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tommy

Recommended SBC below 20USD range.

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Banana Pi M1 is in that range. It depends on your application. Do you want a cheap SBC or do you have an application where you need more power?

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2 hours ago, tommy said:

My use case is for internet browser and office software.

Under 20$
the Raspberry Pi Zero W for 10$. It's very slow with only 1 core at 1Ghz. You can watch youtube with kiosk browser. And surf, very slowly.
The Banana Pi M2 Zero for 20$. A lot faster. 4x1.2Ghz. You need a good heatsink for it or it overheats constantly. Not very good video playback.
For 25$ the Rock64. Faster, better, but no wifi on-board.
A raspberry pi 3b+ is 35$ and again a bit better.
For your use case an Odroid C2 is perfect. Good Youtube playback, fast, doesn't overheat, ... That's about 50$

Those or the ones I have, and I can recommend. But for 20$ you will not get much.
You need to know that many sbc's don't have hardware acceleration for video playback in browsers. So expect choppy and low resolution video with most. The Odroid C2 does this best in Linux.
Also if a board only has 512MB ram then you want be able to open many tabs.

FriendlyArm also has got some interesting cheap boards.

I review sbc's on their desktop capabilities. Of all those I've got a video, except the C2.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpv7NFr0-9AB5xoklh3Snhg

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On 10/18/2018 at 10:40 PM, Igor_K said:

@tommy I doubt any SBC below $20 would provide an acceptable desktop user experience.  

Probably orange pi pc would be an option, but I've got no real experience with orangepi.

Thanks. I have orange pi lite,it almost ok but a bit slow. I may try pc that has more ram.

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On 10/18/2018 at 11:54 PM, NicoD said:

Under 20$
the Raspberry Pi Zero W for 10$. It's very slow with only 1 core at 1Ghz. You can watch youtube with kiosk browser. And surf, very slowly.
The Banana Pi M2 Zero for 20$. A lot faster. 4x1.2Ghz. You need a good heatsink for it or it overheats constantly. Not very good video playback.
For 25$ the Rock64. Faster, better, but no wifi on-board.
A raspberry pi 3b+ is 35$ and again a bit better.
For your use case an Odroid C2 is perfect. Good Youtube playback, fast, doesn't overheat, ... That's about 50$

Those or the ones I have, and I can recommend. But for 20$ you will not get much.
You need to know that many sbc's don't have hardware acceleration for video playback in browsers. So expect choppy and low resolution video with most. The Odroid C2 does this best in Linux.
Also if a board only has 512MB ram then you want be able to open many tabs.

FriendlyArm also has got some interesting cheap boards.

I review sbc's on their desktop capabilities. Of all those I've got a video, except the C2.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpv7NFr0-9AB5xoklh3Snhg

I would like to choose Odroid C2 but in my coutry, shipping + import tax added price to 100$ which too much for my requirement to compromise.

It look like impossible to find acceptable board under 60$ for me. What do you think about ROC-RK3328-CC(70$) or ASUS Tinker board(85$)?

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1 hour ago, tommy said:

I would like to choose Odroid C2 but in my coutry, shipping + import tax added price to 100$ which too much for my requirement to compromise.

It look like impossible to find acceptable board under 60$ for me. What do you think about ROC-RK3328-CC(70$) or ASUS Tinker board(85$)? 

Where are you from? Odroid`s are easy to get. There`s a European sell point, an American, Korean, Australian. ...
https://www.odroid.co.uk/
https://ameridroid.com/
https://www.hardkernel.com/main/shop/good_list.php?lang=en
http://auseparts.com.au/index.php?route=product/category&path=97
 

The Tinker Board has got many faults. My first one broke, components just fell of. It`s powerhungry and overheats too quickly what makes the use of a fan needed. It does have good youtube and ok environment.
The Libre Computer Board ROC-RK3328-CC should be ok. I did not try it yet. I should look into getting some of their boards. I don`t know of the youtube playback on that. Could be awful,could be good.

The NanoPi M4 is awesome. It`s future proof with it`s USB3, gigabit ethernet, great wifi on-board, eMMC, 6-cores, .. I`ve never had a board that does everything so well from the start. Check my youtube for that one.
Cheers

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I suggest being willing to spend considerably more than $20.  Once you go too cheap, the quality of workmanship goes down so much, that you'll likely end up regretting you didn't spend more, when your board fails on you with the slightest mishap.  For example, don't expect all these Raspberry Pi knockoffs to be anywhere as robustly constructed as the Raspberry Pi itself (which is entirely made out industrial-grade components, albeit the performance is slow).  I do not work for Raspberry Pi, BTW, but I own two of them, and appreciate their robust construction.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of cheap.  But what I want is "Cheap and Cheery", not "Cheap and Grumpy."  Excruciatingly cheap boards will likely bite you for your cheapness.  There's a slightly higher price to go from "Cheap and Grumpy", up to "Cheap and Cheery."  Lurking on this forum for a good long while will eventually help you to discern between the two.

