Orange Pi 5 Review – Powerful, No WiFi

Orange Pi 5 SBC Review
Orange Pi 5 SBC Review

The Orange Pi 5 has finally arrived! I received my pre-order and the board is great. So should you go out and buy it? Probably, but there are some things you should know first that you may not be expecting.

The biggest thing to know is that there is no WiFi/Bluetooth included. If you were planning on using Ethernet anyway this doesn’t have much of an impact. If you do need wireless capabilities we’ll cover what options are available.

In this review we’ll cover what you need to know about the Orange Pi 5 including it’s onboard capabilities, the available RAM options as well as benchmark the board. Let’s get started!

Hardware Used

Orange Pi 5 - Top View
Orange Pi 5

The Orange Pi 5 the latest release from Orange Pi and is the most powerful model yet. It has a 6 core CPU and options from 4GB of RAM all the way up to 32GB of RAM!

Links: Amazon.com*, AliExpress*, Amazon.ca*, Amazon.co.uk*, Amazon.de*, Amazon.es*, Amazon.fr*, Amazon.it*, Amazon.nl*, Amazon.pl*

Geekworm Copper Heatsink Set
Geekworm Copper Heatsink Set

The Geekworm copper heatsink set is designed to fit many different single board computers. It uses thermal conductive adhesive which many “cheap” heatsink kits for SBCs don’t have. Eliminates hotspots and reduces throttling. Can be further enhanced by powered cooling over the heatsinks.

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

Kioxia 2230 M2 NVMe Drive
Kioxia 2230 M.2 NVMe Drive

The Kioxia (Toshiba) 128GB M.2 2230 PCIe NVMe drive is much shorter than most NVMe drives (full size is 2280). It fits great with single board computers / tablets / other smaller form factors.

Links: Amazon.com*, Amazon.ca*, Amazon.co.uk*, Amazon.co.jp*, Amazon.com.au*, Amazon.de*, Amazon.es*, Amazon.fr*, Amazon.it*, Amazon.nl*, Amazon.pl*, Amazon.se*, Amazon.sg*

Custom WiFi Module (Added 1/13/2023)

Orange Pi 5 Custom WiFi Module
Orange Pi 5 Custom WiFi Module

The Orange Pi 5 official wireless module is designed to fit into a M-keyed M.2 slot (the only one the Orange Pi 5 has). This WiFi adapter will work with both Linux and Android.

Links: Amazon.com*

Specifications

CPU8-core 64-bit processor Big.Little
Architecture: 4xCortex-A76 and 4xCortex-A55
Big core cluster is 2.4GHz
Little core cluster is 1.8GHz frequency
GPUMali-G610 MP4 “Odin” GPU Compatible with OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.2
OpenCL 2.2 and Vulkan 1.2 3D graphics engine and 2D graphics engine
NPUBuilt-in AI accelerator NPU with up to 6 TOPS
Supports INT4/INT8/INT16 mixed operation
PMURK806-1
RAM4GB/8GB/16GB/32GB (LPDDR4/4x)
MemoryQSPI Nor FLASH 16MB
MicroSD (TF) Card Slot
M.2 M-KEY Socket
USBUSB3.0 × 1
USB2.0 × 2
Type-C (USB3.1) ×1
Video OutputHDMI2.1, up to 8K @60Hz DP1.4 (DisplayPort)
DP 1.4 and USB 3.1 ports are multiplexed and the port is shared with Type-C 2 * MIPI D-PHY TX 4Lane
Configurable up to 4K @60Hz
CameraMIPI CSI 4Lane 2 * MIPI D-PHY RX 4Lane
AudioCODEC: ES8388
3.5mm headphone jack audio input/output
Input: Onboard MIC HDMI 2.1 eARC
Ethernet10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet
Expansion PortFor extending UART, PWM, I2C, SPI, CAN and GPIO interfaces.
M.2 M-KEY Socket Expansion SlotSupports PCIe NVMe SSD
Supports custom PCIe Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0 module
Button1×MaskROM key
1×Recovery key
1×On/Off key
Power SourceSupport Type-C power supply 5V @ 4A
LEDPower indicator: red
Status indicator: green
Debugging3 Pin debug serial port (UART)
Supported OSOrangePi OS (Droid)
OrangePi OS (Arch)
Ubuntu
Debian
Android12
Dimensions62mm*100mm
Weight46g

Build Quality

The Orange Pi 5 is built very well. Everything is clearly labeled and visible. The PCB is a nice blue color. I received board revision/version 1.2.

Here is the top view:

Orange Pi 5 - Top View
Orange Pi 5 – Top View

You can see the holographic effect on the RockChip CPU in the middle of the board. As you move it in the light you get a neat little effect.

