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Hardware IT

Raspberry Pi's Smaller, Cheaper Rival: NanoPi Neo Plus2 Weighs in at $25 (zdnet.com) 121

FriendlyARM, the maker of compact NanoPi developer boards, has released the NanoPi Neo Plus2 for $25. From a report: This board is an update to the recently released NanoPi Neo 2, a $15 cookie-sized developer board measuring 40mm x 40mm (1.6in) with a 64-bit Allwinner H5 processor, 512MB RAM, and one USB port. The NanoPi Neo Plus2 is slightly larger at 52mm x 40mm (2in x 1.6in) and has two USB ports. It has the same H5 quad-core A53 ARM Cortex processor, but comes with 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC storage. The NeoPlus2's storage in addition to Gigabit Ethernet puts it ahead of the Raspberry Pi 3 on paper, and at $25 undercuts the better-known board by $10.
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Raspberry Pi's Smaller, Cheaper Rival: NanoPi Neo Plus2 Weighs in at $25

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  • Allwinner. Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:45AM (#54745843)

    I have way too many cheap development boards floating around my house. The only truly useless ones are the Allwinners. uBoot is a non-standard locked down version with no source available. The Linux kernel is a custom version with no source available.

    While Broadcom isn't exactly great, the RaspPi's success as pushed them into opening some things up and the RaspPi's community has the momentum behind it to keep it going. And my ~10 year old SheevaPlug with a Marvell chip is still going strong. Marvell went the exact opposite way of Allwinner and said "eh, screw it, here's everything" and has their code in the kernel mainline.

    $10 is not worth the hassle of dealing with an Allwinner chip.

    • by John Allsup ( 987 ) <(moostyle.martia ... (at) (allsup.co)> on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @06:18AM (#54745931) Homepage Journal

      Exactly. I learned this with the OrangePi boards. And my 'kodi boxes' are retired in favour of Rpi2's (or pi3's, but pi3's slightly higher power needs are a annoyance so far as what USB sockets you can run them off).

    • Agreed. Even though somethings about the Allwinner look good on paper, I prefer a product that is a bit more stable and well supported.

      One other note, the Allwinner is from a Chinese source. I do not trust them yet to produce flawless products. (If Intel, AMD, Broadcom, and other western suppliers can't get things right, I doubt newer companies from China can do so.)
    • by makomk ( 752139 )

      Huh? Most of the Allwinner boards will quite happily boot and run on 100% open source code these days, though the newer ones may require some patches that haven't been merged into the mainline kernel quite yet. (For instance, apparently Ethernet support for the H5 is planned for 4.13, HDMI is still stuck in mailing list hell, and support for the SoC itself requires 4.12 - fairly bleeding-edge stuff.) The same definitely isn't true of the Raspberry Pi, which requires a binary blob running on an undocumented

      • Re:Allwinner. Nope. (Score:4, Informative)

        by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @07:50AM (#54746143)

        Most of the Allwinner boards will quite happily boot and run on 100% open source code these days,

        Awesome! Can you provide any instructions or links to make my CubieBoard 4 with Allwiner A80 [cubieboard.org] not useless?

        sunxi linux still lists most things as not supported and not worked on: http://linux-sunxi.org/Linux_m... [linux-sunxi.org]

        Under GPL violations they list:

        As is usual, there are the libnand and libisp violations. But with A80, Allwinner decided to step this up a notch, or two, or all the way to 11.

        I haven't checked recently but Ubuntu and Debian were both at least 1-2 versions out of date.

        And that's putting aside the reset issues if you put it under any sort of load for over a few minutes.

        • by makomk ( 752139 )

          The A80 and A83T are, unfortunately, an exception. They're very different hardware-wise to the other Allwinner chips, there are few Pi-style hobbyist boards with them on (I think the CubieBoard 4 may be the only A80-based one out there actually), and what hardware does exist is very expensive. I know Allwinner have released source code to a lot of the stuff that's listed as GPL violations on the sunxi wiki, but even if they have released source for your board's drivers there's just not that much interest in

          • I know Allwinner have released source code to a lot of the stuff that's listed as GPL violations on the sunxi wiki, but even if they have released source for your board's drivers there's just not that much interest in them. Sorry. Most of the community effort seems to be focused on the much cheaper and more widely available H2/3/5-based boards like this one.

            That's moving the goalposts, maybe not on your part but on theirs. Allwinner promised up and down to do what has to be done to get the code mainlined. Until that happens, they're just liars and they can DIAF.

        • by Wolfrider ( 856 )

          > And that's putting aside the reset issues if you put it under any sort of load for over a few minutes

          --That's probably a cooling issue. My Cubietruck came with a heatsink back in the day (Amazon kit) and I have uptimes on it of over 200 days...

      • the comments seem over the top and less informed...

        uboot and patchs make it much much more open than the pi

    • by MangoCats ( 2757129 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @07:17AM (#54746075)

      For $10, I'll take the HDMI port too, thanks. Not that I always use it, but just having it is a big plus.

