ODROID-C2 64-Bit ARM Development Board is Now Available for Purchase for $40

ODROID-C2 is a quad core 64-bit ARM development board based on Amlogic S905 processor with 2GB RAM that was planned to launch in early March, but maybe unsurprisingly, Hardkernel decided to launch their latest board, the very same day as Raspberry Pi 3 launch.

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We already knew the specifications, but it’s always useful to mind ourselves of the details:

  • SoC – Amlogic S905 quad core cortex-A53 processor @ 2.0 GHz with 3+2 cores Mali-450 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage – eMMC module socket with 8, 16, 32, or 64GB module by Toshiba or Sandisk + micro SD slot supporting UHS-1 SD cards.
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8211F)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports + micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion Header
    • 40-pin header with GPIO, I2C, UART, and ADC ; All I/Os are 3.3V, except ADC that is limited to 1.8V.
    • I2S interface
  • Debugging – Serial console port (3.3V)
  • Misc – Status & power LEDs, IR receiver, boot selector, power jumper
  • Power Supply –  5V/2A DC input via 0.8mm/2.5mm power barrel, or micro USB port (selectable via jumper)
  • Power Consumption – Less than 500mA in most cases, and up to 2A with USB peripherals
  • Dimensions – 85 x 56mm (Same as ODROID-C1+)

While ODROID-C2 is more expensive than Raspberry Pi 3, it does have a few extra features that justify the price:

  • The processor is based on the same Cortex A53 cores but clocked @ 2.0 GHz instead of 1.2 GHz, meaning integer performance is likely to be around 67% faster.
  • 2GB RAM instead of 1 GB RAM
  • HDMI 2.0 with 4K video output instead of just 1080p @ 60 Hz
  • H.265 and 4K hardware video decoding both of which are missing in Broadcom BCM2837 processor found in Raspberry Pi 3
  • Gigabit Ethernet instead of Fast Ethernet
  • eMMC module support (at extra cost), while RPi boards only support micro SD card storage.
  • Built-in IR receiver

The Raspberry Pi 3 also has some advantages with Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, SPI support, and composite video and stereo audio output (ODROID-C2 also has composite output but it needed to be soldered). The Raspberry Pi community can be be matched in terms of sheer number of people involved, but I think ODROID boards community is now large enough to provide a level of support that not much lower than for the Raspberry Pi. Officially supported operating systems include Android 5.1 and Ubuntu 16.04 beta.

ODROID-C2 can be pre-ordered for $40 + shipping on Hardkernel website, as well as via distributors such as Ameridroid with shipping scheduled for March 4, 2016. One weakness of Hardkernel is their distribution network, which despite serving customers properly, does increase shipping costs, and potentially custom duties, significantly to some countries.

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46 Replies to “ODROID-C2 64-Bit ARM Development Board is Now Available for Purchase for $40”

  1. This is (no offence) a joke. There is no real support in Linx, no drivers, no hardware decoding … RPI3 is like zillion times better device

  2. @david
    They support the Linux well. Kodi 16 works greatly on their Ubuntu/Debian OS images. Even the hardware accelerated H.265 works on their previous generation C1 board.

  3. @david
    @Armer is correct, Amlogic processor have actually supported Linux for a long time, and ODROID-C1 supports Kodi in their Ubuntu image with hardware acceleration, and ODROID-C2 should be the same… I think they may be a video somewhere…

  4. @cnxsoft some interesting info:

    * C2 actually has composite video output, you need to solder 2 pins
    * rpi3 has 1 usb controller for 4 ports + ethernet. c2 has 1 usb controller for 4 ports, gb ethernet has its own phy (not shared), and there is also another usb controller on the otg port.
    * rpi3 has SPI, c2 does not.

    i am curious how much you can overclock the gpu on the pi3. on the pi/pi2, everyone was overclocking it from 250Mhz to 400Mhz, now comes at 400Mhz, so presumably you can get more out of it…

  5. If you don’t need the additional IO ports or form-factor, is there any reason to buy this vs. one of the many S905 mini-PC boxes already on the market? Most of those are < $50 including shipping with nothing extra the buy (power supply, case, flash storage, remote, etc.).

