ODROID-N2 CoreELEC Edition Media Center Launched for $65 and Up

ODROID-N2 is an Amlogic S922X single board computer with 2GB or 4GB  RAM that’s fairly popular thanks to its great performance/price ratio, good cooling, and decent support from Hardkernel.

Hardkernel have worked in collaboration with CoreELEC, and have just introduced ODROID-N2 CoreELEC Edition media center featuring the SBC. The company offers the media center at introductory prices of $65 for the 2GB RAM model, and $75 for the 4GB model with limited stocks at those discounted prices.

ODROID-N2 CoreELEC EditionODROID-N2 CoreELEC Edition media center includes the following:

  • ODROID-N2 SBC with either 2GB or 4GB RAM
  • ODROID-N2 Case Black
  • An 8GB Industrial MicroSD UHS-1 card pre-loaded with CoreELEC for ODROID-N2 preinstalled
  • 12V/2A Power Supply (with chosen type of plug)
  • CoreELEC Logo Sticker

CoreELEC for ODROID-N2 supports 4K HDR10 and HLG high dynamic-range, Auto frame rate switching & dynamic range matching,  DTS-HD & Dolby-HD audio pass-through including DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. The firmware is based on the Kodi Leia and ODROID-N2 is said to be the only Linux device that outputs correct 4K HDR infoframe data, which allegedly makes it the most affordable Arm based Linux board with proper 4K HDR video support on the market.

Other features include Netflix Full HD support thanks to Widevine DRM implementation, 3D-SBS (side-by-side) and 3D-TAB (top-and-bottom), and you could also leverage the board storage capabilities by connecting one of the supported USB DVB receivers to watch ot record Free-to-air TV. Finally, ODROID-N2 with CoreELEC can also be easily converted into a retro-gaming console by installing EmuELEC add-on for PSP & DreamCast emulation.

Support is available on CoreELEC forums, where you’ll also find the firmware image if you already own an ODROID-N2 board, and want to give CoreELEC a try.

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TLS
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TLS

4K24p in every single demo case though, which isn’t exactly great imho.
I mean, it’s nice it’s working, but they clearly have some work to do to get it working “properly” i.e. at 50/60p.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I believe there is still a major limitation with the N2+CoreElec not supporting PCM Multichannel output over HDMI (Lossless and Lossy compressed formats are bit streamed correctly). This means multichannel FLAC, multichannel AAC etc . have to be transcoded to lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital or output as PCM stereo.

Please correct me if I’m wrong about this.

Liviu
Guest
Liviu

This looks like the prefect solution for me. I just needed a reliable TV box with 4k60 hdr atmos and vision (for 65c8 and sk10y). But, can it play vision?

KiLLWarez
Guest
KiLLWarez

Hardkernel are great when creating hardware and bad when sell it. I’m in Belarus.

65 dollars for 2gb kit + 53 dollars shipping to my location = 118 USD

Ameridroid 4gb board with case, PSU and 8gb emmc for 97 USD + 16 cheapest shipping = 113 USD

So where is the deal here?

willy
Guest
willy

Sadly, shipping is always the problem when ordering from HK. It’s what always makes me think twice. In addition to the cost, the only options available exclude regular post and force you to stay home to receive the parcel.

On another point I noticed that their kit is less expensive than the components bought separately: for $65 here you have the board ($60), case ($4) and micro-SD ($8). It made me hesitate (until I remembered the shipping experience each time). I’ll rather wait for VIM3L in the end.

dgp
Guest
dgp

>you to stay home to receive the parcel.

At least with Fedex you can call them and have them come at a time when you’re actually at home opposed to most postal services where if it’s tracked you either need to be in whenever they pass by your street that day or travel off into the middle of nowhere to collect it only to get there and realise you don’t have ID with the same address on it to actually collect it or that the guy carrying it is still out on their round or whatever.

willy
Guest
willy

Here in France, Fedex probably is the worst. Most of the time they don’t even stop, so you’re watching the tracking knowing that the truck is supposed to be in your town except that in order to save some time they just throw a pre-filled paper in your mailbox saying you were not there, and it can run like this for several days, driving you totally crazy. Every single time I had to use them it required me to set at least 3 days to try to catch them looking through the window 🙁 With the post office it’s trivial, you have the paper in your box, you go to the post office with it the day after and you get your parcel, without having to be blocked at home for no reason to try to catch a truck that never passes.

willy
Guest
willy

Such variations confirm that more options should be offered in fact.

dgp
Guest
dgp

>Such variations confirm that more options should be offered in fact.