      I do like the smaller form factor, but Raspberry Pi3 is small enough that the accessories around it are usually bigger anyway.

    • by hughbar ( 579555 )
      Thanks, saved me a post. I participate and help arrange (one) Pi Jam(s), apart from a certain (cough, cough) quantity of them in my house. The community is always going to make them win out, until something really, really spectacular in terms of spec and price point appears. But, even then.
    • Not just that, but these specs are just stupid. Why would I need GigE if they're not going to give me SATA? What am I supposed to do with 512MB of RAM? The 1GB of the Pi already isn't enough.

      I too have three different allwinner-based boards and all are suffering from the same lack of kernel mainlining. So they sit.

      • by Wolfrider ( 856 )

        --FYI, the Cubietruck has GigE, 2GB of RAM and a SATA port. Works pretty well for squid proxy cache.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      yep same, I have a couple allwinner boards, and they are stunningly useless

    • Shall we, perhaps, present them this trophy? https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]
    • And many of the features of the CPU, including the multimedia extensions, are not supported or only supported by specific software systems (one, IIRC). So in spite of some great performance numbers on paper, they generally perform far worse than the RPi at common multimedia tasks like recoding video.

  • Again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @05:47AM (#54745849)

    And again.. "RPI Rival!!! Cheaper and better!!" Community? Standard? Support? AllWinner? Upps!

  • by tonywestonuk ( 261622 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @06:08AM (#54745903)

    Yes, they are a shit company.

    BUT, they are also very, VERY cheep. In any case, most of the GPL violating stuff has been reversed engineered.

    I run this as a home server - it works great.

    https://www.aliexpress.com/sto... [aliexpress.com]

  • by abainbridge ( 2177664 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @06:11AM (#54745909)
    It seems like the summary is wrong. Or at least it disagrees with this wiki page http://wiki.friendlyarm.com/wi... [friendlyarm.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can get started on any Pi just by hooking up an HDMI monitor and USB keyboard/mouse. This is a serious hindrance to any beginner and an annoyance to anyone beyond that.

    • I have enough computers, thanks. I don't need any more. And if you need a $100 display + $5 mouse and $10 keyboard, then whether the single board computer costs $25 or $35 doesn't really matter.

      My view of these (and I have used a few NanoPi Neo's) is that they are simply a part of a bigger project. Generally something that needs a WiFi connection, or audio / video / USB. They are just a step up from an Arduino.

      • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @09:28AM (#54746551) Homepage Journal

        I've been hoping for a Raspberry-Pi-like thing including a Snapdragon 850 with 8GB RAM. The Snapdragon 850 is ~$45, although some volume discounters have gotten it for $25-$30. That's 2.45GHz ARMv8-A with GPU, DSP, and 802.11a/b/g/n.

        That's a nice place to start. With 8GB RAM and that much CPU, plus an M.2 or mSATA port, plus a SATA controller with 4 ports, you can actually build something like a viable FreeNAS box. You'll need a secondary PSU to drive hard disks; an SSD draws up to 5 watts, which is 1 amp at 5V or 42mA at 120V. USB 3.0 supplies only up to 1.5A at 5V at charging downstream, although the USB Power Delivery Revision specifies 20V at 5A or a maximum 100W.

        The Pi 2 used up to 6.25 watts, and the Pi 3 uses up to 3.7 watts at peak; those Snapdragon 800-series can pull 8-10 watts at full load. That means 2A off a 5V USB or 0.5A off the 20V high-speed power delivery revision. Alternately, the engineers can just stick a DC power supply on there, and you use a wall wart that can give 12V at 5 amps or about 60W.

        So the Pi is already based on a SOC. We're looking at a $45 SOC plus a $12 SATA controller. The PSU to carry all this power will cost you $5. That's up to $62 on top of the Pi 3 (at $40), but their SOC costs $25; you're looking at a $77 board.

        With a 60W carry capacity, you can run a 5W M.2 main disk and four 5W Samsung 850 EVO 1TB SSDs all pulling peak at 25W, leaving 35W to run everything else.

        Now you have a peak-power-usage of about 45W-50W for a NAS. Thing is those drives usually run 0.030W, maybe up to 1.5W during brief operations; and the CPU consumes approximately nothing when idle. You're going to average under 10W, under 88kWh/year.

        It won't run your enterprise VMWare server farm. That's not to say you can't use this thing for 10Gbit/s iSCSI to a pretty active Web server (primarily reading!) or even a desktop OS, both of which would cache most reads. You can serve an NFS/SMB file share to hold your movies and music. Hell, in the enterprise, this could be your Gitlab and Owncloud server.

