The Raspberry Pi is still the most popular mini PC board, with several models available and a massive development communities, but it’s not the only option. FriendlyElec has been selling small ARM PCs for years, and now it has a new model available.
FriendlyElec now sells the “NanoPi R5C” as a tiny single-board computer, in a similar form factor as the Raspberry Pi and other single-board dev kits. It has a Rockchip RK3568B2 CPU, 4 GB RAM, and 32 GB of integrated flash storage. For connectivity, there’s an M.2 E-Key port, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 connectors, two 2.5Gbps Ethernet connectors, a microSD card slot, and HMDI 2.0. That’s all packed into a board measuring just 58 x 58 x 1.6 mm (2.3 x 2.3 x 0.06 inches), with power supplied by a single USB Type-C port.
The main selling point here is dual Ethernet ports, operating on a PCIe bus with a maximum speed of 2.5Gbps each. That makes it ideal for home server applications that could benefit from faster network speeds, like setting up network-attached storage (NAS), or any project that might need more than one LAN port. It can run operating systems like Debian with hardware-accelerated video decoding, and FriendlyEric promotes the board as a great choice for Docker applications.
The NanoPi R5C is available on the company’s online store for $49. Wi-Fi support requires an additional module that costs an extra $18 — otherwise you’re limited to just the Ethernet ports for network connectivity.