Shenzhen Xunlong Software has been selling single-board computers under the Orange Pi brand for years. The name is obviously inspired by the most famous low-cost, low-power SBC, the Raspberry Pi. But while Orange Pi devices don’t have the same level of community support as their Raspberry Pi rivals, they often make up for it by offering a decent set of features at an affordable price.
Case in point: the company’s new Orange Pi 3 models sell for between $30 and $40 and offer offer a number of features (some optional, some standard) that you don’t get with the latest Raspberry Pi models.
The Orange Pi 3 is powered by an Allwinner H6 V200 processor, which is a 1.8 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor with Mali-T720 MP2 graphics.
It features Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, and four USB 3.0 ports plus a USB 2.0 port and a micro USB port (for power).
The $30 starting price gets you a model with 1GB of RAM and a microSD card slot you can use for storage, while a top-of-the-line model offers 2GB of RAM, 8GB of eMMC flash storage (plus a microSD card slot for removable storage) for $40.
There’s also an HDMI 2.0a port and a PCIe connector, although there are reports that it doesn’t work properly — so you probably aren’t going to want to buy this SBC specifically for its PCIe support.
In between are two $35 options:
The Orange Pi 3 H6 should support GNU/Linux operating systems including Ubuntu and Debian as well as Android 7.0. But it doesn’t look like official builds of any of those operating systems are available on the download page just yet.
All told, it looks like an upgrade to the Orange Pi One Plus that was released in 2017. That model had the same processor, but lacked support for USB 3.0 and had no built-in support for WiFi or Bluetooth.
Are these Clone Pis, any of them, 100% software compatible with the Raspberry Pi? Otherwise, what’s the value proposition? Yeah, they are faster, but what OS and software are you supposed to run on them?
If you are asking about Raspbian, then these clones are definitely not compatible. For me, the software support for all the pins on the 40pin header is the most valuable part of RPi. I am in no hurry for HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0, and gigabit ethernet on the RPi. I am hoping those features arrive in 2019 or in 2020 for the RPi.
They target a different group. RPi is all tutorials, community support, hand holding and pre-built software. OrangePi is all DIY. Most models run Armbian, but from there it’s trial and error. And it’s great– of you’re into that kind of thing.
It just depends on the project. I use an Asus Tinkerboard to run Home Assistant (hassio) where a lot of folks use a Raspberry Pi. They also have beta support for Orange Pi, Odroid and others. iirc LibreELEC has support for the Odroid and a few others
I have a software favor to ask of someone with an Orange Pi. Would you install RawTherapee (A Lightroom kind of Editing Program) and see if it will successfully edit a photo using Denoise tools? Also please report whether you have 1 or 2 GB of ram.
I get part way through this on a Raspberry Pi and haven’t been able to buy other hardware to try it.
Sudo apt-get install rawtherapee
Open a photo
Details -> Activate Noise Reduction -> Send to Processing Queue -> Run Queue.
The Raspberry Pi 3 crashes, but the program runs on 2GB or more, not 1GB. Thank you,
Enable zram and/or swap and it wont crash (instead, will just take much longer)
I’ll give that a try. I used an old version of swap that failed in the same way. Admittedly running heavy-lifting photo edit material on an ARM processor when the development forum was surprised it could launch is far from ideal and stable.
Try the Orange Pi RK3399, it includes a *much* faster processor and 4Gb RAM option, and supports real SATA storage, still under $100. Using a swapfile on SD card storage is unwise and very slow.
At that price ($90 for RK3399 2GB, $120 for 4GB RAM) I may as well purchase a Ryzen Mobile or even J5**** Pentium Mini ITX system, repurpose DDR4 RAM, and be sure of retail merch working. I would still have to get a 12V Passthrough micro PSU.
(Pico PSU $30), use an existing 12v 4A supply, ($75 Asus J3415 quad-core), (2x2GB DDR3 Ram I have sitting around) = $105. I’ll need a case, but so would the OrangePi. And I have SSDs etc. The case for a pricey SBC is compelling for some, but not for me.
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