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First open-spec 96Boards SOM modules go on sale with carrier board

Jul 1, 2019 — by Eric Brown 1,502 views

Seeed and Beiqicloud have opened pre-orders for the first two 96Boards SOM modules and their common $125 carrier board: the $59 BeiQi RK1808 AIoT and $119 BeiQi RK3399Pro AIoT.

In early April, Linaro’s 96Boards project announced the first two 96Boards System-on-Module (SOM) specifications, as well as the first two compute modules to support the 96Boards SOM Compute Module spec: the TB-96AIoT module, which runs Linux on the Rockchip RK1808 and the TB-96AI based on a Rockchip RK3399Pro SoC running Linux or Android. These open-spec modules are now open for pre-order from Seeed with July ship dates for $59 and $119, respectively. There’s also a $125 BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit that supports both modules.

BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit with BeiQi RK3399Pro AI module
(click image to enlarge)

Built by Xiamen Beiqi Technology Co. (Beiqicloud), the modules have some new names. The TB-96AIoT is now formally called the $59 BeiQi RK1808 AIoT 96Boards Compute SoM, and the TB-96AI is now the $119 BeiQi RK3399Pro AIoT 96Boards Compute SoM.

The BeiQi RK3399Pro AI module has a ToyBrick label, which refers to Rockchip’s development platform for its AI-enabled chips. Vamrs incorporated the ToyBrick branding in its Toybrick RK3399Pro SBC, which based on the same AI-enhanced Rockchip RK3399Pro SoC. Rockchip’s Toybrick site mentions the BeiQi RK3399Pro AIoT under its original TB-96AI name and also offers a product page for the Toybrick RK3399Pro, which it refers to as the TB-RK3399ProD.


Rockchip’s RK3399Pro builds on the hexa-core, up to 1.8GHz Cortex-A72 and -A53 RK3399 by adding a 3.0-TOPS performing Neural Network Processing Unit (NPU) with support for Tensorflow, Tensorflow Lite, Caffe, and other deep learning models. Like the RK3399, there’s a high-powered Mali-T860 MP4 GPU. Other RK3399Pro-based boards that have emerged this year include Geniatech’s DB3399 Pro, the Khadas Edge-1S SBC, and Asus’ Tinker Edge R.

The newer Rockchip RK1808 has the same 3.0-TOPS NPU as the the RK3399Pro, but with a CPU block consisting of only 2x 64-bit Cortex-A35 cores. The power-efficient, 22nm fabricated RK1808 lacks 3D graphics, but there’s a 2D engine, as well as an ISP and support for HD encode and decode with H.264.

BeiQi RK1808 AIoT, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

As noted by the CNXSoft post that alerted us to the Seeed launch, the fact that there’s only a single carrier board for each module means that customers are paying for duplicate ports designated for one module or the other. Yet this mismatch is perhaps the necessary sacrifice required for the plug-and-play standardization Linaro is attempting.

While the 96Boards SBCs provide common expansion interfaces to enable boards based on a different processors to use the same Mezzanine add-on boards — the HATs of the 96Boards world — 96Boards SOM Compute Module spec calls for standardized, 100-pin board-to-board connectors so that customers can use the same carrier boards or real-world equivalents with a variety of modules and processors. In addition, the BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit offers the usual 96Boards 40- and 60-pin slots to add 96Boards Mezzanines.

The 96Boards SOM modules have a mandatory X1 connector as well as optional X2, X3, and X4 connectors. The BeiQi RK3399Pro AIoT uses the 85 x 50mm SOM-CA variant and has all four connectors while the BeiQi RK1808 AIoT uses the 50 x 50mm SOM-CB form factor and is limited to the X1 and X2 connectors. (For more details on the 96Boards SOM Compute Module spec and related 96Boards SOM Wireless spec, please see our earlier report.)

BeiQi RK1808 AIoT 96Boards Compute SoM (TB-96AIoT)

The 50 x 50mm BeiQi RK1808 AIoT module runs Linux on the 1.6GHz, dual-core Cortex-A35 RK1808. The module is aimed at sweeping robot, drone, smart speaker, automotive, smart wear, security monitoring, and AI computing modules.

The module ships with 1GB LPDDR3 and 16GB eMMC. There’s also a GbE controller and a WiFi/Bluetooth module with dual u.FL antenna connectors.

BeiQi RK1808 AIoT detail view (left) and loaded onto BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit
(click images to enlarge)

The BeiQi RK1808 AIoT supports media I/O including MIPI-CSI (1920×[email protected]) and MIPI-DSI (1920×[email protected]), as well as speaker, headphone, mic, and I2S audio interfaces. The 5V module offers support for USB 3.0 Type-C and USB 2.0 ports, as well as 3x I2C, 2x SPI, 2x ADC, and single SD, PWM, and PCIe interfaces.

BeiQi RK3399Pro AIoT 96Boards Compute SoM (TB-96AI)

The 85 x 50mm BeiQi RK3399Pro AIoT showcases the hexa-core (2x 1.8GHz -A72, 4x 1.4GHz -A53) RK3399Pro SoC, which has a Mali-T860 MP4 and 3.0-TOPS NPU. The module is equipped with 3GB LPDRR3(2GB for the CPU and 1GB for the NPU) and 16GB eMMC. There’s a GbE controller, but no wireless module. A PMIC is also onboard.

BeiQi RK3399Pro AIoT, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The BeiQi RK3399Pro AIoT supports DP 1.2, HDMI, MIPI-DSI, and eDP display interfaces at up to [email protected] You also get dual MIPI-CSI links for up to a single 13-megapixel camera or dual 8MP cams, as well as several I2S audio interfaces.

The module can further express a USB 3.0 Type-C interface with DP support, as well as dual USB 2.0 connections. You also get 3x UART, 6x I2C, 2x PWM, 3x ADC, and GPIO, as well as single SDMMC, SDIO, SPI, and PCIe interfaces. The 5V module supports Android, Linux, and Ubuntu Linux.

BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit For RK1808/RK3399Pro

The BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit is available with a microSD slot and a dual-band WiFi/Bluetooth module with antennas. There are separate GbE ports for the RK1808 and RK3399Pro modules.

BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit and top section of the spec list
(click images to enlarge)

The BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit has a USB Type-C port with DP support that works only with the RK3399Pro module as well as a USB 2.0 port that works with the RK1808 COM. Media interfaces such as MIPI-CSI, MIPI-DSI, and eDP are similarly delineated per module, as shown in the spec sheet reproduced above and below.

Bottom sections of BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit spec list
(click images to enlarge)

Additional I/O includes a PCIe x4 expansion slot and a 96Boards high- and low-speed Mezzanine connectors. You also get a CAN port, audio and debug interfaces, various buttons and LEDs, and an RTC battery holder. The kit has a 12V/2A DC input and a 15-mux switch.

Further information

The BeiQi RK1808 AIoT 96Boards Compute SoM (TB-96AIoT) is available for pre-order at $59 (or $184 with the BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit For RK1808/RK3399Pro) with shipments due July 30.

The BeiQi RK3399Pro AIoT 96Boards Compute SoM (TB-96AI) is available for pre-order at $119 (or $244 with the BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit), with shipments due July 4.

The BeiQi CarrierBoard Kit For RK1808/RK3399Pro is available for $125 with shipments due July 4. In addition to the bundles listed above, you can purchase the board with both modules for $303.

More information on the BeiQi RK1808 AIoT may be found on the Seeed shopping page, the Beiqicloud product page, and the 96Boards product page.

More on the BeiQi RK3399Pro AIoT may be found at the Seeed shopping page, the Beiqicloud product page, and the 96Boards product page.

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