Want a Free Banana Pi M2 Ultra Board? Upload a 2 Minutes Video about Your Allwinner Experiences and Plans

Banana Pi  BPI-M2 Ultra is a development board powered by Allwinner R40 quad core processor with a native SATA interface, as well as Gigabit Ethernet. If you are a developer, and would not mind getting a free sample, Allwinner is giving away boards to people uploading a 1 to 2 minutes video to YouTube.

The rules are detailed below:

Dear Developers of the World,

Allwinner Technology would like to thank you for your outstanding contribution to our open source community and invite you to join our video-shooting program. Please cover the following topics in your video:

  • Who are you and why did you choose Allwinner in the first place?
  • What did you do with your Allwinner powered development board?
  • What are your expectations for Allwinner’s latest open source platform, the R40?

It needs to be:

  • Shot in a video resolution of 720p or above
  • 1-2mins in length
  • Submitted between Apr 20th 2017 and May 1st, 2017

Please upload your video to Youtube and then send the link as well as your contact phone number, post code and address to eva.wu@allwinnertech.com so that we can send you our latest R40 development board as a thank you gift.

The videos will be used both to get feedback, and in some cases they may be used in promotion materials. The video should preferably be in English, but I assume if you shoot it in your native language with subtitles in English, it’s also OK.

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40 Replies to “Want a Free Banana Pi M2 Ultra Board? Upload a 2 Minutes Video about Your Allwinner Experiences and Plans”

  1. The R40 is a Cortex A7 (32-bit)…

    For the price of the Banana Pi M2 Ultra, why would you not just buy the ESPRESSObin? $49 from Amazon, releasing in May.

    You’ll get a newer processor (ARMv8), SATA, USB3, Mini PCI-e and more Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. As a Marvell design there should also be excellent Linux support (you cannot say the same for Allwinner).

    I’m not a Marvell shill, just wondering why anyone would spend the money on this outdated Allwinner board when you can get the ESPRESSObin?

    Still, $50 board for 2 minute video…

  2. Thanks for the hint! I will try to upload a video this evening. Normally the board would be too expensive imho for ARM, but for free it might fit my criteria.

  3. @tkaiser
    > Still, $50 board for 2 minute video…

    I think I addressed this 😉

    Do you want a free BPi M2 Ultra so Armbian can fix up BPi/Allwinner’s crap?
    I don’t think you want to waste your time with it. BPi/Allwinner clearly don’t care, they’re just handing these out so other people can fix their shit. Much cheaper to give away a dozen of these boards than pay a kernel developer.

    I’m still happy to make a video if you want to have an extra one… shipping to Munich will be cheap 🙂

  4. I wonder why my comments to this website usually disappear…
    not very motivating, maybe best to came back next year !

  5. Anyway I just said that “Mum” for sure will get a *banana* from Allwinner, but probably not the Pi one he/she expects…

  6. @Theguyuk
    The video must have three parts:
    1. Presentation: “I’m theguyuk”
    2. What did you do: “I blinked a LED”
    3. Expectations for R40: “Blinking two LEDs”

    That should qualify 🙂

  7. @Mum

    I’m intrigued why one would want something from Marvell. Seriously.

    The Plug units from Globalscale and Marvell never QUITE fulfilled their promises they made and they were harder than hell to obtain save with semi-crippled PogoPlug units. Marvell’s ARM offerings have been…heh…entertaining in the power/performance domain, where they consume more power than a Sitara or OMAP3/4 for only three fourths the performance.

    Some things about this thing you **ARE** shilling here:

    1) Dual core. For many instruction mixes, they’re going to perform similarly…unfortunately.
    2) The price you’re quoting? It’s for the base RAM system. 512MB vs. 2GB. Hm…

    Upshots of this if you’re trying to make a router or mini-NAS is that it’s got hardware features for PCIe devices for wireless, etc. expansion that the Allwinner based solution has. And…maybe…MAYBE…they’ll support you better. Marvell’s not exactly a saint in this space, having worked with them as a vendor with many clients and customers for my consulting services.

    In short, it’s a push…and you’re not convincing me that Marvell’s not off doing similar to what you’re accusing Allwinner of here.

  8. Guess I need to finish up my little project with the A80 board I have and video it. >:-D

    Free is free, to be honest and snark in regards to Allwinner and BPI in the thread, it makes for a board I didn’t have to buy for putzing with.

  9. Nobody of Import :
    if you’re trying to make a router or mini-NAS is that it’s got hardware features for PCIe devices for wireless, etc. expansion that the Allwinner based solution has.

