Mango Pi MQ-Quad SBC Review

MangoPi MQ-Quad Single Board Computer Review
MangoPi MQ-Quad Single Board Computer Review

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!

Hardware Used

MangoPi MQ-Quad - Top View
MangoPi MQ-Quad

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

Links: AliExpress*

Geekworm Copper Heat Sink Set
Geekworm Copper Heat Sink Set

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.

Links: Amazon.com*, Amazon.ca*, Amazon.co.jp*, Amazon.co.uk*, Amazon.de*, Amazon.es*, Amazon.fr*, Amazon.it*

Specifications

  • 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

Build Quality

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:

MangoPi MQ-Quad - Top View
MangoPi MQ-Quad – Top View

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:

MangoPi MQ-Quad - Bottom View
MangoPi MQ-Quad – Bottom View

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.

Available Images

The official page for the Mango Pi MQ-Quad images is here.

Unfortunately one of the biggest weaknesses of the board is there are not very many images available. The choices are:

  • Tina Linux
  • Debian
  • 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).

Performance Benchmarking

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                                         

The full Mango Pi MQ-Quad benchmark can be viewed here on Pi Benchmarks.

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

Pros

  • Powerful quad-core H616 CPU
  • Form factor of Raspberry Pi Zero

Cons

  • Very limited selection of images available
  • Can be hard to find outside of AliExpress

Conclusion

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.

Other Resources

Don’t miss my Mango Pi MQ-Pro RISC-V SBC Review here

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Razor Burn
Razor Burn
15 days ago

Thanks for sharing a review of this board as I recall seeing mention of it a few months back and it seemed a decent alternative to the Orange Pi Zero 2 as both share the Allwinner H616 chip yet it appears little has changed when it comes to the software options which is a shame as the form factor suits more applications and comparing the specs it looks very similar to the Radxa Zero so I’d be keen to see the comparison between the two once your order arrives.

Out of curiosity how do you find the thermal performance of the H616 as all reports say it gets super hot so not surprised to see them offer a MangoPi MQ QuadCooling version with aluminium casing and a positive thing I’ve seen mentioned is it can use the various hat boards (i.e. PoE Eth USB Hat) designed for use with the Raspberry Pi pogo pin as it provides the pads in the same location which isn’t possible with the Radxa Zero however they really need to reconsider the pricing to make it a viable option.

Razor Burn
Razor Burn
15 days ago

Hi James,

Thanks for the detailed reply as you answered my question about potential throttling perfectly and I always make sure to use a heatsink or fan with my boards so I made sure to purchase a set of those Geekworm copper ones that you recommend as they’re better than the cheap aluminium ones but having a full heatsink covering the board makes sense and from the pictures it looks pleasing like the ones ODROID sells with its boards. Speaking of heatsink cases I saw one for sale for the Orange Pi 5 and naturally ordered one as backup although the copper heatsink and 5V fan are suffice I don’t plan on using any of the camera/lcd connections so having the whole top of the board covered should keep the temperature optimal as the RK3588 is known to get hot but not to the levels of the H616.

Its encouraging to see smaller manufactures offer alternatives to the Raspberry Pi with the Mango Pi boards that you’ve reviewed looking well built which isn’t always the case with clone boards and compared to the rough edges of the Zero 2 W this one looks premium so if they managed to keep them in stock and available for a more reasonable price its an easy buy when compared to Radxa Zero and Zero 2/2 W but then again you can find the Orange Pi Zero 2 cheaper and its a more than capable board for media player or simple desktop applications as long as you don’t push it too hard. I appreciate the time and your honest feedback!