I wonder if somebody can help me make a good choice. I'm sorry if I'm a bit rambling but I spent a good part of the weekend looking at different SBCs.
I've played around with the early Rasperry Pi, then later on I got a Cubietruck (which still faithfully does network stuff at home) and a Cubox. (Which I wasn't that happy with because I needed a little bit more omph, it was *mostly* fine though)
What I'm looking for is an ARM based setup I can do some browsing with, run some lightweight X11 (jwm window manager and some very light programs mostly dependent on X-libraries) and watch videos up to 720p. The screens' resolution would be 1280x1024. It'd be cool if I can use OpenGL up to 2.1 on that machine (maybe with GL4ES?) for some development I'm doing. I'd also like to run some emulation on it, mainly dosbox (up to 286 VGA era, I figured out with dynamic cores even the i.MX6 can do this) C64 and amiga emulation. (the latter was a bit too much for the i.MX6 when I tested it)
I'm mainly interested in ARM because many ARM SoCs can be passively cooled appropriately, they're very low power and don't take up much room. For a later project I'm planning (epaper screen) it'd also be nice to have a GPIO header. I personally don't care much about blobs like those for Mali, as long as they work. I'm also fine with mostly staying in the framebuffer and just starting X11 or even Wayland occasionally for browsing.
Now I've looked at a lot of SBCs, as there are tons. The RK3328 seemed interesting, but it's a bit older at this point, and although it's much faster than the i.MX6 I'm worried it might not be quite enough. The S922X (which you apparently can only find on the odroid N2) seems very powerful and even though the GPU will never support X11, I have the feeling it wouldn't be much trouble for the SoC to just do fbdev (or fbturbo, which has neon optimizations) at 1280x1024. I also like that I can get the N2 from a local retailer where I live and don't have to order it from another country. I also might even decide to dual boot the N2 with android for multimedia consumption, as I've seen a LineageOS build.
I'm a bit worried though about the vendor kernel and how long it might be supported. (although hardkernel apparently has a good track record for that kind of thing?) The RK3399 seems to be a little bit less powerful but slightly better supported. I don't really know if it can be passively cooled effectively (fans are a big nono, if I wanted fans I can stick to x86) and the power consumption seems a bit higher than what ARM-based SoCs usually have and much higher than the S922X.
I should also add that I don't need a solution that works out of the box, I've been using gentoo for 12 years and have written custom patches for software when I needed something and I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty.
On the other hand, my current AMD SoC served me fine and does all these things well, it's just kinda loud and it takes away quite a bit of room in my already cramped space. Maybe it's not time for ARM yet.
I'd love to hear opinions or maybe even experiences.