        That's what I'm waiting for: getting the hard drives out of my desktop PC, getting the music collection off one PC or another, getting my non-cloud files somewhere that doesn't rely on a machine whirring loudly and chugging 50W just to idle. They're thinking too small with these boards.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          In all honestly, what I'm looking for is an ARM board with RAM slots & SATA ports for expansion.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          > Snapdragon 850

          Is a mobile CPU, so it won't have Gigabit Ethernet, SATA ports, and likely no Gigabit Ethernet.

          > They're thinking too small with these boards.

          No, they're not. You're just expecting your ideal board to be talked about in the same circles as the Raspberry Pi, when it's in a completely different hardware class.

          What you describe wanting sounds a lot like the Solidrun MACCHIATTObin: http://macchiatobin.net/

          Just don't expect these features to come at a Raspberry Pi price. The MACCHIATTObin c

        • by e r ( 2847683 )
          ODROID XU4 [hardkernel.com] === $60

          This guy built one for about $200 [openmediavault.org] and claims he got over 80MB/s through SMB.
          But it looks like that enclosure he bought ate up a huge chunk of that price. If you're willing to put all the parts into a leftover beigebox or a shoebox or something then you could probably get it all for less than $100 including the price of the ODROID XU4.

          This guy did something similar but doesn't say how much he spent [wordpress.com].
    • I can get started on any Pi just by hooking up an HDMI monitor and USB keyboard/mouse. This is a serious hindrance to any beginner and an annoyance to anyone beyond that.

      Accidentally marked an insightful post as flamebait so I'm posting to burn the mod point

  • This does not sound like it is an official PI product. Yet it is using the name. What is going on here?

  • On Paper? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2017 @08:19AM (#54746253) Homepage

    In my experience most of these boards are limited by their board speed. Many of the PI ports get significantly less bandwidth than they can handle normally, and even that is shared between the ports. It might be a gigabit port, but if it is similar to other single board computers it cannot utilize half of that.

    • It might be a gigabit port, but if it is similar to other single board computers it cannot utilize half of that.

      Even the Sheevaplug can't meaningfully saturate its GigE link. But it's still nice to be able to pull 20MB/sec instead of 10MB/sec from a connected HDD, which is my use case. I'm using a Pogoplug V4 for convenience and the reduced CPU overhead of USB3, because the CPU overhead of USB2 on such limited hardware will punch it right in the breadbasket and I have the system doing some other simple jobs as well.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Pine A64 has a dedicated controller chip for the gigabit network. As a network Synology work-alike server, its fantastic

  • NanoPi Neo 2 VS NanoPi Neo Plus2

    Can they not just call it something different, is it just me or do those name hurt your head, more so when trying to tell the difference between the two or which one is which... ugh.

  • When people say "Macs suck" it's because they don't have the most powerful hardware components yet cost more than a PC. They keep a blind eye to the software side of the Mac.

    But when it's time to talk about the Raspberry Pi and its competitors, hardware performance isn't everything and software support is more important than hardware speed, specifications or price.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No. People say that Macs suck because of the whole culture and that has grown up around Apple the company.

      Jobs proudly proclaimed that the Mac was 'hacker proof' in 1984. And he meant the proper definition of hacker. It was a sealed box unit, difficult both physically and software wise to get into except by 'proper channels.' It was a 180 degree spin from the open Apple ][.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If you think the Apple ][ was in any way "open", I'd like to introduce you to the Franklin line of Apple "clones". I had an Ace 500, and found far too many apps that didn't run like they did on the genuine Apple hardware, because of the things Apple did to keep anyone from duplicating that "open" system you talk about...

        http://oldcomputers.net/ace500.html

      • > People say that Macs suck because of the whole culture and that
        > has grown up around Apple the company.

        I'd posit it's much safer to say that the people saying "macs suck" are a whole culture that has grown up around hating Apple the company.

        I know lots of people that have one Apple product and have no emotional investment in the company. On the other hand, I don't know a single hater that isn't just hating because they're invested in being a hater.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Cookie-sized"? So you mean 250 nanofootballfields.

    "8GB eMMC storage" - how much is that in libraries of congress?

  • The RaspberryPi community still trumps it for beginners. If you're not a beginner then it doesn't matter, choose what fits the job. I am glad there are lots of boards popping up all over the place, Choice is good but I am puzzled at the fact that there's so many allwinner SoC's running around but the drivers are still...questionable. You'd figure that would be sorted out by now.
  • Does nanopi make development software for schools? Do they donate their products? I am guessing no, this is one of the biggest reasons I support the Raspberry PI foundation. They make a great product, but also use their profits to help children learn to code.
  • BeagleBone is superior, and with better options, and a far better, technology-first web site. I honestly can't stand the white space and marketing trash pile of the Rasp Pi landing site.

    • by hackel ( 10452 )

      Who gives a shit about the *design* of their friggin' website? Seriously...get your priorities straight!

  • Anyone know what version of Qt this runs?

  • Dear god, who came up with that name?!?

    Also, dollars are *not* a unit of weight, msmash.

  • ArchlinuxARM doesn't list it under supported platforms [archlinuxarm.org] but does that matter?

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