Last September, we wrote Banana Pi team was working on an Amlogic S905X3 SBC called BPI-M5 and very similar to Hardkernel ODROID-C4 board launched in April 2020. At the time, we noted the Banana Pi BPI-M5 did add a 16GB eMMC flash on-board by default, while ODROID-C4 requires booting from a MicroSD card or a separate eMMC flash module.
We also pointed out software and community support is usually much better for the ODROID board, and it was brought to our attention that BPI-M5 board uses 5V voltage only via USB-C, while the Hardkernel board support a wider 5.5V to 17V via a power barrel jack, and this could lead to potential power issue for customer connecting drives to USB 3.0 ports. The good news is that you can now buy Banana Pi BPI-M5 SBC on Aliexpress for $53 plus shipping.
Banana Pi BPI-M5 specifications haven’t changed, and we can see the board compared to ODROID-C4 and Raspberry Pi 4 Model B in the table below.
|Banana Pi BPI-M5||ODROID-C4||Raspberry Pi 4|
|SoC||Amlogic S905X3 quad-core Cortex-A55 @ up to 2.0 GHz with Mali-G31 MP2 GPU||Amlogic S905X3 quad-core Cortex-A55 @ up to 2.0GHz with Mali-G31 MP2 GPU||Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 @ 1.5GHz with VideoCore VI GPU|
|System memory ||4GB LPDDR4||4GB DDR4||2GB, 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM|
|Storage||16GB eMMC flash and MicroSD card slot||eMMC flash module socket and MicroSD card slot||MicroSD card slot|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet||Gigabit Ethernet||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/b/ac WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0|
|Video output||HDMI 2.1 up to 4Kp60||HDMI 2.1 up to 4Kp60||2x micro HDMI 2.0 up to 4Kp60|
|Audio output ||3.5mm audio jack||Optional SPDIF optical output||3.5 mm AV jack, audio expansion header|
|LCD I/F||N/A||N/A||2-lane MIPI DSI display port|
|Camera I/F||N/A||N/A||2-lane MIPI CSI camera port|
|USB||4x USB 3.0 ports||4x USB 3.0 ports, 1x Micro USB 2.0 OTG port||2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports|
|Power supply ||5V @ 3A via USB Type-C port||5.5V-17.5V via 5.5/2.1mm DC power jack||5V DC via USB Type-C port|
|Expansion header||40-pin GPIO header||40-pin GPIO header, 7-pin audio expansion header||40-pin GPIO header|
|Button||Reset, user and U-boot||N/A||N/A|
|Dimensions ||85x56mm, 48g||85x56mm, 59g||85x56 mm|
While all three boards support Linux and Android, software support will differ a lot. Raspberry Pi 4 Linux distribution of choice is Raspberry Pi OS (Debian based), and Hardkernel distributes and supports Ubuntu Mate for ODROID-C4. The latter is likely the best of the three SBC’s to run Android. Banana Pi also offers Android and Ubuntu Mate for BPI-M5 on the Wiki which could be because they “leveraged” the images made for ODROID-C4.
Banana Pi BPI-M5 is probably the best value considering it comes with 16GB flash, but you may expect some challenges with software, and as explained further above, power issues may occur when connecting multiple drives to the USB 3.0 ports due to the power circuitry implementation.