$25 Raspberry Pi-like “Libre Computer Board” goes on Kickstarter, powered by Amlogic S905X SoC

Since the first Banana Pi, there have been several single board computers with the same form factor as Raspberry Pi, and also often claimed full pinout compatibility. Some days ago, the Libre Computer Board (code name “Le Potato“) appeared on Kickstarter, featuring a powerful Amlogic S905X SoC, 1GB/2GB RAM and much more starting from only $25 + shipping.

According to its official Kickstarter page:

The first Libre Computer Board, code name Le Potato, is a fast low power single board computer about the size of a credit card utilizing the latest technologies and designed for professionals, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. It is capable of running the latest Linux distributions and Android operating systems while supporting 4K Ultra HD with HDR via HDMI 2.0

The board is powered by the popular Amlogic S905X SoC (4x 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 cores), with clock speed probably between 1.5GHz and 2GHz (as other boards with this SoC). No internal storage is present, although the board is provided with a eMMC card slot for daughter boards and a MicroSD card slot with UHS support. The board comes in two variants, with 1GB ($25) or 2GB ($35) RAM.

OS support is also quite interesting, as the board supports Linux 4.9 with mainline kernel and Android Nougat 7.1 according to the page.

 

 

The pinout is also claimed to be at least partially Raspberry Pi compatible:

Le Potato has a 40 pin GPIO header that maintains as much compatibility as possible with the existing standard set forth by the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

 

The technical specifications are:

  • Amlogic S905X SoC (4x ARM Cortex-A53, likely 2GHz)
  • 1GB/2GB RAM
  • HDMI 2.0 with 4K video support
  • 4 USB 2.0 Type A
  • RJ45 10/100 Ethernet
  • CVBS video (and audio?) jack
  • Infrared Receiver
  • S/PDIF Header
  • UART Header
  • I2S + ADC Header
  • No wireless connectivity
  • 40 Pin Header for PWM, I2C, I2S, SPI, GPIO
  • eMMC Daughter Board Connector
  • MicroSD Card Slot with UHS Support

(Full technical specifications available here)

 

A detailed comparison with other popular SBCs is present on the project page:

Improvements over Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

  • 50% Faster CPU and GPU
  • Double RAM Available
  • Lower Power Consumption
  • Better Android 7.1 and Kodi Support
  • Much Better Hardware Accelerated Codec Support
  • 4K UHD with HDR over HDMI 2.0
  • MicroSD Card UHS Support
  • eMMC Daughter Board Support
  • IR Receiver
  • ADC + I2S Headers
  • Non-Shared Bandwidth for LAN and USB

Differences with Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

  • No DSI Interface
  • No CSI Interface
  • No onboard 2.4GHz WiFi/Bluetooth
  • Software and images made for Raspberry Pi must be modified to work

Improvements over ASUS Tinkerboard

  • ARMv8 64-bit CPU
  • 10% Faster CPU
  • Lower Power Consumption
  • No Throttling Problems
  • Better Codec Support (VP9, 4K60, HDR Support)
  • Better Android 7.1 and Kodi Support
  • eMMC Daughter Board Support
  • ADC + I2S Headers
  • IR Receiver
  • Lower Cost

Differences with the ASUS Tinkerboard

  • 15% Slower Single Thread CPU Performance
  • 15% Slower GPU
  • No OpenGL ES 3.0
  • No DSI Interface
  • No CSI Interface
  • No Gigabit LAN
  • No onboard 2.4GHz WiFi/Bluetooth
  • Android TV vs Android Tablet UI

Improvement over ODROID-C2

  • Android 7.1 and Kodi Support
  • VP9 Support
  • Lower Cost
  • Better Compatibility with Raspberry Pi ecosystem

Differences with the ODROID-C2

  • No Gigabit LAN
  • ADC Channels Separate from 40 Pin GPIO Header
  • Different eMMC Daughter Board Connector
  • Different I2S Header
  • Different MicroSD Card Slot Placement

 

Despite its name, however, some components like the GPU can’t be considered fully open hardware, as Libre Board creators state:

Le Potato will have basic upstream support in Linux 4.13 and we will push for full support of the feature set of the board including the media components in upstream Linux. We will disclose as much as legally possible with regards to the design to help facilitate development of this platform and add-ons to this platform.

 

Full specifications for the board are available here.  The official website is currently empty, but lots of information can be found on its Kickstarter page, where it’s also possible to buy the board for $25+shipping (1GB variant) or $35+shipping (2GB variant).

2 comments

  1. We need more dirt cheap options for GSM/GPRS based applications.. The Orange Pi 2G-IOT board is almost perfectly what i’m after, but a 3G or 4G version would have been wonderful. At $10/board for the 2G, it’s a perfect cheap option for prototyping product for scale. If a 3G or 4G version was available, i’d sell my car to buy up as much stock as I could.

    I am also hoping that people are paying attention to Band 7/600 MHz GSM that T-Mobile will have lit up Nationwide this year. There are no boards or radios available yet that I can tell, but this is a very low latency band that will have far better reach in rural areas.

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