Seeed Studio’s Odyssey is a mini-PC for big projects and small wallets

Seeed Studios Odyssey is a mini PC for big projects and

Today we’re going to check out Seeed Studio’s Odyssey X86J4105—a maker/builder-tailored, Celeron-powered mini-PC. The little gadget looks as if what you’d get if a Chromebox and a Raspberry Pi made candy, candy love—it is a Celeron-powered all-in-one system-on-chip (SoC) board, offered with no case, with Raspberry Pi-compatible GPIO headers and an Arduino coprocessor for extra hardware-based maker tasks.

I’ve a confession to make: I’ve by no means actually beloved the Raspberry Pi. Heresy, I do know! But regardless of how critically low cost the much-loved little packing containers are, they by no means appear fairly highly effective sufficient for the tasks I’d be desirous about tackling. On event, I’ve flirted with different ARM mini-PCs which can be somewhat dearer and much more highly effective—like Odroid XU4, or the newer Odroid N2—however they nonetheless felt fairly constrained in comparison with even price range x86 PCs. The Odyssey appears tailored to deal with these efficiency issues.

Specifications and capabilities

Specs at a look: Odyssey X86J4105
OS Windows 10 Enterprise (activated)
CPU Quad-core Celeron J4105
RAM 8GiB LPDDR4
GPU built-in Intel UHD 600
Wi-Fi Dual-band Intel 9650 Wi-Fi 5 + Bluetooth 5.0
SSD Sandisk 64GB (59.6GiB) eMMC
Connectors
  • 40-pin Raspberry Pi-compatible GPIO
  • 28-pin Arduino header
  • 3.5mm audio combo jack
  • 2x Intel I211 1Gbps Ethernet
  • 1x SATA
  • 2x M.2 (1 B-key, 1 M-key)
  • 2x USB2 type-A
  • 1x USB3.1 type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 type-C
  • 1x MicroSD card slot
  • 1x SIM (LTE) slot
  • 1x 12-19VDC energy
Price as examined Odyssey with activated Win10 Enterprise: $258
Seeed re_computer case: $20

Seeed Studio Odyssey X86J4105 Mini PC


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Odyssey’s quad-core Celeron SoC might not be a powerhouse by desktop standards—but it’s more than powerful enough to run a full Windows 10 desktop experience. Add in 8GiB of RAM, 64GB eMMC storage, one SATA-III port, two 1Gbps Ethernet jacks, dual M.2 slots (one B-key and one M-key), Intel 9560 Wi-Fi, Intel UHD 600 graphics and a full-size HDMI port, and it’s hard to figure out what this $260 box can’t do.

If you’re looking to control other hardware on a very low level, Odyssey also has a Raspberry Pi-compatible 40-pin GPIO header and a 28-pin header for its ATSAMD21 Arduino coprocessor. We’re not set up to test those functions, but Odyssey maker Seeed is also the manufacturer of the well-reputed Grove sensor system—so when it tells us that the Odyssey’s connectors and coprocessor are Grove-compatible, we’re inclined to consider them.

When it involves kind issue, the Odyssey in its re_computer case reminds us most of an unusually geeky Chromebox. Like the Chromebox, Odyssey within the re_computer case is simply bigger than the VESA mounting plate on the again of a monitor—and in addition just like the Chromebox, it has VESA appropriate mounting holes on the again. You’ll want to offer your individual mounting studs if you wish to benefit from that possibility, although.

The re_computer case was frankly a little bit of a ache to assemble—the offered directions encompass unlabeled diagrams solely, and the diagrams aren’t all correct. In explicit, we want that they might have instructed us up entrance that the clear prime lid of the re_computer was magnetically connected! The field lists the lid within the stock as a separate half, but it surely’s already snapped into the case itself, and it is not instantly clear which you can pry it unfastened simply with a spudger or different fine-edged software.

Once you truly get the re_computer case assembled, it is extraordinarily engaging and purposeful. Any of the elements you should mess with might be accessed by eradicating the magnetically connected clear lid, and the exterior ports are all simple to get to and unobscured. We additionally actually just like the cheerful royal blue that the perimeters of the case are anodized with.

What are you able to do with an Odyssey?

Odyssey’s punchy Celeron J4105 processor is backed by loads of RAM, storage, network, and graphics capabilities. Whether you favor to run Windows or Linux, it could actually deal with duties that the CPU- and IO-limited Raspberry Pi sequence struggles with. If you need to construct a high-end DIY router, it has twin gigabit Ethernet—and the J4105 CPU is considerably extra highly effective than the 1037U in our personal Homebrew router.

If you are seeking to construct a Kodi or comparable dwelling theater PC system, the J4105 and its UHD 600 graphics are greater than as much as the duty, at the very least as much as 1080P—4K is satisfactory, however some movies will exhibit somewhat body drop. In our testing, 4K movies on Vimeo performed flawlessly; 4K on YouTube was watchable however noticeably dropped a body right here and there.

You may even make a miniature fileserver out of the Odyssey. It provides one M.2 PCIe 2.Zero x4 slot that may accommodate a high-performance NVMe SSD and one full-size SATA-III connector that may be linked to any normal SATA drive. Add that full-speed, dependable connectivity to the 8GiB onboard RAM, and you have sufficient machine to run FreeNAS, XigmaNAS, or the upcoming TrueNAS Core.

