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Banana Pi M2 Berry: The Raspberry Pi is attacked by SATA

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 | Gadgets

In July 2017, the Banana Pi M2 Berry from Sinovoip was released. As the name implies, the Raspberry Pi serves as a model. With genuine SATA and Gigabit Ethernet he also strongly reminds of the first Banana Pi, which was also the first competitor of the Raspberry Pi. Thanks to intensive community work, the first Banana Pi now offers a good support – but lagging behind the current models. We have looked at whether the Banana Pi M2 Berry is a worthy successor to the first Banana Pi and whether it can compete with the Raspberry Pi 3.

The Banana Pi M2 Berry is based on an Allwinner V40 processor, its four cortex A7 cores are clocked with up to 1.2 GHertz. The RAM is 1 GB. The connections and connections are almost identical to the Raspberry Pi 3, including the position of the connections. However, the M2 Berry offers Gigabit Ethernet and a real SATA port without slow USB-to-SATA bridge.
M2 alone is not enough for the shopping cart
It is important to pay attention to the price comparison and purchase. The manufacturer Sinovoip has presented in the past months a whole series of Banana-Pi-Calculators with the designation M2 in the name, which have nothing in common. There is only one exception: the M2 Berry presented here is a some functions reduced and more cost-effective Banana Pi M2 Ultra.

        
    Banana Pi M2 Berry (Picture: Martin Wolf / Golem.de)

Because they are based on the same processor, Sinovoip does not offer special SD card images for the Berry. Instead, we should use the images for the Ultra. Here we are first positively surprised. If Sinovoip is usually a variety of different Linux distributions, we only find three: Ubuntu, Debian and Raspian (all with kernel version 3.10.107). The otherwise obligatory Android was missing initially, but since the end of August it is also regularly available. We are working on the latest version of Ubuntu from August 2017. In this, some improvements are already integrated by the Banana-Pi community, for example video decoding and graphics support.

Distributionschaos is hidden
Later on, we are going to a Google Drive directory with some other Linux distributions and Android beta versions through a post in the Banana Pi forum.
With the freshly recorded mini SD card we start the M2 Berry. The start is fast. The Mate desktop and the program menu are quite empty. Strangely, Firefox and Chromium have two browsers installed. However, despite apt update & upgrade only Chromium, Firefox crashes at the start. Overall, we make mixed experiences in testing. Basically we can work fluently, but sometimes the system feels lame.

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