NanoPi NEO4

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Not the final version.



Update(8/24/2018): It's time to deal with NEO4, this picture is not the final version. NEO4 will have PCIe x2 and eMMC connector too, and a MIPI-CSI. But the dual-layer USB connector  will share USB 3.0 & USB 2.0, Type-C take another USB 3.0.


Edited by mindee
It's time to deal with NEO4.
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9 minutes ago, mindee said:

Not the final version




Same PCB dimensions and mounting hole positions as NanoPi NEO Plus 2, USB3 exposed twice, USB2 on pin header (and most probably also via USB-C), Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI. Amount of DRAM unknown without looking at the other PCB side.

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12 minutes ago, guidol said:

cooling-mix-case between the Ordoid HC-1/HC-2-heatsink and the silver NanoPi Neo(2) NAS-Case


Well, then I would prefer to use ODROID design since the NAS case for NEO/NEO2 unfortunately does not attach the SoC to the enclosure to efficiently dissipate heat away.


(still waiting for someone designing a RK3399 'NAS board' with a JMS561 attached to each USB3 port to provide 4 SATA ports for spinning rust and a M.2 key M slot for a fast NVMe SSD or alternatively something like this to provide another 4 SATA ports)

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18 minutes ago, tkaiser said:


Such a SATA controller like this doesn't handle powering at all. I would most probably choose a 12V PSU to be combined with a buck converter (or plain 5V if it's about 2.5" HDDs).

Sorry i quoted the wrong link. The link is from your post at OMV site:

I was thinking about the barrel DC in on this board and what kind of PSU i'd need. I really like these adapter as it saves me a lot of other adapters i've been buying lately to build a NAS from ARM SBC boards.


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On 7/20/2018 at 12:11 PM, mindee said:

Update(8/24/2018): It's time to deal with NEO4, this picture is not the final version. NEO4 will have PCIe x2 and eMMC connector too, and a MIPI-CSI. But the dual-layer USB connector  will share USB 3.0 & USB 2.0, Type-C take another USB 3.0.



Thank you for the update. Simply quoting since editing posts from weeks ago might not get noticed by interested readers :)


Ok, so now we know:

  • RK3399 with appropriate cooling if users buy the heatsink or simply use a thermal pad and attach the board to any large metal surface
  • USB3 SuperSpeed available as USB3-A and USB-C (OTG)
  • USB2 Hi-Speed on the other type A receptacle and on the pin header next to USB receptacles
  • Gigabit Ethernet using the usual RTL8211 PHY
  • PCIe x2 on connector
  • MIPI-CSI for camera
  • HDMI 2.0 as only display output
  • eMMC connector
  • RTL8189EVB Wi-Fi (final version will use AP6212 Wi-Fi/BT)
  • 1 GB DDR3 with 32-bit bus width
  • Powering through USB-C or 4-pin header next to USB ports.

OMG, this thing combined with a 'M.2 key M HAT' and one of the few 2242 NMVe SSDs would make up for the perfect pocket server. @wtarreau do you agree? :) 




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@tkaiser I totally agree with you. I'm checking every morning on their site while drinking my first coffee if it's available or not! While I'm not *that* much impressed by RK3399, it's still a pretty good SoC, and this combined with FE's documentation and thermal design should bring something really nice. I'm just wary of the 32-bit memory, we'll have to see once it's available. I can understand their choice given the small size of the board though.

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5 minutes ago, hjc said:

@wtarreau There's currently only a wiki page for M4 but not NEO4.

I thought they were two different names for the same upcoming board, with various intermediary designs. But you're right, the NEO4 is even smaller than the M4! So yes that makes sense, it's a single channel RAM. Then I think I'm more interested in the M4. However if they made a complete aluminum enclosure like they recently did with the NEO/NEO2 with the buttons and OLED, it could be very tempting to get one as well for about everything you can do with a machine lying in your computer bag!

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13 hours ago, Igor_K said:

@mindee could you please share the spec differences with M4. I'm torn :) 

Just a little bit list, more detail would be done on wiki soon.

1. NEO4 board size is 45 x 56mm, but M4 is 85 x 56mm

2. NEO4 has 1GB DDR3 RAM with single chanel, But M4 has two version 2GB DDR3 RAM/4G LPDDR3 RAM with Dual Chanel.

3. NEO4  will use AP6212 wireless module with single antenna , but M4 use AP6356S dual-band module, and use 2x2 MIMO and 2 real antennas. 

4. NEO4 has one MIPI-CSI, M4 has two MIPI-CSI

5. NEO4 has USB3.0  x1 & USB 2.0  x1, but M4 has USB 3.0 x4 behind a VL817 internal hub.

6. NEO4 use 1.27mm pitch SMD connector for GPIO-40 pinout,  M4 is same with RPi3 40pin GPIO.


Both have:

1. PCIe x2 pin-out

2. eMMC module connector

3. GigE port.

4. TypeC is for power supply and OTG.

5. HDMI-A & MicroSD slot.

6. Big CNC heat sink, with two side 1/4 screw hole

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On 8/24/2018 at 5:08 PM, wtarreau said:

I just checked the Wiki and it's clearly written dual-channel for the RAM regardless of the size, so we have 64 bits.


Those Ram chips have a 16bit bus each, not 32bit.


I hope they will design a 2GB Neo 4 version :(, 1GB Ram is clearly not enough for such a SoC :unsure:

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Meh, am I the only one a little bit worried simply because they're calling it NEO4 (like trying to make use of its fame)?


I'd have prefered if they've stayed true to the initial purpose of the NEO - an headless server.


