It is more powerful, offers higher performance and comes in two brand new models.
A PDF format file is also provided to make reading this introductory document more comfortable.
https://dn.odroid.com/ODROID-H2/H3_pics ... uction.pdf
Introducing the ODROID-H3 and ODROID-H3+
Hardkernel is introducing the ODROID-H3 and H3+, which both have the same form factor and similar power efficiency as their predecessor, the ODROID-H2+.
The major characteristics of the ODROID-H3 and H3+ compared to the ODROID-H2+ are:
- Intel 10nm Jasper Lake vs. Intel 14nm Gemini Lake processors.
- Maximum memory (DDR4 2933MT/s) is 64GB vs. 32 GB (DDR4 2400MT/s).
- Higher base and boost CPU frequencies and more powerful iGPU.
- PCIe Gen 3 x4 NVMe vs. PCIe Gen 2.
- An Unlimited Performance mode allowing the CPU to run in sustained Turbo Boost mode.
- The ODROID-H3 and H3+ use a standard PC 12V PWM fan. Yes, you can use whatever 3rd party fan you prefer and plug it into the board with zero hassles.
- The BIOS fTPM is enabled by default: Windows 11 compatibility out of the box.
Without further ado, let’s look at the detailed table shown below.
While the CPU base frequency increases by 16% (H3) and 32% (H3+) compared to the H2+, the memory bandwidth increases by 22%, and the disk I/O increases by 97% compared to the H2+, one should not forget that the Jasper Lake generation also brings node intrinsic optimizations compared to the Gemini Lake generation. In addition, both the H3 and H3+ can be set to run in turbo boost mode with no time limit, a mode we call "Unlimited Performance" and describe further.
As the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts: While running 300+ benchmarks, a great number of them being non synthetic, we witnessed a performance increase ranging in average from 45% to 73%, with maximum increases being more than twice faster.
The ODROID-H3 and H3+ boards use the same physical format as the H2+ board. As a consequence the H2+ blue acrylic cases and all the 3rd party cases, e.g. users 3D printed cases, are compatible with the ODROID-H3 and H3+. This also means that the ODROID H-series Net card works on the H2+, H3 and H3+ out of the box. Finally 3rd party PCIe cards (Network cards, RAID cards, Graphics cards) that one used and uses with the H2+ can also be used with the H3 and H3+.
We have seen and still see an incredible broad range of ODROID-H2+ usage from users like you. We expect to witness the same range with ODROID-H3 and H3+. But we also expect to see users add more use cases thanks to the higher CPU performance as well as graphics and PCIe increased performance which definitely bring new opportunities. The doubling of the maximum memory from 32GB to 64GB offers new possibilities too. We believe the success of the ODROID H-series is in part due to its original DIY design goal with a board that does not restrict you to one kind of application, e.g. TV box. Let us recall the common features through all the ODROID H-series models:
An SBC design that makes sense: All the connectivity is on the rear side, simplifying case design and reducing footprint on a desk.
H-series Net Card
Using the NVMe port, provides 4 additional 2.5 GbE ports, thus tripling the number of 2.5 GbE ports to 6 ports.
Do It Yourself
The ODROID H-series offers you a lot of freedom. You are free to chose:
- The amount and brand of memory. No soldered memory.
- The size of the eMMC (including not using one). No soldered eMMC.
- The size of the NVMe PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSD (including not using one)(*).
- To transform the NVMe slot into a PCIe Gen 3 x4 slot for using PCIe cards via optional adapter cable(*).
- The size of the 1 or 2 SATA III disks or SSDs (including not using them).
- A case among 7 types of Hardkernel cases, or use a custom one you or another user designed (**).
- Hardkernel cases allow the usage of an optional silent 92mm fan for optimal thermal performance.
- Any x86-64 flavor of Windows, Linux or BSD operating systems, etc. Plus Android.
- To upgrade the hardware later with more memory, more NVMe or SSD or hard disk space.
