Innovation

Raspberry Pi-style Odroid-H2 launch: Fast NVMe SSD support, Intel CPU, up to 32GB RAM

The H2 has more in common with a PC than with many single-board computers, with fast NVMe SSD support, an Intel CPU, and up to 32GB DDR4 RAM.

The Odroid-H2 brings the power of a low-end PC to a single-board computer (SBC).

The board revealed on Friday, is more powerful and has more features than the most famous SBC, the $35 Raspberry Pi 3 B+, but will almost certainly cost considerably more.

The H2 has more in common with a PC than with many single-board computers, as it runs on an x86, rather than an Arm-based, processor.

The board's makers Hardkernel said the decision to go with x86 was driven by a desire for better Linux support, improved graphics drivers and video decoding/encoding, and dual channel 64bit DRAM interfaces for "much faster data processing".

SEE: Hardware spotlight: The Raspberry Pi

The H2 has several features that stand out from typical SBCs: including the ability to add fast SSD storage via its 4 x PCIe 2.0 NMVe interface and SATA 3.0 ports, and support for up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. Additionally, there is fast network connectivity via the two gigabit Ethernet ports, although no mention of Wi-Fi support.

The board's 2.3GHz Intel J4105 processor — a "Gemini Lake" system-on-a-chip dating from 2017 — is also faster than the Arm Cortex A53 / A72-based CPUs found in recent SBCs.

Like other SBCs, the board is designed to be used by devs building software or by tech enthusiasts for projects such as home media servers. Unlike many SBCs, the H2's primary focus doesn't appear to be building computer hardware, with only a 20-pin header available for expansion.

Odroid boards generally review well, with praise for their good software support and helpful community, a real plus when it comes to setting up and running boards.

However, given the specs of the board, it wouldn't be unexpected for the device to cost at least several hundred dollars, with the additional cost of adding memory and storage.

It is also considerably bigger than a board like the Pi, measuring about 110x110x43mm and weighing about 320 grams, including the sizeable heatsink, two DRAM modules, and an M.2 NVMe SSD (not included).

It's also worth bearing in mind that few boards are as accessible to new users as the Pi, due to the breadth of tutorials and advice available from the Pi's extensive community.

Hardkernel says it will begin mass production of the board shortly with a view to shipping it from late November.

Specs

CPU: 2.3Ghz Quad-core processor J4105 (14nm) with 4MiB cache.

Memory: Dual-channel Memory DDR4-PC19200 (2400MT/s), support for up to 32GB RAM with two SO-DIMM slots.

Expansion: 4 x PCIe 2.0 for one NVMe storage, 2 x gigabit Ethernet ports, 2 x SATA 3.0.

GPU: Intel UHD Graphics (Gen9.5) 600 (GT1) 700Mhz. Support for SSE4.2 accelerator (SMM, FPU, NX, MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AES).

Display: HDMI 2.0 and DP 1.2 multiple video output.

sodroid-h2.jpg

The new Odroid-H2.

Image: Hardkernel
sh2bottomwmemorymvme.jpg

The underside of the board with attached memory and NVMe SSD storage.

Image: Hardkernel

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About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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