ODroid-C1 Review

23 Dec 2014

I absolutely love the Raspberry-Pi, but when I read about the ODroid-C1 from HardKernel I was very interested in giving it a try. The Raspberry Pi is great for most of my projects, but a little slow for some, the ODroid-C1 seemed like the first decent alternative.

The main benefits I see are the mutiple cores (6X faster than Pi!), Gigabit ethernet, and double bandwidth on the SD card or quadruple+ for the eMMC compared to the Pi. I have worked with other embedded devices and having faster I/O and storage is soooo nice I just could not resist. The only thing it is missing is a SATA connection, but this will still be a fun device to try out and it should give me a lot of extra image processing power needed for my RaspiMower project.

I went all-out and ordered the ODroid-C1 ($36.95 USD) with a case, heat sink, USB to weird 2.5mm power adapter, mini HDMI cable, an 8GB SD card pre-installed with ANDROID, and an 8GB eMMC module pre-installed with Linux so I could try them both out. Total cost was $99.60 USD, pretty similar cost to a Raspberry-Pi with similar options. I don’t think I really needed the heat sink (Correction, you probably should get the heatsink because it gets warm with extended use, and you will want to use this a lot!), but it was so cheap and very shiny, so I was unable to resist. It will look great when it is assembled!

Check out the unboxing here

Assembly

Configuration

15-Jan-2015 Update after using it for a while:

So it is still a very fast little computer if it boots up, but I have had more and more problems with it. It has started to fail to boot regularly. In fact the only way I can get it to boot up is to unplug all usb devices and hdmi and power and let it sit for a couple of minutes, then plug it all back in and power it up. Once it is up and running, even choosing to reboot from the OS results in a hung board (solid red and blue lights).

The image on my eMMC became completely unusable during my experimentation, and I have been unable to burn a new image on it because I don’t have the right micro-sd to usb adapter for my computer. I burned the latest image to a micro-sd card and booted up, but I have the same problem with always needing to power down the board and let it discharge before trying a reboot. This is probably due to static discharge damage? I am not impressed if this is the case since my Raspberry-Pi’s have survived tremendous abuse, and this board was treated very carefully.

The usb wifi is still sketchy and disconnects within a few minutes for no reason, but by choosing to disconnect and reconnect the wifi in the network connections manager it does come back up ok for a while which is an improvement over the previous kernel. I think it might be turning off due to a power management setting…

After about 10 attempted reboots it started working better after I flipped the board over! I have been able to reboot 5 times in a row, with only one time where I had to unplug the hdmi cable to get the display to come up. I think there could be an issue with the micro HDMI connector not fully connecting depending on cable position and tension. Weird, but at least it is an improvement. I got the idea to try it from reading on the forums that there can be sensitivity to hdmi grounding issues on some monitors. Would not be the first time I have had cable connector problems.

Since the new kernel update, one of my CPU’s runs at 100% all the time. Found in the forums to edit /etc/default/autogetty and set enabled=0. What is autogetty anyways?

So far, using the ODroid is nowhere near as easy and reliable as using the Raspberry-Pi, it just does not have the depth of support yet. I only hope that I can get a good kernel soon that allows me to use it for a project. Reliable wifi please!

More to come…