Loads of single-board computers (SBCs) jostle in the do-it-yourself (DIY) space. Among the most popular uses for maker boards, you'll find servers, game consoles, and DIY home theatre PCs (HTPCs). The Khadas VIM3 might not be the only development board on the market that runs Android, but it's certainly one of the most powerful, even holding its own against the flagship Nvidia Shield TV Android TV box. While the Khadas VIM3 boasts superb specs which should satisfy most gamers and Android TV users, the Khadas VIM3L aims to please HTPC enthusiasts.
What is the Khadas VIM3L?
The Khadas VIM3L is an HTPC-focused ARM-based SBC. Though the PCB is the same as its VIM3 cousin, the VIM3L swaps a few components which help maintain an affordable price tag. With its lower power consumption but beefy VPU and GPU, the VIM3L churns out solid visuals.
Khadas graces the VIM3L with an Amlogic S905D3 system on chip (SoC). It's outfitted with 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and a 16GM eMMC module. There's a 1.2 TOPS neural processing unit (NPU), and HDMI eARC audio for high-resolution audio. Its Amlogic S905D3 SoC features a quad-core Cortex A55 processor clocked at 1.9GHz, with an ARM Mali-G31MP2 GPU and OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan 1.0, OpenCL 2.0 support. An HDMI 2.1 output boasts 3D, dynamic HDR, CEC, HDCP 2.2 support that should be capable of churning out UHD 4K H.265 75 frames per second (FPS) visuals.
For expansion, you'll find two USB 3.0 hosts, an M.2 socket with 1-lane PCIe 2.0, and 40-pin I/O header. On the software side, the VIM3L touts mainline Linux support and will run Ubuntu 18.04, Armbian Linux, and distros such as CoreELEC, LibreELEC, and Android 9.0. As such, it's perfectly suited to make a robust Android or Linux HTPC, and should be great for retro game emulation as well. The VIM3L maintains the same form factor of the VIM3 and other Khadas boards, so it's compatible with cases, and you can snag a kit with a board, case, IR remote control, and power supply. Overall, the VIM3L provides another tier in the Khadas VIM lineup which will more than satisfy HTPC buffs. The VIM3L will make an awesome, affordable alternative to the Nvidia Shield TV and Xiaomi Mi Box, functioning as a device for streaming from Netflix, Hulu, Plex, and more as well as Android gaming via native Android games or emulators.