ODROID-N2 Review: Good Performance in Linux Benchmarks

Hardkernel's newest single board computer is the ODROID-N2, which they sent over to me a few weeks ago for benchmarking. The ODROID-N2 is built around the Amlogic S922X SoC and features four Cortex-A73 cores and two Cortex-A53 cores, options for 2GB or 4GB of DDR4 system memory, eMMC connectivity, Gigabit Ethernet, and four USB 3.0 ports for starting out just above $60 USD.

Figure 1 - top view of ODROID-N2

The ODROID-N2's use of an Amlogic S922X big.LITTLE design makes for an interesting arrangement with the four Cortex-A73 cores clocking up to 1.8GHz and the two Cortex-A53 cores able to hit 1.9GHz. This SoC uses the Mali G52 Bifrost GPU, which eventually should see nice driver support via the open-source Panfrost graphics driver stack.

Figure 2 - edge view of ODROID-N2

The ODROID-N2 employs DDR4 memory which offers much greater performance potential than the ODROID-N1 and others relying upon DDR3 system memory. The aluminum heatsink on the bottom of the SBC is designed for ensuring sufficient cooling potential of the SoC and RAM. The SoC being placed on the bottom of the PCB is a bit of an usual design feature when compared to most budget ARM SBCs that we see, but it works out well with the metal heatsink serving as a nice base.

Figure 3 - view of the bottom and heatsink

Connectivity for the ODROID-N2 includes HDMI 2.1, Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.0 host ports, micro-USB 2.0 OTG port, 40-pin GPIO header, and a DC power jack.

Figure 4 - top view of board

The ODROID-N2 officially supports Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Android 9 Pie BSPs at this time though it's likely more Linux distributions will be supporting the N2 as the year progresses. The Ubuntu 18.04 LTS AArch64 image for the ODROID-N2 is using a Linux 4.9-based kernel.

Figure 5 - top top view with emm card installed

The ODROID-N2 with 2GB of RAM is priced at around $65 USD while the 4GB version is positioned at just above $80 USD. Hardkernel kindly sent over the ODROID-N2 for benchmarking on Phoronix.

Figure 6 - specification overview

For getting an idea for the performance potential of the ODROID-N2 4GB, here are some initial benchmarks comparing it to the NVIDIA Jetson TX1, Jetson TX2, Jetson AGX Xavier, Jetson Nano, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, ASUS TinkerBoard, ODROID-C2, and ODROID XU-4.

Figure 7 - TTSIOD 3D Renderer benchmark

Right out of the gate, the ODROID-N2 was offering very capable CPU performance in the multi-threaded TTSIOD 3D Renderer benchmark. The ODROID-N2 delivered better CPU performance than the $99 Jetson Nano and the Jetson TX2 while obviously coming in short of the premium Jetson AGX Xavier. But of the boards tested, the ODROID-N2 is a competitive SBC, especially with its $65~82 USD price-tag.

Figure 8 - 7-Zip compression benchmark

The positioning was similar with the 7-Zip compression benchmark where the ODROID-N2 was only outperformed by the much more expensive AGX Xavier while being a big upgrade over the likes of the Raspberry Pi 3.

Figure 9 - C-Ray benchmark

The six-core ODROID-N2 also performs very well with the C-Ray multi-threaded ray-tracer.

Figure 10 - Rust Prime benchmark

The ODROID-N2 also performed well with Rust.

Figure 11 - Zstd compression benchmark

With the multi-threaded Zstd compression, the Jetson Nano and TX1/TX2 had a slight advantage but overall the ODROID-N2 was still performing great for its price in relation to the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, ASUS TinkerBoard, and others.

Figure 12 - FLAC audio benchmark

For the single-threaded FLAC audio encode benchmark, the ODROID-N2 delivered similar performance to the ODROID-XU4.

Figure 13 - OpenCV benchmark

The OpenCV performance out of the CPUs were also good. (Ignore the Raspberry Pi run as it was aborting early.)

Figure 14 - PyBench benchmark

Figure 15 - Tesseract OCR

Overall, the ODROID-N2 delivers very good performance for its sub-$100 price tag. We are very happy with the performance out of Hardkernel's ODROID-N2. The performance with its four Cortex-A73 and two Cortex-A53 cores was very competitive especially considering the board costs just over $80 USD for the 4GB RAM version (or $65 USD if only needing 2GB of RAM). The performance is very good, in fact, and opens up the ODROID-N2 for serving multiple hobbyist use-cases and even as a very lightweight ARM Linux desktop or other environments. What we also like are: - 4GB DDR4 system memory - 4 x USB 3.0 ports - Gigabit Ethernet - The Mali Bifrost graphics are in the process of being freed thanks to the Panfrost DRM/Gallium3D driver effort For those wanting to see how your own Linux board(s) compare to the performance of the ODROID-N2, I uploaded additional results via this OpenBenchmarking.org result file: https://openbenchmarking.org/result/1904211-HV-ODROIDN2942

After installing the Phoronix Test Suite, available at https://www.phoronix-test-suite.com/, simply run phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1904211-HV-ODROIDN2942 for your very own side-by-side, automated benchmark comparison from start to finish.

Figure 16 - Temperature Monitor Values

For those wondering about the thermal performance of the ODROID-N2, thanks to the large aluminum heatsink I haven't seen any noticeable thermal throttling or other issues. Here are various tests of the exposed SoC and DDR temperatures under different workloads. Under various single and multi-threaded workloads, the SoC and DDR4 memory never cracked 50 degrees Celsius under load and the average temperature under load was just 40 degrees thanks to this large passive heatsink. The minimum temperature during idle and starting out the benchmarks was just 31 degrees. More data in this OpenBenchmarking.org result file: https://openbenchmarking.org/result/1904255-HV-ODROIDN2T59&obr_nbp=1

Thanks to Hardkernel for sending over the ODROID-N2 for testing and those wanting to learn more about this ARM SBC can do so at Hardkernel.com.

The above article by Michael Larabel, was published on his website and can be found at http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=27780.

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