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Aaeon’s RK3288-powered Pico-ITX sells for $91

Feb 4, 2021 — by Eric Brown 7,253 views

Aaeon has launched a $91 “RICO-3288MINI” Pico-ITX SBC that runs Android or Debian on a Rockchip RK3288 with 2GB DDR3L, 16GB eMMC, 3x USB, GbE, and a 4K-ready HDMI port.

Commercial embedded vendors like Aaeon have long sold SBCs at a premium over similar maker-oriented hacker boards aimed at individual buyers with arguments such as better components or the stability of the vendor. Yet, in what may be a first, Aaeon has quietly introduced an under $100 Arm board that is at least marginally competitive in features with community backed entries.

RICO-3288MINI and detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The Rockchip RK3288 based RICO-3288MINI is available in single units for only $91 with 2G DDR3L and 16GB eMMC compared to $80 (2GB/16GB) to $100 (4GB/32GB) for T-Firefly’s Firefly-RK3288 and $100 (2GB/16GB) for the Tinker Board S. These are the only two remaining RK3288 boards in our recently updated catalog of 150 Linux hacker boards.

Tinker Board S

It is perhaps only a coincidence that the Raspberry Pi-like Tinker Board S is made by Asus, an even larger commercial hardware vendor. Unlike that model, however, the RICO-3288MINI does not ship with open specifications and other community resources.


The RICO-3288MINI offers fewer features than its competitors, and let’s be honest: The quad-core, Cortex-A17 based RK3288 is no longer a hot ticket. There are far more competitors in our catalog that use the quad -A53 RK3328 and the hexa-core -A72 and -A53 RK3399.

The RICO-3288MINI is a budget, scaled-down alternative to Aaeon’s four year old RICO-3288 Pico-ITX board, which now sells for $142. Surprisingly, even Aaeon’s RK3399 powered RICO-3399 sells for a somewhat competitive $187 with 2GB LPDDR3 and 16GB eMMC, although like the new RICO-3288MINI, it is currently listed as out of stock.

Compared to the RICO-3288, the RICO-3288MINI lacks a microSD slot, mini-PCIe slot, and nano-SIM slot, and there are no options for WiFi/BT or GPS. Gone are the eDP and LVDS interfaces, and the HDMI port has been reduced to a still 4K ready HDMI 1.4. The RK3288 has been clocked down from 1.8GHz to 1.6GHz.

Also missing is the serial port, optional CAN, and audio interfaces, and there is no extended temperature option. There are a few improvements, however. The stripped-down board weighs only 0.1 kg and you can now load Debian Linux with Linux Kernel 4.4 along with Android, which has been upgraded to version 9 (Pie).

RICO-3288MINI block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

By comparison, the Firefly-RK3288 and Tinker Board S both provide WiFi/BT and more expansion I/O, which is deployed via a Pi-like 40-pin connector on the Tinker Board S. Unlike either of the Aaeon models, you get MIPI-DSI and CSI, and the Tinker Board S provides two additional USB ports.

Specifications listed for the RICO-3288MINI include:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK3288 (4x Cortex-A17 cores @ 1.6GHz); Mali-T764 GPU
  • Memory:
    • 2GB DDR3L RAM
    • 16GB eMMC flash
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI 1.4 port for up to 4Kx2K @ 60Hz
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port
    • 8-bit GPIO
  • Other features – Watchdog; RTC with coincell battery
  • Power — 12V DC jack; RK808 PMIC; optional 60W adapter
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C
  • Weight — 0.1 k
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm; Pico-ITX form factor
  • Operating system — Android 9.0 or Debian Linux (Kernel 4.4)

Further information

The RICO-3288MINI is newly listed at $91 but is currently out of stock. More information may be found on Aaeon’s product and shopping pages.

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One response to “Aaeon’s RK3288-powered Pico-ITX sells for $91”

  1. Fh says:

    Would be great to know if maybe the flash memory is better quality.

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