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Orange Pi 4 has an RK3399 and an optional NPU

Nov 19, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 4099 views

Shenzhen Xunlong has posted preliminary specs for a Rockchip RK3399 based “Orange Pi 4” SBC that is smaller and more affordable than the Orange Pi RK3399 and faster and more feature rich than the Orange Pi 3. A 4B variant adds a Lightspeeur 2801S AI chip.

New Orange Pi boards usually just show up unannounced on AliExpress, but for the fourth iteration of its flagship Orange Pi board, Shenzhen Xunlong teased some detail views on Twitter. The Orange Pi 4 and an AI-enhanced Orange Pi 4B will ship in two weeks. Pricing is undisclosed, but the boards will be “cheaper” than the previous Rockchip RK3399-based Orange Pi, the Orange Pi RK3399. That larger SBC debuted at $109 and now sells for $89 with 2GB DDR3 and 16GB eMMC compared to 4GB LPDDR4 and 16GB eMMC for the Orange Pi 4.



Orange Pi 4 detail view
(click image to enlarge)

While the Orange Pi 4 uses the same RK3399 SoC as the Orange Pi RK3399, it’s design is more like the smaller, Raspberry Pi like Orange Pi 3, based on the Allwinner H6. The Orange Pi 4B variant adds a Lightspeeur 2801S (or SPR2801S) NPU from Gyrfalcon Technology, Inc (GTI). This is the same 2.8 TOPS at 0.3 Watts (or 5.6 TOPS @ 100MHz) AI accelerator found on the recent Orange Pi AI Stick Lite USB stick.


Orange Pi 4B detail view showing SPR2801S NPU at right
(click image to enlarge)

The Orange Pi 4 and Orange Pi 4B are slightly smaller than the Orange Pi 3 at 90 × 64mm. The boards are powered by the widely deployed RK3399, which offers two Cortex-A72 cores, typically clocked at 1.8GHz to 2.0GHz, as well as four Cortex-A53 cores at up to 1.42GHz. There’s also a high-end ARM Mali-T864 GPU.


Orange Pi 4 (left) and 4B rear detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The Orange Pi 4 is equipped with single GbE (RTL811E), HDMI, USB 3.0 Type-C, USB 3.0 host, and 2x USB 2.0 host ports. As noted by CNXSoft, because the Orange Pi 4B’s NPU connects to the RK3399 via USB 3.0, the 4B omits the USB 3.0 host port.

Otherwise the two models appear to be identical except a minor layout shift. Both models have a microSD slot, dual LCD connectors, a camera header, a serial debug interface, a mic, and an audio I/O jack (ALC5651 codec). Expansion needs are handled with a 24-pin PCIe interface and Raspberry Pi like 40-pin GPIO header.

The Orange Pi 4 is further equipped with an Ampak AP6356S wireless module with dual band 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1, accompanied by an external antenna. The SBC has a 5V/3A DC jack, a PMIC (Rockchip RK808), and recovery and reset buttons.

Like the Orange Pi 4, the 4B model ships with 4GB LPDDR4 and 16GB eMMC. Earlier this year, there was a 4GB/16GB version of the Orange Pi RK3399 selling for $100, but it is no longer available.



Orange Pi RK3399 (left) and Orange Pi 3 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Compared to the Orange Pi RK3399, the Orange Pi 4 is missing the additional display connectors, including a DP input and an HDMI output, as well as the mSATA connector, digital audio interfaces, SIM slot, IR receiver, sensors, and more. There are also fewer USB ports, although the Orange Pi RK3399 lacks the full-size USB 3.0 host port found on the Orange Pi 4. The 24-pin PCIe interface offers some interesting possibilities, but perhaps without the plug-and-play convenience of the Orange Pi 3’s mini-PCIe slot.

Compared to the Orange Pi 3, the Orange Pi 4 offers more RAM and eMMC and gives you 40- rather than 26-pin GPIO. It also adds WiFi/BT, LCD and camera interfaces, and the optional NPU, and the the RK3399 is faster than the relatively high-end, quad -A53 Allwinner H6. There are fewer USB ports, however — the Orange Pi 3 has 4x USB 3.0 and single USB 2.0 and micro-USB 2.0 ports.

The Orange Pi 4 will almost certainly be another community-backed, open-spec board with downloadable Linux and Android images. The Orange Pi RK3399 supports Android 6.0 and Debian 9.

 
Lightspeeur 5801

GTI’s Lightspeeur 2801S is a lower-end sibling to the to 24-TOPS/W Lightspeeur 2803S NPU (16.8 TOPS @ 700 mW), which is built into SolidRun’s i.MX 8M Mini SOM. However, it’s more powerful than the 3-TOPS NPU on the RK3399Pro variant found on SBCs such as the Vamrs Toybrick RK3399Pro and Asus’ upcoming Tinker Edge R.

Yesterday, CNXSoft reported on a new low-power NPU from GTI called the Lightspeeur 5801. Like the Lightspeeur 2801S, the Lightspeeur 5801 is designed to run at 2.8 TOPS, but at only 224 mW instead of 0.3W, resulting in 12.6 TOPS/W performance.

The 5801 has four times the image input size compared to the 2801S, thereby supporting higher resolution images, and it supports a clock range as low as 50-200MHz. It’s also touted for its low 4ms latency. It’s already shipping in LG’s new LG Q70 smartphone, which uses it for “delivering premium imaging and video features.”

 
Further information

The unpriced Orange Pi 4 should be available by the end of the month, likely coinciding with Cyber Monday. More information may be found on the Shenzhen Xunlong Twitter teaser and eventually on the Orange Pi website.

 

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