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I am looking to replace 3 OrangePi boards with a H3 CPU with one board. Every board has a RTL-SDR USB stick attached to it, and the software tends to load up the CPU a lot on at least one core, in some cases the total load is high on 2 cores. To make it all easier / simpler I would like to replace the 3 with one board with enough processing power, but nothing extreme. The goal is that it will be in an enclosure up the antenna mast, POE fed, so not easily accessible! I even looked at the Atomic Pi, but I am not so sure about processing power in that unit.. (I might be wrong though!)


Browsing the options online, I saw the NanoPi M4 which looks like a good candidate to me. Another one is the Odroid-N2, but there is no armbian support for it (yet).

Without a doubt I have missed good candidates, therefore my question to the community...  Anyone with a good suggestion? Anything H2/H3/H5 will not do it performance wise I think.  Maybe a H6 based board?


Thanks in advance for your time and help! :-)

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Hi. You seem to have done your homework well. Those are indeed all the most powerful boards.

But other needs are important too. Like how much ram do you need, is power efficiency an issue? Does your task scale well over multiple cores? What voltage do you want it to use?


For example when ram isn't that important you could go for the smaller NanoPi NEO4 with the same Soc as the M4, but only 1GB ram. But good cooling is needed with that.
The NEO3 is even a bit more powerful with 8 cores of 1.4Ghz. But single core performance is a lot worse. Power consumption is then again better than the RK3399's. There's also the NanoPC T3+ with that SoC, but a bigger footprint and 2GB ram.
The Odroid N2 is the most powerful of all in CPU power. It does need a higher voltage than the others. It's very new and not super stable yet. But I've tried a new Armbian image today on it and it seems to be better than anything else for it. Too early to know.

The H6's are pretty powerful for a quad-core sbc. Also very new and software isn't ready. It needs sufficient cooling to get the most out of it, but it's doable. I see the PineH64 model b becomming a good board. but that has 2.4Ghz wifi vs 5Ghz wifi of the Orange Pi3.

I've got most of those boards. And the overall best board is the NanoPi M4 for me. Very fast, stable, good Armbian software, great connectivity. It does consume the most of all when maxed out.
Or the Odroid XU4 is also a very powerful board, octa-core. But hard to cool.
I hope that helps.

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Hi @NicoD;

Thanks for your reply, it did help for sure. To answer some questions;

- 1 GB should be enough I think, but if I can get for a small extra fee 2GB I would be happy.

- Power efficiency is not a big thing, same for voltage. Whatever it needs I can supply. (Using active POE, which allows a lot of options :-) 

- Physical size is not important, as long as it is not the size of a PC! haha


Some remarks / questions about the boards you mention...:

NEO4 --> Not enough USB connectors. I would like to avoid an "external" USB hub

NEO3 --> Can't find it. But the description you give points me to the Fire3? But same thing, not enough USB connectors.

T3+ --> Enough USB connections! :-)  You mention the lower per core performance. How can I compare it to a "H3" core? It is also one of the more expensive ones, basically the same as the M4. Which one will perform better?


Reading your post I think the M4 will be the best choice so far.  Maybe someone else has another option?

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7 hours ago, pzw said:

How can I compare it to a "H3" core? It is also one of the more expensive ones, basically the same as the M4. Which one will perform better?




Reading your post I think the M4 will be the best choice so far.  Maybe someone else has another option?

For some tasks the T3+ is faster. But only tasks that scale well over multiple cores like Blender. Most applications don't do that well and prefere a better single core performance. I indeed menth the Fire3. Too many names. That should be the most powerful for a low price, but indeed not much usb ports.

You mentioned the Atomic Pi. Could be a valible option. It's cheap, x86 and very fast for that price.

I once made a list of benchmarks of most of my sbc's. It is confusing since there ain't no perfect benchmark tools(and I wanted to show discrepencies). But it gives an idea of what you can expect.
7 zip, single core scores are important(small core-big core). Multi-core doesn't give exact results(not 100% se). Igrnore gtkperf, gimp and sysbench. I only used that to show it was useless.
The H3 performs a bit worse than the Rock64 at 1.3Ghz. I should have added one, I've got enough of them but don't like them much except for light data server.

You can  perform the 7-zip tests yourself on the H3. Install p7zip-full, then

7z b   (multicore test)
sudo taskset c 0 7z b (single core)
I only use decompression numbers since I do not want to mix compression with decompression and get a number of nothing.