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7 hours ago, esbeeb said:

which is entirely made out industrial-grade components

 

mUSB powering is considered industrial grade? This HAT is also not very industrial ... 

Shortcomings of RPi are over discussed and if you find something to add, add here

... after you read the whole thread. Rpi is just a popular toy.

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Why not La Frite?

Quad 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 CPU Cores at 1.2GHz

2 Geometry + 3 Pixel ARM Mali-450 GPU Cores

1GB DDR4 @ 2400MHz

128Mb SPI NOR

HDMI 1.4 with 1080P Output

100Mb Fast Ethernet

USB 2.0 Host

USB 2.0 OTG

IR Sensor

Currently at $35+shipping at KickStarter. The naked board is at $15...

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Guys, you're going at this all wrong. For desktop use and 20$ best bet for a good experience is a used Dell, HP with a Core2 Duo type cpu. These are plentiful, since businesses get rid of them and you can easily pick one up for 20$ or less if you shop around.

 

It's going to give you much better desktop experience with common apps and OS than any A7 or A53 based SBC (these CPUs are muuuch slower than Core2). If you can spring extra $$$ for a few more gigs of ram (these typically come with either 2 or 4GB of ram) and a 60GB SSD (18$ from aliexpress) you can get a fluid desktop experience for peanuts.

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17 hours ago, esbeeb said:

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of cheap.  But what I want is "Cheap and Cheery", not "Cheap and Grumpy." 

 

I suppose another way of saying things - Fast, Good, Cheap - pick any two...

 

This isn't going to win fans here perhaps - but shop around - Intel PC on a Stick running Ubuntu...

 

$35 shipped in US from Amazon - and that Baytrail chip sku does support AES-NI...

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 3.52.44 PM.png

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18 hours ago, Igor said:

mUSB powering is considered industrial grade?

OK, you've got me there.  I must say I dislike the mUSB power connector, and would prefer a sane barrel connector.

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On 10/24/2018 at 5:59 AM, Igor said:

Rpi is just a popular toy.

 

That's a bit harsh ;)

 

Heck, most of these SBC's are simple toys - but it's what we do with them that is really the important part - and some of the boards have more flexibility and capability than what the RPF offers in their line.

 

The issues with the Pi are mostly wrapped about VC4 and its design - VC4 is common to all the Pi's, it 40nm, and it's limited to single channel, and 1GB (that, and the binary closed source blob that is VcOS/ThreadX)- I seriously doubt that Broadcom is going to do anything with VC4 like a die-shrink, so either RPf/Broadcom moves forward with VC5 on a smaller node, or RPf has kind of run their course... HW is one thing, but also they're still shipping ARMv6 stuff (Pi Zero/Zero W) and want to keep a single distro, which holds back the Pi3's (and perhaps Pi2')...

 

Their last couple of board releases are actually very well engineered (Pi Zero W and Pi3 B+ 1.3) - I think they learned quite a bit with the Pi3 and WiFi, and having to do global wireless certs brought their hardware forward. Layouts are better, and they're doing a good job on the BOM front, keeping costs low - and just look at the board - the number of passives (caps/resistors/inductors) says a lot about the design team - the lastest boards look pretty good

 

That RPf shipped Pi Zero W - they kept the BCM2835 ARMv6 well past the use by date - similar to what Apple did with Ipad2 and variants (iPad Mini/iPod Touch 5G) - which hurt the SW side as those devices drug out compatibility requirements well past the useful dates as ARM and Apple accelerated performance..

 

https://allenpike.com/2014/the-ipad-zombie/

 

The Pi Zero W is the Raspberry Pi Zombie... and it holds back an entire platform that is Raspberry Pi... none the less - they ship a lot of those board and Pi3 B+'s as well...

 

I'll agree - Pi is not industrial grade components, but with their OEM partners (Sony and Embest), good manufacturing and good software QA for the most part...  There's been some exceptions with first-run boards, and that's happened more than once.

 

FWIW - totally concur on the mess that was the official PoE hat - I don't think it was a good design, and even shipped, it had problems... seemed kinda rushed, and perhaps it was an answer to a question that had already been answered.

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if you go higher than 60$ anyway, then I would have a look into the RK3399 based ones. Towards 'evil inside'.. it depends on your needs, I assume once HW acceleration on RK3399 works properly they may even beat the Atoms on desktop.. For me desktop means >30 tabs in browser.. No 2GB ram desktop can deal with that.. 4GB ones maybe.. For my work I just had to deal with windows 7 again.. Seems they've a crappy OOM handling there..