Now we have another hybrid doing everything and nothing. A little bit HDMI, a little bit of Wifi, two additional USB-Ports ... all a lot more factors that can fail (and increase cost).


With the price of the NEO2 rising and the NEO supposedly getting shelved out soon then this looks a bit meh.


I know that we have the NEO Duo(2) now but yea ... NEO1/2 was such a nice package because it had everything right from the go, including a case.


Wouldn't that be more like a NEO Plus 32456262+ whatever version we're at now ?



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2 minutes ago, tkaiser said:


Same form factor and connector positions like NEO Plus 2, also same position of CPU on the bottom PCB side to ease heat dissipation with massive heatsink. Wonder whether we see an octa-core NEO3 with S5P6818 soon... 

Now that would make some sense. I for sure hope so that the NEO3 will be an headless server like the original one ...


The NEO4 is surely a nifty looking device especially in that form factor - but I'm torn apart what I should think about it.


Additional parts = additional consumption (ok you can often disable it) = additional failure-possibilities = additional cost you can't avoid ...


I'm a friend of devices tailored for specific purposes (e.g. Odroid HC1/2 or the NEO1/2).


That HDMI Port could seem like an attempt to drive towards KIOSK / Mediaplayer ... but the Rockchip support for HW-Decoding so far is rudemimental when compared for example to the s905 driven Odroid C2 (even tought its still residing in their crappy Amlogic Kernel and not Mainline yet), not even speaking about the RasPi when it comes to Kiosk ... there are some things that are ultra hard to catch up and that's a mature software platform (including drivers and firmware, speaking about the VPU of the RasPi).


That said Rockchip SOCs are for sure the future when looking at Mainline Kernel development-support from Rockchip compared to what Amlogic or AllWinner does (H6 I call you).


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8 minutes ago, iamwithstupid said:

That HDMI Port could seem like an attempt to drive towards KIOSK / Mediaplayer


Well, it allows for a couple more use cases so why not. Adding the HDMI connector costs a lot of PCB space on such a tiny board but most probably increasing the BOM by just a few cents. Running headless Linux thingies is not the only use case in this world :)


@mindee said they got camera support working already in Linux so most probably this also applies to HW accelerated video decoding and then this little thing could be useful for a lot of scenarios.

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15 minutes ago, guidol said:

a "brother" for the NanoPi Fire3 which already has the S5P6818?


Please take a look at:


I would say the majority of boards is based on Samsung SoCs and there S5P6818 and (AFAIK pin compatible) S5P4418 (quad-A9) are the majority. They have several form factors and the majority of numbers at least has some meaning (3 being S5P6818 while 2 is S5P4418 with 'PC', 'NanoPi M' and 'Fire' -- now adding RK3399 to the mix as 4). With Allwinner boards so far the numbers they use have a different meaning.


I was only thinking about what could be in between a NEO Plus 2 and a NEO4 and since the software stack is already there and 3 would fit I thought about a S5P6818 variant. We shouldn't forget that FriendlyELEC deals not only with hobbyists like us but their boards get integrated into commercial devices so these customers might like to use same form factor and cooling attempts (SoC on same PCB side) but simply switch between SoCs based on use case.


Anyway: just wanted to point out that NEO4 is nothing entirely new with this form factor but there is at least some consistency (H5 based NEO Plus 2) and since FriendlyELEC is quite smart and cares about software support and compatibility maybe this will be the start of another 'series' that has not that much in common with the headless Allwinner NEO family. At least I would like to see a S5P6818 board with better passive heat dissipation (heatsinks on both Fire3 and NanoPC are too small IMO).


Well, back to NEO4... while thinking about S5P6818 and its limitations (especially IO) I again thought about what could be possible with PCIe here on this RK3399 tiny board. For example a dual Gigabit Ethernet HAT using an Intel 82576 or similar chips so we would get an ultra tiny router thingy with 3 fast Gigabit Ethernet adapters. I've seen @hjc is experimenting with several USB3 based Gigabit Ethernet chips connected to NanoPi M4 but switching to PCIe might improve latency here?


I mean we have PCIe standardized connectors on other RK3399 boards already. But M.2 on NanoPC-T4 won't work with anything else than a SSD without a bulky PCIe Extender, with RockPro64 or Rock960 EE board there's a full PCIe slot so everything is large. Currently those proprietary pin header PCIe implementations on NEO4 and NanoPi M4 combined with interesting HATs look quite appealing to me.

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46 minutes ago, tkaiser said:

I've seen @hjc is experimenting with several USB3 based Gigabit Ethernet chips connected to NanoPi M4 but switching to PCIe might improve latency here?

Actually USB was never a good choice for networking especially when using behind a hub. I tested various setups and the only one that could actually work stably is with (only) one RTL8153 connected. If I connect 2 or more, as soon as I start stress testing (full duplex iperf on all connected NIC), the whole internal hub goes down in a few seconds (dmesg shows the internal hub is disconnected, lsusb -t only shows the root hub) and I have to do a USB reset or reboot the device to get that back again. I'm powering the board with official 5V/4A PSU so the board itself should be fine, but there still seems to be a current limit on the internal USB hub.


One RTL8153 combined with the internal GbE, however, works smoothly. I even tried to configure LACP with my CRS326 switch.


bonding1=ether1+ether2 (NanoPi M4)

bonding2=ether5+ether6+ether7 (NanoPC T4)

tested with iperf3 -P 2. With layer3+4 hash, two connections can easily use up to 2Gbps bandwidth between two devices.


PCIe cards would definitely be better, though I don't know how many people seriously want to use RK3399 devices as a router.


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