Home Assistant OS 10 has made the all-in-one solution consisting of an operating system, supervisor, and Home Assistant Core more accessible than ever by adding support for the ODROID-M1 single board computer. The ODROID-M1 is tailored for a myriad of embedded system applications, boasting an array of valuable peripherals. It is driven by the RK3568B2, a slightly adjusted version of the RK3568 to circumvent current semiconductor supply chain challenges. Rockchip, the SoC manufacturer, pledges supply for the next 15 years, ensuring the availability of the ODROID-M1 boards until 2036 or beyond.
Delving into the ODROID-M1's features and peripherals
The CPU comprises four ARM Cortex-A55 (ARMv8.2-A) cores, delivering low power consumption and high-efficiency performance at 2 GHz. While the Cortex-A55 is a low-power core compared to the Raspberry Pi's performance-driven Cortex-A72, its capabilities should not be underestimated. As it is two revisions newer, it is expected to deliver comparable performance. In fact, in terms of CPU and GPU performance, it closely resembles the ODROID-C4, which rivals the Raspberry Pi 4 (4 GB) in common benchmarks.
Equipped with 8 GB of LPDDR4 DRAM, the ODROID-M1 also contends with the Raspberry Pi 4 in this domain. A more affordable 4 GB model is available as well. The board features 16 MiB of SPI-Flash Memory pre-installed with Petitboot, simplifying the management of multiple OS and kernel versions while supporting booting from various storage devices.
The ODROID-M1 offers more storage options than the Raspberry Pi 4
The ODROID-M1 truly shines in its storage device capabilities. It can accommodate a standard size 22 mm x 80 mm M.2 NVMe storage device (excluding M.2 SATA devices), offering a PCIe 3.0 2-lane configuration capable of achieving 1600 MB/sec of sequential access performance. This is made possible by positioning the SoC on the backside of the PCB, which also conveniently enables the chassis to be used as a heatsink. If a single NVMe drive doesn't suffice, a single SATA 3.0 port is available for 2.5-inch storage devices, delivering nearly 500 MB/s of sequential access. Hardkernel's SATA Mount and Cable Kit comprises an SATA data and power cable, plus a mount plate with support screws. This allows the drive to fit snugly atop the board.
When it comes to firing up Home Assistant OS 10, you have two options at your disposal: the eMMC socket or the microSD card slot. For a seamless experience that combines performance and reliability, the eMMC module socket is your best bet. Hardkernel offers a selection of compatible eMMC modules in their store, catering to different storage capacities and preloaded operating systems.
An NPU for machine learning
In light of the increasing popularity of machine learning, the ODROID-M1 incorporates a neural network processing unit (NPU) capable of providing up to 0.8 TOPS. Various TensorFlow Lite and ONNX models can operate on Ubuntu, with the internal NPU hardware acceleration offering 30-40 times faster AI computing power in certain use cases.
A word on power consumption
The ODROID-M1 consumes approximately 4.5W under heavy computing load and as little as 1.3W when idle. Its thermal characteristics are noteworthy, with the CPU core temperature hovering around 50 °C under heavy load at a 35 °C ambient temperature. This allows the ODROID-M1 to operate in various environments without the need for noisy active cooling.