  6. There is one reason: support. Of course if you know how to compile & modify the source code then you don’t need that.

  7. MarkW :
    If you don’t need the additional IO ports or form-factor, is there any reason to buy this vs. one of the many S905 mini-PC boxes already on the market? Most of those are < $50 including shipping with nothing extra the buy (power supply, case, flash storage, remote, etc.).

    another reason : I haven’t seen any s905 box supporting ubuntu or even linux.

  8. @Koxx
    Pardon? Please type ‘s905 linux’ in the upper right search field. And since everything only depends on the SoC each of these boxes will be able to run Ubuntu 16.04 with HW accelerated video decoding soon. Just take Hardkernel’s OS image, fiddle a bit around in .dts files and maybe u-boot and you’re done.

  9. @Armer Not that great. I’ve just decommissioned my Odroid C1 because the old 3.10 LTS kernel which Odroid released does not support the features that I need (btrfs related). Although they’re good at keeping it patched while the product is alive, Odroid is clearly not going to bump a product nearing the end of its life to a newer kernel version. And Amlogic themselves seem uninterested in getting any of their code mainlined.

    A year after purchase my C1 is gradually getting obsolete. Not so much with the Pi or Pi 2.

  10. @tkaiser, humm … ok and after using search, what s905 box did you find with linux NATIVE support ? I am very interested, because I searched for it a long time (but I don’t want to hack dts or such file)

  11. @Koxx
    No idea unfortunately. I know only the Geekbox (RK3368) that supports Linux out of the box. I would search for a S905 box with an externally available SD card slot since a Linux image for this box will be made by someone sooner or later.

  12. @david
    you must be kidding, right? I just can’t believe it’s possible to say that seriously. Just a random comparison fact: how 1GB LPDDR2 ram could be ‘zillion times better’ than 2GB DDR3 of ram? 1.2GHz CPU better than 2.0GHz? For the same price! And the same by almost every point in the compared specs.

  13. Koxx :

    MarkW :
    If you don’t need the additional IO ports or form-factor, is there any reason to buy this vs. one of the many S905 mini-PC boxes already on the market? Most of those are < $50 including shipping with nothing extra the buy (power supply, case, flash storage, remote, etc.).

    another reason : I haven’t seen any s905 box supporting ubuntu or even linux.

    Some more reasons;
    gigabit
    2GB ram
    there are good working openelec build for odroids

  14. @Peter den Haan
    Hardkernel isn’t really to blame for the poor kernel support. Blame the chip makers and ARM. They only care about Android, so they hack together some old kernel and push it out the door. Nothing gets pushed upstream and you’re lucky if they update it at all. It’s the biggest problem with any of these ARM boards.

  15. My only problem with hardkernel is that their shipping is usually very expensive and this significantly increases the board price.
    What rPi does have is lots of open source and support. Mainline support and an open source GPU driver is certainly nice to have.

  16. Fiddling with the DTS won’t make a TV box work with the odroid images. They have only the same soc, but the pmic, USB controllers, network subsystems are very different.

  17. @cnxsoft I think this is now out of date “eMMC module support (at extra cost), while RPi boards only support micro SD card boot”

    The Pi 3 B supports USB and PXE network boot now. No longer just booting from uSD card. Network booting could be incredibly useful for classroom situations.

    Big problem with C2 (and previous ODroid boards) is the ancient kernels they are shipping with.

  18. memeka :
    Fiddling with the DTS won’t make a TV box work with the odroid images. They have only the same soc, but the pmic, USB controllers, network subsystems are very different.

    that’s true, it’s not that easy a thing to do, and using another board image will almost never get your hardware fully
    functional.
    But i’m assuming that if you can fiddle with DTS files and uboot, you can also build your own kernel to solve driver issues, of course specific gpios (irda, lights, buttons) may still not work properly but that shouldn’t be a system breaker. Not sure it would give you accelerated video and 3D features though but the current kernel/driver sources for the s905 should (not tested).

