Superfast Raspberry Pi rival: Odroid N2 promises blistering speed for the only 2x price

Hardkernel's Odroid N2 promises great performance for its price.

Hardkernel failed to deliver the $100 Rockchip RK3399-based Odroid-N1 developer board last year due to component shortages. But it's now back with a successor, the Odroid-N2, which is cheaper and performs significantly better in benchmarking tests.

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The Odroid-N2 won't be as cheap as the $35 Raspberry Pi, but it's also intended for a different market that's willing to pay for some extra memory, more ports, and a faster processor.

The 2GB DDR4 RAM model will cost $63, while a 4GB DDR4 RAM model costs $79. Notably, these figures are still well below the $100 price that Hardkernel had planned for the Rockchip-based Odroid-N1.

Instead of a Rockchip processor, the N2 will come with an Amlogic S922X processor, consisting of a four-core 1.8GHz Cortex-A73 processor, a dual-core 1.9GHz Cortex-A53 processor, and a new Mali-G52 GPU.       

It also features a generous four USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a 40-pin expansion header for peripherals, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, a micro USB 2.0 port, two LED indicators, an infrared receiver, an eMMC flash module socket, microSD card slot, and bootable 8MB SPI flash memory.

There's also an active cooling fan connector and Real-Time Clock (RTC) backup battery connector. Hardkernel says the device's low power consumption means the RTC should be able to run for over a decade on a tiny CR2032 backup battery.

There's no integrated Wi-Fi, but users will have the option to add this via USB adapters. Hardkernel says its got hardware to accelerate video decoder that can play 4K H.265 at 60FPS.

If Hardkernel's benchmarks are to be believed, the Odroid-N2 should significantly outperform the Raspberry Pi 3 and the never-released Odroid N-1.

It also describes the Odroid-N2's CPU multi-core performance as about 20 percent faster than the Odroid-N1, its DDR4 RAM is 35 percent faster than the N1's DDR3 RAM.

Meanwhile, The N2's Mali-G52 is estimated to be 10 percent faster than the N1's GPU, according to Hardkernel's GPU benchmarks.

The single-board computer also ships with a large metal heatsink to handle CPU and RAM heat and minimize the need for throttling. The CPU is located on the bottom side of the printed circuit board to improve thermal characteristics.

On the operating system side, the N2 supports Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Kernel version 4.9.152 LTS supported through to January 2023. It also supports Android 9.0 Pie.

The board measures 90mm x 90mm x 17mm but expands to 100mm x 91mm x 24mm with the heatsink.

Hardkernel says it won't be accepting pre-orders though it does expect to have the boards ready for shipping by early April with sales to start from late March. Cases for the computers are priced $4.

The Odroid-N2 won't be as cheap as the $35 Raspberry Pi, but it's also intended for a different market.

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