When Shenzhen Xunlong Software launched their first Allwinner H6 development board, Orange Pi One Plus, many were disappointed as the board did not make use of some of the key features of H6 processor like USB 3.0 or PCIe, and RAM was limited to 1GB. A couple of weeks later, the company introduced Orange Pi Lite2 board with 802.11ac WiFi, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI 2.0a output, but no Gigabit Ethernet, nor PCIe interface, and again only 1 GB LPDDR3 memory.
The good news is we now get a full-featured Allwinner H6 SBC thanks to Orange Pi 3 equipped with up to 2GB RAM, an optional 8GB eMMC flash, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi 5, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0a, a mPCIe slot, and more.
There are four variants of the Orange Pi 3 board with either 1 or 2 GB RAM, with or without eMMC flash that share the following specifications:
- SoC – Allwinner H6 V200 quad-core Cortex A53 processor clocked at up to 1.8 GHz with Arm Mali-T720MP2 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.1/3.0/2.0/1.1, DirectX 11
- System Memory & Storage options
- 1 GB LPDDR3 + micro SD card slot
- 2 GB LPDDR3 + micro SD card slot
- 1 GB LPDDR3 + 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot
- 2 GB LPDDR3 + 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot
- Video & Audio Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz, 3.5mm AV jack with composite video and stereo audio
- Audio Input – Built-in microphone
- Video Decoding – 10-bit H.265 up to 4K @ 60 fps / 6K @ 30fps, VP9 and H.264 up to 4K @ 30 fps, AVS+/AVS up to 1080p60
- Networking & Wireless Connectivity
- Gigabit Ethernet via Realtek RTL8211 transceiver
- 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi 5, and Bluetooth 5.0 via Ampak AP6256 module
- USB – 4x USB 3.0 ports via USB 3.0 hub chip, 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG port (also used for power)
- mPCIe socket with x1 Gen2 lane, RC (Root Complex) mode support
- 26-pin header
- Debugging – 3-pin serial console / UART header
- Misc – Power button; IR receiver; power, status, and USB 3.0 LEDs.
- Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel jack, or micro USB port; AXP805 PMIC
- Dimensions – 90 x 64 mm
- Weight – 75 grams
The hardware looks good and leverages most features of Allwinner H6 processor, but if you ever plan to use PCIe, be aware that they are issues as explained in linux-sunxi:
Allwinner H6 has a quirky PCIe controller that doesn’t map the PCIe address space properly (only 64k accessible at one time) to CPU, and accessing the PCIe config space, I/O space or memory space will need to be wrapped. As Linux doesn’t wrap PCIe memory space access, it’s not possible to do a proper PCIe controller driver for H6. The BSP kernel modifies the driver to wrap the access, so it’s also not generic, and only devices with modified driver will work.
The company will release Android 7.0, Ubuntu, and Debian images for the board, which should eventually become available in the download page. Also note that Armbian provides experimental Ubuntu Bionic and Debian Stretch images for Allwinner H6 boards based on Linux 4.19.x, so Orange Pi 3 will likely be added to the list soon.
Pricing for the four variants of Orange Pi 3 board:
- 1GB LPDDR3 – $29.9 + shipping
- 2GB LPDDR3 – $34.9 + shipping
- 1GB LPDDR3 + 8GB eMMC flash – $34.9 + shipping
- 2GB LPDDR3 + 8GB eMMC flash – $39.9 + shipping
You’ll find all four on Aliexpress as usual.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
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