$25 NanoPi NEO Plus2 Board Adds 8GB Flash, WiFi & Bluetooth, More RAM, and an extra USB Port

NanoPi NEO 2 board has just got an update with NEO Plus2 board featuring the same Allwinner H5 processor and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, but FriendlyELEC updated the RAM from 512MB to 1GB, added an 8GB eMMC flash, a WiFi & Bluetooth module, and an extra USB port.

NanoPi NEO Plus2 specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H5 quad core Cortex A53 processor with an ARM Mali-450MP GPU

    NanoPi NEO Plus2 vs Raspberry Pi 3

  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash (Samsung KLM8G1WEPD-B031) +  micro SD card slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (via RTL8211E-VB-CG chip), 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 (via Ampak AP6212A wireless module)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB port (for power only), 2x USB via headers
  • Expansion headers
    • 24-pin header with I2C, 2x UART, SPI, and GPIOs
    • 12-pin header with 2x USB, IR pin, I2S, and GPIOs
    • 5-pin audio 2.0mm pitch header with microphone and LINE out signals
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – Power and status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or VDD pin on headers.
  • Dimensions – 52 x 40 mm

The header pinout and spacing appear to be identical to the ones of other NanoPi NEO boards, so accessories like NanoHat Hub and BakeBit Starter Kit should work with the board, but with the extra features, they also had to make the board a little longer, so enclosures like NanoPi NAS Kit won’t be compatible. They’ve used the cheapest 8GB Samsung eMMC flash with 5K/0.6K R/W IOPS, so don’t expect the best performance from it, but it may or may not matter that much depending on your application.

 

The company has still released Ubuntu Core 16, Debian NAS (with OpenMediaVault), and Ubuntu OLED images based on Linux 4.x for the board, which you’ll find together with the rest of the documentation in the dedicated Wiki. eFlasher tool will allow you to install the image to the internal eMMC flash. An experimental Armbian image is also likely to be released soon enough.

NanoPi NEO Plus2 is sold for $24.99 plus shipping apparently with all 2.54mm pitch headers soldered by default, a WiFi antenna, and a user manual. You may however prefer to purchase the “basic kit” for $29.00, which adds a micro USB cable, a heatsink & thermal pad, an acrylic case, and – for the first 200 orders – a USB2UART board for debugging.

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tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

‘1x micro USB OTG port’ is wrong. Micro USB is for powering only (silly idea but when choosing the whole kit at least the Micro USB cable sold by FriendlyELEC is high quality and will prevent under-voltage). Since this vendor acts responsibly we can look into schematics since released timely: USB0 is routed to the additional host port. On Allwinner H3/H5 the ‘OTG port’ can be switched between an OTG controller and an own EHCI/OHCI controller pair. So the additional USB receptacle might be able to be used as OTG port but will normally be just another real USB host… Read more »

Mum
Mum
3 years ago

@tkaiser
Yes, it looks really nice!

The only complaint I have is that they have not put HDMI, but for headless this board looks ideal!

Sander
Sander
3 years ago

@tkaiser … so this NanoPi NEO Plus2 board will be (or: is?) supported by Armbian?

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Mum
No display output at all IMO is the greatest NanoPi NEO feature since this limits the target audience to people who know what they do. Seriously.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Sander No idea about Armbian support. The last weeks I tried hard to change how Armbian adds new devices but obviously to no avail. I believe we already support way too much devices (some of them added more by accident and questionable in the meantime) so before we add something new developers should talk about use cases, the level of support the device gets by its own manufacturer (FriendlyELEC here being the exact opposite of the Banana nightmare for example) and benefits for both users and developers if we add something new to list of supported devices. Technically speaking this… Read more »

Mum
Mum
3 years ago

tkaiser : @Mum No display output at all IMO is the greatest NanoPi NEO feature since this limits the target audience to people who know what they do. Seriously. Orange Pi Zero also lacked display output (well, except for crappy AV cable) and yet clueless people bought it in dozens. I don’t see the same issue with the Orange Pi PC2 which has HDMI, and apart from lacking EMMC, has similar specifications to the Neo Plus2. I think the fact that this has a higher price will keep most people away. People who don’t have a clue probably won’t spend… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Mum Advertisements and Aliexpress listing show OrangePi Zero as being a display device (even ‘HD video’ mentioned) and so ‘always buy as cheap as possible’ folks end up buying such a device with 256MB DRAM and the add-on port featuring ‘AV out’ on the TRRS jack for less than $9 expecting a great ‘Linux Desktop’ experience for whatever reasons. Anyway: IMO it’s about use cases and price. Looking at OPi PC 2 and NEO2 half a year ago was different than today (back then these were the cheapest Gigabit Ethernet equipped boards with somewhat decent storage performance). In the meantime… Read more »

CampGareth
CampGareth
3 years ago

This is relevant to my interests. 64bit, enough RAM, gigabit ethernet, on board flash so it can boot unaided. This could do well for NAS usage.