(**) The acrylic blue cases can be used with the H3/H3+ and conversely the new PCB cases can be used with the H2/H2+.
Comparing the H3 and H3+ to the H2+
In order to evaluate the performance of the H3 and H3+ and compare them to their predecessor, the H2+, we proceeded with real application benchmarks rather than synthetic ones. To do so we ran a battery of Phoronix testing suites. These testing suites are listed below:
- Audio Encoding
- Unigine GPU
- Video Encoding
Let us examine the results we obtained with tables and charts showing the H2+ as base 100.
Example: Using the line Timed Eigen Compilation in the Compilation Benchmark table shown below, the H3 is 63% faster, the H3+ 83%, the H3’up 67% and the H3+’up 85%.
What are the H3’up and H3+’up?
The suffix ‘up is a shortcut notation to indicate that the CPU is running in “Unlimited Performance Mode”. This is a mode where the CPU can run in Turbo Boost mode with no time limit, hence the name. The Unlimited Performance Mode is described in the next section.
Benchmark description: https://openbenchmarking.org/suite/pts/compilation
Benchmark description: https://openbenchmarking.org/suite/pts/compression
Benchmark description: https://openbenchmarking.org/suite/pts/java
Benchmark description: https://openbenchmarking.org/suite/pts/python
Benchmark description: https://openbenchmarking.org/suite/pts/imaging
Audio Encoding Benchmark
Benchmark description: https://openbenchmarking.org/suite/pts/audio-encoding
Benchmark description: https://openbenchmarking.org/suite/pts/database (note: we only ran a subset)
Unigine GPU Benchmark
Benchmark description: https://openbenchmarking.org/suite/pts/unigine (This benchmark was run in 1280x720 resolution)
Benchmark description: https://openbenchmarking.org/suite/pts/cryptography
Video Encoding Benchmark
Benchmark description: https://openbenchmarking.org/suite/pts/video-encoding
To summarize, we completed 313 benchmarks on the H2+ and H3 and 259 on the H3+, H3’up and H3+’up. The Average line in the table shown below is the flat average on all the tests.
For each platform H3/H3+ system, we counted the number of tests where the optimization was more than 25% up to more than 150%.
The same WD BLACK 500GB SN750 NVMe was used on all systems.
Ubuntu 22.04, 32GB of DDR4 2400MT/s memory.
ODROID-H3, H3+, H3’up, H3+’up
Ubuntu 22.04, 64GB of DDR4 2933MT/s memory.
PCIe Gen 3 vs. PCIe Gen 2
To illustrate the quasi double performance of the PCIe bus on the ODROID-H3 and H3+ compared to the ODROID-H2+, we ran iozone3 tests with relatively big data blocks:
iozone -e -I -a -s 100M -r 512k -r 1024k -r 16384k -i 0 -i 1 -i 2
The two tables shown below list the relative I/O acceleration on the H3 and H3+.
One can see that the bigger the data block the closer we get to twice the speed, within margin of error, plus a few % points because the CPUs also run faster.
The 3 tables shown below list the benchmark transfer speed values (in bytes):
Introducing the Unlimited Performance Mode
Starting with the Core 10th generation INTEL introduced Power Limit 4 (PL4) and made it user configurable via the BIOS. What is it? PL4 is the SoC's maximum power limit at the package level. No matter what the CPU is actually doing, it will not pass this limit. The interesting side of the story is that as a user you can set it to 0, which means no limit.
The ODROID-H3 and H3+ BIOS allows you to set this limit to 0. This is what we call Unlimited Performance mode. The default value is 30,000 corresponding to the Balanced mode, meaning around a SoC's maximum power limit of 10W.
