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Three open-spec RK3399 SBCs go on sale, including an AI-enabled model

Nov 5, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1557 views

The RK3399-based Khadas Edge SBC has launched on Indiegogo along with a new Edge-1S model that uses the AI-enhanced RK3399Pro SoC and an Edge-V model that replaces the Edge’s MXM3 connector with 40-pin GPIO and adds MIPI-DSI and -CSI.

In July, Shenzhen Wesion’s Khadas project showed off the unusual Khadas Edge SBC, which runs Linux or Android on Rockchip’s hexa-core RK3399 SoC. Now Khadas has gone to Indiegogo with a $50K flexible funding campaign for the Khadas Edge and two new models.

The new Edge-V version has a form factor similar to the Amlogic based Khadas Vim and Khadas Vim2. It replaces the Edge’s MXM3 golden finger with a more familiar, Raspberry Pi-like 40-pin connector. There’s also an Edge-1S model that runs on Rockchip’s new neural chip enhanced RK3399Pro SoC.



Khadas Edge (left) and new Khadas Edge-V
(click images to enlarge)

The Khadas Edge-V is designed for general purpose hacking and home theater applications while the Edge and Edge-1S are aimed at professional embedded development and deployment. These include applications like computer clusters, drones, and augmented reality gear.

Early bird packages for the Khadas Edge and Khadas Edge-V are identically price and include a free accessory bundle. The Edge early bird gives you a free Edge IO debugging daughter-card and Edge heatsink while the Edge-V package tosses in a free Khadas Vim-style heatsink.



Khadas Edge (left) and rear view with Edge IO daughter-board
(click images to enlarge)

There are several other extra-cost accessories including a $9 bundle that gives you a heatsink and an Edge IO daughter-board, which enables serial debug and easier GPIO expansion. Other options include a fan with USB-C adapter ($14), a camera with LiPo battery ($19), and the Khadas Captain carrier board option, which is aimed primarily at gaming console configurations (see farther below). The Captain Carrier, which costs $39 with a free, 5-inch, HD multitouch screen, appears to work only with the MXM3-equipped Edge and Edge-1S models, not the Edge-V.

The Edge Basic and Edge-V Basic are each available for $99 with 2GB LPDDR4 and 16GB eMMC 5.1. There’s also a Pro (4GB/32GB) model for $149 and a Max version (4GB/128GB) for $199. Once the early birds are gone, the price remains the same, but without the free accessories.

An experimental version of the AI-enhanced Edge-1S model is available for $299, including free Edge IO and Captain Carrier boards, a 24W USB Type-C adapter, and a 3705 Cooling Fan. This “high risk” board has the same January ship date as the other models, but only if the campaign reaches $200,000. Otherwise, it will be delayed. Another stretch goal ($350K) is for a NextC Case, and if the campaign reaches $500K, Khadas will give away the NextC case free with every Edge and Edge-1S, and offer a free DIY Case for the Edge-V.

Like the Khadas Vim boards, the Edge boards will ship with schematics and other open source files. They all support Android P, mainline Linux (including Ubuntu), and LibreELEC.

 
Khadas Edge and Khadas Edge-1S

The Khadas Edge specs haven’t changed much since July — the only enhancement that registers in our spec list is the Max model’s 128GB instead of 64GB eMMC. The final board also has softer pushbuttons and a new fan header that supports the “cooler and quieter 3705 cooling fan,” says Khadas.



Khadas Edge detail view (left) and a block diagram for the Rockchip RK339Pro found on the Khadas Edge-1S
(click images to enlarge)

In addition, there are 4x new PMOS logic chips for bi-directional power input and output. “It could power the Captain Carrier Board via USB-C PD, or the Captain could power the Edge via the 12v barrel jack and battery module,” says Khadas. There are also improved heatsink and 3705 cooling fan options.

The new Edge-1S is identical to the Edge except for the new RK3399Pro SoC, which adds a Neural Network Processing Unit (NPU) with 8- and 16-bit processing. The NPU offers up to 2.4TOPS performance according to Rockchip’s original announcement, and up to 3.0TOPS, 800MHz performance according to Khadas. The NPU supports Tensorflow, Caffe, MLlib, and other deep learning models for AI applications such as face recognition, object detection and tracking. The Edge-1s board adds 1GB (Basic) to 2GB (Pro and Max) of dedicated RAM for the NPU.

The RK3399Pro was supposed to be an easy hardware upgrade for the Vamrs Rock960 96Boards CE board and the delayed, similarly RK3399-based 96Boards Enterprise Edition (EE) Rock960 EE (Ficus). However, in September, Vamrs’ 96Rocks community blog revealed that contrary to early Rockchip claims, the delayed RK3399Pro was not pin-to-pin compatible with the RK3399 and needed at least 512MB of dedicated RAM for the NPU. It also emerged that the Pro lacks the RK3399’s support for USB OTG and only supports one of the two Type-C interfaces.

Rockchip also revealed that the Pro footprint is larger (27 x 27mm). As a result, it won’t fit in the 96Boards CE footprint. Vamrs is still considering the SoC for its larger Rock960 EE board and might possibly create a new 96Boards CE Extended board with the Pro.

 
Khadas Captain Carrier

Both the Khadas Edge and Khadas Edge-1S are designed to plug into the optional Captain Carrier to make a more feature rich, sandwich-style board. The carrier offers a real-world GbE port and dual gamepads, as well as several features that are built into the more feature-rich Edge-V model. These include an APDS-9960 sensor module, a microSD slot, and a storage-ready M.2 2280.



