Raspberry Pi alternative seeed Odyssey: Assembly is challenging, but it’s worth it

    The seeed firm presents a single board pc and case mixture that might make for a pleasant rollout for numerous options. Jack Wallen presents his take after a hands-on overview.

    Image: iStockphoto/Wiyada Arunwaikit
    I used to be not too long ago despatched a mix of the seeed Odyssey single board pc and the seeed re_computer case for overview. I’ve at all times discovered most of these computer systems to be an extremely helpful a part of the IT panorama as a result of they’re so versatile. Use them as a desktop or a kiosk. IoT? Sure, why not? Cluster them collectively for a small container deployment? Of course. Anywhere you want a tiny kind issue pc, you have received an answer. The Raspberry Pi is the gold customary of single board computer systems. When seeed reached out to me, my first inclination was, “You’re not Raspberry Pi.” Then once more, I’ve at all times been a champion of the underdog, so why not give it a go?SEE: Hardware stock coverage (TechRepublic Premium) It ought to come as no shock that the seeed single board pc impressed me. Why? Because it is not that tough to create a formidable outing at this dimension. There’s not all that a lot to them, and with simply sufficient system assets, anybody can deploy a working desktop or server with ease. All advised, it wasn’t essentially the most nice expertise I’ve ever had, however the finish outcome was a working system, working Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 and working it nicely. Before I proceed, let us take a look at the specs of the unit I used to be despatched.Specs for the seeed OdysseyCPU: Intel Celeron J4105 @ 1.5-2.5 GHzArduino microcontroller: Microchip ATSAMD21G18 32-Bit ARM Cortex MD+ GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 610 at 200-700 MHz RAM: 8GB LPDDR4 Storage: 64GB SanDisk eMMC V5.1 (with expandable microSD slot) Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac @ 2.4 or 5 GHz and Bluetooth 5.0 Networking: Intel I211AT PCIe Gigabit LAN X 2 Audio: Microphone + Headphone combo connector USB: 2 X USB 2.0 Type-A, 1 X USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 X USB 3.1 Type-C Video interface: HDMI max decision 4K @ 30 Hz, DP max decision 4k @ 60 Hz Misc.: SIM card socket, SATA III, M.2 Price: Odyssey board – $255.00 and re_computer case – $24.90

    The Celeron processor places this within the decrease mid-range spec, however that does not imply the board cannot punch a bit above its weight. At first, I assumed I’d set up Ubuntu Server 20.04 and use it as a Kubernetes controller; nevertheless, I opted to put in a desktop Linux distribution so I may get extra rapid suggestions on the efficiency. If this single board pc may easily run a desktop, probabilities can be good that it would be helpful as a small-scale server.

    Before I may undergo the set up, the board and case needed to be assembled. Assembling the seeed Odyssey single board pc and caseI’ll preface this by saying I grew up in my father’s bike store. From a really younger age, I used to be assembling bikes and different objects. “Some assembly required” places a smile on my face. IKEA is not any match for my prowess with directions and instruments. I’ve pieced collectively loads of computer systems in my day. But this board and case? Wow. If you do not have the innate capability to have a look at sparse directions and improvise a bit, you are going to battle getting this case and board collectively. It’s not unattainable, but it surely took a number of makes an attempt simply to determine what the directions had been attempting to inform me. Even earlier than attempting to place the board/case puzzle collectively, the primary main hurdle was attaching the antennae to the board. My eyesight is not the best, and the antennae connectors are sufficiently small to put your eyes at def con squint (Figure A). Figure A This photograph was taken utilizing the Super Macro setting on an Infinix telephone, so it is fairly a bit smaller than it appears to be like.
    Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic
    It’s not solely lining the connector up (which I had to make use of a magnifying loupe to get it good), it is the quantity of strain required to make the connection. Your first inclination is, “I’m going to break this thing!” Eventually, with sufficient would possibly, that connector will pop into place, and also you’re prepared to maneuver on to the second step. With the antennae in place, you possibly can then dive down the complicated rabbit gap of attaching the board to the case. There are numerous plastic edge plates to decide on from–just be sure to choose the 2 that match your board. Inserting these plates can get complicated. Here’s my recommendation: Lettering faces outTabs face down (extra on this in a bit)Insert the tabs all the way in which earlier than trying to put the board within the caseMake positive to insert the board in such a manner that does not trigger the edges to fall misplacedHere’s one of the best piece of recommendation I may give you almost about meeting, and it is one thing that is not talked about within the directions: In every nook (on one aspect of the case), you will discover 4 spherical magnets–that’s up. You then insert the board from the underside, screw it in, connect the wires for the antennae, and connect the underside. It’s that simple–after about 20 minutes of trial and error. Knowing which manner was up, after eradicating the clear prime and never remembering these magnets held it in place, is essential. Under regular circumstances, I’d have blamed that fumbling on myself, and looking out again on the directions, I can now totally perceive what the drawings meant. If I had solely held that foresight whereas assembling this, it in all probability would have taken me all of two minutes to get the bits collectively. The lesson right here is that the case is definitely fairly straightforward to assemble–once you perceive which manner is up and which manner is down.Once all the things was assembled, I inserted a USB drive (with a dwell Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 occasion able to go), hit the On swap, and put in Linux over the Windows set up. The set up was as clean as any I’d ever finished and, in the long run, I had a wonderfully functioning desktop (Figure B). The re_computer case and the Odyssey board collectively, working Ubuntu Desktop 20.04. Glasses for scale.
    Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic
    How does the seeed Odyssey carry out? I’m not going to lie, the seeed board would not maintain a candle to my System76 Thelio Desktop, although that is like evaluating a Ferrari to a 1967 VW Beetle. The seeed performs fairly nicely for sure duties.You will not be rendering video with it, however looking the net, checking electronic mail, and common workplace productiveness is just not solely fairly straightforward, it is spectacular. I used to be in a position to launch Firefox with numerous tabs, use GIMP, and replace the OS, and the Odyssey did not bat an eye–that’s as a lot a testomony to Ubuntu Desktop 20.04, as it’s the Odyssey. If I had left Windows 10 on the machine, I’d wager it would not carry out almost as nicely.Would I exploit this tiny kind issue machine as a main desktop? Probably not. Would I buy numerous them, cluster them collectively, and deploy containers for use as inner companies and apps on a LAN? Why not?  In the top, in case you’re on the lookout for a serviceable single board pc with a good-looking aluminum case, the seeed Odyssey and re_computer case are excellent choices.

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