Using the Unlimited Performance mode (annotated 'up) with the H3 and H3+ enables the CPU to turbo boost indefinitely: 2.6 GHz all cores and 2.9 GHz one core for the H3 , 2.8 GHz all cores and 3.3 GHz one core for the H3. This results in a significant increase in performance, especially for the H3+. You can see the effect in the benchmarks we included above. In a few cases the H3’up can reach and pass double performance for the same task compared to the H2+.
As you may expect the CPU will get hot quickly (in a matter of minutes) and get close to its T Junction (Tj) temperature which will trigger the emergency shutdown as thermal protection.
But the CPU will not reach Tj because it will automatically throttle down when it is about 5 degrees Celsius away from Tj (we tested this multiple times).
As soon as the CPU thermally throttles down you start losing the increased performance you were aiming at while still consuming more power compared to the Balanced mode. Not ideal.
In order to prevent thermal throttling when using the Unlimited Performance mode, the solution is simple: Active cooling with a fan.
We designed the H3/H3+ heat sink to make it very efficient: (a) You do not need a fan in Balanced mode and (b) it has a high rate of thermal exchange when coupled with a fan.
Using a fan will decrease the maximal CPU temperature by about 25 to 30 degrees Celsius depending on factors such as the ambient temperature. It is difficult for us to publish precise temperature values because what one witnesses depends on many factors: As already mentioned the ambient temperature, the CPU BGA soldering thickness error, the heat sink assembly tolerance, the type of thermal paste and quantity applied, and the cooling fan speed RPM error margin (which can be as high as 5 to 10%). All of these factors can result in a 10+ degrees Celsius difference between one setting and another.
The important point is that with active cooling you get the increased performance you aim at while the CPU stays just comfortably warm while turbo boosting indefinitely, way below temperatures close to Tj. In other words the fan active cooling brings you the best of both worlds. This is what we witnessed and validated while performing many tests in different locations.
Last point: In Unlimited Performance mode, the CPU (and the fan) use more power than they do in Balanced mode, easily reaching 20+ Watts. However this happens only when the CPU is indeed turbo boosting. When idle, the system will use the same power as in Balanced mode. If your goal is to minimize energy consumption, use Balanced mode. If your goal is to maximize performance, use Unlimited Performance mode and again use active cooling with a fan to avoid the CPU to constantly throttle down.
For learning how to change PL4 in the BIOS, as well as change the fan settings, please refer to the related Wiki page.
The official 92x92x25mm 12V PWM cooling fan or a similar 3rd party cooling fan should be mounted on the official case's venting hole to avoid thermal throttling of the CPU in Unlimited Performance mode. We have tested the following 3rd party cooling fan samples.
- Noctua NF-A9 PWM
- Noctua NF-A19x4 PWM
- Noctua NF-B9 REDUX PWM
- Thermalright TL-9015W
To test the CPU computing power and GPU rendering speed of the ODROID-H3/H3+, we tested running Wii U and PS2 games emulation.
This emulation is still very difficult to run on a low power SBC. The games were extremely slow and very far from a playable level on the ODROID-H2+.
On the other hand, during our testing, we enjoyed playing PS2 games on the ODROID-H3+ running in Unlimited Performance mode
Dual Head 4K Monitor Demo
We can connect two 4K/60Hz monitors to the H3 for both fun and productive work. Thanks to hardware virtualization, Linux and Windows can be operated at the same time. Note also that with a maximum memory of 64GB running guest OSes is no problem.
Picture 1 : Two different 4K YouTube videos play back flawlessly and simultaneously with Chrome browser on Ubuntu desktop.
Picture 2 : The monitor on the left shows Ubuntu Desktop host OS and the one on the right shows Windows 10 running as a guest OS, using the hardware virtualization VT-x technology.
Picture 3 : The monitor on the left shows the PCB designing KiCAD application running in Ubuntu while the monitor on the right shows the Edge browser in Windows running as a guest OS.
The blue acrylic cases we have made so far had the advantage of being translucid, enabling you to see the inside of the system. However we witnessed too many occurrences of broken or cracked panels due to external impact during delivery.
