Seeed Studio’s Odyssey is a mini-PC for big projects and small wallets

What can you make with a $200-ish mini-PC with plenty of power, loads of ports, and extremely couple of restrictions?
Odyssey (left) is significantly larger than the ARM based Odroid XU4 (right). It’s also considerably more effective and expandable.
The clear lid on Odyssey’s re_computer case takes off for simple access, using a spudger or fine blade inserted into the seam to pry it loose from its magnetic contacts.

Today we’re going to have a look at Seeed Studio’s Odyssey X86J4105—– a maker/builder-tailored, Celeron-powered mini-PC. The little gadget appears like what you ‘d get if a Chromebox and a Raspberry Pi made sweet, sweet love—– it’s a Celeron-powered all-in-one system-on-chip (SoC) board, sold without a case, with Raspberry Pi-compatible GPIO headers and an Arduino coprocessor for more hardware-based maker projects.

I have a confession to make: I’ve never ever actually loved the Raspberry Pi. Heresy, I understand! But regardless of how seriously inexpensive the much-loved little boxes are, they never ever seem quite powerful enough for the projects I ‘d have an interest in tackling. On celebration, I’ve flirted with other ARM mini-PCs that are a little more costly and a lot more powerful—– like Odroid XU4, or the more recent Odroid N2—– however they still felt quite constrained compared to even budget x86 PCs. The Odyssey appears tailor-made to resolve those efficiency concerns.

Requirements and capabilities

Specifications at a look: Odyssey X86J4105
OSWindows 10 Business (activated)
CPUQuad-core Celeron J4105
RAM8GiB LPDDR4
GPUincorporated Intel UHD 600
Wi-FiDual-band Intel 9650 Wi-Fi 5 + Bluetooth 5.0
SSDSandisk 64GB (59.6 GiB) eMMC
Connectors
  • 40-pin Raspberry Pi-compatible GPIO
  • 28-pin Arduino header
  • 3.5 mm audio combination jack
  • 2x Intel I211 1Gbps Ethernet
  • 1x SATA
  • 2x M. 2 (1 B-key, 1 M-key)
  • 2x USB2 type-A
  • 1x USB3.1 type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 type-C
  • 1x MicroSD card slot
  • 1x SIM (LTE) slot
  • 1x 12-19VDC power
Cost as testedOdyssey with triggered Win10 Enterprise: $258
Seeed re_computer case: $20

Seeed Studio Odyssey X86J4105 Mini PC

Odyssey’s quad-core Celeron SoC may not be a powerhouse by desktop requirements—– however, it’s more than powerful adequate to run a complete Windows 10 desktop experience. Add in 8GiB of RAM, 64GB eMMC storage, one SATA-III port, 2 1Gbps Ethernet jacks, double M. 2 slots (one B-key and one M-key), Intel 9560 Wi-Fi, Intel UHD 600 graphics and a full-size HDMI port, and it’s difficult to find out what this $260 box can’t do.

If you’re looking to manage other hardware on an extremely low level, Odyssey likewise has a Raspberry Pi-compatible 40-pin GPIO header and a 28-pin header for its ATSAMD21 Arduino coprocessor. We’re not set up to evaluate those functions, but Odyssey maker Seeed is likewise the manufacturer of the well-reputed Grove sensor system—– so when it tells us that the Odyssey’s ports and coprocessor are Grove-compatible, we’re inclined to believe them.

When it concerns form elements, the Odyssey in its re_computer case advises us most of an unusually geeky Chromebox. Like the Chromebox, Odyssey in the re_computer case is just larger than the VESA installing plate on the back of a monitor—– and also like the Chromebox, it has VESA suitable mounting holes on the back. You’ll need to supply your own mounting studs if you wish to benefit from that option, though.

The re_computer case was honestly a little a pain to assemble—– the provided directions consist of unlabeled diagrams just, and the diagrams aren’t all accurate. In particular, we want that they would have informed us up front that the clear top lid of the re_computer was magnetically attached! The box notes the cover in the stock as a separate part, but it’s already snapped into the case itself, and it’s not right away clear that you can pry it loose quickly with a spudger or other fine-edged tool.

Once you actually get the re_computer case assembled, it’s exceptionally attractive and practical. Any of the parts you require to mess with can be accessed by eliminating the magnetically attached clear lid, and the external ports are all easy to get to and unobscured. We also really like the cheerful royal blue that the sides of the case are anodized with.

What can you make with an Odyssey?

Overhead view of the Odyssey X86J4105. The only thing not plainly labeled is the Intel 9560 Wi-Fi—– just to the left of the NVMe SSD label. If set up, and M. 2 PCIe SSD will cover this Wi-Fi chipset.
Bottom view of the Odyssey—– simply a pre-assembled heatsink and fan covering the whole underside of the board.
On the left side of the Odyssey, we see a DC barrel jack, 2 Intel gigabit Ethernet ports, an HDMI port, and two USB 2.0 ports.
On the top edge of the Odyssey board, we see 40-pin and 28-pin GPIO headers, for Pi hat and Arduino respectively.
On the best side of the Odyssey, we see connectors for a microSD card (non-bootable), USB 3.1 type A, USB 3.1 type C (charging supported), and a 3.5 mm audio headphone/mic jack.
On the bottom edge of the Odyssey, there aren’t any external ports—– but we see a full-size SATA connector with three SATA power ports, and an M. 2 SATA slot that can be used for an SSD or for an LTE modem.
 