Khadas Captain Carrier detail (left) and detail view showing power prioritization of Edge with Captain combo
(click images to enlarge)

Other Captain Carrier features shared with the Edge-V include an eDP interface and MIPI-DSI and -CSI connections. The Captain Carrier is further equipped with an audio jack, touch-panel interface, IR, buzzer, RTC header, Li-Po battery charging circuit, and more (see diagram above).

 
Khadas Edge-V

The new Khadas Edge-V SBC shares the base feature set of the Edge and Edge-1S, but the layout is different. It also adds some major new features that essentially duplicate the Edge/Captain Carrier combo. The 82 x 58mm board is only a half millimeter longer on the latter dimension, but is more than twice as tall, with a 13.5mm profile instead of 5.7mm.



Khadas Edge-V
(click image to enlarge)

Identical features on the Edge and Edge-V include the the single USB 3.0 and 2.0 host ports. Once again, you get 4K-ready HDMI 2.0a and DisplayPorts, with the latter once again available via one of the two USB Type-C ports. As with the Edge, the Basic model provides dual-band WiFi 5 (802.11ac) with Bluetooth 4.1. The Pro and Max models similarly boost the Bluetooth to 5.0 and add RSDB (real simultaneous dual band) technology. RSDB permits simultaneous independent operation of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, enabling streaming of a game to a smartphone while streaming video from the smartphone to a smart TV. Like the Edge and Edge-1S, the Edge-V provides a wide-range power supply.

Gone are the 314-pin board-to-board connector and the pair of FPC connectors. These are replaced with a 40-pin GPIO connector that also expresses the STM MCU signals for the 8-bit STM8S003 microcontroller with programmable EEPROM (also available on the other Edge boards). In addition to the eMMC flash, there’s a new microSD slot and an M.2 2280 socket, which supports SSD and NVMe cards as well as other PCIe 2.1-based add-ons.



Khadas Edge-V detail view (left) and comparison chart for all three Edge variants
(click images to enlarge)

Also new on the Edge-V are four-lane MIPI-CSI, MIPI-DSI, and eDP 1.3 interfaces. The MIPI-CSI connector supports dual 13-megapixel cameras. Finally, the Edge-V adds a touch-panel connector, an RTC, an IR receiver, a sensor module with gesture control, and 6x-axis motion tracking. It’s unclear if there’s a real GbE port, or as with the Edge, only the PHY, as listed in the specs. The photos show an empty RJ45 socket.

Specs for the Edge and Edge-1S are listed in our earlier Edge story. Specifications listed for the new Khadas Edge-V include:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 at up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53) with Mali-T860 GPU; 8-bit STM8S003 with programmable EEPROM
  • Memory:
    • Basic — 2GB LPDDR4 RAM, 16GB eMMC 5.1
    • Pro — 4GB/32GB
    • Max — 4GB/128GB
    • All models — 16MB SPI flash
  • Storage:
    • eMMC (see “Memory”)
    • MicroSD 3.0 slot for up to 256GB
    • M.2 2280 socket (see “Expansion) for SSDs and NVMes
  • Wireless:
    • Basic — 802.11b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz/5GHz 2×2 MIMO with Bluetooth 4.1 (Broadcom AP6356S)
    • Pro and Max — 802.11b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz/5GHz 2×2 MIMO with RSDB and Bluetooth 5.0 (Broadcom AP6938S)
    • 2x I-PEX WiFi antennas
  • Networking — GbE port with WoL
  • Display/camera:
    • HDMI 2.0a port with CEC for up to up to [email protected], HDCP 2.2
    • DisplayPort 1.2 available via 1x USB Type-C
    • Simultaneous dual display support
    • MIPI-DSI (4-lane)
    • eDP 1.3 (4-lane)
    • MIPI-CSI (4-lane) for 2x 13-MP cameras
    • Touch-panel FPC connector
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 Type-C ports (1x power only, 1x with DP and USB support)
    • USB 3.0 host port
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • Fan header
  • Expansion:
    • 40-pin GPIO (USB, I2C, SPI, I2S, SPDIF, ADC, and STM8S MCU I/Os)
    • M.2 2280 socket with PCIe and SSD support including NVMe
  • Other features:
    • 3x buttons
    • 3x LEDs
    • 4x mounting holes
    • RTC with battery header
    • IR receiver
    • Sensor module — digital RGB, ambient light, proximity and gesture sensor (Broadcom APDS-9960)
    • 6x-axis motion tracking module with 3-axis gyro and 3-axis accelerometer (TDK InvenSense ICM20602)
    • Optional heatsink, fan, case, Edge IO, Captain Carrier boards
  • Power — 5-20V DC input via USB Type-C, Pogo Pads; 2-cell battery module
  • Weight — 31 gm
  • Dimensions — 82.0 x 58 x 13.5mm
  • Operating system — Android P, Ubuntu 18.04, Debian 9.0, etc. with mainline Linux and U-Boot; support for TensorFlow and Android NN (Neural Networks API)

 
Further information

The Khadas Edge and Khadas Edge-V are available on Indiegogo for the next month starting at $99 and ship in January. The Khadas Edge-1S is available in an experimental $299 dev kit due in January or later, depending on funding. More information may be found on the Khadas Edge Indiegogo page and the Khadas website.

 

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