The latest tiny, low-power computer from FriendlyELEC is a 2.6″ x 2.6″ single-board PC with a Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor, support for up to 4GB of RAM, and a microSD card for storage.
The NanoPi R4S doesn’t have a video out port, so it’s not designed to be plugged into a TV or monitor for use as a media center or desktop computer. But it does have two Gigabit Ethernet ports and two USB 3.0 ports, which means you can connect it to your home or work network and use it as a headless computer.
It’s available for purchase from the FriendlyELEC store for $45 and up.
You can also pay a little more if you want a case and/or more memory:
- NanoPi R4S bare board with 1GB DDR3 RAM for $45
- NanoPi R4S bare board with 4GB LPDDR4 RAM for $55
- NanoPi R4S with 1GB DDR3 RAM + metal case for $59
- NanoPi R4S with 4GB LPDDR4 RAM + metal case for $69
At the heart of the little computer is the RK399 processor, which features two ARM Cortex-A72 CPU performance cores and four Cortex-A53 efficiency cores and Mali-T864 graphics (which I suppose could come in handy for decoding streaming video or games for streaming even if you can’t plug in a display).
Other features include:
- 1 x microSD card reader for storage
- 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A ports (plus a USB 2.0 4-pin header)
- 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
- 1 x USB Type-C port for 5V/3A power input
There are also GPIO and UART pins, status LED lights, an RTC connector, and a connector for an optional fan – but keep in mind that the metal case was designed for fanless use.
Similar headless, single-board computers from the company like the NanoPi R2S support open source software including U-boot, Ubuntu Core, and OpenWrt, so it’s likely the new model will follow suit once it’s officially launched.
You can find more details about the hardware at the FriendlyELEC wiki, where you’ll also find download links for several operating systems including the Ubuntu-based FriendlyCore and OpenWrt-based FriendlyWrt.
This article was originally published November 12, 2020 and last updated December 1, 2020.