Shenzhen Xunlong has been pretty busy churning out new boards over the last few months and years, but is still not active on the software side. However these days, it’s not that bad thanks to Armbian community which provides Debian based images, and supports Allwinner H3 boards pretty well. The company is now about to launch Orange Pi Plus 2E, based on Orange Pi Plus 2 which comes with 2GB RAM, but at a lower cost, by removing SATA, the need for a USB hub chip, and the camera connector, while still managing to upgrade the eMMC flash capacity to 16 GB.
Orange Pi Plus 2E specifications with differences in bold or stricken through:
- SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.3 GHz with ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz
- System Memory – 2GB DDR3
- Storage – 16GB eMMC, micro SD card slot,
SATA interface (via a USB to SATA chip),
- Video Output – HDMI, AV port
- Audio I/O – HDMI, AV port, on-board microphone
- Connectivity – 10/100/1000M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
- USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port (without external USB hub chip)
Camera – CSI Interface
- Expansion – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header
- Debugging – 3-pin UART header for serial console
- Misc – IR receiver; Power, recovery, and upgrade buttons
- Power Supply – 5V/2A via barrel jack or 5V/GND header pins; Power and status LEDs; SY8106A regulator.
- Dimensions – 108 x 67 mm (TBC)
The board was actually made based on requests from Armbian community, that asked for 16GB eMMC for better random I/O performance which is important if you intend to run the operating system, database applications, or any other application that requires many small I/O writes and reads, and the removal of the USB hub chip that shared the bandwidth with SATA and other USB ports. SY8106A regulator was also used to make sure there’s less throttling.
Orange Pi Plus 2E will sell for $35. The company is also working on a $25 Orange Pi PC Plus board based on Orange Pi PC design, but adding WiFi and 8GB eMMC, and a board based on Allwinner A64 is also planned. It’s unclear when the new boards will be available.