Home / Development Boards / Single Board Computer | Banana PI BPI-M2 Ultra Development Board Low Cost Single Board Computer Powered with Allwinner R40 Processor

Single Board Computer | Banana PI BPI-M2 Ultra Development Board Low Cost Single Board Computer Powered with Allwinner R40 Processor

Product Introduction

The Banana PI BPI-M2 Ultra a Single Board Computer developed by SinoVoip Company. This open source hardware platform is equipped with an Allwinner R40 Quad-Core Cortex-A7 CPU, 2GB DDR3 SDRAM, 8G eMMC flash, On-board WiFi/Bluetooth module, and an external SATA 2.0 interface.

AllWinner R SoC Series is capable of running most popular operating systems such as Android, Debian Linux, Ubuntu Linux, Raspbian system and can also run Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT Core version, which is a slim type OS packed with the Azure IoT SDK, specially tailored for software developers. Based on Allwinner R40 Datasheet the BPI-M2 Ultra it’s capable of capturing video input signal at a maximum resolution of [email protected] using the Camera CSI input connector that also can be used as a PVR (Personal video recorder).

That being said, Additional hardware specifications include a Mali 400 MP2 GPU, Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI 1.4, TF Card Slot, and 40 pin GPIO header is pin-compatible with Raspberry Pi Making this product a good pick for DIY and Open source Projects. The board is currently sold in SinoVoip AliExpress store and can be found in the link posted below:

Buy It from Sinovoip Store

bpi-m2-ultra-single-board-computer

Banana Pi M2 Ultra review

  1. Product Introduction
  2. M2 Ultra Overview (Video)
  3. Main Highlights & Specifications.
  4. Package
  5. Unboxing
  6. A Closer Look at the Banana Pi M2 Ultra
  7. Optional Accessories
  8. Software Support
  9. Testing M2U with SSD (Solid State Drive).
  10. Final Words
  11. Pros / Cons

M2 Ultra Quick Review/ Overview

Banana Pi M2 Ultra specifications

  • SoC – Allwinner R40 quad Core ARM Cortex A7 processor with ARM Mali-400 MP2
  • System Memory – 2G DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash , SATA interface, Micro SD slot up to 256 GB
  • Connectivity – 1x Gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6212)
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 port [email protected], 4-lane MIPI DSI display connector
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5 mm headphone jack, built-in microphone
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – CSI camera connector
  • Debugging – 3-pin UART for serial console
  • Misc – Reset, power, and u-boot buttons; IR receiver
  • Expansion – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with GPIOs, I2C, SPI, UART, ID EEPROM, 5V, 3.3V, GND signals.
  • Power Supply – 5V via barrel connector, or 3.7V Lithium battery via battery connector on the back of the board. AXP221s PMIC

 

Banana Pi BPI M2 Ultra | Package

 

                                         Banana Pi BPI M2 Ultra Board | Unboxing

A Closer Look at the Banana Pi M2 Ultra

  1. HDMI
  2. SATA
  3. SATA Power
  4. USB OTG
  5. Power Supply ( DC 5V/2A )
  6. TF Card Slot
  7. Camera Interface
  8. Reset Button
  9. Power Button
  10. WiFi Antenna Socket
  11. 40 Pins Header
  12. Microphone
  13. IR Receiver
  14. 3.5 mm Audio Jack
  15. 2xUSB 2.0
  16. 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet
  17. Debug TTL UART
  18. Uboot Key
  19. MIPI DSI (Display Interface)
  20. eMMC Flash
  21. Allwinner R40 SoC
  22. 2x 512MB  RAM
  23. 2x 512MB RAM
  24. External Battery Interface
  25. WiFi & BT 4.0 module

Back View

Banana Pi M2 Ultra

  • Banana PI M2 Ultra | Top View
  • Banana PI M2 Ultra | Rear View
  • Banana PI M2 Ultra | Full View
  • Banana PI M2 Ultra | Front View
  • Banana PI M2 Ultra | Back View
  • Banana PI M2 Ultra | Right View
  • Banana PI M2 Ultra | Left View

Basic Operation

Without over complicating things. The process of burning Operating system Images can be done in two main basic methods. The first, which is the simplest one. For that you will need to use a formatted / empty Micro-SD Card, preferably in the capacity of of 16GB and above it, depending on the Image size. Picking a higher capacity is preferred for maintaining some extra space for files when updating the distribution and installing new apps.

 

1 – Booting System via TF Card:

  • Steps for Burning Images to Micro-SD Card with the following Windows Tools:
  1. SDFormatter – Formatting the SD card before burning the image file.
  2. Win32Disk Imager – Selecting the Image file and writing to the SD Card.

 

2 – Booting System via 8GB eMMC Storage:

  • Steps for Burning Images to 8GB eMMC Chip:
  1. Copying OS Image file to USB Flash Drive and connect it to the board USB
  2. Booting the board from SD Card
  3.  Running:  umount /dev/mmcblk1p1 /dev/mmcblk1p2
  4. Accessing the device ( USB Flash Drive ) where the Image file is stored
  5. Runing:   dd if=Imagefilename.img of=/dev/mmcblk1 bs=10M
  6. sync
  7. power off & remove SD
  8. Turning board one.

