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Rock Pi N10 SBC delivers AI-enhanced RK3399Pro starting at $99

Dec 4, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 948 views

Radxa’s “Rock Pi N10” SBC runs Debian or Android 8.1 on an RK3399Pro for $99 (4GB RAM/16GB eMMC), $129 (6GB/32GB), or $169 (8GB/64GB), with the RAM split between the 6x CPU cores and the up to 3-TOPS NPU. The SBC is built around a Vamrs VMARC RK3399Pro SoM.

Radxa has gone to Seeed to launch an open-spec, community-backed Rock Pi N10 SBC with an AI-enabled Rockchip RK3399Pro SoC delivered via Vamrs’ VMARC RK3399Pro SoM compute module. While the RK3399Pro is essentially a hexa-core RK3399 that adds an up to 3-TOPS NPU, the Rock Pi N10 is not just a Rock Pi 4 with an updated Pro SoC. Unlike that RK3399-based Raspberry Pi pseudo-clone, the Rock Pi N10 is a sandwich-style 100 x 100mm board. Despite the larger size, the feature set is very similar.



Rock Pi N10
(click images to enlarge)

Like other RK3399Pro based boards such as Vamrs’ $299 (6GB RAM/32GB eMMC) Toybrick RK3399Pro, Geniatech’s commercial, unpriced DB3399 Pro (up to 6GB/32GB), and Asus’ upcoming, community-backed Tinker Edge R (up to 6GB/16GB), the Rock Pi N10 has a maximum RAM allotment beyond the RK3399’s 4GB limit so it can feed the NPU. Three models are available:

  • Model A — 4GB LPDDR3 (3GB for CPU, 1GB for NPU); 16GB eMMC
  • Model B — 6GB LPDDR3 (4GB for CPU, 2GB for NPU); 32GB eMMC
  • Model C — 8GB LPDDR3 (4GB for CPU, 4GB for NPU); 64GB eMMC



Vamrs VMARC RK3399Pro SoM
(click image to enlarge)

The VMARC RK3399Pro SoM is available in these same configurations, and although Radxa does not promote its presence, it lists schematics for the module on its wiki. Vamrs does not use the module for its Toybrick RK3399Pro, but pairs it with a 96Boards Enterprise Edition (EE) compatible Ficus2 carrier board. The combo was quietly posted on a 96Boards page back in April. This is the promised Rock960 Enterprise Edition (see farther below).


Rock Pi N10 rear view showing long NVMe SSD M.2 module and possibly the future WiFi/BT module (left) and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

Radxa instead pairs the 82 x 50mm, SODIMM-style VMARC RK3399Pro SoM, which is hidden under the heatsink, with its own carrier board, code-named Dalang. Aside from the different memory and processor, the feature set is almost identical to the original Rock Pi 4. The Rock Pi N10 lacks the 2-lane mini-DisplayPort of the more recent, $74.95 Rock Pi 4C, which essentially replaces the original. (That 4C model also reduces the HDMI port to a micro-HDMI.)


Rock Pi 4C

The Rock Pi N10 has one less USB 3.0 host port than the Rock Pi 4 and 4C, and instead of the standard wireless module, there’s an empty M.2 slot waiting for a future WiFi/BT module, which will be available as an option. Otherwise, I/O is similar, with GbE with PoE via a bring-your-own Raspberry Pi PoE HAT that plugs into the 40-pin connector.

Other similar features include a second M.2 socket with NVMe SSD support, HDMI 2.0a, eDP, MIPI-DSI/CSI, and more as seen in the spec list below. This is an open-spec board with support for Debian and Android 8.1.

Considering the price differential between the $74.95 Rock Pi 4C with 4GB RAM and WiFi/BT (but with an empty eMMC socket) and the $99 Rock Pi N10 with 4GB LPDDR3 (but only 3GB for the CPU) and 16GB eMMC with no wireless, you’re paying a substantial sum here for Rockchip’s 3-TOPS NPU and the memory to support it. This is perhaps why Shenzhen Xunlong instead opted for a cheaper 2.8-TOPS Lightspeeur 2801S NPU for its recently launched, RK3399-based Orange Pi 4B, which sells for $69.90 with 4GB LPDDR4 and 16GB eMMC. This compares to $59.90 for the NPU-less Orange Pi 4, which is also available in a $49.90 version with no eMMC.



