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Orange Pi 2 Allwinner H3 Quad Core Development Board Sells for $35

After Orange Pi Plus development board powered by Allwinner H3 quad core cortex A7 processor, the company has decided to launch a lower cost version of their Allwinner H3 board with Orange Pi 2, that has started selling for a compelling $35 + about $4 shipping worldwide, and provides another sub-$50 alternative to Raspberry Pi 2, ODROID-C1, and Radxa Rock Lite boards.

Orange Pi 2 (Click to Enlarge)

Orange Pi 2 (Click to Enlarge)

Orange Pi 2 board specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.6 GHz with 256KB L1 cache, 1MB L2 cache, and an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot (up to 64GB)
  • Video Output – HDMI, AV port
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, AV port, on-board microphone
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (Realtek module)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – CSI Interface
  • Expansions – 40-pin Raspberry Pi Model A+/B+ (mostly) compatible header with 28 GPIOs, UART, I2C, SPI, PWM, CAN, I2S, SPDIF, LRADC, ADC, LINE-IN, FM-IN, and HP-IN
  • Debugging – 3-pin UART header for serial console
  • Misc – IR receiver; Power, reset, and u-boot buttons; Power and Ethernet LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via barrel jack (micro USB OTG cannot be used to power the board).
  • Dimensions – 93 x 60 mm
  • Weight – 46 grams

Orange_Pi_2_BottomThe cost savings compared to the $59 Orange Pi Plus have been achieved by removing the 8GB eMMC flash and SATA port, replacing Gigabit Ethernet by Fast Ethernet, and reducing the board dimensions. Allwinner H3 has the same ARM Cortex A7 cores as found as in BCM2836 processor used by Raspberry Pi 2, but if H3 is indeed clocked at 1.6GHz, Orange Pi 2 should be nearly 80% faster than RPi 2 when it comes to integer and floating-point performance. It also features a built-in Wi-Fi module that is lacking on both ODROID-C1 and RPi 2, so from an hardware prespective it’s certainly very good value for money. On the software front, the board runs Android 4.4.2, and Lubuntu, Debian and Raspbian images are being worked on, but I can’t find any Allwinner H3 images in the Download section of Orange Pi website, so I’m not sure how you are supposed to boot the board… I’d also expect a much lower level of support compared the Raspberry Pi, ODROID or even Radxa communities, so if you have a problem you might be mostly on your own.

Update: There’s also a version without Wi-Fi called Orange Pi mini 2 that sells for $33.99 including shipping.

  1. March 21st, 2015 at 12:52 | #1

    Damnit. I just bought a couple of RPi2’s. 🙁

  2. jn
    March 21st, 2015 at 17:01 | #2

    linux vpu support?

  3. Roberto Rodrigues
    March 21st, 2015 at 18:50 | #3

    I bought a C1 and I’m very pleased with it. I can stream Mkv full hd over samba to my tv without a glitch and C1 was using a java app with 300mb ram and CPU was at 20% use….
    I’m not regretted about the money spent

  4. kusta
    March 21st, 2015 at 19:40 | #4

    jn :
    linux vpu support?

    0, Allwinner never opened access to cedar library which is for hw decoding of audio and video

  5. Marius
    March 21st, 2015 at 19:53 | #5

    And GPU is closed source blobs too with dubious and limited Linux support. Raspeberry Pi is still the best option and given that it will soon get an open source GPU driver there’s nothing that comes close to it for the price.

  6. March 21st, 2015 at 19:56 | #6

    Too bad for the Gigabit eth removal. Also I don’t know if you need an antenna (There’s a tine socket next to the wifi chip). Also 1.6GHz x 4 may heat a lot … #anxious

  7. LinAdmin
    March 21st, 2015 at 19:59 | #7

    I have not seen any independent benchmark results for Orange Pi and the seller on Aliexpress seems not to have shipped a huge number….

    If the Plus now donwgrades to 100MHz LAN and drops SATA, I wonder for what purpose one should buy it regarding that pcDuino nano is available for approx 30€?

  8. @lex
    March 21st, 2015 at 20:52 | #8

    Waiting for the SDK release, or i will go with C1.

  9. March 21st, 2015 at 21:43 | #9

    @cnxsoft Orange Pi 2 has android 4.4.2 support. We are porting Lubuntu,Debian and raspbian.

  10. March 21st, 2015 at 21:50 | #10

    @Steven
    Thanks. I’ve updated the post with that information.
    But for people who buy the board now, where can they get the Android 4.4.2 image to flash to a micro SD card?
    It’s quite important since it’s the only way to boot the board…

  11. JotaMG
    March 21st, 2015 at 21:58 | #11

    Despite some (probably regrettable) design shortcuts, these boards, when they work (!), they are good value for money.
    Not good for a linux desktop experience, but great for servers or robotics.
    And the people behind OrangePi are working hard to establish a community, and steven is a very responsive and supportive guy.

  12. Werewolfc
    March 21st, 2015 at 22:02 | #12

    @jn
    i think we can keep dreaming. It’s hardly that we are gonna’ see real linux suport

  13. March 21st, 2015 at 22:03 | #13

    We will upload android image in two days. Because Google drive very slower in China.

  14. March 22nd, 2015 at 01:08 | #14

    @JotaMG

    >>> Not good for a linux desktop experience

    How so ? the cpu is not powerful enough or is it the lack of good GPU acceleration ?