 

On 10/24/2018 at 7:22 AM, esbeeb said:

(which is entirely made out industrial-grade components, albeit the performance is slow).

The preview picture from the RPi thread @Igor posted is an 'industrial grade' board (or at least near to industrial grade). Question here.. do you need it? This guy sent a Odroid C2 2600m deep.. For sure not an 'industrial grade' board:

an OPi Zero (with USB wifi, cause XR819 is crappy) together with a few ESPs currently manage a lot of monitoring stuff in my Lab - for sure not industrial grade, but they do what they're supposed to do. So, even a 10$ toy can do serious work.. ;)

 

RK3288/tinker is IMO outdated, performs probably not that bad for desktop scenarios due to 32bit with 2GB ram may be ok-ish. If desktop means some web-surfing and watching youtube.. I assume an android driven one may fit better, normally those SoCs are supposed to run android and hardware acceleration works there a way earlier than in Ubuntu/Debian.

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34 minutes ago, chwe said:

I assume once HW acceleration on RK3399 works properly they may even beat the Atoms on desktop..

Works in firefox. Even in Armbian. I don't know how. But it does. But Firefox does suck for surfing.
For that I use Vivaldi. There 1/3 lost frames in 1080p Youtube. Chromium 2/3 lost frames. Firefox 0 frames lost. All video works perfect. I even use it as video player on the NanoPi M4.
For me the NanoPi M4 is the perfect 2nd desktop pc. It's very fast. It's got an amazing heatsink. It's stable, haven't had 1 crash with it in hundreds of hours use. I've tried many different sbc's on there desktop capabillity's. The Odroid C2 was the best until the NanoPi M4.
Tinker board does ok in video, but many things don't work. I've tried it again this week, and it even got worse. I need 3 different OS'es to be able to do everything.
To my knowledge not many others than the C2, tinker, rasp and RK3399 have HW acc in Linux. The Raspberry sucks to work with.

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I've got a NanoPi Neo Core 2, with the NAS kit.  It lets me attach a 2.5" SATA SSD drive, all contained in an aluminium case (which elevates it above "toy", to my eyes).  The whole kit, minus SSD hard drive, was about $80 (and I'd call this a good value, worth it), however shipping from China took a long time (like a few weeks to a month).  Disk performance isn't stellar, but it doesn't suck either.  Much more performant-feeling than a Raspberry Pi.  It's adequate, to make your own personal LAN server, like say OpenMediaVault (for serving SMB file shares), or Nextcloud (DAV file shares, with SSL encryption, work great in Gnome Nautilus out-of-the-box, or Linux Mint's file manager, Nemo, once you install the package "davfs2"). 

 

Small home offices should be a good fit for this kit, where LAN file-share usage day-to-day is light-to-mediumly demanding.

 

What I love about this kit is that the H5 CPU has decent mainline kernel support.  This helps to assure me that this board won't just be a "flash in the pan", and I'll very likely be able to get kernel security updates for at least a few years into the future.

 

I mention this all to underscore my earlier point that to get something minimally sturdy, performant, long-lasting and above all useful in a way that goes beyond a tinkerer's toy (which can be a great starting point for many, don't get me wrong), then to me, this $80 kit is about the lowest I'd personally go.  For $20, I'd rather go eat a pizza or something.

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On 10/31/2018 at 10:34 PM, esbeeb said:

I've got a NanoPi Neo Core 2, with the NAS kit.  It lets me attach a 2.5" SATA SSD drive, all contained in an aluminium case (which elevates it above "toy", to my eyes).  The whole kit, minus SSD hard drive, was about $80 (and I'd call this a good value, worth it)

 

Not so sure if it's a good value at $80 (I'm assuming USD here) as single bay NAS boxes from QNAP and Synology aren't much more expensive, and have a well sorted out platform suited for that market...

 

 

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On 11/29/2018 at 9:19 AM, sfx2000 said:

 

Not so sure if it's a good value at $80 (I'm assuming USD here) as single bay NAS boxes from QNAP and Synology aren't much more expensive, and have a well sorted out platform suited for that market...

 

 

That's fair to point out.  I've played with a Qnap TS-251A quite a lot, and the OS is a locked down, stripped down sort of distro, that's clumsy and hard to do anything useful with on the command line (if you're accustomed to Debian, which I am).  If, OTOH, you like Qnap's web-based admin interfaces (good for average folk who are not Linux geeks), and accept that you should do virtually everything there (in the web GUI), and avoid the command line (where it's pretty much a nightmare compared to Debian/Armbian), then I say, yah, Qnaps are good. 

