Imagination has sent along word that the Creator CI20 we covered in some detail late last year is now shipping to North America and Europe. For those unfamiliar with this development board, I have reproduced the specification table below and included the Raspberry Pi 2 for comparison. Along with the shipping announcement, Imagination has bumped the on board storage from 4GB of NAND up to 8GB. I updated our original coverage with this welcome unexpected improvement. They have also revised the PCB to be purple, matching Imagination's color scheme.

  Imagination Creator CI20 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Raspberry Pi Model B+
SoC Ingenic JZ4780 Broadcom BCM2836 Broadcom BCM2835
CPU Dual 1.2GHz XBurst
(MIPS32 instruction set)
4x 900 MHz ARM Cortex-A7
(ARMv7 instruction set)
700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S
(ARM11 family, ARMv6 instruction set)
GPU PowerVR SGX 540 @ Unknown MHz Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 250 MHz Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 250 MHz
Memory 1GB DDR3 1GB DDR2 512MB DDR2
USB 1x USB OTG (A and Mini connectors)
1x USB Host
4x USB 2.0 Host 4 USB 2.0 Host
Camera Interface 24-pin connector (ITU-R BT.645) 15-pin MIPI (CSI) connector 15-pin MIPI (CSI) connector
Video Output HDMI 1.4a HDMI 1.3a
Composite video 3.5mm jack
HDMI 1.3a
Composite video 3.5mm jack
Audio In 3.5mm jack shared with output via I²S interface via I²S interface
Audio Output HDMI
3.5mm jack shared with input
3.5mm jack
I²S interface
3.5mm jack
I²S interface
Storage 8GB NAND
1x full SD slot
1x SD slot via expansion header
via MicroSD via MicroSD
Network 10/100 Ethernet
2.4GHz WiFi b/g/n + BT 4.0 (BCM4330)
10/100 Ethernet 10/100 Ethernet
IR Input (IRM-2638A) - -
Max Power Consumption 4 Watts < 5 Watts 3 Watts
Power Connector 5V barrel connector MicroUSB MicroUSB
Size Approx. 90mm x 95mm (3.54 in x 3.74 in) 85.60 mm × 56.5 mm (3.37 in × 2.22 in) 85.60 mm × 56.5 mm
(3.37 in × 2.22 in)
Price $65 or £50 $35 without MPEG2 and VC1 codecs
$40.60 with MPEG2 and VC1 codecs
$35 without MPEG2 and VC1 codecs
$40.60 with MPEG2 and VC1 codecs

The evaluation board provided to me by Imagination is green with 4GB of NAND and I should consider it a collectors' item now. I am working to get some power measurements directly on the VDDCORE line to characterize CPU performance/watt but that requires some delicate PCB modification. Stay tuned.

Also, for the media center users, great news came three days ago with MIPS32 support merged into the master branch of Kodi (XBMC). Therefore, users willing to compile binaries themselves can now run Kodi on the Creator CI20 or any other MIPS32 device. For those willing to wait, the next major release of Kodi should include this support in their provided binaries.

Source: Imagination

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  • monstercameron - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    who would buy into this close system rather than use an opensauce friendly rpi2
  • ddriver - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    Fans of "purple" I guess. The CI20 allegedly has lower power consumption, so if that is CRITICAL to you, you might consider it instead. But other than that, it cannot really compete with the Pi2 or ODROID C1. Pricing aside, the board is too big, too odd in shape, and the connectors are clumsily placed too.
  • Stephen Barrett - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    well keep in mind the CI20 has wifi, bluetooth, and onboard storage. adding dongles for those interfaces increases the pi size, and adding all 3 adds cost. personally my Pi has had continual reliability issues with its SD card... electrically destroying one and corrupting them at least 4 times.
  • Samus - Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - link

    I had compatibility issues with SD cards in my Pi too. Forums unanimously agree Sandisk or Samsung is generally guaranteed to work. My original Transcend card constantly corrupted. Many "crappy" flash cards are not designed for lots of random IO such as kernel paging and seem to just shit themselves or cause the RPi to queue up and corrupt the bus.
  • ddriver - Wednesday, February 4, 2015 - link

    You can get a Pi2 with USB wifi, bt, and 16 gigs of storage for a lower price still.
  • speculatrix - Wednesday, February 4, 2015 - link

    typo: MEPG2
  • Stephen Barrett - Wednesday, February 4, 2015 - link

    fixed thank you!
  • speculatrix - Wednesday, February 4, 2015 - link

    I won't be touching it unless Imagination come up with the source code for the relevant drivers in the kernel.
  • Pteridium - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    First of all: what do you want to mean with relevant drivers?
    Anybody that take a look to the kernel sources will realize that only the PowerVR SGX540 3D gpu driver is closed while contrary to the rest (VPU, 2D gpu, NAND, usb, ...).
    Dma and VPU need a firmware file because those subsystems have an xburst cpu each one.
    I suggest to check these links:
    The performance in some areas with kernel 3.0.8 is bad, but with kernels 3.16 and 3.18 is much better thanks to imgtec guys and other people that is collaborating.
  • ant6n - Wednesday, February 4, 2015 - link

    One of these boards should come with like 4 or 8 Satas, so one could build a cheap NAS

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