The 5 best Intel & AMD single board computers for makers

Best Intel AMD single board computers for makers

A few weeks ago, we wrote a list of what we consider to be the top 5 most powerful Arm SBC’s and development kits, and this time around we’ll cover x86 SBC’s powered by Intel or AMD processors. But this time around, instead of focusing on the most powerful x86 single board computers which would lead to unaffordable, industrial Xeon SBC’s, we’ll be looking into the 5 best boards designed for makers. That means affordable pricing, I/O headers, and community support. The list is in no particular order. Rock Pi X – x86 on the cheap If you ever wanted the cheapest possible x86 board, Atomic Pi SBC $35 price tag was hard to beat, but it was only cheap because it was sourced from a failed robotics project, and not very convenient to use. But now in 2021, the cheapest x86 SBC that can run Windows is clearly Rock Pi X starting at $39… That price tag is for […]

Chip shortage and high prices threaten supplies of SBCs and other electronics products

chips shortage

A few weeks ago, we started to hear news about a chip shortage for the automotive industry, but the shortage appears to be affecting all sectors now apparently due to a drought in Taiwan where a reservoir could be a risk of being depleted, and TSMC has been asked to reduce its water usage by 7 percent. I’ve also started to see several companies in the maker market warn about shortages and price increases. Pine64 announced it would only open pre-order for PinePhone, PinebookPro, PineTab, and other products once they could secure stocks of components, and while they hope to be able to do so within this month, there’s no guarantee. (1/2) [PSA] Re. availability of #PinePhone, #PinebookPro, #PineTab, etc., Due to component shortages, component price-increases & related issues, we will only open orders/pre-orders when production is securely underway. We are more cautious than usual, also for your sake (…) pic.twitter.com/0cJA2dQNpC — PINE64 (@thepine64) March 11, 2021 Ameridroid also reported […]

H2 Net Card adds four 2.5 GbE ports to ODROID-H2/H2+ SBC

H2 Net Card

ODROID-H2+ is already a cool single board computer with an Intel Gemini Lake Refresh processor, up to 32GB RAM, dual 2.5GbE networking, support for SATA and NVMe storage, dual 4K video output, and more. But in recent days, I’ve read people complaining recently announced WiFI 6 or WiFi 6E routers only had one 2.5 Gbps or 5 Gbps Ethernet jack and wanted all/more RJ45 connectors to be 2.5 GbE ports or greater. But if even the two 2.5GbE ports on ODROID-H2+ are not quite enough for your needs, Hardkernel H2 Net Card triples that amount by adding four extra 2.5 GbE to the x86 SBC. It also works on ODROID-H2, meaning you’d get the existing dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, plus the four 2.5GbE ports from the M.2 card. There’s no much in the way of specifications for H2 Net Card: 4x Ethernet ports up to 2.5 GbE via RTL8125 controller. M.2 edge connector Compatible with ODROID-H2 / H2+ The card […]

Year 2020 in review – Top ten posts and stats

CNX Software Year 2021

It’s this time of the year when we look back at what happened, and what may be next. 2020 did not pan out as planned in more ways than one, but there were still some interesting developments. Based on 2019 announcements, 2020 was promising to be an exciting year for Amlogic and Rockchip with the expected launch of RK3588 and S908X high-end processors for 8K capable devices,  but we’ll have to wait for 2021 for this to happen. Instead, the most interesting processor of the year from the Allwinner, Amlogic, and Rockchip offerings was probably Amlogic S905X4 processing adding AV1 hardware decoding. As pointed out in our “RISC-V 2020 highlights” post, it was a fairly eventful year for RISC-V architecture, although there’s still a long road ahead, especially for application processors. We had seen some general-purpose and Bluetooth RISC-V MCUs in 2019, but 2020 saw the launch of the first WiFi IoT RISC-V chips with ESP32-C3 and BL602, Alibaba making […]

