Inovato Quadra Is an ARM-Based Linux PC Priced at $29

Inovato Quadra Is an ARM-Based Linux PC Priced at $29

The Inovato Quadra mini Linux PC offers performance comparable to the Raspberry Pi 3 but at a significantly lower price.

The first thing that comes to mind when we think of mini ARM-based Linux computers is the Raspberry Pi. Those little devices dominate this market segment, providing ample computational power and room for experimentation in a small package at a reasonable price.

However, it’s great when new offerings come out comparable to what the Raspberry Pi offers but at a lower price. Meet the Inovato Quadra, a small ARM-based Linux computer priced at just $29.

Inovato Quadra Linux PC

Inovato Quadra Linux PC

Inovato Quadra is a modern ARM-based Linux computer that includes the casing, heatsink, power adapter, and HDMI cable and can be used as a server or lightweight desktop.

It is important to note that the Inovato Quadra does not require a separate microSD card on which to install the operating system, as it comes pre-installed in its internal memory with the 64-bit ARM version of Debian 11 (Bullseye), based on Armbian 22.08, featuring the lightweight Xfce desktop environment and powered by Linux kernel 5.15.

Inovato Quadra Xfce Desktop
Image Credit: Inovato

The device features an Allwinner H6 quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of eMMC storage, and can run Armbian Linux software. Of course, a dedicated microSD card reader is also available if you need additional storage space.

Inovato Quadra can run in 1080p mode by default on 4K TVs and monitors. However, because memory is shared with the display, the 4K resolution leaves very little room for your apps.

If we can make a parallel, the performance of this gadget is essentially comparable to that of the Raspberry Pi 3. Note, however, that you don’t have the 40-pin GPIO header here, which makes the Raspberry Pi very much a hacker-friendly device.

In fact, if you buy a T95 Mini Android TV Box and replace its Android operating system with 64-bit ARM-based Debian, you’ll get the Inovato Quadra.

There are two variants of the Inovato Quadra. A Quadra with WiFi 4 and no Bluetooth support costs $29, while a Quadra Plus with WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.2, and a 4-port USB hub costs $39.

To clarify things, we’ve included a comparison table of the two devices’ specifications below.

Inovato Quadra Inovato Quadra Plus
CPU Allwinner H6 quad-core A53
ARM v8 64-bit SoC, 1.7ghz
Allwinner H6 quad-core A53
ARM v8 64-bit SoC, 1.7ghz
Heatsink Included Included
RAM 2GB DRAM 2GB DRAM
Storage 16GB eMMC (ROM) 16GB eMMC (ROM)
Ethernet 100Mbit 100Mbit
Ports 1 x HDMI (cable included)
1 x USB 3.0 Type-A
1 x USB 2.0 Type-A
1 x 100Mbps Ethernet
1 x microSD card reader
1 x HDMI (cable included)
1 x USB 3.0 Type-A
1 x USB 2.0 Type-A
1 x 100Mbps Ethernet
1 x microSD card reader
4-port USB Hub included
WiFi 2.4 GHz 802.11ac Dual Band WiFi 5 (802.11ac)
Bluetooth no Bluetooth (can be added with a USB dongle) Bluetooth 4.2 USB dongle
Size 3.62″ x 3.62″ x 0.86″ (92mm x 92mm x 22mm) 3.62″ x 3.62″ x 0.86″ (92mm x 92mm x 22mm)
Power Supply 5V/2A (USA power adapter included) 5V/2A (USA power adapter included)

So, the Inovato Quadra has emerged as an exciting gadget at a meager price that could suit well as a server for any of your self-hosted home services.

The SSH service is enabled by default if you plan to use it as a server. To avoid confusion, we will mention that the default SSH username is quadra, and the password is [email protected].

You can visit the official website for more details and everything about the device.

10 Comments

  1. “So, the Inovato Quadra has emerged as an exciting gadget at a meager price that could suit well as a server for any of your self-hosted home services.”

    Hardly. This thing has the same SoC as the Pine H64 ($36), only slightly overclocked (H64 is clocked at 1.488 GHz, while the Quadra is 1.7 GHz), which explains the heatsink-as-a-case that it comes packaged in. It lacks a Pi-compatible 40 pin header, lacks bluetooth at the $29 price point (you’ll have to pay $39 for that!), ethernet is limited to 100M (not gigabit, like most modern SoCs these days, including the Pi 4), and with no mention of a PCIe bus, even that lone usb3 port is suspect – I highly doubt you’ll be getting usb3 speeds from that port if that board doesn’t have a PCIe bus.

    In other words, this product is not exciting, and that price point is not meager. For that money, I’d rather spend slightly more on a Pi 4 (1GB: $35, 2GB: $45) or a Pine H64 (2GB: $36, 3GB: $45) – all of which include bluetooth, gigabit ethernet, and a usb3 host on a PCIe bus and a 40 pin gpio header that’ll let me connect hardware from an entire ecosystem that’s sprung up to be Pi-compatible.

    I don’t see the Quadra being a Pi-killer with these specs, and that high price given the modern hw it lacks.

    • I agree that it won’t be a “raspberry pi killer”, it might however be a good option instead of buying an Android TV box from China and hoping that the box you get has the specs that at least used to work with Armbian on the last box with the same name that you bought the last time.
      I mean, it looks like a TV box, has the same internals as they had 2-3 years ago and is cheaper than most new TV boxes that may or may not work with Armbian. Unfortunately they only ship to the US, otherwise I’d have bought one just for testing.

      • Yeah but most cheap Chinese android boxes are more powerful has more ram, AND can run any OS that you can throw into it because it’s fully unlocked. $30 bought me an S905x3 based android box that has 4GB Ram, 64GB storage

    • SBCs are hard to find right now, especially at retail prices. So the prices you lost for a Raspberry Pi 4 do not exist unless you manage to preorder it somehow.

      That’s why this thing is a good deal, it’s actually available to order. Not that the price is good for what you get.

    • Given the fact that the Pi 4 is still pretty much unobtainable at any price (let alone the “retail” price) I don’t think that it’s a fair comparison you’re making.

  2. What is the name of the original box with remote control that you used ? The IPTV box model ?

    Ben Cojocaru
    KN4MSH

  3. I may have been not paying attention the past few years but I got the Quadra and it boots and runs fine, Debian, ok, etc. But I need to be able to boot from another SD card but cannot figure how to do that and their web site very very thin on info. Anybody have any info on this?
    GeorgeC

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