The NanoPi M4 is a single-board computer with a Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor and at least 2GB of RAM. It launched last year for $65 and up, but recently FriendlyELEC cut the starting price to $50.
Why the change?
I can think of two reasons. One, it’s been out for almost a year and the manufacturing costs may have fallen in that time. Two, the new price makes the NanoPi M4 a lot more competitive with the new Raspberry Pi 4 that launched this week.
While the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B has a starting price of $35, you only get 1GB of RAM at that price. A 2GB version will set you back $45, while a 4GB model is $55.
The NanoPi M4, meanwhile, now sells for $50 if you want 2GB of RAM or $75 for 4GB.
FriendlyElec’s little computer also features optional support for eMMC modules, and it sports a hexa-core processor (2 x Arm Cortex-A72 + 4 x Cortex-A53) rather than a quad-core Arm Cortex-A72 chip like the latest Raspberry Pi.
On the other hand, one of the advantages of Raspberry Pi hardware is the large user base leads to a larger support and software ecosystem for those products which tends to make Raspberry Pi devices a good choice for beginners, so it’s nice to see the foundation’s little computers starting to catch up with the competitions in terms of features and raw horsepower.