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$69 PhoenixA20 Pico-ITX Board Features Allwinner A20 SoC

November 25th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Anichips Technology, a Shenzhen based electronics design company, has just announced PhoenixA20, a pico-ITX board features AllWinner A20 dual core Cortex A20 SoC with 1GB, 4GB Flash, HDMI and VGA output, Ethernet, and built-in Wi-fi and Bluetooth.

PhoenixA20 specifications:

  • SoC- AllWinner A20 dual ARM Cortex-A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4GB NAND Flash, micro SD card slot (up to 32GB), and SATA
  • Video output – HDMI and VGA connectors. LVDS, RGB and CVBS signals are accessible via the expansion headers
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.0 (via AP6210)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Camera Interface – CSI
  • Expansion headers – 3x UART, 2x I2C, 1×I2S, 1xCVBS, 4x TVIN, 2x Line IN,  1x SPDIF, 2x PWM, 2x LRADC, 2x FMIN, 1xHeadphone, 4xTVOUT, MIC, IR, TP

The board supports Android 4.2.2, and Linux 3.3 with source code for Linux, Android, and U-boot available from the company’s github account. Documentation and schematics (PDF format) are also available. There are two directory for English and Chinese documentation, but at the moment don’t bother with the English version (basically empty), and all interesting docs are in the Chinese directory. There’s also a Wiki (short but in English, and with somewhat useful links), and a forum, in Chinese only for now, which could be the place where to find bootable Ubuntu or Android images for the board.

It’s one of the rare boards to come with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in this price category ($69 including shipping), as well as a CSI connector (although it’s unclear if any cam is supported right now). The VGA output may be an advantage too. In theory, you should be able to purchase pico-ITX case for the board, but as noted on linux-sunix mailing list, there are not that many off-the-shelf Pico-ITX cases, so this may not be that much of an advantage.

The board can be purchased on Aliexpress for $69 including shipping via China Post, or on Taobao for 369 CNY (~ $60.50).

  1. adem
    November 25th, 2013 at 19:04 | #1

    would this make a good xbmc player and with linux would it have full hw acceleration

  2. Pete
    November 25th, 2013 at 19:05 | #2

    but how this board works? can I install on a lunux arm distribution without pain? what distribution?

  3. November 25th, 2013 at 19:11 | #3

    Not sure, this particular board is very for to use with XBMC. There’s some work to reverse-enginner the VP in A10 (is the the same in A20). But after AllWinner A10 experience, XBMC developers may not be willing to put efforts in this platform.

    That’s the problem for people who don’t read Chinese with this board, including myself. At this time, I could not find images on the Wiki, and although the forum is in Chinese, I could see some download links for Ubuntu images there. Support may be a problem, if they are not willing, or don’t have the resources, to provide better documentation and support in English.

  4. November 25th, 2013 at 20:43 | #4

    Near identical specs to cubieboard2. Competition.

  5. uneofus
    November 26th, 2013 at 03:02 | #5

    Don’t try to cheat us with that “1.2Ghz”: faster than 912Mhz, A20 start to melt down!

  6. November 26th, 2013 at 05:05 | #6

    I think the price is $59 instead of $69?
    anyway this seems a better deal comparing to cubieboard2. cuibeboard2 is slightly more expensive(5%), and it does not have CSI-camera, VGA and wifi/BT _onboard_.

  7. November 26th, 2013 at 07:31 | #7

    Cubietruck with less ram
    and knowing chinese fly by night dev houses consisting of 3 students even less code support

  8. November 26th, 2013 at 09:12 | #8

    The price announced in their blog post is $59, but when you want to buy on Aliexpress it is $69 with free shipping. So maybe it’s $59 for the board, and $69 including shipping. The prices announced for other low cost boards such as R-Pi, Beaglebone Black, Cubieboard (2) usually do not include shipping so for comparison purpose, $59 should be a better number.

  9. November 26th, 2013 at 18:11 | #9

    Really ? any sources ?