 

Optional Accessories

Acrylic Case If you don’t want to spend time in designing and building one the Transparent Acrylic Case can be a great option. The case is composed of six separated segments / parts assembled together and strengthen with a series of bolts and screws. From first impression and additional checking overall quality was excellent and all interfaces were very easy to access, including buttons and header pins. The only thing I would improve is adding 4 holes and few cuts for 30 mm fan mounting, just above the heat-sink to get the extra heat out.

Banana Pi M2 Ultra | Case Unboxing

 

Banana Pi M2 Ultra Case

 

Banana Pi M2 Ultra Inside the Case

 

Heatsinks – Sinovoip offers two types of aluminum heat sinks with flat type fins for both CPU and Memory chips. For this review I used a better CPU Heatsink, originally designed for video card cooling with the same dimensions (14 x 14 mm). This one had a higher finish quality and most importantly, high-length films that greatly improve air contact which improves the cooling efficiency. That said, overall results were pretty good. The CPU temperatures measured with case closed without fan ranged between ~40 – 55C.

  • CMD used to Check CPU Temperature:

cat  /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone1/temp 

 

Banana Pi Heatsinks

  • Banana Pi Heatsinks & Thermal Pads Package
  • Banana Pi | Heatsink and Thermal Pads
  • Banana Pi | Memory Chips Thermal Pad
  • Banana Pi | CPU Thermal Pad

 

Optional CPU Heatsink

Get it Here

Software Support

The M2U board currently supports Ubuntu, Debian, Android 6.0 and Tina OS, which is a tailored open source Linux distribution designed for the Allwinner SoC, developed by Allwinner Tina TEAM based on OpenWrt . This OS offers development tools for designing IoT products for designing  drones, robotics, education, servers, toys and smart home products.

For users that like to experience with a wider selection of systems it can be somewhere limiting compared to the Raspberry Pi board. But overall the experience “playing” with the board running Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS was nothing but good. WiFi, LAN, Sound, and an on-board microphone where configured and worked well.

Ubuntu 16.04.1 System Information

 

Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS | Desktop Screenshots 

Power Supply

To power the M2U board you will need to buy a DC 5V / 2A type AC adapter unit, or connect to the board trough the USB OTG interface with a simple USB to Micro-USB Cable connected to USB type power adapter/Charger, that is very commonly included with mobile phones and Tablet PCs accessories. Also important to mention that if you are planning on connecting an external Hard drive such as SSD the OTG interface, the power through the OTG will not be sufficient to power an external drive, therefore you will need to use a proper AC type adapter.

M2U connected to ORICO Q1-BK Power Bank (Top view)

Testing M2U with SSD (Solid State Drive)

Drive was tested twice with SSD C3000-120 (120GB) from Kingspec using ‘gnome disks‘ benchmark tool running under Ubuntu 16.04 .1 LTS.

Drive Parameters:

  • Challenger C3000 series
  • Model: KingSpec C3000-120 ( 120GB )
  • Capacity: 120GB
  • Interface: SATA III – 6GB/s
  • Size: 2.5 inch – 7 mm
  • MLC NAND Flash
  • Sustained Read – 500 MB/s 
  • Sustained Write – 470 MB/s 
  • Average Access time 0.2 ms

 

M2U Connected to C3000-120 SSD

Test #1 : Under NTFS Partition

Under NTF partition, writing speed results where pretty low with very low write speed of 37.6 MB/s .   

                  

Test #2 : Under EXT4 Partition 

Under EXT4 partition read / write speeds remain pretty much the same as in test #1 without any impact on general performance.

Conclusions:

Based on the above results and personal opinion, the low write speeds on both tests are a result of Allwinner hardware platform limitations, therefore don’t expect high transfer speeds as you are getting used a P.C. Although adding a SATA 2.0 interface is a nice idea, it’s not really feasible if you can’t use the drive to its maximum potential and achieve high writing speeds.

 

Final Words

The M2U board is a very good product that worked and preformed well. The only disadvantage is that currently user is limited to few distributions and also the fact this board only has two USB hosts and not more, so it’s a bit limiting if you want to connect more than two external devices.

 

Pros / Cons

 

Pros

  • High performance
  • 2GB RAM

 

Cons

  • Only Two USB Host Ports.
  • Limited OS Support
  • Slow writing speeds via SATA interface.

 

SinoVoip Contact

About androidpimp

Check Also

NanoPi K2 Board

NanoPi K2 Single Board Computer Review | Raspberry Pi 3 Competitor FirendlyElEC NanoPi K2 Amlogic S905 Powered Development Board for just $40

free wordpress themes Product Introduction  The NanoPi K2 single board computer is FriendlyELEC (formally FirendlyARM) …