For some tasks like compiling and QA tests I was looking for some more powerful additions to my SBC collection of RPI3 and Allwinner Pine64. Requirements: Aarch64, plenty of RAM, fast CPU, fast network, mainline kernel support (in a not to distant future).
Currently, many SBCs available in the 100 $US/€ price range only have 1 or 2 GByte of RAM (or even less) and often provide just 4 Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.2-1.4 GHz. There are some exceptions, at least regarding the CPU power, but still limited memory (some examples):
- BananaPi M3 (85€)
- Pros: 8 Cores @ 1.8 GHz (Allwinner A83T), GBit Ethernet, 8 GByte eMMC
- Cons: ARM A7 (32bit), 2 GByte RAM, only 2x USB 2.0, PowerVR graphics
- LeMaker HiKey 620 (109 $US)
- Pros: 8 Cores @ 1.2 GHz (Kirin 620), 64bit (A53) 8 GByte eMMC
- Cons: No ethernet, 2 GByte RAM, only 3x USB 2.0, discontinued
- Asus Tinkerboard (65€)
- Pros: 4 Cores @ 2.0 GHz (Rockchip RK3288), GBit Ethernet
- Cons: ARM A17 (32bit), 2GByte RAM, USB 2.0 only (4x)
There are more expensive options like the LeMaker HiKey 960 (240€, 3 GByte RAM, still no ethernet), or the Firefly RK3399 (200€, 4 GByte RAM), but these where clearly out of the 100€ price range.
The SBC board all sport a considerable number of of GPIOs, SPI and I2C ports and the like, but for hardware connectivity I already have the above mentioned bunch of RPIs (1 and 3) and Pine64 boards. So going into a slightly different direction, I investigated some current settop boxes.
The Rockchip RK3399 used on the Firefly is one of the available options, itt powers several different STBs with different RAM and eMMC configurations. I went with the the Yundoo Y8, for the following reasons:
- 4 GByte of RAM
- 32 GByte of eMMC
- 2 A72 Cores (2.0 GHz) + 4 A53 Cores (1.5 GHz)
- 1x GBit Ethernet
- 1x USB 3.0, standard A type receptable
- 1x USB 3.0, Type C (also provides DisplayPort video using alternate mode)
- 2x USB 2.0, Type A
- available for 105€, including EU power supply, IR Remote, short HDMI cable
Contrary to the above mentioned Firefly, you neither get PCIe expansion ports nor any GPIOs, so if this is a requirement the Y8 is no option for you.
In the next part, I will give some more details useful for running stock Linux instead of the provided Android 6.0 on the device – so stay tuned for UART info, MaskRom mode etc.
Update: UART/MaskRom info is now available: Yundoo Y8 RK3399 Settop Box (Part 2)