 

Having said that, it's not trivial to pare down all the gratuitous bells and whistles that Qnap enables by default.  Qnap's default settings make it this sort of all-singing, all-dancing whore of pretty much all networking protocols.  I dare you to do an nmap scan on a Qnap appliance (within the LAN) and count all the open ports, which are enabled by default.  There are way, way too many open ports, IMHO, if you care about security.  So all the paring-down efforts (where you really need to know what you're doing to tighten things up nicely, yet not damage the functionality you really need) seriously takes away from the Qnap's claim to being "easy."  A Qnap is actually kind of hard to lock down decently.  I've done it, and I could never quite get it the the way I wanted it.  There were still open ports I didn't want, yet couldn't disable without also removing some other wanted port.

 

Also note that Qnap has invented their own software packaging system called "qpkg".  You can't "apt-get install" whatever you like, as is the case with Armbian (which is important to me).

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17 hours ago, esbeeb said:

That's fair to point out.  I've played with a Qnap TS-251A quite a lot, and the OS is a locked down, stripped down sort of distro, that's clumsy and hard to do anything useful with on the command line (if you're accustomed to Debian, which I am).  If, OTOH, you like Qnap's web-based admin interfaces (good for average folk who are not Linux geeks), and accept that you should do virtually everything there (in the web GUI), and avoid the command line (where it's pretty much a nightmare compared to Debian/Armbian), then I say, yah, Qnaps are good. 

 

Fair enough, and good points...

 

The 251A does have VM support (Virtualization Station), so putting on Stretch or Bionic is always an option, and a good one there...

 

With the off-the-shelf NAS boxes - yes, they're linux for the most part, but one should resist to tinker under the hood lest one wants to watch the data contained within go *poof*...

 

 

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The Odroid C2 was the best until the NanoPi M4.

Tinker board does ok in video, but many things don't work. I've tried it again this week, and it even got worse. I need 3 different OS'es to be able to do everything.

To my knowledge not many others than the C2, tinker, rasp and RK3399 have HW acc in Linux. The Raspberry sucks to work with.

Do you not have an XU4?

 

 

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5 hours ago, rooted said:

Do you not have an XU4?

 

 

Yes I have. I like my XU4 for gaming and for rendering. It may be faster than the C2, but it`s not as versitile. I use the C2 as a laptop powered by a power bank and a 7" display. It does everything right.  It`s power efficient, doesn`t overheat, very fast when overclocked to 1.75Ghz and ram to 1104Mhz.
Software is great. Perfect Youtube playback, I used it a lot for video editing and rendering when traveling.
None of the other SBC`s do so well in all these things. While ths also the oldest design.
But the C2 isn`t perfect. It has troubles with a display resolution of 1080p or higher.

My use cases are different of that of most other people. For many high resolutions are more important. Then the C2 isn`t a good choice. It`ll stay my laptop until I find another that is faster, as small and light and doesn`t overheat.
Cheers.

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Here are some of my SBCs that are under $20 (see photo below).  I have divided them into two categories, with hdmi and not. The ones on the left are without, and on the right are with. The ones without are mostly orangepi's and nanopi's. Just do a search on their web sites and if it is under $20, I have it. One thing to consider is the ones with two spi channels (e.g. nanopi core 1 - note core 2 is better but its over $20), this would allow connecting two spi screens. If you connect two relatively big 3.2 ili9341 screens, with the browser stretched across them, your experience would still suffer but it would be okay in some extreme situations. The ones with hdmi include, raspberrypi zero w (double spi), nanopi A64 (double spi), pcduino4 nano (double spi), nanopi m1 - same as pcduino4 nano (double spi), and the other three orangepi's. Bananapi zero is slightly over $20, I have it connected to a lap dock. Of these, the best is pcduino4 nano (get it on ebay between $5 to $16), supported well in software (armbian), and nanopi a64 ($19.99?) is my second choice, software support is getting there (may be?), at least double spi works with pine64 image (latest kernel). Raspberrypi Zero W is only $5 from my local store, and dual spi screen with camera works, you really can't beat it in price.

Under20-1.jpg

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On 10/26/2018 at 5:37 PM, chwe said:

RK3288/tinker is IMO outdated, performs probably not that bad for desktop scenarios due to 32bit with 2GB ram may be ok-ish.

 

Well, it's one of only two with 4 fast cores, the other being XU4.  The RK3399 doesn't even have that going for it.  It honestly is in the top 3 performers in any case, every time I use any other board I get a rude awakening about how bad a desktop experience can be. RK3399 is somewhat better but is still poorly supported kernel wise by comparison.

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