Raspberry Pi competitor Khadas VIM3 includes 4K, M.2 PCIe support

The Amlogic S992X-powered single-board computer will be offered initially in two configurations, with more powerful configurations to arrive later.

Video: How a Raspberry Pi thin client stacks up against a Windows 10 laptop See how each compares when it comes to running Windows 10.

Khadas, manufacturer of single-board computers (SBCs) in competition with the Raspberry Pi, announced the launch date and price of the first model of their VIM3 lineup of SBCs. The Khadas VIM3 Basic—equipped with 16GB eMMC Flash and 2GB LPDDR4 RAM—will be available for $69.99, starting on June 24. The Khadas VIM3 Pro, which offers double the storage and RAM, is priced at $99.99.

Unfortunately, these prices are only for the first production batch, with prices set to increase on July 22.

So, what makes the Khadas VIM3 so special?

The VIM3 uses an Amlogic S992X system-on-a-chip (SoC), the same SoC at the core of the Odroid-N2, which features four Cortex-A73 performance cores and two Cortex-A53 efficiency cores, as well as a Mali-G52 MP4 GPU, with support for 4K 10-bit video decoding at 75 fps for H.265 content.

Compared to the Odroid-N2, the VIM3 Pro also contains 16MB SPI flash, while the Odroid-N2 has only 8MB. It also features a MIPI-DSI display connector, a tri-axis accelerometer, and a dual-channel IR receiver.

SEE: The best alternatives to the Raspberry Pi (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

There is an M.2 PCIe connector, though this is a single lane, and can only be used if USB 3.0 is disabled. This is a limitation of the S992X, though the M.2 connector does support USB 2.0, for non-SSD M.2 devices that connect via USB.

What OS images are available?

Khadas is providing support for Android 9.0 Pie, Ubuntu XFCE 18.04, and LibreELEC. Of note, the Amlogic S992X is targeted toward Android TV set-top boxes, which influences what tools are available from the SoC vendor.

How does it compare to the Raspberry Pi 3B+?

The Raspberry Pi 3B+ lacks a lot of the additional features included with the Khadas VIM3, like support for USB 3.0 or M.2, as well as onboard eMMC storage or 4K output support. However, the Raspberry Pi 3B+ is half the price of the Khadas VIM3 basic, which makes the omission of support for this more palatable.

The community support of Raspberry Pi devices in general makes it easier to get started with projects using those boards. Third-party accessories for Raspberry Pi are also more common, due to the ubiquity of those boards.

For more, check out "Atom-powered $34 Atomic Pi: A music-friendly SBC for creators that runs Windows 10," and "Inside the Raspberry Pi: The story of the $35 computer that changed the world" on TechRepublic.

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Image: Khadas

By James Sanders

James Sanders is a staff writer for TechRepublic. He covers future technology, including quantum computing, AI, and 5G, as well as cloud, security, open source, mobility, and the impact of globalization on the industry, with a focus on Asia.