Allwinner Family Development Board

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Contents

Comparative review and reference


Since the Raspberry PI became popular there has been no shortage of Linux and Android enabled micro computers.

These devices are single-board computers and usually assume one of two forms and are either sold as HDMI Sticks or Mini PCs:

  • HDMI sticks, also called Android Sticks or even TV Dongles, are usually sold in a small case with only a few connectors, usually an HDMI connector for TV and a USB connector. WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities are also becoming usual.
  • Mini PCs or Development boards - a type of component board developers use to try-out a new platform or component - usually feature a SD card reader, USB sockets and networking capabilities. This type of board also provides expansion pins giving full access to the main CPU capabilities.

History


The first HDMI Stick was called Cotton Candy. It is a creation of the Norwegian FXI Technologies and it was first released in September 2011 causing quite a stir and disbelief among gadgeteers for the amount of computing power it offered at such low price and compact casing.

This new type of computer generated a lot of attention and a dozen similar devices have been released.

Raspberry PI


Roughly at the time of the release of the Cotton Candy, the Raspberry PI was already a prototype with a community of many enthusiasts anxiously waiting for its, many times delayed, public release in mid 2012.

Unlike Cotton Candy the Raspberry PI creators had much more ambitious plans. They were inspired by the success of the easy hackable computers of the 80s and wanted to create a learning platform cheap enough to attract all kinds of users to experiment and learn more about computers and programming as well as tap into potential uses in robotics, multimedia, home automation, etc.

Interest for the Raspberry PI was so huge that the first batches were sold within minutes, leaving many buyers waiting for the next batch and the sellers' websites nearly crashed by the avid shoppers insistent demand.

The development boards or Mini PCs reviewed in this article are direct competitors to the Raspberry PI and they have three features in common among themselves: low cost (under 100 USD), linux capability and freely available schematics.

At the heart of these systems lies a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) - an integrated circuit capable of all or most of the functions a complete computer does. Having a central component and a few other peripherals means the board is simple to design and implement at a low cost.

Features side by side



MarsBoard A10
MarsBoard SOM-A13
MarsBoard A20
Cubieboard
OlinuXino A13 Wifi
Hackberry A10
CPU
1GHz Allwinner A10
1GHz Allwinner A13
Dual-Core 1GHz Allwinner A20
1GHz Allwinner A10
1GHz Allwinner A13
1GHz Allwinner A10
GPU
Mali 400
Mali 400
Mali400 MP2
Mali 400
Mali 400
Mali 400
RAM
1Gb
512Mb
1Gb
1Gb
512Mb
1Gb
NAND Flash
4Gb
4Gb
4Gb
4Gb
4Gb
4Gb
Video output
HDMI
VGA + 7"TFT
HDMI
HDMI
VGA
HDMI
USB ports
3 (+ 1 USB OTG)
3 (+ 1 USB OTG)
3 (+ 1 USB OTG)
3 (+1 USB OTG)
3 (+ 1 USB OTG)
3 (+ 1 USB OTG)
Ethernet
YES
NO(USB WIFI instead)
YES
YES
NO(USB WIFI instead)
YES
Audio Input
NO NO
NO YES
NO
YES
Audio Output
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
Price (US Dollars)
$49.9(include shipping cost)
$120(include shipping cost)
$58(include shipping cost)
$49
+/-$72.00
$65.00
Dimension
80x55mm
Unknown
80x55mm
10x6cm
12x12cm
Unknown
Other
SATA port, microSD, expansion 140PIN
WiFi, 7 inch Capacitive touch TFT, microSD
SATA port, microSD, expansion 140PIN
SATA port, IR, microSD, Power socket 4mm
WiFi, Power socket 5mm, Battery adaptor
SATA port, microSD


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