Arduino-compatible, Quad-core ARM Dev Board

The Advent of the Raspberry Pi has seen an explosion in the market for ARM dev boards, sometimes even with pinouts for Arduino shields. The UDOO, though, takes those boards and ramps up the processing power for some very, very interesting builds.

The UDOO comes equipped with a dual or quad-core ARM CPU running at 1GHz with 1 GB of RAM. Also on board is the Atmel SAM3X8E – the same chip in the new Arduino DUE – and has pinouts for all those Arduino shields you have lying around.

In addition to serving your next project as a souped-up Raspberry Pi, UDOO also includes 78 (!) GPIO pins, Gigabit Ethernet, a camera connector, one SATA port (on the quad-core version), and an LVDS header for attaching LCD monitors. Basically, the UDOO is the motherboard of an ARM-powered laptop with the pinouts to handle Arduino shields. It’s just like [Bunnie]’s laptop, only this time you can actually buy it.

The UDOO doesn’t come cheap, though: on the UDOO Kickstarter, the dual-core version is going for $150 while the quad-core is priced at $170. Still, if you need the power to run a pair of Kinects or want to build an awesome torrent box, you’d be hard pressed to find a more powerful board.

36 thoughts on “Arduino-compatible, Quad-core ARM Dev Board

    1. This board intrigues me.
      As per their measurements it has an extremely low power consumption, way lower than e.g. the RPi. Compared to the RPi it also has more RAM in the bigger versions and the quad core comes with a SATA port and onboard wifi and bluetooth. The USB host port looks to be 3.0 also.
      It’s not as much of a bargain, but it has all the bits and pieces that I personally miss on the Pi and that are just not there or need to be bought separate.

      Thanks for that link.

      1. Fix: Wandoboard comes from 27th May also in quad core version and it has 2 GB RAM and SATA. So if you do not care about Arduino then this is definitely interesting option.

  1. This board is very weird… I’m surprised there are so many backers ever since I saw it on kickstarter a few days ago.
    Here are my reasons:

    1. Most of what they use it for can be done just with a 10x cheaper arduino.
    1.1 Nothing they show doing with it cannot be done with other cheaper boards.
    2. The arduino is connected to it through serial port.
    3. Why would you need to run the OS to program the arduino from the same board? It’s a waste of resources if you don’t need it afterwards. It’s not like people are short of computers. It’s much harder to find an unused monitor+keyboard then a full computer.
    4. Its too expensive. It touches the price range of an atom or i3 mainboards + RAM which have much better specs. I appreciate the PI and the Cubie board and all the android because they cost much less then the cheapest computer components I could get, but this thing costs too much.

    I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, just that it sits in a weird position in the market.

    1. Wow, I’m surprised they’re using the serial port as the main interface.

      Arduino Due has not yet implemented buffered serial transmit, so Serial.print(“anything_more_than_2_characters”) will block until the last 2 bytes are in the UART shift register and 1-byte buffer. The old Arduinos were like this for a long time. I implemented buffered transmit for Teensy in the days of Arduino 0016 and it maybe a huge improvement for MIDI and other applications (even though most “Serial” usage on Teensy is the USB virtual serial). It’s one of the big improvements Arduino 1.0 made that really breathed new life into Arduino Uno.

      Then again, Arduino Due’s native USB virtual serial isn’t so great either. Despite incredibly capable hardware, the software support (based on code from Atmel) leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve been working on some benchmarks recently, which I’m planning to publish next week, showing the actual USB speeds achievable with Due’s native USB port, Leonardo, ChipKit (the new Fubarino Mini with native USB), and of course Teensy 2.0 & 3.0. With a bit of luck, maybe HaD will carry a story about it?

      1. There are muxes to connect the Atmel USB device to the imx6 host or an external micro B socket. A serial port from each device gets similar treatment. I think they understand your concern and are giving some decent options for interconnection. There’s a graphic on the Kickstarter page that shows this but it’s not very clear.

        UDOO is a good deal if you need that kind of processing horsepower along with the io and real-time of an Arduino on a single board. There are much cheaper alternatives if you need anything less.