Finally, you may simply make a really usable desktop computer out of it. The model we examined got here pre-installed with a completely activated Windows 10 Enterprise—it may be run by itself or joined to a website. You can even purchase the Odyssey with out the Windows 10 license in the event you choose a Linux desktop.

If no matter use case you’ve got landed on wants mobile connectivity, Odyssey has you coated there as nicely—its M.2 B-keyed port can accommodate an LTE module (not included), and there is a SIM card socket as nicely.

Performance

The 8GiB of RAM and quad-core Celeron J4105 within the Odyssey, together with its Sandisk 64GB eMMC, are sufficient to make the little field really feel like an actual computer, even when working Windows. Our evaluate pattern got here pre-installed and pre-activated with Windows 10 Enterprise, and it usually cold-booted absolutely to the desktop—together with POST time—in 15-30 seconds. Once there, it felt completely responsive, both when installing functions or searching the Web utilizing Microsoft Edge.

The little system shipped with Windows 10 construct 1903, so the very first thing we did was improve it to 2004. The solely non-stock software program put in on the system is an Arduino software program bundle, so we did not take before-and-after Wiztree disk utilization graphs this time round—it is a typical loadout of Windows, and it suits simply fantastic on the onboard 64GB eMMC, each earlier than and after the improve.

We examined the Odyssey in opposition to our personal unique gangster Homebrew Router from 2016, this yr’s Kano PC, and Walmart’s cursed EVOO EV-C-116-5 laptop computer. The Odyssey, OG Homebrew, and Kano PC are all Celeron-based low-power techniques; the AMD A4-9120 powered EVOO must be in the identical class however is not, as a result of its huge manufacturing unit underclocking.

When we totally examined routing efficiency with difficult, small-packet workloads again in 2016, we discovered that the Celeron 1037U within the Homebrew was greater than enough to sling packets at a full 1Gbps on a naked Ubuntu set up. When we examined pfSense, the extra user-friendly and full-featured router distribution did not achieve this nicely.

Although Kano PC’s N4000 is 4 years newer than the Homebrew’s 1037U, with double the cores and threads, it is not considerably quicker. Odyssey’s J4105 is a powerhouse by comparability—it is overwhelmingly quicker than both in multi-threaded exams, and somewhat quicker single-threaded besides.

Although we have not immediately examined the Odyssey as a devoted router, its benchmarks lead us to consider it could do very nicely. We suspect that even when working pfSense or opnSense, it ought to grasp fairly nicely with the unique Homebrew working vanilla Ubuntu.

Conclusions

We’re fairly excited concerning the Odyssey X86J4105. It scratches all the appropriate itches for nearly any maker or IoT venture we are able to consider—and it brings tremendously extra firepower to the desk than ARM-based units just like the Raspberry Pi sequence, and even the Pi’s extra highly effective Odroid rivals.

If you are in search of the most affordable attainable resolution, the Odyssey is probably not your cup of tea—however in the event you do not thoughts spending somewhat extra, the pliability provided by its full x86 structure and staggering array of connectivity is nicely price the additional cash. That normal x86 structure additionally makes it attainable to go away the world of customized, hardware-focused system pictures—as an alternative, you may simply install Windows, Linux, or BSD immediately onto the {hardware} from normal ISOs.

The Odyssey might additionally make an excellent child, kiosk, and even mild workplace PC. It’s small, it is extraordinarily cheap for a completely activated Windows system, and its desktop expertise is sweet—a lot better than Kano PC’s or a typical low-end Chromebook’s. If you go for the 64GB eMMC storage, it is each quick sufficient and huge sufficient for snug use with Windows 10—or in order for you greater efficiency and extra storage, you need to use a typical M.2 PCIe or SATA SSD as an alternative.

The solely grievance we have now concerning the Odyssey is simply how irritating we discovered it to get the included Wi-Fi antennas linked to its Intel 9560 chipset. The diagrams do not correctly label the place the chipset truly is on the board, and the connector location made connecting the leads much more irritating than it’s on a typical laptop computer. We wanted a jeweler’s loupe and about ten straight minutes of cautious, mild fiddling and retrying earlier than we lastly acquired each leads correctly linked.

The good

  • Plenty of each type of port and connector you could possibly need
  • DC direct energy provide included, can alternatively be powered by way of USB-C
  • Onboard Intel 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) Wi-Fi
  • LTE functionality with further module
  • The J4105 CPU is way more highly effective than its “Celeron” branding implies
  • 8GiB of RAM included
  • Pi-hat and Arduino headers, Arduino co-processor
  • Can be bought with or with out 64GB eMMC
  • Can be bought with or with out Windows 10 Enterprise license
  • Snazzy blue-anodized case with clear, detachable lid
  • Install no matter OS you want—no hardware-specific system pictures wanted

The dangerous

  • Although 8GB of RAM must be lots, you may’t add extra
  • Single SATA connector limits NAS prospects
  • Assembly directions for the case could possibly be a lot better

The ugly

  • Getting these Wi-Fi antenna leads snapped on correctly

Listing picture by Jim Salter

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