I also still think the M4 is the best choice. The only sbc that never had issues, and I use it daily.


Reasons why benchmarks can be misleading
Difference in cores A53/A7/A15/A72
distro (ubuntu/debian...)
distro version
kernel version
driver versions
compiler version
software version/outdated repositories
desktop Mate/Xfce/LXDE/...
display resolution/headless
background processes
cpu clockspeed
ram clockspeed/latency
ram useage/swap/zram
process sheduler 
optimizations for the system/distro
crypto engine for encryption
config settings
Wifi dongle
CONFIG_HZ=250 - 1000 or any other

7-zip works a bit better on 32-bit vs 64-bit, it doesn't use all cores at 100% in multi-core scores. The percentage differs with different distro's and boards. So it's not completely exact.
Blender works a lot better on 64-bit than on 32-bit. It uses 100% of the cores.
Sysbench works 10x better on 64-bit, different versions give different results. Version 1.xx does the test 10s and gives the amount of events.
GIMP only uses 1 core, works better on 64-bit.
GTKPerf tests desktop speed. Works 10x better on 64-bit. It only uses 1 core.
CPU Miner only works on 64-bit. Works better in Ubuntu Bionic than in Debian Stretch.

Blender : BMW render @ 1080p
Gimp : BMW render result 1080p Filters -> Artistic -> Van Gogh -> ok
Sysbench : sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=20000 --num-threads="number of threads" run
7-zip : Numbers are average of 3 of decompressing only

All tests are done with a fan when necessary so no throttling occurs.

NanoPi M4

  Blender 1h08m28s   59°C

64-bit SBC's

Odroid N2              |SBC bench result  |CPU Miner      |7-zip s/c A53 |7-zip b/c A73 |7-zip multi avg. of 3 |Blender     |GIMP    |GTKPerf |Sysbench
Ubuntu Bionic           http://ix.io/1Brv  11.35kH/s           1564       1879           9988                     50m28s

NanoPC T3+             |SBC bench result  |CPU Miner          |7-zip s/c |7-zip b/c     |7-zip multi avg. of 3 |Blender     |GIMP    |GTKPerf |Sysbench
Armbian Bionic          http://ix.io/1iRJ  10.99kH/s           1290                      10254                  1h10m25s     1m24s    10.11s   21692
Arbmian Stretch         http://ix.io/1qiF  8.55kH/s            1275                      10149                  1h13m55s     1m32s    11.06s   3.2s

Rock Pi 4B             |SBC bench result  |CPU Miner          |7-zip s/c |7-zip b/c     |7-zip multi avg. of 3 |Blender     |GIMP    |GTKPerf |Sysbench
Ubuntu                  http://ix.io/1uVr  9.50kH/s            1242       1818           7802                   1h17m22s

NanoPi M4              |SBC bench result  |CPU Miner          |7-zip s/c |7-zip b/c     |7-zip multi avg. of 3 |Blender     |GIMP    |GTKPerf |Sysbench
Armbian bionic hz1000   http://ix.io/1nLh  10.23kH/s           1335       2005           8352                   1h13m50s     0m29s5   5.06s    26763
 CONFIG_HZ=250          http://ix.io/1BLW  10.45kH/s           1335       2007           8320                   1h08m28s
Armbionic@1.4/1.8 hz250                                        1253       1828           7821                   1h12m52s

Armbian bionic nightly  http://ix.io/1pDo  10.24kH/s           1329       1990           8292                   1h13m28s     0m29s    5.12s    26733
Armbian stretch desktop http://ix.io/1odF  8.66kH/s            1350       1977           8400                   1h14m12s     0m31s    5.24s    3.1s 
Armbian stretch dsk nightly  //ix.io/1pM0  8.80kH/s            1359       1993           8500                   1h15m04s     0m31s    5.32s    3.3s 
Armbian stretch core no fan  //ix.io/1pKU  8.80-8.65kH/s       1353       1989           8461
Armbian stretch core         //ix.io/1pL9  8.76kH/s            1354       1988           8456
Armbian stretch core nightly //ix.io/1pLf  8.82kH/s            1357       1994           8494
Lubuntu Bionic arm64    http://ix.io/1oGJ  9.24kH/s CPU Miner  1056       1551           6943                   1h28m13s             
Lubuntu Bionic armhf    http://ix.io/1pJ1                      1111       1769           7705                   2h02m54s     0m57s    6.97s    1666      32-bit
Lubuntu Xenial armhf	http://ix.io/1oCb                      989        1507           6339                   2h20m51s     0m59s    49.77s   49.7s     32-bit

