There are tons of single-board computers (SBCs) on the market. Sure, the Raspberry Pi may stand out as the most mainstream pick, and its capable, well-supported Raspberry Pi 4 iteration proves why. But a slew of maker boards including the Odroid XU4, Pine64 RockPro64, and Udoo Bolt offer drastically-increased processing power. The Khadas VIM3 however provides a beefy Amlogic system-on-a-chip (SoC), multi-operating system (OS) support, and loads of connectivity options for a game-changing development board.
What is the Khadas VIM3? Khadas VIM3 Specs and Overview
From Khadas comes the VIM3, not to be confused with the popular, and polarizing, text editor. It's rocking an Amlogic A311D ARM SoC with four A72 cores and dual A53 cores clocked at 1.8Ghz. There's a whopping 5.0 TOPs performance NPU, or neural processing unit. The neural processor is ideal for artificial intelligence (AI) applications such as facial recognition and image processing. It's capable of handling 4K H.265 10-bit video, as well as HDR10, HDR10+, Prime HDR, and Dolby Vision. With this video output support, the Khadas VIM3 posits itself as a pretty sweet home theatre PC (HTPC) and game console device.
For its GPU, you'll find a Mali G54 MP4 with up to 800Mhz. The VIM3 comes in two flavors, a 2GB variant, and 4GB version, both LPDDR4. There's eMMC support, Bluetooth 5.0, and 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi along with Gigabit Ethernet. It's powered by a USB-C, and additionally include a USB 3.0 host, USB 2.0 port, and USB-C 2.0 OTG. More input/output (I/O) connectivity includes a 40-pin GPIO header and M.2 PCIe 2.0 socket. On the operating system side, the Khadas VIM3 boasts Android 9.0 Pie compatibility as well as mainline Linux 5.0 support.
Khadas VIM3 Benchmarks and Real-world Performance
While an impressive spec sheet is great, benchmarks and performance in everyday tasks offer a better picture of what the Khadas can actually do. Its A311D SoC beat out the Amlogic S922x and Rockchip Rk3300 SoCs in single-core Geekbench 4 tests, multi core benchmarks, and even GFX bench as well as 3D Mark Sling Shot tests.
Unfortunately, 60 frames per second (FPS) 4K videos play but a bit choppy. 30 FPS 4K videos play buttery smooth. Native Android games work extremely well, including stutter-free performance from "Asphalt 8," and "PUBG." Emulators like PPSSPP will run just fine, and emulation of even PlayStation Portable and Sega Dreamcast titles run without issue. Performance should be almost on par with the Nvidia Shield TV, although the Shield TV does benefit from better compatibility, even handling the Dolphin emulator. Likewise, official support for the Shield TV means you can run "Fortnite," while it won't install on the VIM3.
With its mainline Linux support and Android compatibility, the Khadas VIM3 is a capable single-board computer. There are two different models, and a slew of accessories including cases and addon boards. This could be an excellent do-it-yourself (DIY) Android HTPC and game console, mini desktop, or AI project PC.
Are you excited about the VIM3? What SBCs are you using and do you plan to get?