NanoPi R2S Emerges As Raspberry Pi Rival With Dual GbE And 1.5GHz Rockchip SoC
In the realm of low-cost, diminutive PCs, the Raspberry Pi has sort of stood as the gold standard, or at least the most popular choice and recognizable name. It certainly helped popularize the category. The Raspberry Pi is not the only hardware option in town, though, and adding to the growing list of alternatives is the new NanoPi R2S.
Otherwise known as a single-board computer (SBC), the tiny NanoPi R2S packs some big hardware for its size. It's powered by an open-source Rockchip RK3328 system-on-chip (SoC) built on a 28-nanometer manufacturing process, which consists of four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.5GHz with 256KB of L2 cache, and an ARM Mali-450 MP2 GPU.
It also contains 1GB of DDR4 RAM (the speed of the memory is not mentioned) soldered to the PCB, a microSD card slot, a powered micro USB port and a USB 2.0 port for connecting external devices, and dual gigabit Ethernet LAN ports for wired connectivity. The presence of two LAN ports is the main thing seperating the NanoPI R2S from Raspberry Pi devices.
All of this comes crammed into a tiny slab that measures just 55.6mm x 52mm. There is also a 10-pin GPIO header on this thing for I2C and UART support. And for users are interesting in doing so, there is a heatsink mounting hole for connecting a fan for active cooling. Various LEDs (WAN, LAN, and SYS) round out the package.
There are a lot of neat things users can do with these types of systems. For example, it's possible to build a retro game console around an SBC, mod a Game Boy, or even make an Alexa-approved Echo smart speaker, to name just a few examples.
FriendlyElec has not announced a price for the NanoPI R2S, nor has it said when exactly it will be available to order. As a point of reference, the NanoPI R1S costs $19.99.