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Firefly launches $89 and up SBC with an RK3566 and M.2 storage

May 17, 2021 — by Eric Brown — 3176 views

Firefly has launched a “ROC-RK3566-PC” SBC with a Rockchip RK3566 and 2GB ($89) or 4GB ($119) RAM plus 32GB eMMC, GbE, WiFi/BT, MIPI, HDMI, M.2, and 3x USB. Specs have also been posted for a RK3568-based model.

T-Chip Technology’s Firefly community project is continuing its transition to Rockchip’s quad-core, Cortex-A55 based RK3566 and RK3568 by launching its first monolithic SBC based on the RK3566. The company also posted specs for a more feature-rich model that taps the similarly NPU-equipped RK3568.

The $89 and up ROC-RK3566-PC and upcoming ROC-RK3568-PC boards follow Firefly’s RK3568-powered Core-3568J module and sandwich-style dev kit, as well as its Station P2 mini-PC, both of which feature the RK3568. The Station P2 appears to be based on the ROC-RK3568-PC, which we cover farther below.



ROC-RK3566-PC, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The ROC-RK3566-PC, which we saw on CNXSoft, appears to be the first community backed board currently available with the RK3566. Pine64’s similarly open-spec, RK3566 powered Quart64 Model A SBC and smaller, Raspberry Pi sized Quartz64 Model B have yet to reach market. Geniatech, meanwhile, has announced commercial RK3566 and RK3568 Development Boards and Beiqui is prepping a TB-96AI-3568-CE board due later this month that complies with the 96Boards CE Extended v2.0 standard.


ROC-RK3566-PC portside views
(click images to enlarge)

Like Rockchip’s RK3568, the RK3566 is equipped with 4x up to Cortex-A55 cores, but they top out at 1.8GHz instead of 2.0GHz on the RK3568. They both provide a Mali-G52 EE GPU and a 0.8-TOPS NPU. I/O is scaled back, however to dual independent displays, a single GbE port, and PCIe 2.1 instead of the RK3568’s triple displays, dual GbE, PCIe 3.0 x2, and PCIe 2.1.

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The 90 x 60mm ROC-RK3566-PC is currently available with an Android 11 image, but Firefly plans to add support for its Android-based Station OS (Firefly Geek System), which offers a variety of applications plus seamless switching between desktop and media modes. There will also be support for Ubuntu 18.04 and Linux Buildroot with Qt. Schematics have already been posted.

The ROC-RK3566-PC is available at $89 with 2GB LPDDR4 and $119 with 4GB, both with all-data-link ECC RAM support and 32GB eMMC. Future SKUs will offer 8GB RAM and up to 128GB eMMC. The board comes with a microSD slot, which is bootable along with eMMC and USB.



ROC-RK3566-PC detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The ROC-RK3566-PC is equipped with an M.2 slot that supports NVMe storage. There is also a GbE port, WiFi/BT, USB 3.0 and 2.0 host ports, and a Type-C OTG port with power input. A 26-pin GPIO header supplies other interfaces.

Media features include an HDMI 2.0 port, MIPI-DSI, and dual MIPI-CSI interfaces. The SoC supports up to 8MP cameras. An audio jack and IR receiver are available, and the board has a -10 to 60°C operating range.



Station M2 (left) and Rockchip RK3566 block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

At the bottom of the datasheet, Firefly has posted a teaser and an image for a Station M2 mini-PC for media and gaming. The system will be loaded with Station OS, 8GB RAM, and an M.2 SSD, presumably NVMe.

Specifications listed for the ROC-RK3566-PC include:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK3566 (4x Cortex-A55 @ up to 1.8GHz); Mali-G52 GPU; 0.8-TOPS NPU
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4 (expandable up to 8GB) with all-data-link ECC support
    • 32GB eMMC (expandable to 64GB or 128GB)
    • MicroSD slot
    • NVMe available via M.2 (see expansion)
  • Networking:
    • GbE port
    • 802.11a/b/g/n with Bluetooth 5.0
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI 2.0 port for up to [email protected] with audio output
    • MIPI-DSI (4-lane) up to 1080p60 (or dual-channel up to 2560×[email protected]); supports LVDS
    • Touch support via I2C
    • 2x MIPI-CSI (2-lane and 2- or 4-lane)
    • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 host port
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • USB OTG Type-C port with 5V input
    • 26-pin GPIO including I2C, SPI, UART, ADC, PWM, GPIO, PCIe, and I2S
  • Expansion — M.2 2242 slot with NVMe SSD support
  • Other features — IR receiver; 2-color LED
  • Power — 5V/3A DC input jack
  • Dimensions — 90 x 60mm
  • Power — 5V input via Type-C; power, reset, and recovery buttons
  • Operating temperature — -10 to 60°C
  • Operating system — Android 11; Station OS; Ubuntu 18.04; Linux Buildroot with Qt

 
ROC-RK3568-PC

When the Station P2 launched on Indiegogo last month, we speculated it was based on the Core-3568J module. However, a comparison of the specs and a mention of the P2 at the end of the ROC-RK3568-PC datasheet suggests the SBC is the P2’s mainboard. The Station P2 fell short of the goals of its now completed Indiegogo campaign, but Firefly promises to ship the mini-PCs to backers.



ROC-RK3568-PC (left) and Rockchip RK3568 block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

As explained above, Rockchip’s RK3568 is almost identical to the RK3566 except for a higher clock rate and more extensive I/O support. Not surprisingly, then, Firefly’s upcoming ROC-RK3568-PC SBC shares many features with the ROC-RK3566-PC. Yet, this larger, 138.0 × 77.5mm SBC offers several more advanced features, as well.

The OS, RAM, eMMC, microSD and features are the same as with the ROC-RK3566-PC. The M.2 slot expands to PCIe 3.0 and adds support for 2280 NVMe modules. It also adds SATA 3.0 and a larger number of I/O pins via dual 30-pin banks.



ROC-RK3568-PC detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Instead of one Gigabit Ethernet port, you get two, and the WiFi moves up to 802.11ax (WiFi 6). However, we see no mention of PoE support, which is available with one of the GbE ports on the Station P2.


Station P2

The ROC-RK3568-PC has all the media features of the ROC-RK3566-PC plus a second DSI interface and eDP 1.3 for up to 2560×[email protected] You also get speaker and SPDIF interfaces.

Other new features include a second USB 2.0 port, and an RJ45 port, which is listed with the note: (Expand with 1× RS485 + 2× RS232). A 12V jack or 5V Type-C are available for power, and the temperature range is -10 to 60°C.

 
Further information

The ROC-RK3566-PC is available in limited quantities at $89 with 2GB LPDDR4 and $119 with 4GB. More information may be found on Firefly’s ROC-RK3566-PC shopping page and product page, as well as a download page.

No pricing or availability information was provided for the ROC-RK3568-PC. More information may be found on the ROC-RK3568-PC product page.
 

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