Accordingly, we developed new cases using a relatively thin and rigid PCB made of glass fiber epoxy to prevent these issues. We have seven types of new cases as listed in the table shown below:
Case Type 1
No Net card and space for 2 x 3.5” SATA drives.
Case Type 2
No Net card, no space for SATA storage.
Case Type 3
No Net card and space for 2 x 2.5” SATA drives (max. 15mm thick).
Case Type 4
No Net card and space for 1 x 3.5” SATA drive or 2 x 2.5” SATA drives.
Case Type 5
Space for Net card and 2 x 3.5” SATA drives.
Case Type 6
Space for Net card, no space for SATA storage.
Case Type 7
Space for Net card and 2 x 2.5” SATA drives (max. 15mm thick).
- CPU (Intel Celeron N5105(H3+: N6005) )
- 2 x DDR4 SO-DIMM slots (Dual channel memory support)
- 1 x M.2 PCI Express Module Socket (NGFF-2280)
- 1 x eMMC (Embedded Multimedia-Card) Socket
- 2 x SATA Power Connectors (2.5mm pitch, JST-XH compatible connector)
- 2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Data Connectors
- 1 x DC Power Jack
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x HDMI 2.0
- 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
- 2 x RJ45 Ethernet Ports (10/100/1000/2500)
- 5 x System LED Indicators
- 1 x Peripheral Expansion Header (24-pin)
- 1 x Power Switch
- 1 x Reset Switch
- 1 x Backup Battery Connector (2-pin)
- 1 x Active Cooling Fan Connector (4-pin)
- 1 x Audio out, 1 x Audio in, 1 x SPDIF out
The ODROID-H3 and H3+ use a PC standard 12V PWM 4-pin connector instead of the proprietary 5V mini connector used on the H2/H2+.
Therefore, anyone can install a third-party cooling fan that can be easily purchased in the market. A 92mm size of cooling fan is recommended for the H3 cases compatibility.
We used our SmartPower3 (see https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/smartpower-iii/) to test and measure the ODROID-H3 power consumption while performing specific activities. We used an M.2 NVMe storage device, 4K HDMI monitor, Ethernet cable and USB combo keyboard + mouse while measuring the power consumption. The table shown below and its corresponding chart detail the power consumption we witnessed:
- In headless mode, the idle state power consumption should be lower than 2 Watt.
- If one runs the H3+ in Unlimited Performance mode and stresses the CPU to its maximum, the system peak power consumption can be near 22 Watt.
More detail technical information are available on the WiKi pages:
The Making of the ODROID-H3 and ODROID-H3+
Until the introduction of the ODROID-H2, we were well-known for our ARM-based SBC such as the XU4, C-series, N-series and more recently the M1.
However the x86 platform brings many advantages:
- Most GPU and VPU hardware acceleration drivers are working perfectly fine on the latest Linux Kernel releases and GNU software out of the box.
- Large scale memory expandability, up to 64GB of RAM.
- We can have stable and more hardware connectivity: two 2.5GbE ports, two SATA III ports, four lanes of PCIe Gen 3, etc.
- Hardware virtualization VT-x powered virtual machines allow a user to run different operating systems, test applications, and experiment with specific features without worrying about system crashes related to specific hardware differences.
- On the ARM platform, it takes non-trivial human and time resources to port the mainline kernel to a level where the GPU and VPU hardware acceleration functions work properly. In contrast, on the x86 platform, you can usually run the latest operating system with full hardware acceleration.
