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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Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
23 days ago

Hola.

Ya están disponibles versiones de ARMBIAN OS para Orangepi 5.

También tiene opción de instalar drivers gráficos 3D.

A ver si hay diferencia de rendimiento.

Saludos

Razor Burn
Razor Burn
23 days ago
Reply to  Jesús Vega

Thanks for sharing this update as I saw one quick video today with it running from sd card and it looks really polished.

The ARMBIAN team have done an outstanding job in such a short time and having gpu acceleration drivers ready to install is fantastic as I was expecting it to take months unless you’re savvy enough to work it out yourself!

Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
26 days ago

Hello everyone. I keep looking for solutions at pcie speed. I have found a bash script to change the speed of a pcie port. Let’s see if it works

Razor Burn
Razor Burn
25 days ago

Outstanding work there James as who knows how many others neglected to upgrade the firmware and who knows you might uncover something that’s hidden to get even better speeds.

I see some people mentioning seeing a wifi + bt usb dongle being sold as part of a Orange Pi 5 bundle on aliexpress and I believe the dongle uses one of the hashed out chipsets from wifi bt config (RTL8723BU) so that might be the one that’s included in those amazon bundles and its supposedly plug & play…? I have one on order and will do some testing once it arrives and its available cheaper from aliexpress or ebay AUS but I suspect they’re sourcing it from China themselves LOL.

Keep up the great work!

Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
25 days ago

Good news James [applause]. With what we have already found out, we have seen where improvements in speed can come from. We must insist to the firmware developers. For now, we will have to identify the parts of the source code and compare with other developments. I don’t lose hope of reaching 400MB/s hahaha. My shipment is running late and my orangepi5 still hasn’t arrived. Regarding the android image, what is the nvme speed? Greetings.

KhanhDTP
KhanhDTP
24 days ago

Hi guys,

I have nvme running android 12 rooted (using magisk) , and BusyBox installed. I want to help, but I don’t know what commands (programs) to run?

KhanhDTP
KhanhDTP
24 days ago

Hi James,

> It looks like it’s possible to do iozone but it’s going to be quite a few steps.
Yeah, it looks like out of my capability.

I found this app: CPDT Benchmark – Storage, memory (pretty high ranked)

But, I am not sure if its results should be trusted (“apple to apple” comparative).

KhanhDTP
KhanhDTP
24 days ago

Hi James!

I have run your command

:/data/data/com.termux/files/home # dd if=/dev/zero of=test bs=4096 count=140k conv=fsync
conv=1
143360+0 records in
143360+0 records out
587202560 bytes (560 M) copied, 2.197941 s, 255 M/s

:/data/data/com.termux/files/home # hdparm -tT /dev/block/nvme0n1

/dev/block/nvme0n1:
Timing buffer-cache reads: hdparm: HDIO_DRIVE_CMD: Not a typewriter
4932 MB in 0.50 seconds = 9910902 kB/s
Timing buffered disk reads: 1210 MB in 3.00 seconds = 412848 kB/s
hdparm: HDIO_DRIVE_CMD: Not a typewriter

I hope it will help?

KhanhDTP
KhanhDTP
23 days ago

Yes, I ran it several times.
. A few times was around 243MB/s~246MB/s.
. A few times was reached 260MB/s.
. And, many other times was around 255MB/s~257MB/s.

You know, what is weirder?
I tried this app to run Linux (on android)

and used the same dd command as above.
Many times it reached 280MB/s.

Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
25 days ago

Hello.

I just read an article by nvidea on calculating pcie bandwidth for versions 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. For versions 1.0 and 2.0 it tells you that 20% of the transmission is header overhead.

Also around 1Gb/s is lost in communication errors. If we take this to obtain the bandwidth of pcie 2.0 it would be: 5 Gb/s * (1-1/5) – 1 Gb/s =
3 Gb/s = 375 MB/s.

What do you think about this article?

Marcus
Marcus
27 days ago

I asked Shenzhen XiaoTuDou Technology Store “Could you please explain, where to buy that “Wi-Fi6+BT 5.0 custom module M.2 M-KEY ?” Answer: “We will issue the WIFI+BT module.”

Razor Burn
Razor Burn
25 days ago
Reply to  Marcus

I suspect they meant the wifi+bt 4.0 usb dongle that they’re adding to their bundles on aliexpress but hope to be proved wrong!?

Marcus
Marcus
24 days ago
Reply to  Razor Burn

Hello, I should have my OP5 in few days. I have that mentioned E-key WiFi adapter already and I plan to test that with Intel 9560NGW WiFi ac+BT card. That chip is supported by linux kernel since 4.14 so maybe there is some hope with Android. Anyway I found some more info from reddit.

RTL8821CU, RTL8723BU, RTL8811CU should be supported now by Orange Pi 5 Android image, following this information I found that “non existing” WIFi Pcie key M modules: RTL8821CE so that is my next plan if Intel + Adapter will fail. Now I’m focused on super fast micro sd card + wifi+bt solution on pcie, but propably more people need nvme drive + usb wifi+bt.