Sure but it’s quite possible they did the research and found it’s not worth the effort. They aren’t going to have shipping that beats China’s abuse of the UPU either way. For most people you might save a few dollars: Two H2s and some other junk from odroid to Japan was $15 via fedex. According to Korea Post’s airmail rates the same parcel sent via airmail would be at least $14… so maybe $1 saved if it doesn’t get lost by the post office/customs and so on.

willy
Guest
willy

Sure but for me the difference is not the price, it’s having to stay 1, 2 or 3 days doing nothing else but look through the window every 5 minutes waiting for this stupid fedex/dhl/ups truck driver versus going to the post office on saturday morning to pick my parcel. And just for this I avoid HK as much as possibly despite having a very good opinion of their products and their commitment to support them.

spycat
Guest
spycat

@willy you forgot $5.50 for the PSU also.

dgp
Guest
dgp

>Hardkernel are great when creating hardware and bad when sell it. I’m in Belarus.

Fedex sets the rates and you’re probably in one of those places they don’t have good rates on.
HK can probably live with some people not being able to easily buy their stuff if it means they don’t have to deal all of the terrible postal services in some places of the world.

willy
Guest
willy

In fact they really need to have resellers everywhere in the world. They already do have some, but resellers of such products tend not to have the new ones available early (which is understandable).

Member
Michal Lazo

I would like to see some comparison between Pi4 and N2
some ubuntu and android benchmarks side be side
as N2 is really big like 2 times of Pi

xtract
Guest
xtract

But the N2 is not as hot, in degrees. The heatsink/size is there for a reason. So unless you have a really tight space, why do you care? The N2 is a better product in any way.
The N2 is also better in benchmarks than the Pi4:
https://github.com/ThomasKaiser/sbc-bench/blob/master/Results.md

Shoog
Guest
Shoog

Different leagues, the N2 will run rings around the Pi4 without breaking 70C.

Member
Michal Lazo

that is right, but you can add nice heatsink really easy to Pi4 without any problem
But it is kind of interesting that Pi4 on 2GHz vs N2 on 2GHz get different results
C72 vs C73 🙂

willy
Guest
willy

I tested the Pi4 at 2 GHz in with my build farm tools, and it’s 50% slower than the mcbin using the same cores at the same frequency! I suspect the memory bandwidth is the culprit, since the build time is almost the same at 1.5 GHz and 2 GHz. It’s even slower than the good old 32-bit MiQi and almost twice as slow as the Odroid-N2. I’ll publish more precise numbers later. Quite disappointing! By the way it didn’t throttle at all since I used one of these large heatsinks that take it in sandwich and almost serve as an enclosure.

Member

Now, if only they could make a class of this device with a SATA chain…

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

At least avoiding the ‘ARM SoC USB3 combined with USB3 hub’ sh*t show. https://forum.khadas.com/t/vims-proposal-vim3-nas-server-variant/

willy
Guest
willy

For my NAS, USB3 is still an important feature that I use to backup the NAS to an external disk. Every single time the backup didn’t end in 24h was because the port was running in USB2! For now the only acceptable machine I found with native SATA, GigE and USB3 is the Synology DS116J. Unfortunately it only has 1GB RAM which is too small to run safely rsync. The Vim3L could help but then I’d lose USB3 for external backups. It doesn’t still seem easy to have good I/O on SoCs. Mostly only Marvell SoCs have rich I/O but they usually come with very limited RAM :-/ A great solution for me would be 4 GB RAM, 1 GbE, >=1 native SATA port, 1 USB3, >=16 MB SPI NOR for the OS (or small eMMC but no NAND).

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

NanoPi M4 + SATA HAT or any other RK3399 thingy where you attach a SATA controller to the PCIe bus? Also EspressoBin is available with 2 GB RAM in the meantime.

BTW: Even with just 1GB RAM I would evaluate ZRAM and then using zfs send|receive functionality (zrep, znapzend). Way more efficient than rsync…

willy
Guest
willy

I tried zram and it actually made things slightly better at the beginning and much worse afterwards (when rsync tries to check the hardlinks I think it flies over random areas continuously, and having only half of the RAM available for it makes things worse). And it was still not enough. In the end I had to enable swapping on the SSD. That’s how I know that I do need more than 2 GB. Regarding ZFS, still never tried, and given that this machine is my backup server for *all* other machines, I’m definitely not going to replace all of them 🙂 Not to mention that I do want to have an external backup that can be mounted about anywhere. Also I’ve used out-of-tree file systems for more than 5 years (reiserfs and ext3 on 2.2, then early 2.4) and have been hit by a nice number of subtle bugs ranging from lack of exposure to difficult integration of moving parts into a moving kernel . I don’t want to play with this anymore. Knowing that when you have an issue you boot of a USB stick (previously a floppy or CD) and it cannot mount your FS is really annoying, and when a crash happens you have more urgent things to do than to start to patch, reconfigure and rebuild a kernel. I’ve spent too much time doing this and got grey hair now 🙂