    Huh? So Wi-Fi is Wi-Fi and there’s exactly no difference between this crappy 1T1R 2.4GHz AP6212 onboard thingie on all those Bananas and a cheap dual-band/triple-antenna AR9380 mPCIe card (called ‘AirPort Extreme’ on ebay to be combined with the usual patch to unlock regulatory restrictions / 5GHz AP mode in ath9 driver)? Less than 5 Mbits/sec are the same as +100 Mbits/sec? AP crashing when more than 4-5 clients connect or running stable even with +10 devices makes no difference?

    Unfortunately ‘SATA’ on R40 is as crappy as it was with A20 already and it takes not even a second to decide between BPi M2U and such an ESPRESSOBin (where there’s one really fast SATA port and also a fastUSB3 port and it’s easy to add 2 or even 4 still fast real SATA ports using an el cheapo ASM1062 or Marvell 88SE9215 mPCIe SATA controller and where the 3 GbE ports behind the TOPAZ switch are connected with 2.5GbE upstream to the SoC)

  10. @Nobody of Import
    > 1) Dual core. For many instruction mixes, they’re going to perform similarly…unfortunately.

    How is 2 Cortex A53 cores (ARMv8) is worse than 4 Cortex A7 (ARMv7) cores? Sure, it’s fewer cores, but the A53 benchmarks much higher than the A7:

    > 2) The price you’re quoting? It’s for the base RAM system. 512MB vs. 2GB. Hm…

    The base model ESPRESSObin ships with 1GB of RAM, not 512MB? I only see the 512MB model available from Kickstarter, and there it is $39:

    So yes, it does depend on your use case. For anyone who actually wants to use a SATA disk at nearly Gigabit speeds, don’t buy an R40.

    You’ve also ignored the fact that the ESPRESSObin offers PCIe, USB 3.0, and 3 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. So yes, while it may not match the BPi M2 Ultra in core count or RAM size at the same price point, I don’t really see how you can argue it’s a worse board for the price.

    But hey, if you’re just interested in SBCs with a higher number of things, I’ve got one with 12 RS-232 interfaces you might be interested in…

    > Marvell’s ARM offerings have been…heh…entertaining in the power/performance domain, where they consume more power than a Sitara or OMAP3/4 for only three fourths the performance.

    I have a PandaBoard ES (OMAP 4) and a Marvell based NAS (ARMv5). Sure, the PandaBoard outperforms the Marvell NAS on CPU operations, but try putting a SATA disk on the PandaBoard ES and get back to me with the performance. Even the 100MBit Ethernet on the PandaBoard is connected via a USB hub, like the Raspberry Pi.

    The only advantage of this board over the other ARMv8 boards available (e.g. Pine64, Orange Pi PC 2) is that it has a native SATA port. So comparing it to other boards based on CPU performance is a bit moot. Most people buying this are interested in the SATA functionality. Why else would anyone buy a board with Cortex A7 cores when you can buy a cheaper board with an equivalent number of Cortex A53 cores and RAM for far less money?

    And if you are interested in SATA performance, again the R40 loses to other boards in a similar price range like the ESPRESSObin.

  11. ” ‘SATA’ on R40 is as crappy as it was with A20 already ”

    Tkaiser is another strong candidate for *bananas* from AW… rsrs

    More seriously: where from in the R40 that bandwidth bottleneck comes?

  12. @tkaiser

    Heh. I misstated myself. Allwinner has it’s own set of features and functions and the ESPRESSObin has it’s own as well. For some networking functions, the ESPRESSObin is ahead by leaps and bounds over the Allwinner/BPI board. For some things, though, that role flip-flops.

    With PCIe capabilities on the ESPRESSObin you can add (magic word there) whatever WiFi you opt to do that supports AP mode in the Linux world.

    On board WiFi for the Allwinner equates to IoT devices and similar lower-end consumer things like internet Radio tuners, etc. You don’t NEED more than 1×1 performance for most things you’d see the use of this for…so does it make sense from a cost perspective to spend $45 and then another $20 to do what you’re talking to? Most cases, no.

    In the end…

    Do you need video? That kind of scotches the ESPRESSObin out of box. It doesn’t have video, really.

    Do you need camera? Ouch. Same there.

    Do you need SATA to make for LARGE storage? Either will work, but the ESPRESSObin works waaaay better if you’re doing anything other than light duty serving.

    Do you need router like functions? If you don’t need more than 150N, the RAM for your application and costs will dictate what is more suitable. If you’ve got to spend more for the function and DON’T need 2×2 or 3×3 function…why are you spending MORE money on something that won’t out-compute (just because it’s 64-bits, doesn’t make it faster unless they’re clocked the same, have the same ram, and the same number of cores…) the other? Oh, wait…

    There’s tons more- and there’s some that if this is stable, it’s a win for over the ESPRESSObin- for the things that it claims it does well. One of the OFFPUTTING things is a claim from Globalscale of this: “Low Power 64-bit Super Storage / Super Networking / Super Compute”

    1) It’s not QUITE super storage.
    2) It’s better at networking than some, but not all.
    3) Super compute? SERIOUSLY?