    I am personally getting quite frustrated not seeing boards with (native) sata2 or usb3, for proper gigabit / storage performances. I know those arm chips don’t have that and they’re designed to cut costs all around so i guess it won’t change anytime soon at least in this price range.

    I could use, but don’t really need the extra ram & cpu power, so i’m still pretty satisfied with my old pcduino3 nano (A20) and have all the up to date images i need thx to armbian.

    And yeah community support makes all the difference, if your hardware is a little weaker, as long as you don’t miss an essential feature, always go for the board with the better community (rpi), you will never regret it.

    I must admit i thought “raspberry pi 3” was a typo when i read the first lines, i haven’t had time to toy with my rpi2 yet !

  19. @Steve – Do you have a source for the claim that RaspPi3 supports PXE boot? That makes an interesting use case, if indeed it is an accurate statement.

  20. @cnxsoft
    Same here. I have 4 ODROID boards, but I stopped used them due to the lack of upstream support. Support arrived after the boards were no more manufactured.
    I did like ODROID, but after long-term usage I don’t think I want to invest in boards without upstream support. Pine64 is getting upstream support, so does Geekbox, so will be RPi 3.

  21. I just posted initial mainline kernel patches for S905, in case any Odroid-C2 owner wants to experiment with deriving a .dts – should be trivial (and MMC patches by Carlo are around for a rootfs).

    @davidlt
    Odroid-XU is the only one I’m aware of is missing upstream, any others? My exynos5410 patches hardly got any Samsung review and I pretty much gave up, while Hardkernel actually were at least supportive of that effort. Feel free to contact me for taking over that effort.
    GeekBox kernel patches were again by me, Pine64 by Andre – many boards are community efforts, sadly.
    Raspberry Pi 2 patches weren’t exactly done quickly either, only time will tell whether that improves with the Pi 3.

  22. davidlt :
    @cnxsoft
    Same here. I have 4 ODROID boards, but I stopped used them due to the lack of upstream support. Support arrived after the boards were no more manufactured.
    I did like ODROID, but after long-term usage I don’t think I want to invest in boards without upstream support. Pine64 is getting upstream support, so does Geekbox, so will be RPi 3.

    odroid xu4 can boot mainline (http://forum.odroid.com/viewtopic.php?f=95&t=18034), u3 can boot mainline, i think c1 can boot mainline (not 100% sure abt this).

  23. @Koxx
    You must have never heard of Endless…..the mini is the most powerful AML implementation of linux thus far…..this……is a headache. I agree with buying the already supported devices out there.

  24. @mdel
    I you’re looking for ‘(native) sata2 or usb3’ then still A20 is your friend (low price/performance) or Marvell/RealTek SoC’s that target NAS/router market. And providing one OS image that runs on a variety of boards is possible. It requires a bit of work but can be done. We’re currently doing this with Armbian to support all H3 devices (Orange Pi’s, the upcoming Banana Pi M2+ and Olimex boards and then OTT boxes)

  25. @tkaiser
    Do you have some references for those Marvell/RealTek socs based devices ?

    i see that the Hisilicon (Hi3796M/Hi3798M) has native usb3 but no gigabit (was looking at the U4 Quad hybrid), their high end Hi3798C is full featured (sata,usb3,gbe) but will probably target product outside my price range and i have no idea of status of Hisilicon linux support, i will not use android.

    The fact is i could actually use more cpu power, the A20 can’t handle vpn at more than 100-150Mbps. Well, its gbe is actually capped at around 450Mbps anyways but the A20 cpu is really extremely weak and can’t handle “massive” I/O.

