The Raspberry Pi is a small, low-cost, low-power single board computer with an ARM processor. It’s not exactly a speed demon, but the Raspberry Pi Foundation has shipped millions of units thanks to a combination of the little computer’s $35 (or under) price tag and a growing community of educators, hackers, and enthusiasts who have found interesting things to do with the Raspberry Pi.

But if you’re looking for a little more power there are a number of other options… including a new range of devices called Orange Pi.

orange pi plus

The makers of the Orange Pi have produced a series of single-board computers that are similar in size to the Raspberry Pi.

But these little guys are powered by Allwinner ARMv7 multi-core processors instead of a slower Broadcomm chip with ARM11 architecture.

CNX-Software notes that there are three models of the Orange Pi. Two feature Allwinner A20 dual-core chips with ARM Mali-400 graphics, while a third has an Allwinner A31s quad-core processor with PowerVR SGX544MP2 graphics.

Each model features 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet, multiple USB ports, HDMI output, AV ports, and expansion headers.

Each has 1GB of built-in RAM, but storage configurations vary from model to model, with some featuring built-in NAND flash storage as well as a microSD card slot, while others requires on microSD cards for all storage.

Prices range from about $40 to $69 and you can order an Orange Pi, Orange Pi Mini, or Orange Pi Plus from AliExpress.

Just don’t expect the same kind of developer community and support you’d get with an actual Raspberry Pi.

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21 replies on “Orange Pi is an Allwinner-powered Raspberry Pi clone”

  1. I really don’t understand the Rasp Pi. Why wouldn’t something like the ODROID-C1 quad core with 1Gb RAM for $35 and running Ubuntu 14.04 be a much better system (with a MUCH bigger Ubuntu community)? The main thing I see on the Rasp Pi forums are people trying to squeeze more performance or find an app that already exists on Ubuntu.

    1. That much bigger community is mostly for a fully fledged x86 based ubuntu. The Arm based linux has no where near that type of support and atm is fairly crippled- because an app works on an x86 based ubuntu does not mean that that app will work on the ARM based ubuntu. The overhead from a fully fledged operating system on these low powered systems is also a drawback, they are intended to be used for a single function at a time.

      This is a quote from some of the Kodi developer:

      ‘Yeah – i had Amd Fusion hardware (E series) for 2 years at home, without capable software, without capable SDK … and never got it running fine. Since that day I never buy hardware that could get “eventual” support, but only stuff that is working right now (from an end customer point of view)

      In the 35 dollar market – one does want to use the hw right now as is and here the odroid has a long way to go until only nearly feature level as the pi.’

      ‘ODROID-C1 maybe optimised for video playback and looks great hardware wise, however it’s not optimised for Kodi and it will be more difficult to do than for the RPi 2. The difference is we have Popcornmix as a dev with direct links to the RPi foundation with full access to what’s required to optimise Kodi, and while Amlogic is one of the more open ARM SoC manufacturers and works with the open source communities, they just don’t offer the same level of access, so Amlogic builds will never be as optimised as what can be done for the RPi.’

      Community and the open nature of the Pi are why it has taken off like it has. A more powerful device like the Odroid will just not be as good without the developers.

      I realise your comment was before the announcement of the RPi2

      1. I agree that for video there is a big difference between Rpi and ODROID – different VPU, GPU, and most important video acceleration on these systems is still a work in progress and not a standard Linaro or Ubuntu issue. and still requires board specific community support However, if your primary use is not heavy duty video, then I don’t see much difference in support at this point. Linux on ArmHF (with ARM v7) is now much more mainstream. If something runs on Ubuntu 14.04 ArmHf it will run almost certainly run on any of the ARMv7 systems (again outside of heavy duty video applications). I virtually never need a forum specific to the ODROID. Even for things like GPIO, the RaspberryPi and ODROID are virtually interchangeable.
        In terms of the new RaspberryPi, this is fantastic news and will pour rocket fuel on the Linux ARMhf world. It looks like a great system, although the ODROID is still considerably faster (except video accerleration).

  2. Do you know if the raspberry pi will be soon updated with a better soc and more ram? Thanks

      1. really, they couldn’t keep a 512mb only version wherease other projects propose double the ram

  3. Why is it considered a clone if it doesn’t run the same software? Are we now calling all small ARM based boards “pi clone” without regard to the software issue?

    1. Yeah, I usually interpret “clone” in the way it was used to describe “IBM PC clones” rather than “You know, they kinda look the same”.

  4. Orange Pi? Are they running out of actual fruit pie names to call these things already?

  5. “Just don’t expect the same kind of developer community and support you’d get with an actual Raspberry Pi.”

    Understatement of the day… most successful electronics today owe their success rich support after the sale. I always go back to the iPod as a reference. It wasn’t successful (in the beginning) because it was a better device than Creative or Archos offered – it was successful because dozens of other companies rushed to make cases, speaker docks, and other accessories for it.

    Same goes for the Raspberry Pi. Its success has centered on a thriving community of developers, modders, and wide availability of cases, LCDs, and other accessories. An alternate board like this might have better hardware, might even have more potential applications – but it will never achieve the broad appeal. Especially in the education market.

      1. Nevermind, found it in the CNX article.

        SATA 2.0, but SATA none the less.

        This board would make a fantastic NAS project.

        1. Would it really? What NAS OS would you run on this?

          The FreeNAS people insist on using expensive server-grade hardware including lots of expensive ECC RAM for their software to run properly. Even my newly built desktop PC is considered insufficent.

          1. yeah.. right
            rpi, because running data from Harddrive over USB2.0, then again over USB because storage, network and EVERYTHING else is only connected to that… is a truly great idea.

            Even my Fritzbox-Router does NAS better than RPi.

          2. I don’t mean a professional grade NAS. Just for light personal use. I use a WDTV box as a NAS.

          3. Sad thing is that ECC Ram does not need to be that much more expensive. Just one more bit added in. It used to be a small marginal increase in cost, but as few looked for it in the specs, it was phased out of lower end hardware as an option, and re-positioned as a premium feature. I was more than happy to pay 10-15% more for ECC Ram when it was an option. https://cr.yp.to/hardware/ecc.html

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