- As a journalist wrote about the ODROID-H2+, we quote: “x86 tends to do very well with legacy support. We cannot predict the future, but there is a good chance that 5-7 years from now, the hardware we have on the ODROID-H2+ will still be well supported and OSes will be installed out-of-the-box. That is not necessarily the same for the ARM maker board ecosystem to date.”(*)
Obviously, the ARM platform has numerous benefits of its own and a large number of applications in many markets: usually low cost, very low power allowing usage in millions of devices running on battery (e.g. smartphones, remote controls, sensors, tiny robots, etc) as well as 24x7 appliances where energy consumption must be as low as possible (e.g. TV boxes, home NAS, gateways, home routers, etc). Finally ARM-based SBCs enable DIY users like you or industrial users to design custom boxes, servers, instrumentation devices with sensors, etc. This is why Hardkernel makes a lot of ARM-based SBC.
Our first endeavor into the x86 world with the ODROID-H2 and H2+ was both an engineering and commercial success. This was reflected in multiple articles at https://www.cnx-software.com/ as well as at STH (see link cited above).
Due to the continuous shortage of semiconductors during the COVID-19 pandemic, we had no choice but to discontinue the popular ODROID-H2+ at the end of last year.
However, there has been continued customer demand for the x86 platform. So, earlier this year, we started developing new ODROID-H series models which leverage 11th-gen Intel processors made with an advanced 10nm (Intel 7) semiconductor fab and other key components that we can purchase much more reliably.
Many of our B2B customers have requests for long-term stable supply.
The previous generation processor J4115 package size was 25x24mm with 1090 BGA pins while the new N5150 and N6005 package size is 35mmx24mm with 1338 pins. Due to the big difference of the SoC packages, we had a very hard time keeping the same PCB form factor and connectors' positions while we designed the hardware. We have achieved backward compatibility through this difficult design process and efforts.
Thanks to this mechanical and electrical compatibility, H2 series cases and the ODROID H-series Net card can be used on the H3/H3+ as well. Since Intel doesn't guarantee the period of availability, we can't say about the longevity of the H3 series. Perhaps we can only supply the H3 series for 2~3 years in the worst case.
However, we will always do our best to maintain mechanical and electrical compatibility when Intel's next-generation low-power processors are released. We believe that this method enables long-term supply in other ways.
So here we are today with the ODROID-H3 and ODROID-H3+!
Orders for the H3 and H3+ boards with wide range peripheral devices are available now with shipping from early next week.
ODROID-H3 : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-h3/
ODROID-H3+ : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-h3-plus/
60W PSU : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/15v-4a- ... y-us-plug/
133W PSU: https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/19v-7a-power-supply/
DDR4 SO-DIMM 4GB: https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/samsung ... 0-so-dimm/
DDR4 SO-DIMM 8GB: https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/samsung ... 0-so-dimm/
DDR4 SO-DIMM 16GB: https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/samsung ... 0-so-dimm/
DDR4 SO-DIMM 32GB: https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/samsung ... 0-so-dimm/
92mm 12V cooling fan : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/92x92x2 ... r-tacho-2/
2.5GbE 4-ports NetCard : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/h2-net-card/
WiFi + Bluetooth module :https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/wifi-module-5bk/
SATA + Power cables : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/sata-da ... wer-cable/
BIOS/RTC backup battery : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/rtc-backup-battery/ (One battery is included in the package as a free bundle. You may want to buy one as a spare.)
Case Type 1 : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-h3-case-type-1/
Case Type 2 : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-h3-case-type-2/
Case Type 3 : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-h3-case-type-3/
Case Type 4 : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-h3-case-type-4/
Case Type 5 : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-h3-case-type-5/
Case Type 6 : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-h3-case-type-6/
Case Type 7 : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-h3-case-type-7/
LED Power button : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/led-power-button/
VESA Mount Kit : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/vesa-mount-kit/
20x4 Character LCD module : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/i2c-lcd-module/
SmartPower3 : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/smartpower-iii/
8GB eMMC : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/8gb-emmc-module-h2/
16GB eMMC : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/16gb-emmc-module-h2/
32GB eMMC : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/32gb-emmc-module-h2/
64GB eMMC : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/64gb-emmc-module-h2/
128GB eMMC : https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/128gb-emmc-module-h2-2/