You may have heard of ODROID. Maybe you keep seeing it mentioned when Raspberry Pi alternatives are discussed, or perhaps you even own one already.
Regardless of how you came to hear about ODROID, deciphering the differences between the many models—and figuring out which one to purchase—can be quite confusing.
This article will serve as a comparison guide to the various different ODROID models, meant to help you pick the best model for your needs. Let’s get started.
What Is ODROID?
ODROID means open Android. Sold as a development board, ODROID isn’t designed to compete with Raspberry Pi, but to complement it! Many different models are available, and have been produced throughout the history of ODROID, which first appeared in 2009.
Despite its preference for Android software, ODROID devices can run other flavors of Linux. Models range in price from $30 to $80, and can even be purchased in a mini cluster of machines with up to 32 cores!
ODROID projects range from simple home automation and basic desktop usage, through to cluster-based academic research and multimedia file storage. Check out this nifty example:
The best part is, as there is so much variety available with ODROID, there’s something to suit every project.
Want a small, low power device? Sure. Want to perform some beefy calculations? No problem! Yes, a Raspberry Pi is very good at general purpose computing, but as most Pi models are very similar in specifications, you may need the variety offered by ODROID boards.
If you’re curious as to why you hear about the Raspberry Pi all the time but hear very little about ODROID, then we recommend reading our article on why Raspberry Pi is more successful than ODROID.
The ODROID C0 is designed for small and reduced power projects. You can easily embed this board into clothing.
It features a battery power circuit, and comes with many of its USB, Infrared, and general purpose input output (GPIO) interfaces as unpopulated connectors. This significantly saves space, but does mean you’ll need to perform a bit of soldering for anything more than basic hardware projects.
The C0 has a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU (ARM Cortex-A5), and one gigabyte of DDR3 SDRAM.
The ODROID C1 is slightly older and more expensive than the C0, but it still offers some distinct advantages. If you’ve ever seen a Raspberry Pi before, then you’ll not be surprised by the credit card sized form factor offered here.
The C1 features the same processor and RAM as the C0, only this time it also utilizes a gigabit Ethernet port, and several full size USB ports.
The C1 can be considered functionally identical to the C0, only without the power circuitry or space saving reductions.
The ODROID C2 is an incremental improvement on the C1 . Like the Raspberry 3, the C2 uses an ARM Cortex-A53, quad-core processor. Unlike the Raspberry Pi, the ODROID C2 comes with 2GBs of RAM, and HDMI 2.0, which supports 4k videos at 60Hz.
This device is perfect running as a media center, and the beefy heatsink ensures an adequate heat dissipation, even under the most demanding of workloads.
The ODROID HC1 represents a significant step away from simply copying the Raspberry Pi. The name stands for “Home Cloud One”, and the enlarged case is designed to be stackable, with room for a 2.5 inch HDD or SSD.
The HC1 is perfect as a home cloud media server, and the clever case design also acts as a giant heatsink.
Processing power is provided by the ARM Cortex-A7 octa-core processor, complimented by 2GB RAM. This model certainly has the horsepower to handle your media needs.
The ODROID HC2 (“Home Cloud Two”) is a minor improvement on the HC1. Costing approximately 40% more than the HC1, you may be disappointed if you’re expecting 40% more performance.
The HC2’s heat-dissipating chassis is larger than that of the HC1, and is enlarged to accommodate a 3.5 inch HDD, and not just a 2.5 inch HDD or SSD (although these smaller drives still fit perfectly).
The ODROID XU4 represents a step back towards the “traditional” Raspberry Pi design, although this model does add a cooling fan and moves the location of host ports around.
Just like the previous models, the XU4 features an ARM Cortex-A7 processor, with 2GB of RAM. You do get USB 3.0 host ports, but only HDMI 1.4a.
Despite costing more than double the cost of the Raspberry Pi, the extra processing power provided by the eight cores means the XU4 is capable of emulating games consoles that the Pi can struggle with, such as the Playstation Portable or Nintendo 64.
The ODROID XU4Q is almost identical in every way to the XU4, however, this models takes a 10 percent performance reduction in exchange for a heatsink with no fan. This model is truly silent!
The XU4 is the way to go if you really must have that processing power, otherwise the XU4Q is a solid choice if you must have a silent machine.
Which ODROID Model Should You Buy?
With so many options available, it can be hard to decide upon a suitable computing device. The C0 is perfectly suited to low power Internet of Things or wearable projects, but the 4K video support of the C2 is very impressive.
The HC1 and HC2 are perfect for building you own low-cost media server array, and the XU4 is perfect for tasks requiring large processing power.
If you’re looking for some project inspiration, how about these Lego Mindstorms projects, a Linux-powered car computer, or what about these Arduino lighting projects? These project tutorials aren’t ODROID-focused, but it would be easy enough to adapt them and make them work with your ODROID device(s).
ODROID devices come in such a huge variety of models, there’s surely something here for everyone. If you’re not convinced however, why not take a look at the best single-board computers?