$49 Cubieboard: AllWinner A10 Open Hardware Development Board

The Cubieboard is a development board for the AllWinner A10 Cortex A8 processor. Contrary to some other AllWinner A10 “development board” that are simply based on a tablet  or mini PC PCB, the cubieboard has been designed specifically as a development platform and provides access to I/O pins.

First Prototype of the Cubieboard

Here are the specs of this development board:

  • SoC – AllWinner A10 1GHz ARM cortex-A8 processor with Mali400 GPU
  • System RAM – 1GB DDR3 @400MHz
  • Storage – 2 MMC slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1080p
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet
  • USB – 2 USB Host, 1 USB OTG
  • 1 IR sensor
  • 96 expansion pins including i2c, spi, lvds, sata…

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be supported via external USB dongle(s). The prototype above is the first revision of the hardware, and final hardware may look different. Some connectors (e.g. SATA) are not soldered in the picture above.

The cubieboard is expected to be an open-hardware board, and if that’s the case, the schematics, PCB layout, gerber and mechanical files will be available publicly. As with other AllWinner A10 hardware, Android 4.0.4 and several Linux distribution will be supported such as Ubuntu 12.04 desktop.

The board is still being developed, but the first beta boards should be available early September for $49 US + shipping, possibly sold to developers only (TBC).

You can find some more information on sunxi-linux.org website, as well as cubieboard.org which is still under construction, and even though there’s a “Buy Now” button, you can’t buy just yet.

[Update: You can now buy the 512M prototype for $45 + shipping on Aliexpress]

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27 Replies to “$49 Cubieboard: AllWinner A10 Open Hardware Development Board”

  1. yes, the cubieboard (intended as BeagleBone competitor) and that aliexpress shop are both from Tom Cubie (aka hipboi). Also the author of the initial u-boot/mmc for sunxi and the software engineer at Allwinner Tech who GPLed the code released by QWare.

  2. has this got sata on it ? and if so as cubie is/was an allwinner employee is it likely to get decent linux drivers or at least allwinners updated (and working well) android 4 sata and associated drivers to have a try with linux ?

  3. @mac me: the picture shows an unpopulated sata connector on top… but I believe the final board will come with eSATAp instead.

  4. @Alejandro M.
    SATA, yeah!! (& not an upopulated SATA connector)

    I guess dual and quad core A10s must be in the works – maybe Tom Cubies will be able to upgrade to those pretty quickly when they’re released?

  5. I find all those boards, which have mostly very similar specs, very boring. Where are the 3x Gb-NIC add-ons and the 12x SATA, 4x PATA plugin boards? 😉 Or the expandability of RAM? Not kidding!

    But my sincere congrats to Mr. Cubie for realising this board! Thumbs Up!

  6. @.jon
    all these are development boards. they doesnt have to be extrapowerful, only provide a target compatible platform, easier to access, to develop your application. it doesnt even have a case…

  7. @MCG: I know. My point was not, that these are no finished consumer procucts. My point being is, that the market is full with boards, that are mostly similare. None offers any big advantage over the other (except those, that have ‘shields’). And if so (‘shields’) only for very exotic applications. A single ARM SOC with 3x GB NIC is no mass product, either. You won’t see such devices in WalMart or BestBuy. Not have I ever heard about a 12x SATA card or an ARM SOC with 4x PATA. So, even my desire is pretty exotic. And I am a tinkerer, maker. But the advabtages are clear: Unraid or any similare on a low-power ARM. A router/firewall/AP, that has enough RAM and CPU to run TOR and VPN clients, and other stuff, while being more powerful than the typically modded WiFi router, etc.

    What I currently see is happening is a craze and race to get Android and Linux running on these boards, or to get the even cheaper from China. But no real interesting project coming out.

    Admitted, access to these boards is very fresh and it’s new land for many of us.

  8. @Jon i got same query. Give me a naked board with ports I’ll add my own stuff. Why not a slot for ram like we have for micro SD, and few more things 🙂

  9. When I try to access cubieboard.org on Windows 7 I get the warning:
    Website Blocked by Trend Micro™ Titanium™ Maximum Security 2012
    Dangerous Page


    Trend Micro has confirmed that this website can transmit malicious software or has been involved in online scams or fraud.

    Please close this page.

    I’ve accessed the site on Ubuntu and asked several times what the operating temperature range of the board is. All comments need to be approved by the moderator and my question never makes it to the comments.

  10. @.jon
    I don’t know the exact dimensions, but from the pic here:
    you can see that the port at the bottom right in the pic above is the RJ45. If that port is the same as the one on the Raspberry Pi, it’s about 1.5cm wide. That means the pic above is scaled up by about ~4:3, ie the a real Cubieboard’s about the same size as a Raspberry Pi (eg 8.5cm x 5.5cm)

  11. the problem with all these “boards” is that they are great for playing with .. but while the linux source is poor (compared to other SOC makers who generally provide a decent quality source) and drivers .. as an example i presume this board doesnt natively provide sata support which means the mess the current GIT linux source is in w.r.t. SATA will not impact on it, but the mess the current GIT linux is in with video drivers etc is … so in terms of an SOC for linux then the A10 is a poor choice until (or if) allwinner provide some support …

    i still havnt seen anything to beat the mele a1000/2000 for the price .. you get a hacker friendly nicely cased with PSU native sata a10 based device even with a sata drive caddy to slot in to the sata port … mele have given it a top quality android 4 (where sata actually works across the board unlike the GIT linux and hipboi android 4) [albeit the mele is only 512MB RAM]

    by the time you add your case/usb drive case and psu to the cubieboard you have a sataless device for more than the mele ..

    for me i’m finished with allwinner SOC’s moving forward until they release decent linux drivers and source (like mose decent SOC makers do) .. with tegra quadcore tablets @ the 160USD mark it can only be a matter of time tillwe see a sub $100 quadcore board and if it has SATA and decent linux support then thats the next one for me

  12. Very interesting, some of their boards are already even the right shape…

    & at the end
    Q: “Why don’t you put one [Exynos 5] in a laptop”
    A: “Lots of reasons. We cannot say on camera.”

  13. The datasheet for the AllWinner A10 processor their using shows that there are two different processors models available. Commercial temperature (-25 to +85C) and a Extended temperature model (-40 to +85C). Unfortunately the components they chose for the board have more limited temperatures then even the commercial model of the A10. Giving the board a limited range of about -10 to +70C.
    http://linux-sunxi.org/images/3/33/A10_Datasheet.pdf (Table 6.2 page 48)

    The A13-OLinuXino made by Olimex uses components which are the same or greater temp as the A13 processor on their board (-25 to +85C). This make the Olimex board much more usable for real world applications such as alternative energy monitoring (solar hot water heating ect.)

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