    If you knew anything about Marvell and Globalscale’s past…you’d question this stuff as much as you’re doing Allwinner- for the same reasons. >:-D

  13. JotaMG :
    where from in the R40 that bandwidth bottleneck comes?

    Neither know nor care. I would believe Allwinner added a SATA IP block to A10 and A20 later since back at that time SoC vendors tried to sell ‘one size fits it all SoCs’. For whatever reasons performance (especially sequential writes) isn’t stellar, Allwinner simply re-used that SATA IP block in R40 now and trusts in clueless people still thinking this SATA implementation would be worth a look. After spending quite some time on NAS topics the last weeks I’m not that convinced any more: forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/3953-preview-generate-omv-images-for-sbc-with-armbian/

    Some A20 boards are still worth a look eg. Olimex Lime2 since there you just add a 3.7V battery and have a nice UPS backed small server setup since Olimex engineers are smart enough to add step-up converters to their boards so that USB peripherals and a connected SATA disk are still powered when running o n battery — something those Banana folks Allwinner partners here with are not able to implement for whatever reasons) and I really hope another vendor than SinoVoip will release an R40 board.

    But in the meantime when I want to use Allwinner for such low-end server use cases I stay with dirt-cheap H5 boards from either Xunlong or FriendlyELEC and wait for H6’s arrival (this SoC using GbE and with an ASM1062 or Marvell 88SE9215 attached to the single PCIe 2.x lane might make a nice little NAS thingie or something like that)

  14. There’s a reason I periodically grouse about people doing “device comparisons” and then trash-talking something because it’s got a “crappy” this or that, including the “design of the RaspberryPI’s” with that “crappy USB”.

    As an observation, AGAIN, if you can’t make your actual application (By that being unless you’re doing traffic generation, iperf3 and the like *ISN’T* your application) saturate the interface, be it SATA, Ethernet, or WiFi, at PEAK loads, you aren’t doing any more than checkboxing and you aren’t buying or describing ANYTHING of what you think you are.

    Can your application do what needs to be done on an ESPRESSObin? No? Need video of any form? It’s worthless, even if it “looks like a better device” on paper like the comparisons we’re discussing here.

    Need 2 Gb of RAM? Better revise your costs- because that $49 price is the BASE 512Mb unit. Not as nice now, is it, hm?

    If I need to do security monitoring…that ESPRESSObin…it’s not useful on several fronts. So…your mileage may vary and we should all probably quit talking in terms of “crappy” solely on something like 1×1 TR on a WiFi. Not all of us are trying to hotrod things.

  15. @tkaiser
    Connected SATA disk and battery? Hope that’s with an SSD instead of spinning rust. 😀

    The latter is…questionable of value…in the context you gave… >;-D

  16. Again… Free is just that…Free…

    If they hand me one, I’ll take them up on it and do a proper evaluation and provide the feedback to the whole world.

    My question on the SATA performance on the A20/R40- how is it coupled to the CPU on the SoC? I strongly suspect the cores in question aren’t the problem- but rather how they coupled it to the SoC. If it’s internally USB…well…

  17. @Nobody of Import
    Thanks for the update, understood your point. But to be honest: I really don’t give a sh*t about anyone’s claims AKA marketing BS and think I know what to expect from ESPRESSOBin based on experiences with Clearfog (though Solid-Run’s support is really great and I never dealt with Marvell directly — but some things might change over time?).

    Regarding ‘stable’: please just have a look into M2U forum on forum.banana-pi.org. So many threads about stability problems and freezes and (as usual) zero response from famous manufacturer. I don’t think it can get worse than that.

    Wrt feature sets you’ve a point. But to be honest: I wouldn’t combine some features. Video on a router/firewall thingie is IMO not the best idea due to huge attack surface of video stacks. And if I would need video/graphics I would clearly choose something else instead (starting as low as $10 and being an Allwinner based Orange Pi One up to slightly more expensive than this M2U, eg. an ODROID-XU4).

    I really like Allwinner SoCs (but not for NAS use cases currently) but I have no clue why they do the software part like they do (eg. tinalinux stuff — IMO Allwinner needs a shift at the management level to understand what they’re dealing here with) and I’m really scratching my head with which vendors they partner here and why.