Before I get jumped on, yes I’d rather have an espressobin but $50 plus shipping plus microSD is beaten by $25 plus ($5) shipping for cheap experimentation.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@CampGareth The EspressoBin has some SPI NOR flash fully loaded with a bootloader. Haven’t checked in detail yet but AFAIK it already allows to netboot without any SD card being used. And unless you can make use of the special Marvell extensions (eg. CESA crypto module) at least CPU performance is lower than NEO Plus2 while wrt storage performance EspressoBin is the obvious winner. Speaking about ‘cheap experimentation’: OPi PC 2 is faster (clocks slightly higher and shows also higher memory bandwidth due to 2 x 4Gb instead of single channel 1 x 8Gb here), comes with SPI NOR flash… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft) I’ve not the slightest idea how things will evolve but at least now for EU customers who want to buy a Gigabit Ethernet equipped H5 board OPi PC 2 and NEO2 are way cheaper than NEO Plus 2 since the former staying below the €22 barrier. If this changes in the future I would believe EU will encourage customers to get a so called EORI number which makes customs processing a lot easier (the goods aren’t stuck at customs any longer requiring you to get in touch with them but customs will process the stuff and send… Read more »

Mum
Mum
3 years ago

tkaiser : If this changes in the future I would believe EU will encourage customers to get a so called EORI number which makes customs processing a lot easier (the goods aren’t stuck at customs any longer requiring you to get in touch with them but customs will process the stuff and send you an invoice or maybe even allow direct debit authorization). Would be a dream to automatically pay duties and not have to go to the customs office with invoice, waste time, etc. But it would need to be automated and with very low fees. Right now DHL… Read more »

Mum
Mum
3 years ago

Also Globalscale never made a case for espressobin since that stretch goal wasn’t met. So if you are buying it, you will have to figure out some case yourself. The ROCK64 should have a case, if the previous Pine products are anything to go by.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Mum ROCK64 fits in every RPi 2 or 3 case (maybe some drilling needed since fortunately ROCK64 uses an 3.5/1.35mm barrel plug and not Micro USB for DC-IN) and the perfect ESPRESSOBin enclosures you find on every scrap yard around (old 3.5″ SCSI disk enclosures equipped with dual voltage PSUs 😉 ). Since IMO an ESPRESSOBin without attached SATA disks is pretty useless and you can easily add 2 or 4 more SATA ports here (by using an ASM1062 or Marvell 88SE9215 mPCIe card) I think it’s pretty impossible to come up with only a single enclosure variant anyway. Back… Read more »

Jon Smirl
3 years ago

Can you use both Ethernet simultaneously on the H5?

Igor Pecovnik
3 years ago

“In other words: FriendlyELEC’s software offers are usable”

Well, latest Friendlyelec Ubuntu does not boot 🙂 but Armbian does … with Neo2 image … of course no eMMC nor Wifi / BT support: https://dl.armbian.com/nanopineo2/

Razz Pi
Razz Pi
3 years ago

tkaiser wrote: “No display output at all IMO is the greatest NanoPi NEO feature since this limits the target audience to people who know what they do. Seriously.”

+1, exactly. IHMO the Raspberry Pi model of a “general purpose” SBC means compromises are made. That’s fine for its target audience.

Ideally special purpose SBCs should be, and are being, developed: models meant for video decoding; models with SATA support meant for NAS; headless models to bridge ethernet/wifi to GPIO, etc. It doesn’t make sense to compare SBCs that have different design goals.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

Razz Pi : models with SATA support meant for NAS Unfortunately that’s not true. Most somewhat affordable ARM SoCs with real SATA are pretty slow. You’ll find numbers by searching for ‘Some storage benchmarks on SBCs’ in Armbian forum. The only ARM SoCs I know of with both superiour SATA performance and good Linux support are from Marvell currently. If I would build today a cheap low-end/low-consumption NAS that can saturate Gigabit Ethernet I would clearly look for RK3328 (USB3) instead of the stuff average customers search for with ‘native SATA’ (as an example: Banana Pi M2 Berry featuring ‘native… Read more »

Mike Schinkel
3 years ago

@tkaiser

Do you know of any RK3328 headless SBCs with at least 1GB RAM (preferably 2GB) and support for SATA, ideally mSATA?

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

Mum : Anyway, ESPRESSObin has only 1 SATA port, so while it is a better choice if you need SATA+USB3+PCIe, for simple NAS use with a hard drive or SSD, ROCK64 should be fast enough. As already mentioned: on any board equipped with appropriate high speed interfaces like (m)PCIe you can always add an ASM1062 (low end, potential NCQ issues when connecting more than 1 disk at the same time) or Marvell 88SE9215 (m)PCIe card to add 2 or even 4 more SATA ports. 🙂 For simple NAS use cases ROCK64 will always be ‘fast enough’ especially if you compare… Read more »

albedo2
albedo2
2 years ago

The third day of testing under load. The impressions are positive.
Pros
– tiny
– powerful
– 1 Gb
– did not notice any slowdown when working with microSd
– in Ubuntu with apt-get, etc. (armbian too)
– docker!!!
– already installed WirePi, GPIO

Cons (maybe)
I can’t find the cables 24pin.
– A couple of times a day, zabbix can’t get data for 5 minutes, then fine. The cause is still unclear. Maybe not NanoPi

Ricardo
Ricardo
2 years ago

Hello,
Does this device support creating more than one access point through its wireless interface (AP6212A)?
Can anyone paste the output of this command “iw list”
Thanks a lot.

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