Orange Pi Prime – Another Rival for the Raspberry Pi 3

There is another Orange Pi among the branches of the highly productive Orange Pi tree belonging to Shenzhen Xunlong. This is the Orange Pi Prime—another rival to the most popular Raspberry Pi 3 (RBPi3). According to the year-end Linux hacker SBC roundup, half a dozen individual Orange Pi models were already existing, and if all the new variants are to be included, that number almost doubles. Proceeding at this rate, the company’s engineers will have checked out almost all possible combinations possible with size, RAM, I/O, and hacker board layout for an Allwinner processor.

Similar to the recent releases of Orange Pi Win and its sibling, the Orange Pi Win Plus, which are built on the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Allwinner SoC, the $30 Orange Pi Prime is also a fully open source SBC. In addition, similar to the more minimalistic Orange Pi PC 2 and its sibling the Orange Pi Plus H5, the Prime tab means they are using the newer SoC, the Allwinner H5. However, compared to the Allwinner A64 of the Win boards, the Orange Pi Prime has the more powerful Mali-450 MP2 graphics processor. The H5 processors typically run at clocks of 1.2 GHz.

Whenever a Linux capable hacker board surfaces in the market, people refer to it as an RBPi competitor, which could be erroneous—considering their features, size, and prices vary considerably. However, in the case of the Orange Pi Win and the Orange Pi Prime boards, including some boards such as the Odroid-C2 and NanoPi A64, the comparison with the RBPi3 is downright correct, given the close approximation of their feature set, performance, and price. Even their 40-pin expansion connector is pin compatible to that of the RBPi3.

The Orange Pi Prime is very similar to the Orange Pi Win board. Both have the generous 2 GB RAM, same as that available on the Odroid-C2. Also, just as the Orange Pi Win does, the Prime too has a micro SD card slot, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a GbE port, HDMI port, AV, microphone inputs, MIPI-CSI, and a 3.5 mm audio output.

Apart from the above, there are other common features as well. These include the 40-pin connector, debug, GPIO, IR interface, and an operating temperature range of -10 to 65°C. The Prime has a footprint of 98 x 60 mm, which is only slightly larger than the 93 x 60 mm footprint of the Win. Among the differences with the Win, the Prime has only three USB 2.0 host ports, and does not have a battery connector, optional eMMC, or PMIC.

Unlike the Win boards, the Prime will not be supporting Windows 10 IoT in the future. The Linux distributions for the Prime are also somewhat different. They include Android 4.4, Ubuntu Desktop, Debian Desktop, and Arch Server.

The hardware specifications for the Orange Pi Prime include the Allwinner H5 processor, which is a 4x Cortex-A53 and an ARM Mali-450 MP2 GPU. The board runs on a 2 GB DDR3 SDRAM, has 2 MB NOR flash memory, and a micro SD slot with up to a maximum capacity of 64 GB.