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!
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.
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.
Custom WiFi Module (Added 1/13/2023)
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.
|CPU||8-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
|GPU||Mali-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
|NPU||Built-in AI accelerator NPU with up to 6 TOPS|
Supports INT4/INT8/INT16 mixed operation
|Memory||QSPI Nor FLASH 16MB |
MicroSD (TF) Card Slot
M.2 M-KEY Socket
|USB||USB3.0 × 1 |
USB2.0 × 2
Type-C (USB3.1) ×1
|Video Output||HDMI2.1, 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
|Camera||MIPI CSI 4Lane 2 * MIPI D-PHY RX 4Lane|
|Audio||CODEC: ES8388 |
3.5mm headphone jack audio input/output
Input: Onboard MIC HDMI 2.1 eARC
|Expansion Port||For extending UART, PWM, I2C, SPI, CAN and GPIO interfaces.|
|M.2 M-KEY Socket Expansion Slot||Supports PCIe NVMe SSD|
Supports custom PCIe Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0 module
|Button||1×MaskROM key |
|Power Source||Support Type-C power supply 5V @ 4A|
|LED||Power indicator: red |
Status indicator: green
|Debugging||3 Pin debug serial port (UART)|
|Supported OS||OrangePi OS (Droid)|
OrangePi OS (Arch)
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:
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:
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
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:
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:
|Test||Orange Pi 5||Pi 4|
|CPU Blowfish (lower is better)||2.65s||5.24s|
|CPU CryptoHash (higher is better)||574.49 MiB/s||466.37 MiB/s|
|CPU Fibonacci (lower is better)||0.5s||1.73s|
|CPU N-Queens (lower is better)||4.24s||8.74s|
|CPU Zlib (higher is better)||0.80||0.31|
|FPU FFT (lower is better)||1.23s||5.52s|
|FPU Raytracing (lower is better)||2.86s||2.18s|
|GPU Drawing (higher is better)||2064.13 HiMarks||1708.15 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
- 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
- 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
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!
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
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