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Raspberry Pi rivalled by rival quad-core Linux board

Korean firm shows $129 design running Ubuntu or Android

The success of the Raspberry Pi has inspired a Korean firm to publish details of a new and more powerful version of the same ARM-based Linux computer-on-a-board concept, the ODROID-X.

Marketed as a $129 (£84) development board, the higher price of Hardkernel's ODROID-X offers a taste of what the Raspberry Pi itself might one day turn into.

At its heart is Samsung's powerful Exynos4412 Cortex-A9 Quad Core running at1.4Ghz (also used in the Samsung SIII smartphone), enough grunt to run Ubuntu 12.04 as well as Android 4.04 on the 1GB of onboard RAM.

Elsewhere it has the same HDMI port, SDHC Card slot, plus a microUSB port, six USB 2.0 ports, and single 10/100 Ethernet connection (Wi-Fi can be added via a separate module).

To put this into context, the cheaper Raspberry Pi has a quarter of the memory and runs a single-core 700Mhz ARM1176JZFS and uses the competent Videocore 4 GPU; the ODROID-X comes with the quad-core Mali 400 GPU.

Demonstration videos on the Hardkernel site show the board booting Ubuntu for ARM without any obvious compromise and running multi-player games. The higher cost, therefore, buys the ability to run more powerful versions of Linux and applications.

The comparison with the Raspberry Pi isn't entirely fair as the latter was intended as an incredibly cheap way to get started in programming and Linux rather than a featured games console.

What it does underline is the mini-boom in small, cheap Linux computers built around the ARM architecture and aimed at budding developers and modders.

A slightly different take on the same homebrew concept is the $99 Ouya open source games console which has been crowdsourcing funding on Kickstarter. Potentially running games such as Minecraft on top of Android 4.0, the project has become one of only a small number of such projects to raise more than $1 million in funding.; the current total is approaching $5 million.


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