64bits Of Development Board

Whether we need them or not, we don’t usually shy away from a development board. [Keith] sent us a tip on the DragonBoard 410c after reading our recent coverage of the latest Beagleboard release. Arrow Electronics is manufacturing (and distributing, not surprisingly) the first Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 series based development board. At the time of writing there are two boot images on the 96boards.org site available for download Android 5.1 and an Ubuntu based version of Linux.

The DragonBoard 410c is stuffed with an Arm Cortex-A53 (Arm block diagram after the break) with max speed of 1.2GHz and support for 32bit and 64bit code. It also has on-board GPS, 2.4GHz WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, full size HDMI connector, a micro USB port that operates in only device mode, two full size USB 2.0 ports for host mode, a micro SD card slot. In the way of GPIO it has a 40 pin low speed connector and a 60 pin high speed connector, there is also an additional 16 pin breakout for analog audio, and the list goes on (follow links above for more info).

For those of you playing buzzword drinking games not to worry, the board can be made Arduino compatible by using the mezzanine connector and there is a plan for the board to be Windows 10 compatible. Better make that a double!

29 thoughts on “64bits Of Development Board

      1. Well, it’s not commonly used for every day computing; so by the measure of the original poster, I guess it did!

        A 64bit quad-core ARM processor is powerful enough to replace Intel for many people. (My parent’s web browsing laptops, my photo-editing powermac, etc.) or to be a great little server board for home use; the two (three?) ARM64 boards we’ve seen so far are intended to be fast Raspi’s.

        What Gravis is looking for seems to be what I’m looking for. A replacement for the 40 – 80 watt ‘Basic Intel’ for server or desktop use. Where does that start?

        4-8 core A53 / A57 / A74. (A57 would be my ideal.)
        2-4GiB of DDR3 memory.
        Decent WiFi or Ethernet (Personally, 1000baseTX is my ideal.)
        SATA II or III port for decent local storage.
        Plus USB2 for keyboard/mouse/scanner/flash drive and 1080p HDMI.

        That would do me nicely. Here’s to hoping SolidRun come out with a Arm8 SOM for their CuBoxes!

        1. Yeah, don’t look at 96borads for that. Their CE boards spec is intentionally designed in a way that makes Ethernet near impossible and is geared towards mobile device SoCs. Those SoCs rarely have SATA and even if, there is no provision for that on the board spec.
          While the EE spec gears it towards server eval boards with a lot higher pricing.

        2. Windows RT flop because it doesn’t run x86/x64. For *most* people, if it is not x86/x64 running Windows, then it isn’t for desktop usage. There are low power mini-ITX boards with SATA, PCIe, 1Gbps Ethernet with x86/x64.

          For the small percentage of people running Linux on their desktop, they’ll have to find precompiled ARM binaries or compile it themselves. There are Android “sticks”, Android tablets, Chrome books etc. and with their app stores and that might be a bit more tolerable for the *average* person.

        3. The A53 is a low-power core, not a high-performance one. It’s used as the “little” core in eg. the Snapdragon 810. I don’t think anyone would be especially pleased to use it as their main computing platform.

        4. For now, i doubt you will find anything more competitive than all the motherboards with low power CPUs from Intel or AMD, like this one for example http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138412 ; 59 $ ! quad core cpu included, Radeon GPU, passive cooling, around 2ghz , up to 16GB, 2 Sata 6gbs,Mini-ITX, etc etc. Compared to that, a Raspi is just a joke. The last i checked, a “high” end ARM server motherboard costs … an arm.

          In the x86 ecosystem, you have tons of software to chose and ready to run. In the case of Intel specifically, full Open Source software, GPU included, no binary blob. If you are an Open Source fanatic you can even replace the BIOS with Coreboot (or Libre Boot).

          59$ ; for now, this performance/energy efficiency/software availability/price ratio can’t be matched. no way.

    1. You could buy them as early as July. That’s when I got mine. Those boards lack FCC certification though and they seem to have suspended shipping due to this at some point.
      I read somewhere, that you could still get the boards shipped immediately after signing a waiver/release. No idea if that’s still the case or if they ran out of stock.

  1. Too bad that this board is notoriously bad at following the 96boards specification and compliance requirements.
    The required schematics were not available for months, while I had a board from Arrow on my desk for about as long. Their bootloader is proprietary and the list goes on.
    Linaro claims that they will try to implement most drivers as opensource, but as of right now most things only work on the Android images, which brim with QC proprietary binaries.

    1. Well, I was asking where is the catch when they are selling it for such a low price. The boards are obviously subsidized/sold at loss and they plan to make money by pushing you towards their proprietary tool ecosystem. And there the cost of the board is probably the least you would pay …

      This sucks, really.

      1. they do not plan to make any money on these at all. 96boards and many other board projects from SoC vendor are nothing more than pure vanity projects. Spurred by the success of Arduinos, Beagleboards, Raspberry Pies they think they can bootstrap their own “community” success stories. Boards like that come and go every day and mostly nobody remembers them a year later.

        1. As much as I detest the Arduino platform, this is one of their advantages. The community is so large that any hardware that I buy that receives support from the Arduino is probably going to stick around for more than a year.

          I just wish they would get rid of that damn offset header crap.

    1. I’m interested too see what Hardkernel puts out as their next board this winter. The XU4, is just a rehash of the XU3. It’s a great board and HardKernal has great support, but its big A17 aren’t going the match a A53.

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