    I mean: This BPi M2U is more ore less the same as any other Banana following the real ones (based on A20). Neither attractive when looking at performance nor price and IMO just another attempt to cash in on popularity of the first Banana Pis (this time targetting the ‘I need real SATA’ folks). At least their forum mirrors the mismatch between expectations and reality pretty good 🙁

  18. Nobody of Import :
    Connected SATA disk and battery? Hope that’s with an SSD instead of spinning rust.

    2.5″ HDDs work fine with Olimex A10/A20 boards this way (even too good: you tell the customer to simply power cycle the mini server and you’d have to wait 20 hours on average with Olimex largest battery) but of course not with Bananas since the latter don’t care about such details. So the ability to use battery on Bananas while having the ‘full feature set’ in mind is questionable (since it’s either SATA or battery). And no, SATA in A20/R40 is not internally USB (sequential reads exceed 200 MB/s even with A20 and random IO with SSDs doesn’t look that bad due to NCQ).

    And of course you’re right that it’s always ‘use case first’ and specs on paper are irrelevant if the specific use case doesn’t benefit from them. That said we’re using RPi Zero (W) as surveillance cameras (works great after adopting a lot of stuff regarding ‘wifi-broadcast’ from befinitiv.wordpress.com) but we’ll never use any RPi for NAS/storage use cases since stupid (even the small $7 OPi Zero will outperform RPi 3 always).

  19. Many people highlighted about Allwinner Main line kernel issue .. So far this chip is available only to the customers in China , if they bring it to digikey /mouser /element14 or other distributors with a fair pricing (like NXP i.MX / TI AM335 series )then they could attract many industrial users , in the long run that will help to standardize the kernel ..

  20. The R40 is 40nm instead of 55 nm for A20. ( hardly a Hugh speed jump )

    Allwinner aim it at intelligent digital signage and intelligent development boards ( their words ). INMO they aim to make the money from
    intelligent digital signage. So all the SoC has to do is show adverts from storage, or based on camera assessment of people passing, a advert targeted at, the potential customer.

  21. Nobody of Import :
    I’m intrigued why one would want something from Marvell. Seriously.

    People buy Marvell when they want :
    – strong I/O performance.
    – multiple ethernet
    – USB3
    – real SATA
    – PCIe
    and all of this in mainline

    People don’t by Marvell when they want :
    – something very cheap
    – video output
    – many high frequency cores

    In short, Marvell is for entry-level servers where others are for tablets, toys and set-top-boxes. All my network-oriented devices use Marvell chips. I picked a Marvell-based NAS (dual-core at 1.866 GHz, SATA, USB3 and true gigabit). The gigabit is fully saturated during my backups with some idle CPU, I’d need to switch it to 2.5 Gbps to further improve performance but I don’t really need to since all my machines are limited to gigabit. The dev boards I carry with me are Nanopi, Odroid, etc and they are mostly enough for various use cases. When I need to run network performance benchmarks or network captures, I use my Clearfog Base or the Mirabox (both Marvell). The clearfog base is really nice BTW, it’s pretty fast and power efficient and can reliably be powered from a USB3 port using a cheap usb-to-12V converter even while saturating two GigE ports.

  22. So the tl;dr of this is:
    – Allwinner are a joke when it comes to mainline support and good SATA performance
    – only @Nobody of Import is going to make the video because the rest of us won’t touch this

    Looking forward to follow up comment/video from @Nobdy of Import saying how great this BPi M2 Ultra is and we’re all stupid for buying the ESPRESSObin instead. 😀

  23. Somehow my comment didn’t get published the other day:

    @Nobody of Import

    Marvell is actually contracting Free Electrons for kernel upstreaming and is also contributing to U-Boot. Allwinner hasn’t to my knowledge.

    So instead of focusing on the freebie aspect or arguing about individual boards, I suggest we all embrace the opportunity that Allwinner is asking for our “experiences” and has named a contact. So let’s politely tell them in videos and/or emails how bad our experiences were initially and that things only got better due to the awesome linux-sunxi community of volunteers and that we all wish Allwinner would be more proactive in software contributions and in usage of recent software versions rather than ancient in-house forks with recurring GPL issues. If enough people tell them, maybe just maybe they will listen.

  24. i have nothing good to say about allwinner at all. a bout the first allwinner hdmi dongle A31 it never worked wright nothing allwinner worked wright.

  25. ” – only @Nobody of Import is going to make the video because the rest of us won’t touch this ”

    Ah, I think my BPi M2U is already on its way, because of my good behaviour… 😉

  26. @tkaiser
    Haha, yeah we will see. Actually i had similar experiences with my OrangePi One, e.g. no video (bad power source), booting only from one specific image (also bad power source), freeze-ups (mainline kernel on archlinux arm). And i still got not rid of occasional reboot (at high(er) loads) in armbian. Ordered some heatsinks, just in case, but the cpu does not seem hot just after a reboot..

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