Sunvell H3 Allwinner H3 TV Box with 2GB RAM Sells for $27.99 (Promo)

Orange Pi Development Boards

There aren’t that many Allwinner H3 TV boxes with some models coming to mind being Zidoo X1 or Beelink X2, but of which appear to be phased out. If you are just looking for Android boxes, Amlogic S905X/S905W boxes are probably better options due to better support for video playback, but if you have desktop/server Linux in mind, then Allwinner H3 may be considered, and Beelink X2 used to be supported in Armbian, but is now EOS (End-of-Support).

Nevertheless, it should still be possible to run Linux on Allwinner H3 TV boxes with some efforts, and GearBest now has a promotion for Sunvell H3 TV box which comes with 2GB RAM, 16GB flash, and sells for $27.99 plus some small shipping fee ($0.68 here).

Sunvell H3 TV BoxSunvell H3 specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Arm Cortex A7 with quad core Mali-400MP2
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 64 GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K2K @ 30Hz + AV port (composite + stereo audio)
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver, power button and LED
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A (power barrel)
  • Dimensions – 9.20 x 9.20 x 1.70 cm
  • Weight – 150 grams

Sunvell H3The box runs Android 7.0, and ships with a power adapter, an IR remote control, a HDMI cable, and an user manual in English. For reference, if you wanted a somewhat  equivalent Allwinner H3 development board, you could get Orange Pi Plus 2E, with the same 2GB/16GB configuration but adding GbE, and I/O headers for about $46 on Aliexpress. This price does not include the case, nor power supply, but the board is officially supported by Armbian.

Thanks to Suren for the tip.

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theyguyuktheguyukTheLinuxBugMatthewComrade Capitalist-Running-Dog Deng Recent comment authors
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KotCzarny
Guest

interesting, but compared to opi+2e/tritium-2gb:
– no gigabit
– how is the cooling done: if it’s metal box you cant easily add fan (although it *might* be done well, but don’t kid yourself), if it’s plastic it’s cooking without the fan
– what is the wifi chip? xr819? it’s bad.
– only 2 usb ports
– no access to expansion pins
– price is a *promo*
– funny bit from ‘specs’: System Bit: 64Bit ūüėČ

so all in all might work nice due to 2gb, but overall might be lower performance (still better than 1gb).

KotCzarny
Guest

more thoughts:
– case is most likely plastic (or you should route wifi antenna outside yourself)
– above + using droid7 without any voltage regulation means it’s COOKING and throttling/core killing like 7th ring of hell

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

> using droid7

Android? On an Allwinner box? Why? Since you didn’t realize that Amlogic exists?

Su Zet
Guest
Su Zet

I’m so teased to buy one but there are many unknowns as KotCzarny mentioned. For a media box I think an Android is more useful than Armbian. Don’t take me wrong – I use two instances of Armbian at home (Octoprint and OpenHab) and they perform beautifully beside some freezes that occur once a month but I’m still investigating where is the reason. But I’m using them only with the web interface on a PC.
Another unknown is if Android is not made well (no voltage regulation or just buggy) how I will boot from microSD/local storage to run Armbian.

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

> For a media box I think an Android is more useful than Armbian

Of course. But why would you then choose a cheap Allwinner box? Especially with an outdated SoC from 2014 with inferior codec support. If cheap and Android then Amlogic. At least if you’re interested in watching video and IO bandwidth is irrelevant.

People who want to run Linux on such a TV box… better do some research first even if the box looks like a bargain. But usually with Allwinner at least booting something that is on SD card is no issue due to higher boot priority.

theguyuk
Guest
theguyuk

Several of these products get bundled with IPTV packages, so is this a left over stock clearence, hence the price dump?

This box has been around for a while, but not seens reviews of the android or box build quality from many users

theguyuk
Guest
theguyuk

They have many brands and spot the HDR ect claims in the photos on this 1ghz box?

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Vmade-V96S-mini-Android-7-1-OS-octa-core-mini-Smart-TV-Box-Allwinner-H3-Quad/32902006734.html?

Comrade Capitalist-Running-Dog Deng
Guest
Comrade Capitalist-Running-Dog Deng

Are the price of these boxes slow low because they are effectively being subsidized by tax payers in the Peoples Republic of China (taxes -> government -> grants/handouts/tax breaks to new technology companies -> unrealistic low price product compared to non-Red-China corporations)?

JotaMG
Guest
JotaMG

One more futile advertisement for gearbest…

Matthew
Guest

Althought not the best example of a TV box, this little thing runs Armbian pretty well.

