Orange Pi Zero with Gigabit Ethernet for $10?


Orange Pi Zero with Gigabit Ethernet for $10?  

20 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you buy

  2. 2. Would you be interested in designing a product with it?

  3. 3. Do you think all of the H2's GPIO (about 130) should be exposed on 0.1" through-hole pads?



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I think Xunlong should be able to make a Orange Pi Zero with 512MB RAM and Gigabit ethernet for around $10. If they did, would you buy it? Do you think it would be a good product?

 

The H2/H3/H5 is capable of gigabit ethernet, they just need an external ethernet chip that costs about $1.
If you think about it. To go from an Orange Pi PC which has 1GB RAM @ $15, to an Orange Pi 2E with 2GB RAM $35, thats more than double the cost to double the RAM.
But if you go from an Orange Pi Zero with 100Mbit ethernet at $9 to 1000Mbit ethernet at $10, that's only a 0.1X increase in cost for a 10X increase in performance. That means you get about 10.5x more value for money (performance) by upgrading the ethernet vs upgrading the RAM.

For many years Raspberry Pi (and alternatives) fans have wanted a low cost SBC with good IO capabilities. RaspberryPi has never delivered.

Now Xunlong have come and provided us the Orange Pi 2E (thanks to Tkaiser's suggestion), it's got gigabit ethernet, lots of RAM and 4 real USB ports. It's great.
But now if you want a cheap SBC with powerful IO, currently the only option is FriendlyArm NanoPi Neo2. But that board costs much more than necessary at $15 (if you just want IO) because it uses the H5 chip.

One application is a router. Routers need a lot of IO, but not that much RAM usually. But it depends. Some routers deal with massive IPsets and do deep packet inspection VPN, VoIP and all kinds of stuff.

 

So let's see who else thinks a Orange Pi Zero with 512MB RAM and Gigabit ethernet would be a good idea?

Also another suggestion is I've seen comments that the H2 supports about 130 GPIO's. But there are only a few of them exposed on the 40 PIN RbPi style GPIO header.
The new Orange Pi Zero can expose all the GPIO without much extra size as 0.1" spaced holes on the PCB, without increasing the cost much.
That's another very cheap way to increase the IO capabilities and make this product really competitive with other options for people who need IO.
To keep everyone happy, if the additional GPIO are placed at the end of the PCB, the few modders who care about a few mm of space and want a really tiny PCB can just cut the end off (at their own risk)

Edit:
I edited the questions so my answers got a bit messed up, but I won't edit the questions again.

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11 minutes ago, Lope said:

To go from an Orange Pi PC which has 1GB RAM @ $15, to an Orange Pi 2E with 2GB RAM $35, thats more than double the cost to double the RAM.

 

Just for the record: a more appropriate comparison would be Orange Pi PC Plus vs. Plus 2E since both share most details, eg. RTL8189FTV Wi-Fi and same type of eMMC (Xunlong uses even on the PC Plus pretty fast Samsung 2-bit MLC eMMC while SinoVoip for example on all recent Bananas uses way slower 3-bit TLC eMMC). For $13 more you get 16 GB vs. 8 GB eMMC and twice as much DRAM on Plus 2E.

 

(on my wishlist is a H5 OPi Zero with 2MB SPI NOR flash presoldered, 2 x 4Gb DRAM chips (to get 1 GB using full 32 bit memory bandwidth), SY8113 voltage regulation switching between 1.1V and 1.35V (not 1.3V) with RTL8211E as GbE PHY. For $15 :) )

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2 minutes ago, tkaiser said:

(on my wishlist is a H5 OPi Zero with 2MB SPI NOR flash presoldered, 2 x 4Gb DRAM chips (to get 1 GB using full 32 bit memory bandwidth), SY8113 voltage regulation switching between 1.1V and 1.35V (not 1.3V) with RTL8211E as GbE PHY. For $15 :) )

And a portal to another dimension that would hold all these components on the Orange Pi Zero PCB :D

Otherwise this would be a nice configuration for an Orange Pi One/Lite form factor (that unfortunately won't be compatible with the Zero NAS expansion board)

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23 minutes ago, zador.blood.stained said:

that unfortunately won't be compatible with the Zero NAS expansion board

 

Why? If both Ethernet magnetics and XR819 are saved the additional DRAM chip and RTL8211E might fit. Anyway: only position of the 4 mounting holes and the one prepopulated 13 pin header on the left need to be considered while PCB can grow to the right or even both sides :)

 

DYI-Lowspeed-NAS.jpg

 

(would love to throw the ugly GbE dongle away and now shutting up to not hijack the poll any more)

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18 hours ago, tkaiser said:

If both Ethernet magnetics and XR819 are saved

...then you end up with a larger Ethernet socket with integrated transformer (compare one on Zero with ones on larger Orange Pi boards).