  15. JotaMG
    March 22nd, 2015 at 05:13 | #15

    I can only talk about the Allwinner A20 boards.
    My OrangePi (A20) died on the second day (in part my fault), but because it is very similar to Cubieboard2/3 (A20), the “speed feeling” should be very similar, i.e. at 1920×1080, the desktop is useable except for browsing, in particular some websites with bad/intensive javascript and/or lots of images can slow down significantly.
    Things get a little better if you use a lower resolution.
    With the proper modules in place (mali, cedarx, etc) video hardware decoding works in Linux even at 1920×1080. Not perfect but works (I use Smplayer).
    For headless applications (server), where there is not the graphics overhead, the performance of the A20 is good enough.
    I’m curious to see how the H3 performs.

  16. March 22nd, 2015 at 05:21 | #16

    Linux desktop will have good GPU acceleration.

  17. March 22nd, 2015 at 05:30 | #17

    If you use Orange Pi, you can set 720p resolution. H3 is faster than A20.

  18. March 22nd, 2015 at 17:23 | #18

    I dont see how this compares to C1 at all when even the Pi2 doesnt.
    Odroid C1 is the best on this fight gents. On low cost development boards it outshines anything else.
    Lets wait for 64bit era and see what brings

  19. Mark
    March 22nd, 2015 at 21:17 | #19

    I am waiting for a Debian image to buy one of these. I may want to incorporate this into our product. Right now, we’re using the raspberry pi in spite of its lacklustre usb and ethernet performance…

  20. March 22nd, 2015 at 21:50 | #20

    @Steven
    Get a decent VPS somewhere with a static file server, I hate those cheap hosting platforms where you cannot download files with wget.

  21. Mongrol
    March 23rd, 2015 at 05:30 | #21

    No money for allwinner until they start being honest about the GPL. (yes I realise probably all the Chinese SoC makers are guilty but allwinner has been caught multiple times)

  22. huio
    March 23rd, 2015 at 11:32 | #22

    Good effort like the c-1.
    Sadly, and begrudgingly, for general purpose use, the inferior rpi2 will always be superior just because of the community they have built up. Its miles ahead of everyone else and they don’t care if they have inferior hardware because they plan to milk every ounce of performance using their collective mental muscle.
    I mean, they could launch a $60 kickstrater with non-obsolete hardware and sell 100000 plus units at the drop of a hat, but they prefer to go with their price point objective and we kepping buying from them

  23. JotaMG
    March 23rd, 2015 at 18:06 | #23

    @ huio

    Wise comment!
    Sadly, most of the chinese SoCs and board makers are sleeping.
    When (and if) they wake up, probably will be too late.
    Microsoft and Intel are busy doing they home work……………..
    You all see latter this year.

  24. kucho
    March 24th, 2015 at 00:52 | #24

    @Demetris

    well… ODROID-C1:

    – HDMI-CEC doesnt work out of the box, you will need to make some soldering… and then it will crash after a hundred messages.

    – HDMI handshake fails, from time to time the TV goes black.

    – AAC 5.1, dts-hd and dolby truehd doesnt work, but they are supposed to be supported by the hardware.

    – Gigabit ethernet: ok donwloading, 50% performance uploading because of the buffers.

  25. Harley
    March 24th, 2015 at 16:12 | #25

    There is no GPL/LGPL compliant VPU decoder implementation yet,m see http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/03/23/allwinner-cedarx-media-codec-library-gpl-lgpl-compliance-update/

  26. Shant
    May 13th, 2015 at 13:39 | #26

    Hello,
    Does anybody try to install or build Kodi under Lubuntu on this board ?.
    Thanks.

  27. laercio
    July 28th, 2015 at 09:10 | #27

    support for lakka emulation or RetroPie Project

  28. Fred Marsh
    August 21st, 2015 at 13:12 | #28
  29. Fred Marsh
    August 21st, 2015 at 13:24 | #29

    Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz the GPU runs at 71.7 Gflop as for the Rasberry Pi 2 only 24 Gflops But there More Linux Support for Orange Pi 2 Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz GPU which also Helps – Derf

  30. Fred Marsh
    August 22nd, 2015 at 12:39 | #30

    @agumonkey
    Not if you add a Heatsink and Fan your O.K. Also Most Cell Phone and Tablet do not have Heatsink at 2.0 Ghz and they Run Fine – Derf

  31. August 24th, 2015 at 16:08 | #31

    100M fast ethernet port is connected to the SoC directly or via a USB to ethernet converter ?

    Orange Pi 2 mini costs more than R-Pi 2 including shipping (at least in india).

  32. September 7th, 2015 at 19:42 | #32

    The fast Ethernet port is directly connected to the H3 CPU. My performance tests indicate that it is able to achieve almost 98 Mbps in speed tests.

    You can go for the Orange Pi Mini 2 ($25) or the Orange Pi PC ($15). Even with default shipping (China Post Registered Airmail), both cost substantially less than it will cost you to buy a Raspberry Pi and arrive in India in about a month. If you are in hurry, you can opt for Fedex shipping (+$31) and you will get it in about 5 days.

    You can see my review of the board at http://www.rajib.com/tag/orange-pi/

  33. phillip
    September 24th, 2015 at 13:35 | #33

    hat support?

  1. March 23rd, 2015 at 22:29 | #1
  2. March 23rd, 2015 at 23:18 | #2
  3. May 12th, 2015 at 06:15 | #3
  4. August 26th, 2015 at 16:35 | #4
  5. September 1st, 2015 at 13:25 | #5