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Hardkernel announces ODROID-U2, ODROID-X2

Hardkernel announces ODROID-U2, ODROID-X2

The ODROID-U2 is the world's smallest quad-core ARM board, but its heatsink gives it a surprisingly cubic design.

Korean compact computing specialist Hardkernel has formally announced its next-generation ARM products: the ultra-compact ODROID-U2 and the extremely expandable ODROID-X2.

Designed for the same market as the popular Raspberry Pi, both ODROID products have one thing in common: performance. Rather than the outdated and slow ARMv6 processors found in most low-cost development boards, Hardkernel has opted to use Samsung's Exynos 4412 quad-core chip as found in the Galaxy S3 smartphone and the Exynos 4412 Prime variant. The result is pair of boards boasting a Cortex-A9-class processor with four cores running at 1.7GHz, 2GB of memory and a svelte design that makes the Raspberry Pi look positively porky.

The ODROID-U2 is designed to appeal to those with a need for compact computing: the board measures just 48mm x 52mm, or around half that of the already-small Raspberry Pi. Despite this, is manages to include the full-fat quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 10/100 Ethernet connector and a pair of USB ports, along with a micro-HDMI connector and a micro-SD card slot.

For those who need more connectivity, the larger - 90mm x 94mm - ODROID-X2 uses the same processor and memory as its smaller equivalent, but includes six full-speed USB 2.0 ports and a full-size SD card slot.Both models include holes for mounting screws - something the Raspberry Pi only received in a recent board revision.

There are, of course, sacrifices: both the ODROID-U2 and the ODROID-X2 require a large heatsink which, while passive, increases the height of the system beyond that of any other development board on the market today. It's also impossible to power either through the micro-USB port, with both needing a separate 5V power adapter capable of providing a full 2A of current - suggesting a peak power draw of 10W.

For those who find footprint, rather than volume, important, the ODROID-U2 could prove a popular alternative to the Raspberry Pi - and its more powerful processor, based on the ARMv7 instruction set, provides out-of-the-box compatibility with Android and most Linux distributions. That power does come at a price, however: while the Raspberry Pi's official retail price is set at $35 - around £30 including VAT from most UK retailers - the ODROID-U2 costs $69 while the larger ODROID-X2 costs $135 (around £43 and £84 each, excluding taxes.)

The ODROID-U2 launches on the 21st of December, with the ODROID-X2 launching on the 10th of December. More details are available on the Hardkernel website.

20 Comments

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Spreadie 3rd December 2012, 12:45 Quote
I have a dual core A9 at home, in the guise of an MK808 Android Mini-TV box, it's brilliant!

They easily run PS2 emulators and the like - I'd imagine the quads are even more impressive.
Narishma 3rd December 2012, 13:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
They easily run PS2 emulators and the like
Doubtful.
coolius 3rd December 2012, 13:10 Quote
PSX and N64 work great on Android - haven't seen any PS2 emulators though
derviansoul 3rd December 2012, 13:33 Quote
I went through the list of extras of this thing, what a nice piece of kit.
I started dreaming of removing my car stereo and installing a touch screen with linux or android. (dunno what i would do about the audio connectivity but i am sure something would allow me to sort it:D).
I can imagine this thing to affect all sorts of areas, like xmbc boxes, in car audio, etc.
An xmbc box hidden behind the tv.
A second pc inside my tower for android development:D the uses for this would be just amazing:D.

Can wait for this to be out:D, and spend a good few hundred quid in extras with it.
Spreadie 3rd December 2012, 13:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narishma
Doubtful.

I'll dig out the link when I get home.
mi1ez 3rd December 2012, 14:26 Quote
This looks great! As derv said, the in-car uses are awesome!
GeorgeStorm 3rd December 2012, 14:34 Quote
They look pretty awesome :D
Dave Lister 3rd December 2012, 14:50 Quote
I was looking at these yesterday for use as a car computer but you would have to write your own driver for whatever touchscreen you decide to use, plus I couldn't find it mentioned anywhere if these have gps built in - which for a car computer is desirable.
Gareth Halfacree 3rd December 2012, 14:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
I was looking at these yesterday for use as a car computer but you would have to write your own driver for whatever touchscreen you decide to use, plus I couldn't find it mentioned anywhere if these have gps built in - which for a car computer is desirable.
None of them have in-built GPS. If you want a touch-screen, GPS-enabled car computer, you're better off buying an Android tablet: you can pick up cheapy-cheaps from about £40 now, and they've got everything you need out-of-the-box.

If you want homebrew but need a touch-screen, either buy a USB HID touchscreen - which will work out-of-the-box under Linux - or think about Olimex's OLinuXino, which has a 7in touch-screen available as an optional extra. You'll pay for it, though: the OLinuXino is £63-ish and the touchscreen another £40-50 or so.
BLC 3rd December 2012, 14:57 Quote
These things look pretty damn sweet. The only reservation I have is the lack of an accelerated Mali 400 driver for X11; this isn't a problem for Android, but as far as I can tell accelerated video decoding isn't even on offer in Linux. Here's hoping that HardKernel are able to get somewhere with Samsung, or that the Lima project produces something usable soon.