    2. What I took from the kickstarter is that you can have a powerful computer with a Arduino interface. One use would be for robotics and having more computing power for sensors and servo’s. The RPi isn’t powerful enough for certain applications but a quad core ARM can definitely give you some descent power with low power consumption and size. Plus it’s a packaged deal saving time and giving more compatibility. I’m always impressed by people that are good enough to build their boards from scratch but I’m not one of them. Most can do some neat things with an arduino and now with a quad core ARM in the mix…robot army!

  2. I saw this board and laughed. Its a Arduino with a iMX6 stacked on top basically!

    I wish people would stop using the Arduino footprint for high speced board. By all means, have a nice 2×40 header for me to put on whatever (along with with usual connectors: HDMI, USB, Audio, Ethernet). Limiting it to an Arduino header limits the capability of the peripherals, you could easily do what I said above and make an adaptor board (like what some have done with the Raspberry Pi)

    Also, what was so wrong about writing your own Wiring-like library that would take Arduino code and compile it for the iMX6?!

  3. Waaaaaaay too expensive. Wonder why the backers think this is a viable solution to anything when the competition already has similar boards shipping now for less money.

  4. Lame… Differences include more outputs and more useless features. The BBB is pretty good enough for almost any application, is a fraction of the size and cost, and can get it now from Mouser. Lame project

  5. these arm dev boards are nice and all but i would prefer to actually have a real ARM laptop with a big screen, 2GHz+ quad core and 8GB+ of DDR3 RAM. is it really too much to ask? *sigh*
    and no, tablets and cell phones do not count as laptops.

  6. Speechless. And I thought LeafLabs’ Maple was already too much processing power for those shitty ‘shields’:

    “Hey look, I can connect to the internet and send the room temperature to my iPhone. And all it took was a quad-core, three shields and 2 weekends of work. Stay tuned for my next blog update where I will switch on the airco using a relay.”

  7. I’m actually surprised it’s only $170. Given the capabilities it’s a worthwhile investment even for a low-income hobbyist. It’s great for prototyping, internet, surveillance, and algorithm research.

  8. I like the general idea of these boards, although I’d rather see decent cheap cabling/pinouts to attach a number of different dev boards.

    However, $130 for a complete compact and portable development environment is pretty decent, just add a screen or serial or ssh connection and do native compiling and test.

    1. I am eyeing on that for some time, but not available in smaller quantities (1-2) from Alibaba/Aliexpress. :( Also spending >50-60 USD on Chines shopping site does not inspire much confidence (+ I do not have HDMI TV …. yeah that is possible in today’s world)

  9. The hackberry, beaglebone black and raspi have shown that all those goodies (with bonus hdmi or esata) can be had for less than 80$. As an extra these platforms have an existing community and are on their 2nd or 3rd hardware iteration. That’s valuable stuff. There’s also a good set of commercial devices using Allwinner chips that have shown to be hacker friendly (mk802 and later, mele multimedia devices, …) and come in a nice case.

  10. Aside from having 1GB of DDR3 and not just using a DIMM slot of some sort, this thing is massive. I love how much computing they can cram into such a small space without the need for tons of cooling or power.

    1. That’s not the point. The idea is that the Arduino can do the low level real time stuff, while the i.mx6 can replace an attached PC for stuff like CV, environment mapping, complex UI rendering for a single board replacement for both. Like others have said, there are many other alternatives, but this is the kitchen sink solution.

  11. This is a NEAT child of Arduino. Price point’s a subjective and often the “One Part Does All This” aspect has hidden merits.

    I see a huge Negawatt tool value here. Slap one of these behind incredibly cheap flatscreens and use USB K&M for a general purpose internet computer with lower power use than many other hacks. Which by the way increases the NON-Dev uses of UDOO.

    Perhaps as an office workstation with a total life cost below the insanity of MS driven seats?.

    And UDOO can evolve into a magic translator. Plug cables into a port to make things TALK to each other.

  12. Not impressed. Moreover, didn’t this website have some ruling about not posting kickstarter stuff not too long ago? What ever came of that? Are we still going to have to weed though kickstarter promotions or can we just get the straight hacks?

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