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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MattB
MattB
19 days ago

Hello, great articles here thank you.
Now, I also recently acquired an opi5 which I’ve been planning on using as a media box (kodi / plex etc.).
Like many, I got the official supplied Android 12 running and I must say I’m pretty impressed with this little device. However, there appear to be some issues which I need someone else, more experienced in these Pi/Android matters to chime in on.
Hooked it up to my AV receiver and TV …and installed the Kodi app. So far so good, got the signal 4K@60 through to my TV – looks great …but for some reason when playing h265 HDR 4K@60 files they just do not go through to my TV – Just blank screen and no sound.
Other “lower” res formats do play just fine except for files that have AAC audio encoding, then sound doesn’t appear to get passed through – that is my second issue.
So, my question is have you experimented with the HDMI output capabilities of the device at all? From nearly every video/review I’ve seen everybody always only connect their boards to smaller computer monitors and not full res TVs. Yes, they state 8K@60 (beyond my needs) but passing higher bitrate data (hdr) through to the monitor, one does not appear to get any love.
2nd, Now I’m not entirely sure but I’m fairly certain all these formats are supported by AndroidOS so I can’t figure out if this is some limitation of the board itself or if the provided Android build is just incomplete in some way – pretty sure Kodi can handle all of these things …but please correct me if I’m wrong.
I’ve not tested Linux but it’s my understanding that Linux (in general) has issues with HDR so I’m sure that wouldn’t lead to anything useful in this case.
Any insight from experienced Android/Opi users greatly appreciated.

Cheers!

Jesús Vega
Jesús Vega
20 days ago

New chinese version 2023-01-06
preinstalled create_ap
support AP6275P PCIe Network card hotspot function
support SPIFlash+USB storage device start Linux system (only USB3.0 interface)
Open some kernel configuration
Add switch display logo
set up VOP DCLK for dynamic allocation strategy
create_ap preinstalled
Network card hotspot function
optimization set_lcd_rotate.sh script
solve Debian11 Problems not working in

munecito
munecito
21 days ago

Hey James.

I was very surprised today when I learnt about the lack of wifi. I was just hanging for your review.

Seems that since the little orange pi zero 2 adventure you have became the go to man for alt boards.

Have new happy year mate.

mattw
mattw
21 days ago

Hey, anyone have a USB wifi/dongle recommendation that works in Android on the Opi5? They all seem to work fine in Debian but nothing wifi works in Android.

KhanhDTP
KhanhDTP
14 days ago
Reply to  mattw

RTL8723BU USB wifi/bt dongle is confirmed working!
You can check it here

Or I can confirm myself RTL8821CU, RTL8811CU USB wifi dongle will work, too!
I am using Comfast CF-811AC

Sorry, not to mention. You have to use the latest android image (ver 1.01)
You can download it here

Owl Creek Tech
Owl Creek Tech
14 days ago

So I couldn’t wait and went ahead flashed Android 12 1.02 and SUCCESS the dongle worked. Both WiFi and Bluetooth came up. Sad thing is I now have go back and add the GApps using Majik but now I don’t have wifi to ethernet kludge and and now I have bluetooth. Too bad they didn’t register their ROM with Google, it really causes problems with some apps, but I have been able to work around a number of them. Less than $200 including screen and gamepad, for a working Android gaming platform that competes much more expensive gaming platforms is pretty cool. I have been able to get all the main cloud services to work on it, as well Steam Half-Life series. More to come.

Owl Creek Tech
Owl Creek Tech
14 days ago
Reply to  KhanhDTP

That is a very good point because I just received my RTL8821CU based dongles in from Ali Express and they did not work but 64 does see it as an USB device. That means this version must have enabled the USB drivers as well yea. I will burn another image ot NVME tomorrow and let you know if they work. Yea!

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

Fantastic work Owl Creek Tech and with Batocera and JELOS coming along it looks as though the Pi 5 will be well served for gaming/emulating needs as early testing showing it plays many demanding systems great with Android. A massive thank you to all the developers and the community as things are progressing well with many valuable upgrades and improvements making it such great value!

DiogoMM
DiogoMM
22 days ago

Web browsers don’t work, it opens and shortly after turns off the device. I tested it with Chromium and Firefox.

The same error occurs on DEBIAN, UBUNTO e ARMBIAN operating systems (installed directly from the orange pi website).

I will test with another source, if the error continues I don’t know what to do but return the device. A pity, it is enough for the Wifi+bt card not to be released. Thanks everyone, just wanted to see if it was just me or not.

Gospa
Gospa
22 days ago

Thanks to your great articles about OrangePi5, I decided to purchase an OrangePi5 16GB after confirmed, board does accept regular m.2 2280 NVMe drives. Just got it today and w/ Samsung Evo 970 Plus, I’m getting 404 MB/s reading and writing speeds which seems perfectly normal since OrangePI5 m.2 slot is only capable of PCIe 2.0. Same Samsung Evo 970 Plus on Rock4B+(RK3399OP1) or Rock5B(RK3588) gets me 1700 MB/s reading & writing speeds. Tested it w/ latest armbian jammy w/XFCE and Panfork HW on desktop.

DiogoMM
DiogoMM
23 days ago

Hello, I’m using the debian operating system on my orange pi 5, downloaded directly from the orange pi website. But every time I open the browser (chromium or other), my orange pi automatically turns off. Are any of you having the same error? Do you have any tips on how to fix it?

Gospa
Gospa
21 days ago
Reply to  DiogoMM

Always use official PSU recommended by manufacturer, in this case an OrangePi 5V4A USB-C PSU one. Always have a spare uSD(Microsd) preferably from another brand and not larger than 32GB. Yes, there are some times incompatibilities with certain brands. For example, when Tomshardware published an article about best microSD cards for Raspberry Pi4. I bought half a dozen of those recommended by him which were Silicon Power 3D NAND 32GB and worked great but only on Rpi4, with the rest of my ARM SBC’s, it caused all kind of issues in most of my other boards like RockPi4C, Rockpro64 and Radxa Zero.