  26. @mdel
    The RTD1195N is used in Bufallo Linkstations (and maybe a few other NAS) and Marvell produces SoCs that show excellent IO/network throughput since years (Kirkwood/Armada). I would’ve a look for Armada 38x as used in Turris Omnia or Solid-Run’s Clearfog. The SoC can be configured through u-boot to either use (m)PCIe or SATA therefore using a mechanical converter you could attach SATA disks instead of mPCIe WiFi cards. BTW: NXP’s i.MX6 could also be interesting.

    Regarding A20 there’s a hardware encryption engine (showing driver problems: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/linux-sunxi/InsDjSm3J6A%5B1-25%5D ) and you’re able to get close to 940/750 Mbits/s with appropriate settings: http://linux-sunxi.org/Sunxi_devices_as_NAS#Influence_of_the_chosen_OS_image_on_NAS_performance

    As we’re talking about the ODROID-C2: I hope the successor (C2+?) will be based on S912 and I also hope S912 supports USB3.0 and will be ready this year.

  27. davidlt :
    @cnxsoft
    Same here. I have 4 ODROID boards, but I stopped used them due to the lack of upstream support. Support arrived after the boards were no more manufactured.
    I did like ODROID, but after long-term usage I don’t think I want to invest in boards without upstream support. Pine64 is getting upstream support, so does Geekbox, so will be RPi 3.

    Pine64 may become a great option, if Allwinner really is going for mainline…

    http://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=110&page=2

  28. @tkaiser
    thx for the input, i’ll look for those socs.

    Yes i did spot the i.MX6, but the price range of the boards i could find was too high.

    I must say i’m looking for really cheap hardware solutions, when nearing 100e you get plenty of “mainstream” devices, and lots of second hand pieces of much higher end devices.

  29. tkaiser : you’re able to get close to 940/750 Mbits/s with appropriate settings

    Yes i did find out about that after using the pcduino image for a few weeks. I’m now using armbian vanilla which is supposed to give optimized performances, and i double checked the system options described on those articles.

    I do get better performances (~600Mbps, ~450Mbps was with the pcduino image and i kept that in mind), but nothing near 800-900Mbps. Good to know there may be hw encryption problems but my vpn link seems stable and i don’t get errors in the logs.

    But my impression was that the main problem was cpu or i/o related because when testing network or sata speeds (no encryption), cpu load would jump through the roof, so i was assuming that was the bottleneck.

    So yeah it’s probable would still get better vpn speeds from a faster cpu with only USB2 storage, i will test that on the only arm box i have with gbe (m8s+, s812).

  30. @Eugen
    Almost no boards have that, from what i understand at least for Amlogic chips, socs with licensed hw decoders are separate, more expensive, chips (license price).

    The best you can hope for is to get hdmi passthrough, and that’s not always an option either, but it’s usually software related so it may be fixed at some point if it’s not working out of the box. I don’t speak for the odroid c2, i don’t know if HD audio passthrough works on that board or not.

    on the other hand those arm processors getting more and more powerful (and 64bit), you can also hope that it’ll be capable of software decoding those HD audio streams.

    I’m not entirely sure but i remember that DTS (not HD) could be (almost?) software decoded on rpi1 (single core 700Mhz).

  31. @mdel
    Software downsampling of DTS/Dolby to stereo audio PCM is technically possible (Kodi handles that just fine), but since the license holders don’t get their fees, so they are not happy about that… That’s why MX Player app had to drop it, and Amlogic has two separate SoCs/SDKs with one without Dolby/DTS and the other with.

  32. DTS-HD MA and True HD Audio passthrough does properly on the C2 when using the LibreELEC Kodi image.
    In fact when using LibreELEC, Kodi works very well for a 8/10bit H264/H265 1080/2160p video decoding.

    The C2 pretty nippy little device, especially when combined with eMMC 5.0 storage. Boot time 10 seconds.

  33. odroid c2 – 40$
    case – 4.5$
    hdmi cable – 4.2$
    total: 48.7$

    shipping: 16$
    customs fee: 15$

    total for c2+case+hdmi cable: 79.7$ :-/

    hardkernel had cheaper shipping methods (airmail) but unfortunately stopped using these and left expensive ones only.

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