I've been working on a project based on the AllWinner A64 with similar specs to something like a NanoPi Neo Air and I had question about sourcing parts/assembly. How is FriendlyARM able to purchase Allwinner SOCs and 'Samsung' RAM/eMMC at such low cost? Talking to Vendors on Alibaba I can usually get the total of the core components down to the price of a complete NanoPi board. ~$5.50 eMMC(KLM8G1GEAC-B001) ~$4.00 SDRAM(K4B4G1646D-BCK0) ~$4.00 SOC/PMU(A64/AXP803) ~$4.00 Radio/PMU(P6212) Then there's PCB Fab and assembly of a double sided board 6 layer. My question is where do I look to source these parts and assembly if I'm looking to do a run of 1500 boards? Is it even possible if I'm located in the states and not directly in Shenzhen? Will I see better prices if I hire an agent to shop around for me or is it not worth it if I'm only making 1500 boards initially? Any help would be great, thanks!
Sourcing parts found on FriendlyARM boards
They probably have developed a good relationship with their suppliers, ie buy their bits directly from them and at much higher volume. 1500 is pretty low quantity to hope for good price breaks. We had an agent in China and apparently it was good value, but we were buying millions of dollars worth of parts through them. Have you priced 1500 6 layer boards from one of the large Chinese PCB manufacturers?
I suggest you post this in the "Off topics" forum at avrfreaks.net There are many low-volume developers/manufacturers on that site. I am sure you will get many responses.
I figured it was just a function of volume, but I can't imagine FriendlyARM is purchasing millions in components. I'l post on avrfreaks now, thanks for the advice!