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Firefly shines a light on RK3568 with a module and dev kit

Mar 26, 2021 — by Eric Brown 996 views

Firefly has posted specs for a “Core-3568J” module featuring the quad -A55, NPU-equipped RK3568 with up to 8G RAM and triple display support, plus a dev kit with 2x M.2 and 2x GbE with PoE.

T-Firefly’s Firefly project has posted a product page for a Core-3568J AI Core Board module and an unnamed industrial development kit based on it (see farther below). Applications include smart NVRs, cloud terminals, IoT gateways, industrial control, edge computing, face recognition gates, NAS devices, and vehicle center consoles.

The Core-3568J runs Android 11.0 or Ubuntu 18.04 on Rockchip’s 22nm-fabricated RK3568, which incorporates a quad-core block of up to 2.0GHz Cortex-A55 cores. The RK3568 has a dual-core Mali-G52 EE GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1 to 3.2, Vulkan 1.1, and OpenGL 2.0 and a VPU with support for 4Kp60 decode and 1080p60 encode. There is also an 8MP ISP with HDR support and an up to 800MHz, 0.8-TOPS NPU for RK NN acceleration.

Core-3568J AI Core Board

The RK3568 has been announced on a RK3568 Development Board from Geniatech. The company also offers a similar board based on the similarly quad -A55 RK3566, which has scaled back I/O support.


This week, Beiqui Cloud revealed limited specs for an RK3568-based TB-96AI-3568-CE SBC that debuts the new 96Boards CE v2.0 extended form factor. Pine64, meanwhile, is prepping a Quartz64 SBC with the RK3566, and we can expect many more products this year based on the new SoCs. (See our Geniatech RK3568 Development Board report for more details on the RK3568 and RK3566.)

The 82.0 x 53.5mm Core-3568J is larger than last year’s Core-1808-JD4 AI Core Board, based on the dual Cortex-A35 RK1808, which has a 3-TOPS NPU. It is a bit smaller than Firefly’s earlier RK3399 Coreboard, which similarly integrates a 314-finger MXM 3.0 expansion connector.

The Core-3568J, which was spotted by CNXSoft, is available with 2GB to 8GB LPDDR4-1600 — twice the maximum of the Geniatech board. Unlike that SBC, it supports all-data-link ECC RAM. The module can load 32GB to 128GB eMMC, and there is support for microSD, SATA 3.0 based 2.5-inch drives, and M.2 with PCIe 3.0 for SSDs and NVMe.

The module enables dual GbE ports, including one port that supports PoE+ (802.3 AT). There is also support for WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0 on a connected carrier board. A second M.2 interface supports up to 5G cellular. Alternatively, the M.2’s PCIe signal can instead be used for a mini-PCIe slot for up to 4G.

Triple independent displays are enabled via HDMI 2.0 (4K@60fps) with audio, eDP 1.3 (2560×1600@60fps), and 2x MIPI-DSI at 2560×1600@60fps (or a single DSI at 2560×1440@60fps). You also get dual-channel MIPI-CSI for dual camera support, as well as speaker, earphone, and mic interfaces.

The Core-3568J enables additional I/O including USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD/MMC, SDIO, SPI, UART, I2C, I2S, PWM, ADC, and GPIO. The module supports a -10 to 60℃ operating range.

Industrial backplane devkit with Core-3568J
(click image to enlarge)

The only details on the “industrial backplane” development kit, which will presumably receive Firefly’s AIO branding, are found in the image above. As you can see, the board offers dual GbE ports, one of which has PoE+. We do not see a WiFi/BT module, but that may be on the back.

The industrial backplane provides dual M.2 slots, one for 5G and one for NVMe. There is a microSD slot, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, and an HDMI port. Other features include eDP, dual MIPI-CSI, and terminal plugs for a pair each of RS232 and RS485 plus a CAN interface.

The dev kit provides a smattering of interfaces for USB, UART, IR, ADC, and more. The board has a 12V jack with 6-24V support. Firefly has yet to post a wiki, but the other Core Boards and dev kits are supported with schematics and other open source and community resources.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Core-3568J AI Core Board module and its unnamed dev kit. More information may be found on Firefly’s product page.

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