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

Well, I really don’t want to miss features like data integrity or tons of snapshots without performance impacts any more. So walking in the exact opposite direction and trying to move every storage to ZFS now even on Linux (using ZFS since ages, but back in the days mostly with Solaris and FreeBSD, after 3 years of testing Ubuntu’s ZFS integration finally trusting in it on Linux even with the kernel 5.x and ZFS hassles — but yeah, that’s kind of a vendor lock-in).

On ARM btrfs is my choice (due to kernel integration issues with ZFS) and while this works fine for medium sized filesystems I still wouldn’t want to store +10TB on btrfs. But that’s just lack of experience, the majority of ‘btrfs concerns’ is based on FUD and misunderstandings.

Ray Knight
Guest
Ray Knight

Any opinions on the https://www.qnap.com/en-us/product/qboat%20sunny? Not sure what the kernel situation is for the Alpine SOC. However this has 2GB RAM, 2 2280 M.2 SATA slots, 1 M.2 A-slot, and 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports.

PhilS
Guest
PhilS

Dependent upon where you live will determine how good a deal this is.

HK seem to only only use fast air couriers such as DHL, so import duties where applicable are guaranteed, as well as a good possibility of a handling surcharge.

So to order for delivery to GB would be just shy of £98, where for a couple of quid more I can get the same bundle but with a superior 16Gb eMMC from their official GB supplier, with all charges included in the price.

HK needs to look at surface shipping methods or tie up with some of the large Chinese tech vendors to get a cheaper delivery option.

With the competition that they have from Khadas with the Vim3 with a better SOC and default storage/WiFi/BT and the Beelink GT king with newer revision SOC and also included storage/WiFi/BT and becomes clear that sales are going to be affected.

Add to that the impending new Nvidia Shield version, existing stocks of these will become heavily discounted in advance of release as well as the second hand value dropping accordingly, bring it even closer to the high price of the S922X and derivatives.

HK also need to get to the bottom of their USB issues, which seem to be dragging on without a clear indication as to whether it’s a software or hardware issue.

Paulo
Guest
Paulo

The USB “early death” issues are very worrying, the last thing you want is to over-pay for one of these Odroid N2 devices (then get stung for import) only for the USB3 ports to die a short while later.

Member

They haven’t implemented optical (audio) out. Not a deal breaker, but would’ve reduced the number of hadware/equipment interfaces external to the board.

Phan Hoang Dinh
Guest
Phan Hoang Dinh

GPIO pin 7 is spdif out

Member

Wow! That’s good. Would be have to mod the board for a port or do they have an addon board? Thanks for the update.

Zeev
Guest
Zeev

Hi, sorry for the newb questions but
1) can I use Android instead of Kodi ? (As an operating system/launcher)? If so, what Android version ?
2) the operating system boots from an sdcard or from an onboard emmc chip ?

Thanks !
Yes, shipping is expensive….

Phan Hoang Dinh
Guest
Phan Hoang Dinh

2. Boot from SD card, eMMC and usb drive. I used eMMC android 9.0, SD card for Coreelec and usb 3.0 flash drive for Armbian

Mihai
Guest

I am not surprised that N2 got such a good reception from CoreELEC. I am still hesitating in getting one because I already have a TV box now (Himedia Q10 Pro) that still works pretty well (after fiddling with a lot of custom Roms and a lot of tweaking) and I still do not have a 4K or HDR capable TV (I am planning in getting one this year). I would love to hear from people about that audio DAC that N2 has inside and how well it works with CoreELEC.

Regarding orders from HK directly, shipping fees got bad in the last year and a half. I have an XU4 ordered in 2017 from them directly with case, power supply and so on, but shipping with DHL was about 30 something USD – right now shipping is 40 to 50 or more USD, depending on how many parts you buy and how large the box would be. I bought oDroid H2 a month ago from AmeriDroid actually (I have chosen the cheapest shipping that they offer around 30 USD). I forgot about CNX coupon, I could have used one. If I ever want an N2 I will probably order it from AmeriDroid too. I am from Romania.

tonny
Guest
tonny

Yeah, HardKernel shipping cost is more and more expensive! My country tax duty is about 30% if your total item is >= $75. I used to buy XU4 + case + PSU below $75. Now, it’s about ~$80. Then I have to pay 30% import duty, resulting a whooping $104.