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 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
The 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.