The bottom of the board only contains a few connections such as the M.2 slot, a CAM slot and a couple others.

Here’s the bottom view:

Orange Pi 5 - Bottom View
Orange Pi 5 – Bottom View

I/O Benchmarking

For the review I used a SSSTC 128GB 2230 M.2 NVMe drive. These are available on Amazon for around $10-12 (also see Kioxia 128GB M.2 2230 module*).

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                 375.32 MB/s              
HDParm                    Cached Disk Read          381.15 MB/s              
DD                        Disk Write                234 MB/s                 
FIO                       4k random read            47080 IOPS (188321 KB/s) 
FIO                       4k random write           35128 IOPS (140514 KB/s) 
IOZone                    4k read                   75628 KB/s               
IOZone                    4k write                  67285 KB/s               
IOZone                    4k random read            35874 KB/s               
IOZone                    4k random write           70620 KB/s               

                          Score: 17,718

The full Orange Pi 5 benchmark can be viewed here on Pi Benchmarks.

That is an outstanding score. We are getting NVMe performance. This score actually even beats my ODROID M1 benchmark.

The Orange Pi 5 is without a doubt a very powerful board and is performing exactly where it should be.

Keep in mind that this is PCIe 2.0 performance. This board does not have PCIe 3.0 (only the RK3588 proper has that, not the RK3588S).

UPDATE 1/2/2023: If you update the Orange Pi 5 firmware by using sudo orangepi-config and choosing “System->Firmware” and then choose to update the firmware I was able to get *low* PCIe 2.0 performance (about 280MB/s). I highly recommend updating the firmware with sudo orangepi-config. You may see some marginal improvements!

Due to this you should not use a powerful NVMe drive with the Orange Pi 5. You are limited in speeds to around 500MB/s at best (according to Orange Pi themselves via the user manual) and more like 250MB/s write according to the benchmarking.

If you need help setting up SSD booting see my Orange Pi 5 SSD Boot Guide here.

Benchmarking vs. Pi 4 (added 12/16/2022)

I’ve now installed my heat sinks which looks like this:

Orange Pi 5 with Heat Sinks
Orange Pi 5 with Heat Sinks

That means it’s time for a head-to-head benchmarking match against the Pi 4 to see how the Orange Pi 5 compares. For the benchmark I used the “hardinfo” benchmark which can be installed on most Linux flavors with:

sudo apt install hardinfo

Here are the results:

TestOrange Pi 5Pi 4
CPU Blowfish (lower is better)2.65s5.24s
CPU CryptoHash (higher is better)574.49 MiB/s466.37 MiB/s
CPU Fibonacci (lower is better)0.5s1.73s
CPU N-Queens (lower is better)4.24s8.74s
CPU Zlib (higher is better)0.800.31
FPU FFT (lower is better)1.23s5.52s
FPU Raytracing (lower is better)2.86s2.18s
GPU Drawing (higher is better)2064.13 HiMarks1708.15 HiMarks

That is almost a clean sweep for the Orange Pi 5! The only category it didn’t win was FPU raytracing interestingly enough. On GPU drawing performance however the Orange Pi 5 scored significantly higher and also won all other categories.

Pros / Cons

Pros

  • 4 GB and 8 GB RAM variants cost under $100
  • M.2 slot supports high speed NVMe storage
  • RAM options from 4 GB all the way up to 32 GB available

Cons

  • No WiFi or Bluetooth included (requires either adapter for the M.2 slot or a USB adapter to get WiFi/Bluetooth capabilities)
  • No eMMC option
  • PCIe speeds are limited to 500MB/s (PCIe 2.0, benchmarks show closer to 250MB/s write or PCIe 1.0 performance) — this is slower than SATA3

Conclusion

The Orange Pi 5 feels almost perfect except for the lack of built in WiFi / Bluetooth. This seems like a surprising choice on what seems like is portrayed as their “flagship” model. Fortunately it is easy to add WiFi/Bluetooth on the board via either the custom M.2 wireless PCB or by using one of your USB ports and just using a USB-based WiFi/BT chip.

The board performs extremely well. The GPU is powerful on the board and feels very snappy while using the desktop OS and applications. This board would be a good choice for almost any use case. It would make a great Minecraft server as well.

I’d recommend this one for just about anyone. The price is right. There are widely varying amounts of RAM available depending on what you need. There are good Linux and Android images available even at launch. At under $100 for the 4 GB – 8 GB the Orange Pi 5 is priced well in this market especially for the power and flexibility it offers!

