Hardkernel Now Offers $48 ODROID-MC1 Solo Board for Clusters

Orange Pi Development Boards

Hardkernel launched ODROID-MC1 (My Cluster One) at the end of last year with four ODROID-XU4S boards powered by Samsung Exynos 5422 processor with Gigabit Ethernet,  metal cases, and a cooling fan.

As the name implies it is designed for cluster of boards, but the company found out that one size (4 boards) does not fit all, so they are now offered ODROID-MC1 Solo with one ODROID-XU4S board and stackable case to provide more flexibility to their customers.

Here’s a reminder of the specifications:

  • SoC – Samsung Exynos 5422 quad core ARM Cortex-A15 @ 2.0GHz quad core ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.4GHz with Mali-T628 MP6 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1 and OpenCL 1.1 Full profile
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 RAM PoP
  • Storage – 1x micro SD slot (UHS-1  capable)
  • Network Connectivity – 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet (via Realtek RTL8153 USB 3.0 to Ethernet bridge)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Misc – Power LED, OS status LED, Ethernet LEDs, UART for serial console, RTC backup battery connector
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A via 5.5/2.1mm DC jack
  • Dimensions – 92x42x29mm

So that means you could now build cluster with any n number of MC1 Solo kits and micro SD cards,  n 5V/4A power supplies, GbE switch with n+1 ports,  and n+1 Ethernet cables.

The company provides Linux images based Linux kernel 4.14 LTS, as well as instructions to configure a Docker swarm, a build farm, setup a cluster for JAVA parallel programming,  Hadoop and Spark, or setup PXE remote booting.

You’ll find all this on the product page where you can purchase MC1 Solo for $48 + shipping.

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12 Comments on "Hardkernel Now Offers $48 ODROID-MC1 Solo Board for Clusters"

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PXE booting without SD card is not possible (due to the Exynos SoC being somewhat limited). So you need a small SD card with at least u-boot and boot.ini on it for every single node to get PXE working.


Finally Hardkernel is returning to a board quiet similar in philosophy to the first model I see from this manufacturer the ODROID-U2


Your image link since containing the string ‘amazon’ was converted by the blog to an affiliate link 🙁 Here’s an accessible URL: https://preview.tinyurl.com/yaltwycq

And I really wonder when board makers started to put the SoC on the wrong side of the PCB. On the lower side to be combined with a huge heatsink as on early ODROID U2 or MC1, HC1 and HC2 now is so much better…


It depends what you call the “wrong side”. Soldering BGAs on dual side is more difficult than on a single side. We’ve seen some vendors start to do this on certain boards (nanopi something) where it was awesome. Let’s hope it will become more common.

BTW I’m very happy that they finally sell these boards individually. I was willing to order one to test it but not 4 nor did I need a NAS-like enclosure. I’m now going to order one, it could possibly now become the highest perf/price ratio for the build farm 🙂


Hmm… price difference between the variant with large heatsink (HC1) vs. the small one (MC1 Solo) is just $1 😉

I would always pay $49 instead of $48 to get more efficient passive cooling.

Maybe the more interesting product that’s now also available is the ‘MC1 Cooling Fan, Acrylic and Screw Package’ kit since useable with 4 HC1 too: http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G152346617839


Regarding the $1 difference I agree if you value the larger model, but for me the large ones are far too large for my use case, and here I don’t have to saw the too large heat spreader 🙂

One more point for those who want to build their own clusters : while I had a lot of fun doing it with the MiQi (and this board is amazingly fast and stable), the process is not scalable as it requires a lot of hand work to attach the boards together, fix large heat sinks, etc. Here the heatsink is large, already installed and serves as a spacer at the same time. There’s nothing to do, this can be used at work without having to spend several days assembling the solution.


Interesting: For such an 8 node cluster something like a Netgear GS110MX would be a nice addition. Pretty small, 10 ports total , 8 x GbE and 2 x 2.5/5/10GbE. Price as low as 200 bucks.

Unfortunately Ethernet cabling will waste most of the space otherwise the achievable size of such a ‘cluster to go’ variant would be impressive.


Plus you also get the SATA adapter, that makes the board much more versatile. On the other hand, the second USB3 port gets wasted in the MC1. Definitely, HC1 is a much better value for just $1 more (which is insignificant once you add shipping and customs).


Well, on the HC1 the JMS578 is soldered and needs some juice (though Hardkernel provided a new JMS578 firmware update recently which should support ‘SATA hot swap’ whatever that means. Maybe this reduces JMS578 consumption in case no disk is detected). So it’s very likely that a HC1 consumes slightly more than MC1. But this will only affect idle consumption significantly and usually clusters are busy.

If I would plan for more than 4 cluster nodes I would still choose HC1 and saw the heatspreaders so one can build an 8 or 12 node cluster with just one fan (with MC1 this is not possible since Ethernet cable can not be used on the ‘inner’ nodes)


Such ‘shortened’ HC1 cluster nodes could even get fast local storage using such SATA to M.2 adapters like this: https://www.buyincoins.com/item/64390.html