  10. Hedda
    November 26th, 2013 at 21:04 | #10

    Allwinner A10, A13, and A20 are not any good for XBMC yet, and still does not look promising since it has gone a year now without A10 support even though it is a very cheap and popular platform.

    Allwinner A10, A13, and A20 SoC’s all uses the same type of CedarX (CedarV VPU and CedarA APU via libve) for hardware accelerated video and audio decoding.

    But if you are a developer and you managed to get the CedarX Video Processor Unit working on A10 then it should also work on A20, and vice verse.

    Otherwise you just have to continue to wait until Allwinner realize that they need to open source their CedarX library and drivers under LGPL or GPL if they like their products support XBMC.

  11. bdj
    November 27th, 2013 at 02:14 | #11

    Not gonna happen. Allwinner has been around for a while now and if they were going to release anything they would have done so.

    XBMC was in talks with Allwinner and said they would support XBMC devs with code but they bailed on XBMC.

    Do not expect any support from Allwinner for any type of code/drivers/libraries.

    I thought Tom Cubie was an Allwinner employee? If he can’t get any support from allwinner do you think anyone else can….

  12. Jim Spegal
    November 28th, 2013 at 12:13 | #12

    What is the operating temperature range of this board?

  13. VP
    December 20th, 2013 at 19:48 | #13

    On Aliexpress it is now $59 without shipping. I ordered one board just after this blog post was published including free shipping by China Mail. Shop sent me email and said that it doesn’t have free shipping. After few emails I got free shipping to Finland by DHL. Now shipping seems to cost $19.47 to Finland by DHL.

  14. January 6th, 2014 at 19:25 | #14
  15. Willy
    January 14th, 2014 at 19:53 | #15
  16. MH
    February 15th, 2014 at 20:16 | #16

    Embeddedcomputer shipping to Finland is €27.53 which is quite an expensive, almost 50% for the price of the board.

  17. onebir
    February 15th, 2014 at 20:42 | #17

    Maybe this is the cheapest place to get one:
    (Pretty sure it’s free shipping for orders >$50)

  18. Roel
    January 18th, 2016 at 19:55 | #18

    Is there somebody who wants to sale this board 2nd hand. I’m searching for one but it seems they are sold out…

  19. January 18th, 2016 at 20:35 | #19

    It’s on eBay, but not really at an attractive price: http://www.ebay.com/itm/PhoenixA20-ARM-A7-Pico-ITX-/221416150700?hash=item338d6e56ac:g:3IwAAMXQC-tTCe2f

    Why do you want this board specifically?

  20. Roel
    January 18th, 2016 at 21:04 | #20

    It’s Pico-itx, easier to put in a case + sata + i2S
    Indeed for this price I can buy something more powerfull, but it’s hard to find some boards with sata.

  21. Fossxplorer
    January 18th, 2016 at 21:29 | #21

    Allwiner A20 boards have gbit Ethernet, but not this one?

  22. Roel
    January 19th, 2016 at 14:54 | #23

    Indeed all to expensive, I can buy a matrix board with a imx6q for 80€. I think I go for that one, altough i don’t know if these have I2S available to connect a DAC.

  23. tkaiser
    January 19th, 2016 at 16:02 | #24

    There exist a few A20 SBC with SATA, GBit Ethernet and I2S available, the cheapest one being Banana Pro: http://linux-sunxi.org/Sunxi_devices_as_NAS

    But you can’t use DAC HATs on Banana Pro due to different pinouts. All informations here: http://forum.lemaker.org/thread-11807-1-1.html

  24. Roel
    January 19th, 2016 at 19:09 | #25

    I was first planning to buy a bpi R1 (or lamobo R1). But I understand from the armbian forum it’s crap It seems indeed that the banana pro has a good design.

  25. tkaiser
    January 19th, 2016 at 19:35 | #26

    I would avoid the R1 (great idea but totally f*cked up implementation). And be careful regarding I2S. Not many A20 boards route it to the outside.

  26. Roel
    January 20th, 2016 at 14:55 | #27

    Seems like the orange pi plus also have I2S: http://www.orangepi.org/orangepibbsen/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=206&extra=&page=1
    I will wait until they tested it.

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