Other Resources

If you are sick of waiting for the official Wifi adapter check out my E-key to M-key adapter guide here

Make sure to see my Orange Pi 5 SSD Boot Guide to see how to set up your NVMe drive to be the root partition for your OS

Don’t miss the rest of my single board computer reviews here

The Orange Pi Zero 2 is a great headless option from Orange Pi available for <$35 or so

I’ve also recently reviewed the Orange Pi 3 LTS which is a long term support variant equivalent in power roughly to a Pi 4

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renaud
renaud
1 month ago

Thanks a lot for your precise responses. In the case of the OPi5, there is nothing hidden about the nvme speed : its’in the user manual, it’s explained the theroic speed is 500MB/s. That’s why I bought a 8$ nvme. Anyway et 350MB/s, it’s better than the SD Card.

I worked last week with the card prototyping some doker loki grafana promethus things and was happy with the speed and the debian. Nice little thing to test the deployment in arm64.

Now I think it’s OK for another one with more ram.

babacki
babacki
1 month ago

According to the manual the NVMe interface is PCIe 2.0×1, not PCIe 1.0 (that’s still capped at 500MB/s though). This is also confirmed by the RK3588S datasheet.

babacki
babacki
1 month ago

I am not disputing your benchmark results or defending anything, just correcting the specs.

But if the HDParm 367.21 MB/s result is indeed correct then it proves that the PCIe transfer rate is not limited to 250MB/s so it’s not PCIe 1.0 (it does not matter if the data comes from the drive itself or its cache, it still has to go through the PCIe bus). If one cannot get close to 500MB/s then the bottleneck must be somewhere else. It could still be poor PCIe implementation but not the fact that it is 1.0 vs 2.0.

babacki
babacki
26 days ago

My Orange Pi 5 finally arrived and I could test myself. I am getting 401 MB/s sustained with dd:

root@orangepi5:~# sync
root@orangepi5:~# echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
root@orangepi5:~# dd if=/dev/nvme0n1 of=/dev/null bs=1M status=progress
255749783552 bytes (256 GB, 238 GiB) copied, 638 s, 401 MB/s
244198+1 records in
244198+1 records out
256060514304 bytes (256 GB, 238 GiB) copied, 638.76 s, 401 MB/s
root@orangepi5:~#


Still not 500MB/s but definitely not limited to 250MB/s.

babacki
babacki
26 days ago

This is not how it works. dd is the process reading the data from one file (device) and writing to another. Writing do /dev/null is indeed cheating and the data is simply discarded. But this doesn’t matter. The input device (SSD) does not know what happens to the data and it has no choice but to actually read it and transmit it over the PCIe bus. Any drive cache/controller optimizations happen on the device side and can only affect the reading from the physical media but not the PCIe transfer rate.

Here is the proof:

root@orangepi5:/tmp# dd if=/dev/nvme0n1 of=/tmp/foo bs=1M count=4096 status=progress
4114612224 bytes (4.1 GB, 3.8 GiB) copied, 11 s, 374 MB/s
4096+0 records in
4096+0 records out
4294967296 bytes (4.3 GB, 4.0 GiB) copied, 11.9653 s, 359 MB/s
root@orangepi5:/tmp#


This is similar as before but writing to a file in /tmp (which is on a ramdisk). Yes, it is slower than /dev/null because writing to a ramdisk is slower then discarding the data. But still much faster than 250 MB/s and your cheating theory does not apply.

And yes, writing to SSD is slower than reading:

root@orangepi5:/tmp# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/nvme0n1 bs=1M count=1024 conv=fdatasync status=progress
967835648 bytes (968 MB, 923 MiB) copied, 1 s, 967 MB/s
1024+0 records in
1024+0 records out
1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB, 1.0 GiB) copied, 3.83081 s, 280 MB/s
root@orangepi5:/tmp#


This is not unexpected as most SSDs (especially the very cheap ones like mine) are much slower at writes. But even this is still faster than the 250 MB/s PCIe 1.0 limit.

babacki
babacki
26 days ago

Look, I tweaked things to remove as much overhead as possible (like Linux filesystem, small block size etc.). And yes, I did wipe the NVMe drive to do this test (I was booted from SD card for this) in order to not to go through the filesystem.

But these tweaks CANNOT artificially increase the MAXIMUM POSSIBLE PCIe transfer rate, which is what I am trying to test. Maybe this is the misunderstanding: I am not trying to test the real life drive performance or compare to other benchmarks. I am I just trying to determine if the PCIe transfer rate is limited to 250 MB/s like you claim (it’s not).

I did not post the results from your test because they are similar to yours (which I have no problem admitting) but they are not relevant for this purpose due to extra overhead.

Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
1 month ago

Hello James A. Chambers.

I’m still waiting for this board to arrive so I can try it out. I’m already reading the manual.

First of all thank you for sharing the information about the orange pi 5.

I have seen the performance of the nvme pcie x1 ssd and I think it is not worth using this type of drive. Instead, I bet more on leaving the nvme connection free to adapt Wifi and bluetooth.

I would like you to test the performance of a SATA3 SSD on the USB 3.0 port. The speed should be very similar to what is achieved with the NVME SSD.

I think it would be possible to configure an image to start through the USB 3.0 port and thus be able to have good performance, large disk capacity and be cheap.

Greetings from Spain.

Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
1 month ago

Hello again.
Thanks for the tests.
Can you test with the usb-c port in the middle? I believe it supports data transfer and it is usb 3.1. See if you get a difference with the white usb port.

By the way I just bought the SSD for $8.99. As I live in Spain, transport and taxes are added and I ended up paying €22.

Thank you.

Antoine
Antoine
1 month ago

What about the GPU? Is t recognised on Ubuntu or Debian?

Kattz
Kattz
1 month ago

My 8 GB board is on its way and will hopefully arrive before Christmas. I’m trying to gather together everything that I need. Do you (or anyone else) have a recommendation for a WiFi/ Bluetooth dongle? I’d like to get one with both so I’m only using one port. I have several separate dongles but apparently this board is a bit picky. Thanks for your review. It has been helpful and I’m passing it on in other places.

Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
1 month ago

Thanks a lot.
It has become completely clear to me that there are two usb ports (white USB-A and the central USB-C) that are not checked at boot.

As you comment, it would be possible to boot with an SD and after boot if you have a copy of the system on a usb disk inserted in these ports, in which it is impossible to start the boot. Prepare the boot script to mount the partitions of those disks on the partitions of the SD.

Thank you.

Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
1 month ago
Reply to  Jesús Vega

It’s an idea of ​​what it would be like. I’m not saying try it. My english is not very good lol

bob
bob
1 month ago

Hello. Your specs are wrong. Wrong CPU indicated.
Otherwise thanks for your website.

Dianne S.
Dianne S.
1 month ago

uname -a is not reliable. cat /proc/cpuinfo is a better indicator of the CPU.

Owl Creek Tech
Owl Creek Tech
1 month ago

I received my today as well and loaded it with Android 12, then loaded 3DMark. I received ‘4454’ which is very good. I did add small heatsink on the RK3588 and the smaller chip next to it. I ran the test several times with the same results. This is exactly what I was hoping for, but agree that not adding WIFI/BT was a misstep. I do have a couple of WIFI dongles that have worked with Wintel PCs as well as couple of Raspberry Pis, but sadly they are not being recognized by Android 12. I will have to investigate why, but at least my 10′ 1080P touchscreen works like a charm. Final goal is to create $200 Android/Cloud gamepad that I am currently using with the very, very limited NVIDIA Shield TV 2019 taking out of its shell. 8GB, 128GB NVME SSD and the Mali-G610 runs circles around the Shield. Can’t wait to see what the Orange Pi OS brings to the table and as James mentioned the NVMEs are super cheap (I bought 2) so I will just flash different OS builds and swap them out. Can’t wait to try out Armbain soon as it comes out as well. Really happy with my $84 early stocking stuffer 🙂

Owl Creek Tech
Owl Creek Tech
1 month ago

Sadly the weather has delayed the two USB WIFI dongle variants. One looks like it might be lost :(. I am being lazy though instead of downloading there Android source code and seeing what it compatible.

I just received WaveShare’s new 8″ IPS 1280P screen with speaker drivers which highlighted another misstep by OrangePi and that is the mounting holes. Not sure why, even if the board is a little bigger, why they couldn’t make the mounting holes the same. So many screens and cases would still accommodate this board otherwise. I guess I can create and 3D print a plastic shim with threaded mounts to attach the OrangePi and after bolting it the standard RaspberryPi mounts keeping it as think as possible to ensure clearance.

FYI There is also company who is making 8″ tablet with 8 or 16GB and 128 or 256GB storage (plus SD card) for about $250. Still in the production phase, but moving forward with a sample. This could make for interesting competition to the Razer Android gamepad coming out 2023.

Cpu is more interesting
Cpu is more interesting
1 month ago

cpu benchmarks please. I what to see how it’s compared to raspberry pi 4 and now it behaves on full load (temperature and throttling)

bob
bob
1 month ago

3200. The score for the 3588 on cpu benchmark website is 6000…

Tony
Tony
1 month ago

May I ask if the Linux supports the GPU A610?

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