Danct12
Danct12
28 days ago

Nice review! Have you ever got U-Boot HDMI to work? I’ve compiled mine, but nothing shows up on the screen. I also currently don’t have any F-F UART cable, so I can’t debug it yet (just ordered one yesterday).

Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
28 days ago

Hello. I think I have found the cause of the slow pcie port speed. Everything suggests that instead of using version 2.0 x1 of pcie (500 MB/s) version 1.0 x1 (250 MB/s) is being used. In the following link some users of rockpi4 manage to activate the pcie 2.0 mode, which apparently by default the u-boot compilation and the kernel uses version 1.0. My Orange pi hasn’t arrived yet and I can’t test it. Are you interested in doing the tests in case we manage to activate that 2.0 mode? Link: https://forum.manjaro.org/t/enabling-pcie-gen2-on-rockpi4-c/104671

Owl Creek Tech
Owl Creek Tech
28 days ago

Here is an update on what WIFI/BT are listed in the Orange Pi Android 12 source:

#
# wifi bt config
#

#
# BOARD_CONNECTIVITY_VENDOR:
# for broadcom, realteck wifi, bt
# Broadcom:
# rk90x,
# ap6xxx,
# ap6xxx_gps, #like ap6476
# ap6xxx_nfc, #like ap6441 & ap6493
#
# for mtk wifi, bt
# MediaTek:
# combo_mt66xx,
# mt5931_6622,
#
# for realtek wifi, bt & rda587x bt
# RealTek:
#
# rtl81xx, #only wifi
# rtl8723as, #like rtl8723as sdio
# rtl8723bs, #like rtl8723bs sdio
# rtl8723au, #like rtl8723au usb
# rtl8723bu, #like rtl8723bu usb
# rda587x, #like rtl8188+rda587x
# mt6622, #like rtl8188+mt6622
#
# for Espressif wifi & Beken bt
# Espressif:
# esp8089_bk3515,
# esp8089, #only wifi
# mt6622, #like esp8089+mt6622
# rda587x, #like esp8089+rda587x
#
# MediaTek_mt7601:
# mt7601 #only wifi
# rda587x, #like rtl8188+rda587x
# mt6622, #like rtl8188+mt6622
#
BOARD_CONNECTIVITY_VENDOR := Broadcom
BOARD_CONNECTIVITY_MODULE := ap6xxx

I purchased a few rtl1723au from AliExpress, but keep in mind these are ONLY 150Mbps. I don’t know if the will be recognized, but for $12 it was worth the gamble. The SDIO variant is interesting since I did see a SDIO/SD to M.2 card adapter.

Razor Burn
Razor Burn
25 days ago
Reply to  Owl Creek Tech

According to a github posting it appears the same setup as Khadas android_device_rockchip_rk3288/wifi_bt.mk

#
# wifi bt config
#

#
# BOARD_CONNECTIVITY_VENDOR:
# for broadcom, realteck wifi, bt
# Broadcom:
# rk90x,
# ap6xxx,
# ap6xxx_gps, #like ap6476
# ap6xxx_nfc, #like ap6441 & ap6493
#
# for mtk wifi, bt
# MediaTek:
# combo_mt66xx,
# mt5931_6622,
#
# for realtek wifi, bt & rda587x bt
# RealTek:
#
# rtl81xx, #only wifi
# rtl8723as, #like rtl8723as sdio
# rtl8723bs, #like rtl8723bs sdio
# rtl8723au, #like rtl8723au usb
# rtl8723bu, #like rtl8723bu usb
# rda587x, #like rtl8188+rda587x
# mt6622, #like rtl8188+mt6622
#
# for Espressif wifi & Beken bt
# Espressif:
# esp8089_bk3515,
# esp8089, #only wifi
# mt6622, #like esp8089+mt6622
# rda587x, #like esp8089+rda587x
#
# MediaTek_mt7601:
# mt7601 #only wifi
# rda587x, #like rtl8188+rda587x
# mt6622, #like rtl8188+mt6622
#
BOARD_CONNECTIVITY_VENDOR := Broadcom
BOARD_CONNECTIVITY_MODULE := ap6xxx

GitHub Link

Razor Burn
Razor Burn
25 days ago
Reply to  Owl Creek Tech

Yeah I see the RTL8723au is being bundled with the board for sale on Ali and the listing says its plug & play yet comes with a separate cd so only time will tell if it works but no mention of Android support on the documentation?

Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
29 days ago

Hello.
I have news about the next version of the OrangePi5 software and that it is now available in the Chinese language version.
The first novelty is that it is already clarified which Wifi/bluetooth adapter we can use. This is the AP6275P Pcie module. This module connects to the M2 interface.
The second novelty is that it will be possible to use SATA disks with an M2 interface. We already had the option of connecting an NVME M2 drive. Now we can also use SATA M2 drives such as 2242 and 2280 although the latter are quite large and will exceed the SBC.
We also have new version of u-boot for the SPI
Flash.
Hopefully the new version of u-boot will solve the boot of usb-A 3.0 and usb-c 3.1.

Greetings.

Owl Creek Tech
Owl Creek Tech
23 days ago
Reply to  Jesús Vega

Sadly, that would make sense since the Android 12 does identify the ‘ap6xxx’ as build default.