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CubieTruck Plus Development Board with DisplayPort & HDMI Sells for $84 (in China)

December 28th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

We first found out about CubieTruck Plus (aka Cubieboard 5) this summer, and while at the time we did not have the full details, it was clear from the board picture and name, that is was an update to CubieTruck board, replacing Allwinner A20 dual core processor by Allwinner A8 octa-core processor, and ditching the VGA port for DisplayPort while keeping most of the same features of the original version.

CubieBoard5
The company has now provided more details while announcing the launch of the board in China, and it turns out CubieTruck Plus has a few more advantages, and at least one drawback.

CubieTruck CubieTruck Plus
SoC Allwinner A20 Allwinner H8
CPU Dual core Cortex A7 up to 1.08 GHz Octa core Cortex A7 up to 2.0 GHz
GPU Mali-400MP2 PowerVR SGX544 up to 700 MHz
Memory 2GB DDR3
Power [email protected] power jack
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz only) Dual band 802.11 b/g/n (AP6330)
Bluetooth 4.0
Storage 8GB NAND Flash 8GB eMMC flash
SATA 2.0 for 2.5” HDD/SSD SATA 2.0 for 2.5” HDD/SSD
(USB bridge)
Micro SD slot
Display HDMI 1.4a and VGA HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort 1.1
Audio Out HDMI, optical S/PDIF, and 3.5mm audio jack
Audio In Line-in pins On-board microphone, and audio jack
with microphone support
USB 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 2.0 OTG port
RTC Battery Rechargeable 40 mAh @ 3.0V
Buttons Reset, power, and u-boot
LEDs 4x user LEDs
IR Receiver Yes
Expansion pins 54 pins 70 pins
Dimensions 112x82x18mm

So that means other improvements include a faster eMMC interface, on-board microphone, full support for headset via the 3.5 mm audio jack, and 16 more I/O pins. The main disadvantage is that due to the USB to SATA bridge, the SATA interface will now be much slower, closer to 30MB/s sequential read and write speeds if properly implemented, instead of the 180MB/s SATA read speed I measured in CubieTruck using  a 128GB SSD.

CubieTruck_Plus_AccessoriesThe CubieTruck Plus will ship with an acrylic case, a fan, a SATA cable, a USB OTG adapter, a mini USB to USB cable, and a USB to power cable. Since the dimensions of the new and old boards are the same, CubieTruck Metal Kit case will also be compatible, except they’ve made some modifications to the back plate due to the VGA to DisplayPort replacement.

The company has also released tools, documentation, schematics (PDF), source code, and firmware image on CubieBoard5 download page with Android 4.4 and Linaro Ubuntu desktop images bootable from SD card or the eMMC flash.

CubieTruck Plus can be purchased for 539 CNY (~$84 US) on Taobao. A few more details may also be found on the product page.

Thanks to MigSu for the tip.

  1. Fossxplorer
    December 28th, 2015 at 17:37 | #1

    Had this board had native SATA, i’d have placed an order now. Either that or USB3.

  2. tkaiser
    December 28th, 2015 at 20:27 | #2

    It’s the same strange design as the Banana Pi M3. H8/A83T has only one USB host and one OTG port therefore all USB host ports and the ultra-slow USB-to-SATA bridge (GL830 — don’t expect to exceed 15 MB/s write speeds) have to share bandwidth since they’re behind an internal USB hub.

    And without a large heatsink or even a fan you won’t be able to clock the H8/A83T above 1.2 GHz over longer periods of time. For many use cases the older Cubieboard is still faster (same with Banana Pi M3 vs. the original M1, their A20 SoC simply rulez)

  3. nofun
    December 30th, 2015 at 18:33 | #3

    whats current state of SGX544 on Linux ? as far as i remember there was no support for that gpu

  4. tkaiser
    December 30th, 2015 at 20:53 | #4

    @nofun
    It depends on the SoC vendor in question. Actions Semi released a binary driver for SGX544 (used in their S500) that works somewhat: http://forum.linux-xapple.org/t/gpu-driver-install-and-benchmark/155

    As far as I know you won’t get this from Allwinner for their SoCs.

  5. stephan
  6. tkaiser
    January 11th, 2016 at 17:22 | #6

    I’ve been wrong before. Unlike Banana Pi M3 on the Cubietruck Plus the GL830 USB-to-SATA bridge is *not* behind the internal USB hub. A83T/H8/R58 have two host ports (one EHCI/OHCI, the other EHCI only to be used for HSIC). On the CT+ the USB hub is connected through HSIC and provides the 2 type A ports sharing bandwidth and the other host port is used for the GL830.

    So while GL830 is still a bad choice (15/30 MB/s max. write/read) at least ‘SATA’ has not to share bandwidth with other USB devices.

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