Rock Pi N10 side detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Still, the Rock Pi N10 is the only affordable, community-backed RK3399Pro board around right now. We should soon see if the Tinker Edge R will ship with a competitive price. The CNXSoft story that alerted us to the N10 notes benchmarks that show the RK3399Pro beating the AI-enabled Jetson Nano module when using the MobileNetV2 AI model. In reference to the Orange Pi 4B’s Lightspeeur 2801S NPU, the story added that “some people have had issues getting access to Gyrfalcon SDK and even forums.”

Specifications listed for the Rock Pi N10 include:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399Pro (2x Cortex-A72 at up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T860 MP4 GPU; 3-TOPs NPU with 8/16-bit compute
  • Memory:
    • Model A — 4GB LPDDR3 (3GB for CPU, 1GB for NPU); 16GB eMMC 5.1
    • Model B — 6GB LPDDR3 (4GB for CPU, 2GB for NPU); 32GB eMMC
    • Model C — 8GB LPDDR3 (4GB for CPU, 4GB for NPU); 64GB eMMC
  • Storage:
    • MicroSD slot for up to 128GB (bootable)
    • M.2 socket with support for up to 2TB NVMe SSD
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port with PoE (requires extra-cost RPi PoE HAT); optional WiFi/BT module coming soon via M.2
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI 2.0a port for up to 4K at 60Hz
    • MIPI-DSI (2-lane) via FPC; dual display mirror or extend with HDMI
    • MIPI-CSI (2-lane) via FPC for up to 8MP camera
    • eDP 1.3 (4-lane) up to 4K at 60Hz
    • 3.5mm audio I/O jack (24-bit/96KHz)
    • Mic
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 OTG port and host/device switch
    • USB Type-C port for power input
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Expansion:
    • 40-pin GPIO header with RPi HAT support (6x GPIO, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, 2x 5VDC in, 2x 3,3V, UART, PCM/I2S, SPDIF, PWM, ADC)
    • M.2 slot for future optional WiFi/BT module
    • M.2 slot for NVMe SSD (see storage)
  • Other features — IR receiver; RTC with optional battery connector
  • Power:
    • USB Type-C PD 2.0, 9V/2A, 12V/2A, 15V/2A, 20V/2A
    • Qualcomm Quick Charge support for QC 3.0/2.0 adapter, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A
    • Power button; reset and recovery keys
  • Dimensions — 100 x 100mm
  • Operating system — Android 8.1; Debian

 
Vamrs Ficus2

The Vamrs Ficus2 carrier, which is currently paired with the Vamrs VMARC RK3399Pro SoM, but could potentially support other compute modules, supports the 160 x 120mm 96Boards Enterprise Edition (EE) form factor. Ficus2 is the new name for the previously teased Rock960 Enterprise Edition version of Vamr’s 96Boards CE compatible Rock960 SBC. The Ficus2 does not appear to be publicly available with single-unit pricing, but may be available to OEM customers.



Vamrs Ficus2 carrier board detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The feature-rich Ficus2 provides 96Boards 40- and 60-pin Mezzanine connectors, as well as a 4-lane PCIe interface. Like the Rock Pi N10, you get GbE with PoE, USB 3.0 OTG, and dual USB 2.0 host ports. There’s an HDMI port, as well as eDP, LVDS, and MIPI-DSI.

The Ficus2 is further equipped with microSD, SPDIF, standard WiFi/BT, and optional 4G. Other features may be seen in the diagram above and via the link farther below.

 
Further information

The Rock Pi N10 is available now starting at $99, with shipments due Dec. 16. More information may be found on the Seeed shopping pages for the Model A, Model B, and top-of-the-line Model C. Radxa has also posted a Rock Pi N10 wiki. It’s still pretty barebones, although there’s a fairly detailed spec list under the Getting Started section.

More on the Vamrs VMARC RK3399Pro SoM and Ficus2 may be found on this 96Boards page.

 

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One response to “Rock Pi N10 SBC delivers AI-enhanced RK3399Pro starting at $99”

  1. jovan says:

    why buy this vs orange pi 4 ?

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