I have reviewed the Mango Pi MQ-Pro (a RISC-V board) in the past and I was impressed enough that I wanted to try one of Mango Pi’s other boards. Unfortunately this one is not a RISC-V board but it is much, much more powerful than the Mango Pi MQ Pro as it has a quad-core processor instead of a single core one.
Today we’ll be taking a look at the Mango Pi MQ-Quad single board computer including the available operating systems, the specifications, build quality as well as do some performance benchmarking to see how well the board performs.
Let’s get started!
The Mango Pi MQ-Quad is a quad-core board with 1GB of RAM that has a very similar form factor to a Raspberry Pi Zero
The Geekworm copper heat sink set is designed to fit many different single board computers. It uses thermal conductive adhesive which many “cheap” heat sink kits for SBCs don’t have. Eliminates hot spots and reduces throttling. Can be further enhanced by powered cooling over the heat sinks.
- Quad-Core A53 up to 1.5GHz
- Power-efficient ARM v8 architecture with VFPv4 FPU
- G31 GPU
- supports OpenGL ES1.0/2.0/3.2, Vulkan 1.1, OpenCL 2.0
- 1GByte DDR3L onboard
- AXP313A PMU
- HDMI and CVBS output
- Audio output
- USB2.0 OTG x 1
- USB2.0 HOST x 3
- ephy 100Mbps and emac(RGMII)
- Optional SPI-Nor/Nand Chip
The board comes with the external WiFi antenna as well as the color-coded GPIO headers. The headers do not come soldered but they are included. A heat spreader
The build quality of the board is great. Here’s a view of the top of the board:
Just like the Mango Pi MQ-Pro they’ve managed to include USB-C on this board! This is one of my main complaints about the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 so it’s nice to see it included here.
And the view of the bottom of the board:
I really like that they’ve labeled all of the connections and even chips on the board. The traces are very clearly visible. The board looks great just like the Mango Pi MQ-Pro. Everything feels securely soldered and durable.
Unfortunately one of the biggest weaknesses of the board is there are not very many images available. The choices are:
- Tina Linux
- Android 10 TV
For this review I used the Debian image.
There is not an Armbian distribution available for the Mango Pi MQ-Quad that I could find (official or unofficial). If you know if one let me know if the comments!
This is a pretty poor choice for operating systems so anyone considering this board should be comfortable with either Debian or Tina Linux (or Android 10 TV).
Interestingly the Debian image seems to actually be an Orange Pi Zero 2 image. In fact when you log into the Debian distribution you will get the Orange Pi welcome screen. I suppose this means that the images are pretty close in compatibility to Orange Pi Zero 2 images (which makes sense as they share the H616).
You can verify the performance of your drive on Pi Benchmarks using the following command:
sudo curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/TheRemote/PiBenchmarks/master/Storage.sh | sudo bash
Here are the results:
Category Test Result HDParm Disk Read 22.39 MB/s HDParm Cached Disk Read 22.28 MB/s DD Disk Write 21.2 MB/s FIO 4k random read 1611 IOPS (6445 KB/s) FIO 4k random write 862 IOPS (3451 KB/s) IOZone 4k read 5295 KB/s IOZone 4k write 1755 KB/s IOZone 4k random read 4280 KB/s IOZone 4k random write 2960 KB/s Score: 905
Funny enough my board identifies itself as a Orange Pi Zero 2. I suppose that is what happens when the official image for the Mango Pi is a Orange Pi image.
As far as the score goes this is a very comparable score to a Raspberry Pi Zero W. It’s slightly less than a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 but it’s closer to a Zero 2 than it is to the Zero.
Pros / Cons
- Powerful quad-core H616 CPU
- Form factor of Raspberry Pi Zero
- Very limited selection of images available
- Can be hard to find outside of AliExpress
I wasn’t as impressed with this board as I was with the Mango Pi MQ-Pro. I think the reason for that is that it’s not using the RISC-V architecture. As a generic ARM board I feel like there are choices with better support such as Orange Pi and Libre Computers. You’ll have a much wider selection of operating systems with those boards (and in fact often the exact same chips that are in this board).
It seems a little silly that they are distributing Orange Pi’s operating system for their boards and that my board actually identifies itself as an Orange Pi Zero 2. At that point it seems like you should just buy the Orange Pi Zero 2 since that’s the software you are using anyway.
That being said this board has the form factor of the Raspberry Pi Zero. That gives it some versatility that may make it make sense over an Orange Pi or Libre Computers board as neither of those companies sell boards in this form factor. If you need the Raspberry Pi Zero form factor (or something as small as it is) then this board starts to make a lot more sense.
With the prices of the board on AliExpress ranging from $27 – $35 it’s not as cheap as a Raspberry Pi Zero / Zero 2 is on paper. In this market though (or in reality) it’s way cheaper than what you can likely get either of the Raspberry Pi Zero models for. It’s definitely worth considering what you can get this board for (and how available it is) vs. using a Raspberry Pi.
This board would be a good choice for a project that is fine running a generic Debian distribution (or Tina Linux). It’s very powerful and gives you 1GB of RAM and is much easier to get your hands on than many competing models. If a generic Debian distribution doesn’t sound like what you need / want to use for your project then this board is probably not a good choice for that.
I highly recommend using cooling with the board. The H616 is known to run hot and you will experience a lot more throttling without having at least a heat sink on it. There is an option in some of the AliExpress listings to get a heat sink that spans the entire length of the board and mounts to it securely with thermal pads. You can also use my recommended Geekworm ones*.
I’d recommend the Libre Computers boards if you need better Raspberry Pi compatibility. If you just need a generic ARM quad-core board though this board may very well fit the bill for you if you need the Pi Zero form-factor.
Don’t miss my Mango Pi MQ-Pro RISC-V SBC Review here