Back in June, Shenzhen Wesion-owned Khadas launched their Amlogic A311D-based VIM3 SBC, which was meant to compete against the Raspberry Pi 4, Edge-V Pro, and Odroid-N2. It was faster and more powerful than those boards, but it came at a higher cost, starting at $99. While that’s a justifiable price if you intend to use the board’s many features, it’s not so much if you plan on using it for simple projects, such as building an HTPC.
To that end, Khadas is set to release another version of their VIM line, with the introduction of the VIM3L — designed around an Amlogic S905-series SoC, and should be an excellent choice for use as an HTPC. Under the hood, the VIM3L hosts an Amlogic S905D3-NON quad-core Cortex-A55 processor, with 2Gb of LPDDR4 Ram, 16Gb of eMMC 5.1 Flash storage, and a Mali-G31MP2 GPU. Additional storage options include 16Mb of SPI Flash, a micro SD card slot, and M.2 NVMe SSD compatibility.
Video output includes an HDMI 2.1 transmitter with 3D, Dynamic HDR, eARC, CEC, and HDCP 2.2 support, as well as a 4-lane MIPI DSI Interface (up to 1920 X 1080), and a 10-pin 0.5mm pitch FPC connector for touch panels. As for connectivity options, the VIM3L offers Gigabit Ethernet (with Wake-on-LAN support), Ampak AP6398S wireless module with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-FI 5, 2×2 MIMO with RSDB, and Bluetooth 5.0.
Rounding out the VIM3L feature set are an STMicro STM8S003 MCU, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port (with OTG and USB PD support), a KXTJ3–1057 3-axis digital accelerometer, an M.2 socket with 1-lane PCIe 2.0, USB 2.0, I2S, I2C, ADC, a 100M Ethernet PHY interface, and GPIOs. There’s also a 40-pin I/O header with accessible pins for the CPU (USB, I2C, I2S, SPDIF, UART, PWM, ADC), and MCU (SWIM, NRST, PA1).
There is even a two-channel IR receiver, RTC/Battery header, four-pin cooling fan header, LEDs, power/function/reset buttons, XPWR pads for an external power button, and a KBI interface to switch between USB 3.0 and PCIe. On the software side, Khadas will provide Linux 5.0+ and U-Boot, and the board will have support for Ubuntu 18.04, Armbian Linux distributions, along with HTPC-based firmware, including LibreELEC or CoreELEC, and Android 9.0 (among others).
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Author: Cabe Atwell