Banana Pi BPI-M5 SBC with 4GB RAM, 16GB flash launched for $53

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-C4Raspberry Pi 4
SoCAmlogic S905X3 quad-core Cortex-A55 @ up to 2.0 GHz with Mali-G31 MP2 GPUAmlogic S905X3 quad-core Cortex-A55 @ up to 2.0GHz with Mali-G31 MP2 GPUBroadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 @ 1.5GHz with VideoCore VI GPU
System memory
4GB LPDDR44GB DDR42GB, 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM
Storage
16GB eMMC flash and MicroSD card sloteMMC flash module socket and MicroSD card slotMicroSD card slot
Networking
Gigabit EthernetGigabit EthernetGigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/b/ac WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0
Video output
HDMI 2.1 up to 4Kp60HDMI 2.1 up to 4Kp602x micro HDMI 2.0 up to 4Kp60
Audio output
3.5mm audio jackOptional SPDIF optical output3.5 mm AV jack, audio expansion header
LCD I/FN/AN/A2-lane MIPI DSI display port
Camera I/FN/A
N/A2-lane MIPI CSI camera port
USB
4x USB 3.0 ports4x USB 3.0 ports, 1x Micro USB 2.0 OTG port2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports
Power supply
5V @ 3A via USB Type-C port5.5V-17.5V via 5.5/2.1mm DC power jack5V DC via USB Type-C port
IRYesYesN/A
Expansion header40-pin GPIO header40-pin GPIO header, 7-pin audio expansion header40-pin GPIO header
ButtonReset, user and U-bootN/AN/A
Dimensions
85x56mm, 48g85x56mm, 59g85x56 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.

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