AFAIK DRAM has special requirement to PCB traces alignment/length so you can't just plop another chip on any free spot, and gigabit PHY needs 2 voltage regulators, a resonator and a lot of other passive components, so IMO it would be hard to fit everything without extending the PCB.

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8 hours ago, bozden said:

I would like to have Gigabit LAN + USB3 capabilities on any OPi board at their lower prices - for a NAS.

 

For SBC to provide USB3 either the SoC has to be USB3 capable or the SoC needs a high speed bus (like PCIe) to attach an USB3 controller to it (which would be wrong if the SoC has just a single PCIe lane since then you don't use USB3 but SATA instead). That's why Armbian currently only supports the following boards with USB3:

 

 

What's coming soon with USB3:

 

  • EspressoBin (using USB3 here is just wrong since the board features native SATA -- even up to 3 ports by adding a cheap ASM1062 mPCIe card). Status: ready soon
  • Helios4 (4 x SATA so why thinking about the 2 x USB3? ;) ): Status: ready soon (the board is on Kickstarter the next 4 weeks)
  • Rock64 (not even announced using Quad core Cortex-A53 RK3328 with native Gigabit Ethernet and USB3). Status: unknown but if price and SDK looks good there's no doubt Armbian will support it
  • Rockchip RK3399 based devices (like this): Status: not even really announced, IMO uninteresting since way too expensive
  • Boards based on Allwinner H6 (Quad core Cortex-A53, new 28nm process, 1 x USB3, PCIe 2.x x1 so you could avoid USB3 and use SATA through an ASM1061 instead). Status: nothing announced yet but if price and SDK looks good there's no doubt Armbian will support it (speaking of 2018)

 

In other words: for NAS use cases forget about USB3 now and in the foreseeable future, choose EspressoBin if you want both affordable and fast or choose the combination H3/H5+GbE+USB2. Only potential exception from the USB3 rule: Rock64 soon and maybe later Allwinner H6 based boards.

 

(Allwinner A20/R40 boards not mentioned by intention since too slow and especially R40 at the moment close to unusable since the only board available is from SinoVoip so no vendor support and most probably documentation/schematic f*cked up as usual)

 

 

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I think Xunlong should be able to make a Orange Pi Zero with 512MB RAM and Gigabit ethernet for around $10. If they did, would you buy it? Do you think it would be a good product?



I rather keep FastEthernet with the ability for PoE than GigEthernet without.

Harald
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@tkaiser This is an awesome summary. Thanks...

 

About USB 3 : Many people already have multiple USB 3 external disks attached to their desktop computer (I have about 20). They could have moved them to a home/nas server... The main cost in NAS are the drives and people would like such a solution through a powered hub - a single USB 3 port would suffice.

 

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If I upgraded my NAS from a Cubieboard to an Espressobin, I wonder if I'd see any real-world performance boost? A 64-bit ARM core sounds good, but for disc I/O and networking would this make any noticeable difference?

 

Maybe someone will come up with a properly supported Allwinner R40 based SBC (seems an obvious step for a next generation Cubietruck)?

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6 hours ago, john.glasson said:

If I upgraded my NAS from a Cubieboard to an Espressobin, I wonder if I'd see any real-world performance boost?

Of course and that's not due to 64-bit vs. 32-bit but those Marvell SoCs being made for this specific use case while almost all the other SoCs on usual SBC are originally made for phones, TV boxes or tablets. Check performance numbers for older Marvell Armada 38x (Dual Cortex A9) to know what to expect from Marvell 37x0 on EspressoBin: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/3953-preview-generate-omv-images-for-sbc-with-armbian/

 

 

The best you can expect from an A20 board with Gigabit Ethernet is outlined here: http://linux-sunxi.org/Sunxi_devices_as_NAS#Influence_of_the_chosen_OS_image_on_NAS_performance

 

I hope you're talking about Cubieboard 3 AKA Cubietruck since Cubieboard 1 and 2 both have only Fast Ethernet so for NAS use cases you're limited here to 10 MB/s anyway and every Gigabit Ethernet equipped board will outperform your Cubieboard. And please don't think about any improvements here. Every Cubieboard that followed CB3 (Cubietruck) was a move in the wrong direction BTW (CB6 being no exception).

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On 17.5.2017 at 8:03 AM, tkaiser said:

Rock64 (not even announced using Quad core Cortex-A53 RK3328 with native Gigabit Ethernet and USB3). Status: unknown but if price and SDK looks good there's no doubt Armbian will support it

 

And it will look like this (please note the most important difference to crappy boards: barrel plug instead of Micro USB):

ROCK64_vs_RPi_3.jpg

 

eMMC is socketed and seems to be the same Pine Inc is using for all their designs now: http://linux-sunxi.org/File:16GB_NCEMBSF9-16G_eMMC.jpg

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