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ARM-based EMB-2500: Like Raspberry Pi, but much better

The EMB-2500 is the latest single-board, SoC computer to be released this year. Ever since the Raspberry Pi hit the streets and became hugely popular with its target audience, there has been several similar attempts to outdo it, but none has shipped with standard storage connectivity that the average computer user can use.

With the EMB-2500, SATA storage connectivity has come to an ITX form-factor, single-board SoC computer.

The EMB-2500 is manufactured by Habey USA, a subsidiary of NORCO Intelligent Technology Co., a hardware manufacturing outfit base in Shenzhen, China. What sets the EMB-2500 apart from similar, Pico-ITX form-factor boards is that it comes with almost all the connectivity you’ll find on a standard motherboard. And that’s why I think it will be a good buy.

At the core of the EMB-2500 is a 1 GHz Freescale i.MX6 processor, which could be single core, dual core or quad core, with 1 GB on-board DDR3 RAM.
EMB-2500 ARM Freescale board

EMB-2500 ARM Freescale board

Here are other pertinent specs of the EMB-2500 (detailed specs here):

  • OS: Linux and Android 4 support
  • Storage: 1x SATA 3Gb/s, 1x SD, on-board NAND flash (4GB default
  • Network: Gigabit Ethernet. Optional on-board WiFi
  • Connectivity: HDMI 1.4, VGA, LVDS (Resolution in the 1920 x 1080 range). 2x USB2.0, 2x USB2.0 header, 1x mini USB2.0 OTG.
  • Integrated 3D graphics and 1080p video codec engine

Prices for the boards have not been released yet, but I’ve been told that for retail, expect to be able to buy one for between $140.00 to $180.00, depending on the processor and other configuration options. If I’m lucky, I should be able to get one for review, so check back for a possible hands-on review later.

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15 Comments

  1. yanuar says:

    Yes i agree if the specs better than RPi. But, RPi has the price. And the most important is a solid community which give us tons of tutorials.

  2. wb greene says:

    “Raspberry Pi definitely has the price on lockdown”

    Not any more!

    $45 will buy you a Beaglebone Black.

  3. Sum Yung Gai says:

    Agreed, not really “like the Pi”, because it’s way too expensive. The Pi gives me virtually everything this board does, for what I need, for $35. What I need? A low-power set of servers (Web, email, DNS, file, print, LDAP/Kerberos, etc.). For the price of one of these, I can five Pi’s and be done. And with the money saved with the Pi’s, I can pick up a few solar panels and power ‘em, too. This is good in case you’re in an extended power outage.

    Now, if they priced this board at, say, $50, that’d be much more interesting.

    –SYG

  4. George says:

    Other than it’s small, how is this at all like the Raspberry Pi? The beauty of the Pi is that it is **cheap** so I can pick up four or five to do needed task, like act as a print server, run Asterisk, run as a dedicated firewall (with a USB Ethernet connector), etc.

    That is the point that I think everyone misses about the Pi. It’s not that is small, but that it is so cheap it is almost an afterthought when purchasing one. If I’m going to drop ~$200, I’m going to be thinking about it.

  5. Palatine says:

    There are lots and lots of these kind of boards on the market. The Freescale Sabre Lite also has the quad core version of the i.MX6, as well as SATA, 1GB DDR3 etc. The price is fairly similar and it can run Android:

    http://www.element14.com/community/community/knode/dev_platforms_kits/element14_dev_kits/sabrelite

  6. ShaunGeorge says:

    Quote “If I’m lucky, I should be able to get one for review, so check back for a possible hands-on review later”. < but you claim much better than Raspberry Pi and you not tried it #fail

    • finid says:

      Since I didn’t have a unit to play with, the statement was Strictly based on the specs.

      In any case, I’ll be receiving a quad core model for testing, so stay tuned.

  7. patrick poblocki says:

    I would rather adopt second hand PC. The price is too high.

  8. Roland says:

    cubieboard.org has had SATA for awhile. $49.

  9. CFWhitman says:

    If the cheapest one is $140, then it’s not that much like Raspberry Pi. It’s certainly not more like it than Beagleboard or Pandaboard systems that have been around since before Raspberry Pi. Price is a big part of what makes that Raspberry Pi unique.

    • Habey USA says:

      Raspberry Pi definitely has the price on lockdown. For our EMB-2500 board, it’s tuned more towards the additional hardware capabilities rather than the overall price. This board was never meant to be competitive to the Raspberry Pi, but it gives people options if they want to do more with a similar platform. I hope this helps!

    • douglas says:

      Yes… $25 is WAY different than $140

  10. Alienation says:

    Not comparable. No gpio. Not the same.

    • Habey USA says:

      Hi Alienation!
      It doesn’t say here on this article, but it most definitely does have GPIO. It would be a pretty big letdown if it didn’t. It has an 8-Bit GPIO.

  11. jezra says:

    Any word on which proprietary graphics chip this thing uses?

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