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CubieBoard9 SBC cranks up Actions S900 SoC

Oct 5, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1053 views

CubieTech has posted specs for a “CubieBoard9” SBC with a quad -A53 Actions S900 SoC with 3GB LPDDR3, 16GB eMMC, WiFi/BT, and dual independent displays with HDMI, MIPI-DSI, LVDS, and eDP.

A product page has appeared on the CubieTech website for an unpriced CubieBoard9 SBC that appears to be a replacement for the Cubieboard4. We don’t recall seeing the CubieBoard9 when we checked the site in May for our catalog of 116 hacker boards. We have not heard back from CubieTech about the status of the SBC, which has yet to appear on the Cubieboard.org community site. Considering its prominent placement on the CubieTech home page, however, we’re gambling that the SBC will avoid the fate of the Allwinner A80 based CubieBoard8, which was announced in 2014, but never reached market.



CubieBoard9, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The CubieBoard8 may have been shelved because CubieTech became an official distributor of Actions Technology application processors in July 2017, and then launched four Actions-based open source SBCs with Cubieboard.org community support. These include the CubieBoard7, built around the quad-core Cortex-A53 Actions S700, and the CubieBoard6, which instead taps the quad -A9 Actions S500. CubieTech also released two sandwich-style versions — the CubieAIO-S700 and CubieAIO-S500 — which use the same SoCs via its Einstein compute modules.

The 115 x 111mm CubieBoard9 is larger than the CubieBoard6 and 7, with a layout that closely approximates that of the 111 x 111mm CubieBoard4. While the CubieBoard4 is equipped with an octa-core Allwinner A80 (quad -A15 and quad -A7), the CubieBoard9 instead features the quad-core Actions S900, which is found on uCRobotics’ 96Boards compatible Bubblegum-96.



CubieBoard9 with case (left) and running dual independent displays
(click images to enlarge)

The Actions S900’s four Cortex-A53 cores have a faster 1.8GHz clock rate compared to the S700, at least according to uCRobotics (CubieTech lists no clock rate). It also switches from a Mali-450 GPU to the same 600MHz PowerVR G6230 found on the CubieBoard4.

CubieTech makes no mention of OS support except to note support for 64-bit operating systems. Presumably you’ll get the same Actions-tailored images for Android 5.1 and Debian with Linux Kernel 3.10 found on the CubieBoard7. Like other CubieBoards, this latest model should be an open hardware SBC supported with schematics.



CubieBoard9 detail and portside views
(click images to enlarge)

The CubieBoard9 integrates 3GB LPDDR3 and 16GB eMMC plus a microSD slot. The product page mentions a 10/100 Ethernet port — just like the CubieBoard6 and 7 — which is disappointing considering that the CubieBoard4 has a 10/100/1000 GbE port.

The CubieBoard9 also provides a wireless module with 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.1 via an Ampak AP6255 module. This week, as part of its WiFi 6 (802.11ax) announcement (or more accurately Wi-Fi 6 for those who are not too lazy to use hyphens), the Wi-Fi Alliance has simplified the WiFi naming scheme. The 802.11n spec is now called WiFi 4, 802.11ac is WiFi 5, and 802.11ax is WiFi 6.

The CubieBoard9 features far more media interfaces than the Cubieboard4. You get dual independent displays with a choice of 2x HDMI 1.4 ports for [email protected] video plus 2x LVDS and single MIPI-DSI and eDP interfaces. These are joined by dual MIPI-CSI connections and dual audio jacks.



CubieBoard9 dimensions (left) and package contents
(click images to enlarge)

A USB 3.0 OTG port and 4x USB 2.0 ports are onboard along with a UART and a pair of GPIO connectors. Other features include IR, RTC, heatsink, case, and a LiPo battery connector. The product page headline reads “Ture&Full,” which may be a mispelling of “true” or perhaps refers to the Norwegian slang for “party on.”

Preliminary specifications listed for the CubieBoard9 include:

  • Processor — Actions Semiconductor Actions S900 (4x Cortex-A53 cores @ up to 1.8GHz); PowerVR G6230 GPU @ 600MHz with OpenGL ES 3.1
  • Memory/storage:
    • 3GB LPDDR3-800 64-bit RAM (possible option for 2GB)
    • 16GB eMMC
    • MicroSD slot
  • Wireless — Dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz) WiFi 5 (ac) with Bluetooth 4.1 (Ampak AP6255) with ant. connector and ext. antenna
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Display/media I/O:
    • 2x HDMI 1.4a ports at up to 4K @ 30fps
    • MIPI-DSI
    • 2x LVDS (DSI)
    • eDP (DSI)
    • MIPI-CSI
    • MIPI/DVP-CSI
    • Dual independent display support
    • 2x audio jacks (mic-in, earphone out); second mic-in header
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 OTG port
    • 4x USB 2.0 host ports
    • 2x GPIO headers
    • UART header
  • Other features — IR receiver; RTC with cell battery connector; 2x LEDs; power, reset keys; ADFU key; heatsink; acrylic case kit
  • Power — 5V DC jack; Li-Po battery connector
  • Dimensions — 115 x 111 x 18mm

 
Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the CubieBoard9. More information may be found on the CubieTech CubieBoard9 product page, and information may eventually appear on Cubieboard.org.
 

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