NanoPi R2S: A Raspberry Pi alternative that integrates two Gigabit Ethernet ports
FriendlyElec offers numerous affordable single-board computers (SBCs) that, depending on their configuration, can compete with the popular Raspberry Pi series. The NanoPi R2S is the latest SBC that FriendlyElec has brought to market, and one that it has based on a Rockchip RK3328 SoC.
The 55.6 x 52 mm board packs four ARM Cortex-A53 cores and an ARM Mali-450 MP2 GPU, with the former able to clock up to 1.5 GHz. FriendlyElec complements the SoC with 1 GB of DDR4 RAM, too.
As is often the case with SBCs, the NanoPi R2S also has a microSD card reader on board, but there is also the option of installing SPI flash should you wish to do so. External drives or peripherals can be connected via its USB Type-A host or micro USB ports, while the latter also provides power to the unit. Separately, a serial console can be connected via a header.
Likewise, external sensors and actuators can be connected via a header. Specifically, FriendlyElec has included a ten-pin GPIO header for connecting I2C and UART among others. It is also possible to directly connect a cooling fan should you wish to do so.
The NanoPi R2S may be best suited as a router, not least because of its two built-in Ethernet ports. FriendlyElec is releasing a special version of OpenWrt for this purpose, but the SBC can also run FriendlyCore, which is based on Ubuntu 18.04 Core.
Currently, FriendlyElec has provided no information on pricing or availability for the NanoPi R2S. If you are in the market for a new SBC now and cannot wait for the R2S to be released, then FriendlyElec also sells the NanoPi R1S, a US$19.99 board that also has a built-in Wi-Fi module.