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Which SBC, or chipset, has most complete and stable Armbian support


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For the last few years I have been working on some hardware projects based on ARM SBCs.


Every board I work with seems to have different kernel/overlay/GPIO/etc issues.


So my question is - Which SBC, or chipset, has most complete and stable Armbian support?


In other words if you had to pick a board to go into battle to run Armbian, without knowing any specific requirements, which SBC would it be?

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I would say that Allwinner H3 boards (like OPis or NanoPis) are the most stable boards, even if the soc is a bit old. For more recent soc, H5 and RK3288 boards seems to have good support also. I have no experience with the samsung soc of the HK boards like the one of the xu4, but it seems also well supported.


Other than my personal opinion, I think that the organization of the forum defines how SoCs are supported: the bugtracker section is for most well supported SoCs/SBCs and the development section is for not enough mature ones.


The soc itself is important to be able to use main features of a SBC, but other chips can also provide problems in term of support (pmic, eth, wireless,...). Some boards can also have a good support, but issues come from their design (like micro-usb with current greater than 1A).



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I have been running Cubietruck (A20) for like 3 years as a NAS and running some light-weight services (syncthing, prosody XMPP server, Radicale CalDAV) and more recently even added some not so light-weight things to that like an openHAB home automation server, and so far everything has run flawless (that I can tell).


+1 to what @jeanrhum said above about sticking with Recommended Devices.


More recently I added an ODRIOD-XU4, it ran for some months doing software motion detection (using Motion) and seemed to also run flawless during that time (if a little hot).


But then again, I also power all my SBC from an ample Mean Well high quality / efficiency (like level VI IIRC) power supply, Samsung SD cards from reputable source (and test before putting into service) and run Debian (Armbian) stable. But it seems a lot of people don't heed the warnings that are plastered all over the place around here about these things, and then they go away talking bullshit like "Armbian isn't stable" etc...

Edited by TRS-80
add last bit about stability
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I agree with the previous posters. Any supported / recommended board will run stable with most features working if you use good PSU (not micro-usb), sd card (or even better root on emmc or sata) and is sufficiently cooled. I'd suggest you go for boards with good mainline linux support (ie. 4.19 or 5.4) because more hardware is supported & if something breaks there are possibly more people fixing it versus boards which only have some old vendor kernel.


Apart from that unfortunately it is like you said, not every feature works on every board. In my experience this is mainly due to hardware producers advertising (hardware) functions although there is no real software support for it. Or randomly changing hardware (see espressobin) which breaks existing software... I suggest thinking about stuff you really need and picking a board afterwards. (You probably don't need an "Eierlegendewollmilchsau").


Personal experience: I'm running a Router/NAS based on ClearfogPro with M.2 SSD for OS, 2x HDD for storage (with mPCIe-SATA bridge) for about  3 years now with no problems (apart from stuff which I broke be installing dev kernels and so on). 


So, I am sending in the Clearfog Army!


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49 minutes ago, count-doku said:

(or even better root on emmc or sata)


Yes, I forgot to mention this. I also do wherever possible (like on ODROID-XU4 in my case).


49 minutes ago, count-doku said:

go for boards with good mainline linux support


The underlying factor to this is "how open is the vendor with respect to the community, how well they provide documentation, and therefore how open are the drivers." The more open, usually the better the community support, and subsequent chances that stuff gets into mainline.


IMO, whenever possible, we should be supporting financially those manufacturers who are most open and cooperative with the community. I believe the only way to effect positive change is by voting with our feet / wallets. This is the only way (long term) that we will be able to Have Nice Things (tm). ;)


EDIT: And finally, do homework. It is unfortunate but there are a few gotchas here and there as @count-doku mentioned above, with specific boards. No way to know that without doing homework. There are so many boards available, it can be bewildering. I have been reading for literally years and still learning.

Edited by TRS-80
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