMI 2.0 port for a 4K display, and 40-pin GPIO port with GPIOs. The board measures 90mm x 90mm x 20 mm (3.5 x 3.5 x 0.8 inches), excluding the cooler.
Hardkernel expects the Odroid-N1 will cost around $110, depending on the price of DRAM when it goes into production, which may get underway in May or June. Pine64's RockPro64 won't be available until March while the AI variant should be available in August.
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Other RK3399 boards recently announced for $100 or more include the AAEON RICO-3399, Orange Pi RK399, and the Rock960.
Hardkernel says that the Odroid-N1 may not go into production if testing over the next few weeks turns up too many issues, or if it can't come up with an affordable design. It is also considering a 2GB RAM Lite model without the SATA ports for around $75.
The board will support Ubuntu 18.04 or Debian Stretch with Kernel 4.4 LTS, and Android 7.1.
As for the recent interest in the RK3399, CNX-Software notes Hardkernel also vetted the Amlogic S912 and Realtek RTD1295, but found the RK3399 best suited its community, which has been clamoring for "faster CPU, more DRAM memory, faster GPU, faster storage IO, and more Linux-friendly".
To show the Odroid-N1 meets the community's demands, Hardkernel ran benchmarking tests of it versus the Odroid-XU4, which it released in 2014 with a Samsung Exynos5422 SoC.
For applications that use all cores in parallel, there was little difference in performance, according to a UnixBench test. Both models have a six-fold performance lead over the Raspberry Pi 3.
On a one big core test, the N1 was 20 percent to 30 percent faster. The N1's GPU was also nearly twice as fast as the XU4's GPU.
Hardkernel notes that it will offer one board with an active cooling fan for those running head applications continuously and another model with a passive heatsink that should suit most uses.
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