That said, they're still damned impressive pieces of kit.
Dave Lister 3rd December 2012, 15:02 Quote
Getting a tablet was the conclusion I came to as well Gareth but I already have an HP Touchpad which doesn't have GPS and I can't really justify buying another tablet just now unless it is about the same price as one of these development boards.
Gareth Halfacree 3rd December 2012, 15:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Getting a tablet was the conclusion I came to as well Gareth but I already have an HP Touchpad which doesn't have GPS and I can't really justify buying another tablet just now unless it is about the same price as one of these development boards.
How about a dual-core 1.2GHz 7in model with GPS, running Android ICS? $96.30, which puts it somewhere between the ODROID-U2 and ODROID-X2 in pricing. It's a lot slower, obviously, but it has GPS and a touch-screen already.
IvanIvanovich 3rd December 2012, 16:43 Quote
When will one of these companies include sata on one of these things? Potential for micro NAS could be huge if they could be bothered to allow us some storage connectivity besides abysmal slow usb. Also gigabit ethernet.
Dave Lister 3rd December 2012, 16:53 Quote
That looks like it'd do the trick nicely Gareth, thank you for the link ! now to think of a way to build a dock in my cars dashboard lol and hook it into my weird car stereo.


P.S I didn't know they made the cheap ones with capacitive screens now. I'll be ordering this on pay day now, so again, thank you !
Gareth Halfacree 3rd December 2012, 17:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lysol
When will one of these companies include sata on one of these things? Potential for micro NAS could be huge if they could be bothered to allow us some storage connectivity besides abysmal slow usb.
Around the time somebody produces a system-on-chip processor with SATA. What you're seeing here - the Raspberry Pi, the OLinuXino, the VIA APC 8750, the ODROIDs, and so forth - are all built from the perspective of: here is a chip, let's build a circuit board that pulls out as much functionality from said chip as possible. ARM system-on-chip processors usually - usually - don't have SATA, because they're usually - usually - found in smartphones and tablets, which don't use SATA. You don't waste silicon building in functionality nobody's going to use.

Sure, a board designer can go ahead and add in a third-party SATA controller, but they still have to connect it to the SoC - and many SoCs don't have any kind of high-bandwidth bus that would make SATA worth it over just using USB in the first place. Some do: the Marvell Sheevaplug eSATA, which uses a Ferroceon SoC design, has a single eSATA port on it. Adding that in costs some serious dosh, though: the Sheevaplug eSATA costs about £97 excluding VAT.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lysol
Also gigabit ethernet.
Again, if you're willing to pay, there are options out there for you: the DreamPlug has two gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as in-built Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Costs £149, though...
Arboreal 3rd December 2012, 19:30 Quote
lysol: What about the Cubieboard?

http://cubieboard.org/2012/11/15/unboxing-of-cubieboard-prototype/

It looks to be $59 and has a single SATA socket, and will self power a 2.5" drive.

It's an intriguing development, but like a lot of these other boards doesn't have
a strong community behind it.
On that front, the Raspberry Pi is way and beyond the competition in terms of support and community.

That's my take on it just now; waiting for the dust to settle a bit to see what to dabble with.
BLC 3rd December 2012, 20:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arboreal
It's an intriguing development, but like a lot of these other boards doesn't have
a strong community behind it.
On that front, the Raspberry Pi is way and beyond the competition in terms of support and community.

That's my take on it just now; waiting for the dust to settle a bit to see what to dabble with.

This is exactly my concern with it. While there's a lot of support out there for armhf/armel in terms of distros, there's little support in the way of graphics acceleration for X11 - particularly for the Mali-400 GPU, so beloved of cheaper SBC/SoC implementations. Though at least with the Odroid-U2/X2 that quad-core 1.7GHz chip does rather compensate somewhat...

The cubieboard also has a hell of a lot going for it, especially at a price point that almost matches the Raspberry Pi.
IvanIvanovich 3rd December 2012, 23:06 Quote
Fair enough, I don't really follow arm much and wasn't aware of the technical details. I was merely pointing that if they want to keep pushing these for desktop or server use it would be a really good idea to add better storage capability and networking for further uptake. Adding those features at mass production would be a minimal price increase as opposed to add on component. If it was available I would definitely purchase something like this with say 4x sata port to replace some overpowered simple file servers.
dyzophoria 4th December 2012, 07:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arboreal
lysol: What about the Cubieboard?

http://cubieboard.org/2012/11/15/unboxing-of-cubieboard-prototype/

It looks to be $59 and has a single SATA socket, and will self power a 2.5" drive.

It's an intriguing development, but like a lot of these other boards doesn't have
a strong community behind it.
On that front, the Raspberry Pi is way and beyond the competition in terms of support and community.

That's my take on it just now; waiting for the dust to settle a bit to see what to dabble with.

Im expecting my cubieboard next week, hopefully it will do great and replace my raspberry pi HTPC + torrent downloader. (have other plans for my pi regarding some home automation stuffs)
Sheiken 5th December 2012, 13:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyzophoria
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arboreal
lysol: What about the Cubieboard?

http://cubieboard.org/2012/11/15/unboxing-of-cubieboard-prototype/

It looks to be $59 and has a single SATA socket, and will self power a 2.5" drive.

It's an intriguing development, but like a lot of these other boards doesn't have
a strong community behind it.
On that front, the Raspberry Pi is way and beyond the competition in terms of support and community.

That's my take on it just now; waiting for the dust to settle a bit to see what to dabble with.

Im expecting my cubieboard next week, hopefully it will do great and replace my raspberry pi HTPC + torrent downloader. (have other plans for my pi regarding some home automation stuffs)

Please keep us updated! I am super intrigued by all these wonderfully efficient ARM boards.
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