TheLinuxBug
Guest

How did you get Armbian working on this new board? I know the old R69 works but from all my tries I can’t get this new board to boot an SDcard, I just get:

U-Boot SPL 2017.11-armbian (Jun 11 2018 – 11:58:21)
DRAM: 2048 MiB
Trying to boot from MMC1

Then it freezes. Do you have a special image or process you used?

Cheers!

TheLinuxBug
Guest

Just a warning: It appears they either made a revision mid-run or didn’t quality check the memory they used in these boards and while some will boot Armbian images and work, others hard freeze at u-boot as I have shown above. The boards will only boot when uboot has very low DRAM settings, it seems so far, as the only image that partially works on my board is the Armbian Orange Pi Zero + 2 image and that is without ANY peripherals working besides HDMI and UART (No wifi, no ethernet, no USB). I am going to continue to work on it, but those looking to buy this to use as a Linux box should be aware that it may not be as easy as some of the earlier people have made it seem.

Cheers!

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

Why do people expect crappy TV boxes being good general purpose things?

In the cheap market segment it’s a race to the bottom and SoC manufacturers like Allwinner help TV box manufacturers here.

I hope you know that mainline u-boot uses a reverse engineered DRAM initialization? Most probably if you rely on Allwinner’s u-boot (able to cope with most crappy RAM chips soldered to these boxes) you’ll be able to boot any software stack since Allwinner’s u-boot will downclock DRAM on its own until things get stable.

And of course you never know… next PCB revision in a TV box that is named absolutely identical switched major parts like wireless chip or type of internal storage (eMMC vs. raw NAND) and so on. The Android flashed to onboard storage will cope with this specific hardware release but a ‘generic’ installable image a 3rd party provides?

And as developer your only target audience are users who want to buy as cheap as possible (otherwise they would spend a few more bucks and get some SBC instead). Nothing but frustration with these things…

TheLinuxBug
Guest

Obviously my goal here is to get H3Droid working on another publicly available box — as the goal of H3Droid has been to support ‘all’ Allwinner H3 devices (with-in reason). That said, obviously this one seems to be a big steaming pile of garbage and my success with getting anything but their crappy Android dist running has so far been almost futile.

I agree with you, these are not good boards really for running Linux and expecting them to be stable. However, my hope was at least to get H3Droid working for it — though still have to have a working u-boot/fex to make that happen and as mentioned it seems this time around it will take a lot of guess work to get there.

Not completely discouraged yet, but getting there…

Cheers!

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

> the goal of H3Droid has been to support ‚Äėall‚Äô Allwinner H3 devices

IMO you should realize that we’re talking about 2 generations of Allwinner H3 devices. Those from 2015 until recently (old Allwinner reference design, old BSP based on kernel 3.4 and u-boot 1834.11) and the new ones following the new reference design: no support for voltage regulation any more, maybe the possibility to use really crappy DRAM chips to allow for lowest BOM costs possible needing special u-boot/SPL support, new BSP version.

Supporting H3 devices few years ago was fun and even useful but today this is IMO just riding a dead horse.

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser
theguyuk
Guest
theguyuk
TheLinuxBug
Guest

Unless you truly want a crippled H3 that can’t run anything but their garbage Android version which for heat control runs at a constant voltage an then kills cores constantly so it doesn’t frelt, then stay away. The old Sunvell R69 is almost more worth the money (can still get it on banggood I think) even with shitty ram ( you can’t use 1080p ) at least the thing is usable with another OS/Image without having to play manually fix uboot as it seems there are issues with RAM quality again and not all memory chips seem able to be run at reasonable DRAM speed, causing many to need a uboot clocked way down like OPi Zero +2.

In short, save your money unless you are just after a H3 Device with Android 7 that will surely frelt its self after a few months because of the poor cooling and sad shortcuts in their Android image.

P.S. If someone in the US wants one, let me know, ill sell you mine for $20.00. Don’t worry, you can also use it as a hotplate if you get hungry.

my 2 cents.

Cheers!

theguyuk
Guest
theguyuk

What is frelt?

theguyuk
Guest
theguyuk
theguyuk
Guest
theguyuk

Still $22.99 , £18.51 for anyone wanting a up hill challenge!

https://www.gearbest.com/tv-box/pp_009342923088.html?wid=1433363#goodsDetail

theyguyuk
Guest
theyguyuk

Price back to $27
But Coupon Code Alert! You can now buy Sunvell H3 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM TV for only $24.99 (Flash Sale price: $27.99) with free shipping if you’ll use this coupon code: GBCNH301 @ Gearbest. Hurry up, limited time offer, it expires on Feb 15th!

theyguyuk
Guest
theyguyuk