Opinions wanted / M1 vs N2L vs N2+

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NickN
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Opinions wanted / M1 vs N2L vs N2+

Post by NickN »

Greetings All!

I'm looking for a replacement for the Raspberry Pi 4 -- I have a fondness for products you can actually buy without lining the pockets of eBay scalpers :lol:

The use case is an IoT hub device. It's for industrial use, but price sensitive. It will also typically be run as headless. The current RPI 4 version runs multiple Docker containers including a very lightweight database and a small webserver. The webserver serves a handful of fairly simple web pages that show data from the IoT network the hub is connected to. It's designed to be accessed by one person at a time i.e. not a demanding site to host. We added a USB to SATA adapter with a small SSD, and a DS3231 RTC. Otherwise, it's a standard RPI 4 with 4GB RAM.

I believe (have not finished testing) that all of the Docker images we currently use are available for ARM/Ubuntu.

Here's what we need in terms of specs:
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB eMMC (could be traded for SATA/M2)
  • 2 x USB
  • HDMI
  • RTC
  • Ethernet
  • WiFi -- can be via USB
The nice to have list is:
  • USB 3
  • SATA or M.2 -- we might use this instead of eMMC
The things we absolutely do not need are:
  • Sound
  • Camera
  • IR
  • Microphone
In fact, any possibility of a microphone is a problem as some customers will have security/eavesdropping concerns.

As you'd guess from the above, I've been looking at the ODROID-M1, ODROID-N2L and ODROID-N2+. Unfortunately I think we need more RAM than the XU4 has.

So my questions are:
  • Which one would you pick and why?
  • Can an RTC be added to the N2L
All suggestions welcome.

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mctom
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Re: Opinions wanted / M1 vs N2L vs N2+

Post by mctom »

Hi!

Yes, N2L can be equipped with RTC shield:
https://wiki.odroid.com/accessory/add-o ... rtc_shield
https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/rtc-shield/

However, N2L does not have Ethernet. With only USB2 and USB3 ports, one of each, I don't think this will be enough for your application, including Ethernet dongle, Wi-Fi, and whatever else you may want to plug in. Your description is not fully clear in this regard unfortunately.
Note Wi-Fi dongle does not require USB3 port.

M1 has a slower CPU, sporting 4xA55 cores, compared to 4xA73 + 2xA53 as found in N2+ and N2L. The latter is surely faster than any RasPi to date, but M1's CPU is very energy efficient (no need for active cooling).
M1 also has RAM technology similar to RasPi4 and N2L (LPDDR4), which despite its A55 cores makes it still competitive.
Last weekend I have set up my new home server on M1, although understandably my requirements were different than yours, but can't complain about it lacking CPU power for anything so far.

None of these Odroids have microphones or even an analog sound inputs.

I would compare the cost of M1 4GB + NVMe SSD and N2+ 4GB + 32GB EMMC, and N2L 4GB + 32GB EMMC. That is, if M1's CPU performance is still adequate for your application, and the N2L USB port count is enough.
All things considered I'd pick M1 if possible - that NVMe's extra oomph really makes the difference.
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Re: Opinions wanted / M1 vs N2L vs N2+

Post by L67GS »

C4 is not in the running?

* 2GHZ / 4GB
* Low cost
* Seasoned enough to be more or less bug free
* onboard Ethernet
* USB 3
* no fan to go bad

https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-c4/

For commercial applications it may be wise to inquire as to long term availability, but it's the newest in a pretty long line of successful products going back to the beloved C1, so I would imagine it's not going anywhere.

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Re: Opinions wanted / M1 vs N2L vs N2+

Post by mad_ady »

For your use case I think M1 covers most needs out of the box. You can use SATA without a usb adapter (2.5" 5V drives only SSD or HDD) - but note that the fancy blue metal case won't close if you do. If you use a sata/nvme disk you don't need an sd/emmc. You can use petitboot to boot directly from disk.
N2+ also has this feature, but lacks native SATA/NVME, so you'll need adapters which might become loose in industrial environments.
N2L has no advantage for your needs. It's too bare-bones. It's meant to be built into a larger device, but lacks native SATA, NVME, petitboot...
C4 is like M1 in terms of performance, but lacks sata/nvme.

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Re: Opinions wanted / M1 vs N2L vs N2+

Post by rooted »

HC4 may be viable

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Re: Opinions wanted / M1 vs N2L vs N2+

Post by NickN »

Thanks for the replies and apologies for the slow follow-up.

I'm in agreement with @mctom and @mad_ady: the M1 seems to be the best fit. The range of storage options, built in RTC and fan-less design are ideal for my needs.

Time to start experimenting!

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