ODROID-Go Super Ubuntu portable gaming console gets a larger 5-inch display

ODROID-Go Super

Hardkernel introduced ODROID-Go ESP32-based portable gaming console in 2018. The following year, the Korean company went up the scale with  ODROID-Go Advance (aka OGA) running Linux on Rockchip RK3326 quad-core Cortex-A35 processor. We’ve now got a new 2020 announcement with ODROID-Go Super (OGS) with most of the same specifications as OGA, but a larger 5-inch 854×480 display replacing the 3.5-inch 480×320 display, a higher capacity battery, and the addition of a second analog joystick and dedicated volume buttons. ODROID-Go Super (preliminary) specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3326 quad-core Arm Cortex-A35 processor @ 1.3GHz with Mali-G31 MP2 GPU System Memory – 1GB DDR3L @ 786Mhz, 32 Bits bus width Storage – 16MB SPI Flash for bootloader, push-push Micro SD Card slot (UHS-1 Capable interface) Display – 5-inch 854×480 TFT LCD (MIPI-DSI interface) Audio – 3.5mm earphone stereo jack, 0.5Watt 8Ω Mono speaker USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port Buttons – F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, A, B, X, Y, Direction […]

ODROID-N2+ based “Home Assistant Blue” announced as official hardware for Home Assistant

Home Assistant Blue

Home Assistant has announced “Home Assistant Blue” hardware with an enclosure designed by Hahn Werke housing Hardkernel ODROID-N2+ SBC, and software supported by BayLibre who helped upstreaming the code. The goal is to make Home Assistant Blue a fully open-source platform with long-life support. The device was officially announced during the Home Assistant Conference 2020 held a couple of days ago. Home Assistant Blue home automation gateway uses the 4GB DDR4 version of the Amlogic S922X SBC, ships with a 128GB eMMC flash module, and offers Gigabit Ethernet and four USB 3.0 ports. As I understand it, the gateway will run the latest Home Assistant Core 2020.12 that was announced at the conference with a new feature called Blueprints defined as “pre-created automation with user-settable options”, as well as new neural voices for Nabu Casa Cloud TTS (Text-to-Speech), the ability to temporarily disable devices, and more. The release was initially thought to be named Home Assistant 1.0.0, as the beta […]

Linux 5.10 LTS release – Main changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V architectures

Linux 5.10 release

Linus Torvalds has just released Linux 5.10: Ok, here it is – 5.10 is tagged and pushed out. I pretty much always wish that the last week was even calmer than it was, and that’s true here too. There’s a fair amount of fixes in here, including a few last-minute reverts for things that didn’t get fixed, but nothing makes me go “we need another week”. Things look fairly normal. It’s mostly drivers – as it should be – with a smattering of fixes all over: networking, architectures, filesystems, tooling.. The shortlog is appended, and scanning it gives a good idea of what kind of things are there. Nothing that looks scary: most of the patches are very small, and the biggest one is fixing pin mapping definitions for a pincontrol driver. This also obviously means that the merge window for 5.11 will start tomorrow. I already have a couple of pull requests pending – you guys know who you […]

ODROID-HC4 low-cost dual NAS comes with 4GB RAM, supports 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA drives

Low-cost Linux NAS dual SATA Drive

[Edit: Hardkernel has now updated their documentation to clarify the NAS uses ASM1061 PCIe to SATA controller instead of JMB582] It’s hard to find low-cost NAS platforms often because of the mechanism to insert drives and the enclosure add to the cost. An alternative is to use boards like Hardkernel ODROID-HC1 for 2.5-inch drives or ODROID-HC2 for 2.5- and 3.5-inch drives, but each board supports only one drive. The designs are stackable, but you’d need one Linux board per drive, so it’s not ideal. The Korean company has now launched a new model with ODROID-HC4 powered by an Amlogic S905X3 processor and shipping with a case supporting two 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA drives that will start selling later this month for just $65 and up. ODROID-HC4 specifications: SoC – Amlogic S905X3 quad-core Cortex-A55 processor @ 1.8 GHz with Mali-G31 MP2 GPU System Memory – 4GB DDR4 Storage 128 Mbit SPI flash for bootloader like Petitboot UHS-1 compatible MicroSD card slot […]