Khadas Vim2 Max        |SBC bench result  |CPU Miner          |7-zip s/c |7-zip b/c     |7-zip multi avg. of 3 |Blender     |GIMP    |GTKPerf |Sysbench
Ubuntu Xenial           http://ix.io/1qkA  6.86kH/s            823        1134           6682                   1h14m39s     1m53s    16.26s   3.8s      7-zip only 600% of 800% used

Odroid C2              |SBC bench result  |CPU Miner          |7-zip big core           |7-zip multi avg. of 3 |Blender     |GIMP    |GTKPerf |Sysbench
Armbian Stretch Core    http://ix.io/1pZu  4.65kH/s            1390                      5342
Armbian Stretch Core Nightly //ix.io/1pZJ  4.66kH/s            1391                      5340
Armbian Stretch Desktop http://ix.io/1q1C  4.65kH/s            1394                      5363                                1m23s    11.66s   5.96s
Armbian Stretch Desktop NGHT //ix.io/1p02  4.59kH/s            1394                      5356                   2h38m18s     1m23s    12s      6.0s 
Meveric Stetch  No-OC                                          1337                      5223                   2h40m00s     1m25s    10.41s   5.99s
Meveric Stretch Only RAM OC                                    1361                      5292                                1m25s             5.99s
Meveric Stretch OC                                             1548                      6049                   2h14m17s     1m14s    8.80s    5.24s                    
Ubuntu Mate Bionic      http://ix.io/1q2S  clocked to 100Mhz                                                    2h35m10s     1m17s    10.01s   12026
Ubuntu Mate Bionic OC   Doesn't work/Clocked to 100Mhz         1607                      5960                   2h10m21s     1m09s    8.94s    13755

Rock64                 |SBC bench result  |CPU Miner          |7-zip small core         |7-zip multi avg. of 3 |Blender     |GIMP    |GTKPerf |Sysbench
Armbian Stretch 1.5Ghz  http://ix.io/1nCj  4.06kH/s            1406                      5407                   3h00n32s     1m39s    15.91s   7.0s
OLD Armbian Stretch 1.3Ghz   //ix.io/1iHB  3.80kH/s            1211                      4904
Armbian Bionic 1.5Ghz core   //ix.io/1qbK  5.00kH/s            1384                      5379                                                  10.0s
Armbian Bionic 1.5Ghz dsk    //ix.io/1qcb  4.94kH/s            1379                      5326                   2h55m56s     1m31s    15.00s   10172

32-bit SBC's

Odroid XU4             |SBC bench result                      |7-zip s/c |7-zip b/c     |7-zip multi avg. of 3 |Blender     |GIMP    |GTKPerf |Sysbench
Debian Jessie           http://ix.io/1q6X                      950        1653           8823                   1h12m19s     1m08s    18.53s   41.3s
Ubuntu Bionic           http://ix.io/1qbL                      1219       2094           9395                   1h44m19s     1m10s    14.36s   2200 

Asus Tinker board      |SBC bench result                                 |7-zip big core|7-zip multi avg. of 3 |Blender     |GIMP    |GTKPerf |Sysbench
Tinker OS 9.5 Stretch   http://ix.io/1pRN  				                  1983	         7536                   2h55m00s     1m19s    189.82s  63.7s

Raspberry Pi 3B+       |SBC bench result                      |7-zip small core         |7-zip multi avg. of 3 |Blender     |GIMP    |GTKPerf |Sysbench
Raspbian Default no fan http://ix.io/1q10                      1471                      5027                                2m09s    9.85s    88.2s
Raspbian Default        http://ix.io/1q1Q                      1411                      5371                   5h47m31s     2m09s    10.04    79.5s
Raspbian OC             http://ix.io/1q5J                      1591                      6141                                1m55s    8.81s    70.8s
Ubuntu Mate Xenial      http://ix.io/1q65 7-zip didn't work                                                                  2m17s    11.71s   90.5s