 

If you’re wanting to build a Kodi or similar house theater PC system, the J4105 and its UHD 600 graphics are more than up to the task, at least approximately 1080P—– 4K is satisfactory, but some videos will exhibit a little frame drop. In our screening, 4K videos on Vimeo played flawlessly; 4K on YouTube was watchable but noticeably dropped a frame here and there.

Lastly, you can just make an extremely functional home computer out of it. The version we tested came pre-installed with a totally triggered Windows 10 Enterprise—– it can be run by itself or joined to a domain. You can also buy the Odyssey without the Windows 10 license if you prefer a Linux desktop.

If whatever usage case you’ve arrived at needs cellular connection, Odyssey has you covered there as well—– its M. 2 B-keyed port can accommodate an LTE module (not included), and there’s a SIM card socket also.

The Odyssey’s J4105 Celeron is a little faster single-threaded, and massively much faster multi-threaded than both our OG Homebrew Router and the Kano PC.
Passmark CPU testing shows about the same relationship that Geekbench 5 does. (“Homebrew” results on this chart are sourced from another Celeron 1037U system published on cpubenchmark.net.)
In multi-threaded Cinebench R20 results, we again see a squashing triumph for the Odyssey over Kano PC and, this time, the Walmart EVOO.
If you’re going to use Windows on the Odyssey, you’re going to appreciate app start-up times. It’s considerably faster than the already-quick Kano PC.
The 8GiB of RAM and quad-core Celeron J4105 in the Odyssey, in addition to its Sandisk 64GB eMMC, suffice to make the little box feel like a real computer, even when running Windows. Our review sample came pre-installed and pre-activated with Windows 10 Business, and it generally cold-booted completely to the desktop—– including POST time—– in 15-30 seconds. When there, it felt completely responsive, either when setting up applications or searching the Web utilizing Microsoft Edge.

The little system shipped with Windows 10 construct 1903, so the very first thing we did was upgrade it to 2004. The only non-stock software application set up on the system is an Arduino software bundle, so we didn’t take before-and-after Wiztree disk use charts this time around—– it’s a standard loadout of Windows, and it fits simply fine on the onboard 64GB eMMC, both previously and after the upgrade.

When we completely evaluated routing performance with tough, small-packet work back in 2016, we found that the Celeron 1037U in the Homebrew was more than adequate to sling packages at a complete 1Gbps on a bare Ubuntu setup. When we evaluated pfSense, the more user-friendly and full-featured router distribution didn’t do so well.

Although Kano PC’s N4000 is 4 years more recent than the Homebrew’s 1037U, with double the cores and threads, it isn’t considerably quicker. Odyssey’s J4105 is a powerhouse by comparison—– it’s overwhelmingly faster than either in multi-threaded tests, and a little faster single-threaded to boot.

We haven’t straight evaluated the Odyssey as a devoted router, its benchmarks lead us to think it would do really well. We believe that even when running pfSense or opnSense, it should hang quite well with the original Homebrew running vanilla Ubuntu.

Conclusions

We’re pretty excited about the Odyssey X86J4105. It scratches all the best itches for practically any maker or IoT project we can think about—– and it brings greatly more firepower to the table than ARM-based gadgets like the Raspberry Pi series, or perhaps the Pi’s more effective Odroid rivals.

If you’re looking for the cheapest possible solution, the Odyssey may not be your cup of tea—– however, if you do not mind spending a bit more, the flexibility used by its full x86 architecture and a staggering range of connectivity is well worth the money. That basic x86 architecture also makes it possible to leave the world of customized, hardware-focused system images—– rather, you can just set up Windows, Linux, or BSD directly onto the hardware from standard ISOs.

The Odyssey might also make a terrific kid, kiosk, and even light workplace PC. It’s small, it’s very inexpensive for a fully triggered Windows system, and its desktop experience is good—– far better than Kano PC’s or a typical low-end Chromebook’s. If you go with the 64GB eMMC storage, it’s both fast adequate and large enough for comfortable use with Windows 10—– or if you desire greater performance and more storage, you can utilize a standard M. 2 PCIe or SATA SSD instead.

The only problem we have about the Odyssey is just how aggravating we found it to get the consisted of Wi-Fi antennas connected to its Intel 9560 chipset. The diagrams don’t correctly label where the chipset in fact is on the board, and the adapter location made connecting the leads much more frustrating than it is on a basic laptop computer. We needed a jeweler’s loupe and about 10 straight minutes of mindful, mild fiddling and retrying before we lastly got both leads appropriately connected.

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