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FriendlyElec NanoPi NEO 4: A compact and hexa-core powered Raspberry Pi alternative that costs just US$50

FriendlyElec NanoPi NEO 4: A compact and hexa-core powered Raspberry Pi alternative that costs just US$50. (Image source: FriendlyARM)
FriendlyElec NanoPi NEO 4: A compact and hexa-core powered Raspberry Pi alternative that costs just US$50. (Image source: FriendlyARM)
The NanoPi NEO 4 is an affordable and compact Raspberry Pi alternative that FriendlyElec equips with a six-core processor and 1 GB RAM. The board has numerous ports and sensors including HDMI 2.0 and USB Type-C too. The NanoPi NEO 4 ships worldwide for US$50.

The NanoPi NEO 4 measures just 60 x 45 mm, and yet FriendlyElec has managed to pack in a hexa-core SoC along with a host of connectors, ports and sensors. Specifically, the developer board is powered by the Rockchip RK3399, which integrates two Cortex-A72 performance cores and four Cortex-A53 power-saving cores that clock up to 2 GHz and 1.5 GHz respectively. The SoC also has an ARM Mali-T864 GPU onboard that supports modern APIs like OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenCL and DX11.

The NEO 4 has 1 GB of DDR3-1866 RAM too but does not come with any pre-installed flash storage. FriendlyElec includes an eMMC socket though, and the developer board also supports up to 128 GB microSD cards. Additionally, the NEO 4 has four USB ports, a HDMI 2.0 port and Gigabit Ethernet. The USB ports are one USB 3.0 Type-A, one USB 2.0 Type-C that supports On-The-Go (OTG) and power input along with one USB 2.0 Type-A and one USB 2.0 2.54 mm header. The NEO supports up to IEEE 802.11 n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 too.

FriendlyElec has also incorporated one GPIO 40 pin connector, an 8 channel 1.8 V I2S and a 3V debug UART. The company has even found space for a real-time clock battery on the 30.25 g board, while the NEO 4 requires a 5V/3A power supply.

The developer board supports Android 7.1.2 and Android 8.1, although you will need a separate eMMC module on which to load the OS. FriendlyElec sells a compatible 16 GB eMMC 5.1 module should you wish to do so, for reference. The NEO 4 also supports Lubuntu 16.04 (32-bit), FriendlyCore 18.04 (64-bit), FriendlyDesktop 18.04 (64-bit) and Armbian (3rd) running the Linux-4.4-LTS or U-boot-2014.10 kernels. FriendlyARM provides the above OS images on its NEO 4 wiki too.

The NanoPi NEO 4 ships worldwide from FriendlyARM for US$50 plus shipping and comes with an antenna. FriendlyElec also sells a compatible heatsink for US$5.99, while FriendlyARM provides an extensive wiki about how to get the NanoPi NEO 4 working.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 05 > FriendlyElec NanoPi NEO 4: A compact and hexa-core powered Raspberry Pi alternative that costs just US$50
Alex Alderson, 2019-05- 4 (Update: 2019-05- 4)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor
I got my first smartphone aged 11, my first PC aged 12 and I have been tinkering with electronics ever since. I like to keep abreast of the latest news and technology, which inevitably leads me to switch my laptop and phone every few months. When I'm not writing for Notebookcheck, you will find me seeking out new coffee shops, bars and trying to find some hidden gems in record stores.