Software versions
                                      GIMP        Blender      GTKPerf     SysBench                     SBC-bench
M4 : Lubuntu Xenial armhf             2.8.18      2.79b        0.40        0.4.12                       0.6.1
     Lubuntu Bionic armhf :           2.8.22      2.79b        0.40        1.0.11 LuaJIT 2.1.0-beta3    0.6.1
     Armbian Stretch desktop 9.5 :    2.8.18      2.79b        0.40        0.4.12                       0.6.1
	 Armbian Bionic :                 2.8.22      2.79b        0.40        1.0.11 LuaJIT 2.1.0-beta3    0.6.1
Tinker : TinkerOS 9.5 Stretch :       2.8.18      2.79b        0.40        0.4.12                       0.6.1
Odroid C2 : Armbian Stretch 9.5 :     2.8.18      2.79b        0.40        0.4.12                       0.6.1
          : Ubuntu Mate Bionic :      2.8.22      2.79b        0.40        1.0.11 LuqJIT 2.1.0-beta3    0.6.1 Doesn't work clocks to 100Mhz
		    Meveric Stretch 9.5 :     2.8.18      2.79b        0.40        0.4.12                       Doesn't work
Rock64    : Armbian Stretch 9.5:      2.8.18      2.79b		   0.40        0.4.12                       0.6.1
          : Armbian Bionic :          2.8.22      2.79b        0.40        1.0.11                       0.6.2
RPi 3b+ : Raspbian Stretch 9.5 :      2.8.18      2.78a        0.40        0.4.12                       0.6.1
          Ubuntu Mate Xenial :        2.8.16                   0.40        0.4.12                       0.6.1
Odroid XU4 : Debian Jessie :          2.8.14      2.72b        0.40	       0.4.12                       0.6.1 7-zip doesn't work
		   : Ubuntu Bionic :          2.8.22      2.79b        0.40        1.0.11                       0.6.2 
NanoPC T3+ : Armbian Bionic :         2.8.22      2.79b	       0.40        1.0.11                       0.4.6
             Armbian Stretch :                    2.79b        0.40        0.4.12                       0.6.2
Khadas Vim2 Max : Ubuntu Xenial :     2.8.16      2.76b        0.40        0.4.12                       0.6.2
CPU Clocks
Odroid N2 :    Ubuntu Bionic          : 2x1.9Ghz(A53) + 4x1.8Ghz(A73)                         64-bit
NanoPi M4 :    Armbian Bionic/Stretch : 2x2Ghz + 4X1.5Ghz                                     64-bit
               Lubuntu armhf/ARM64    : 2x1.8Ghz + 4X1.4Ghz                                   armhf 32-bit / ARM64 64-bit
Tinker Board : TinkerOS Stretch       : 4x1.8Ghz                                              32-bit
Odroid C2 :    Armbian Stretch        : 4x1.5Ghz                                              64-bit
               Ubuntu Mate Bionic     : 4x1.5Ghz RAM 912Mhz                                   64-bit
			   Ubuntu Mate Bionic OC  : 4x1.75Ghz + RAM 1104Mhz                               64-bit
Rock64 :       Armbian Stretch        : 4x1.5Ghz 			                                  64-bit
               Armbian Bionic         : 4x1.5Ghz                                              64-bit
RPi 3B+ :      Raspbian Stretch       : 4x1.4Ghz no fan 4x1.2Ghz above 60°C                   32-bit
               Raspbian Stretch OC    : 4x1.570Ghz over_voltage=4 core_freq=500 sd_freq=510   32-bit
		       Ubuntu Xenial          : 4x1.4Ghz                                              32-bit
Odroid XU4 :   Debian Stretch         : 4x1.4Ghz + 4x1.9Ghz                                   32-bit
           :   Ubuntu Mate Bionic     : 4x1.5Ghz + 4x2Ghz   Underclocks when above 75°C       32-bit
NanoPC T3+ :   Armbian Bionic         : 8x1.4Ghz                                              64-bit

Some benchmark tools can give an estimate of the performance. But they are never an exact reflection.

Can't use sbc-bench on the Tinker Board in Elar Xubuntu bionic and Armbian Bionic. Too high system load. Even when booting into core. 
Armbian Stretch on-board Wifi stops working about one minute after boot. Can't connect to router. Wifi dongles give a lot of system load, so SBC-bench doesn't start.



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