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Intel-based Rock Pi X SBC arrives

Oct 2, 2020 — by Eric Brown 9,541 views

Radxa’s has launched its open-spec “Rock Pi X Model B” SBC for $49 to $75. The Pi-like board runs Ubuntu 20.04 or Win 10 on a Cherry Trail Atom x5-Z8300 plus GbE with PoE, WiFi/BT, 4K-ready HDMI 2.0, 4x USB, and a 40-pin header.

Radxa unveiled the Rock Pi X back in Sep. 2019 and released some free beta samples in July. Seeed and AllNetChina have now opened pre-orders for the Model B version of Radxa’s first x86-architecture board, with shipments due in one or two weeks, respectively.

Rock Pi X, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Seeed and AllNetChina have begun selling the open-spec, community-backed board for $75 with 4GB LPDDR3-1866 RAM and 32GB eMMC. AllNetChina offers other options, ranging from a $49 model with 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC to a $99 model with 4GB/128GB. At publication time, however, only the 2GB/16GB ($59) SKU and the $75 model were available.

The Rock Pi X runs Ubuntu 20.04 or Windows 10 on the quad-core, 1.44GHz/1.84GHz Atom x5-Z8300 from Intel’s aging, but 14nm fabricated, Cherry Trail generation. The Rock Pi X Model B adds two features not found on the still unavailable Model A: a wireless module with 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, and an antenna, as well as a Power-over-Ethernet capability on the GbE port.


You still need to buy a PoE HAT. The Rock Pi X has a 40-pin GPIO connector that supports the official Raspberry Pi PoE HAT and Radxa’s own Rock Pi PoE HAT for its RK3399-based Rock Pi 4. Radxa recently released a tiny, $13 Rock Pi S PoE HAT for its tiny, RK3308-based Rock Pi S SBC.

Rock Pi X (left) and detail views
(click images to enlarge)

As noted by the CNXSoft post that first reported on the Rock Pi X launch, the Rock Pi X specs have changed a bit over the last year. The MIPI-DSI/eDP and MIPI-CSI interfaces have been removed, although an LCD connector is available. Also, the eMMC is now soldered. You need 32GB or more eMMC or microSD storage to run Windows, and 64GB is recommended. You need 16GB to run Ubuntu and lightweight Linux distros should fit on 8GB storage.

We notice that the dimensions have increased a bit to 85 x 54mm and there is no longer mention of the mic interface. Instead of dual USB 3.0 OTG ports, one has been demoted to USB 2.0 Type-C with 9-20V input. The Rock Pi X integrates Qualcomm Quick Charge (QC 3.0) technology.

The Raspberry Pi style board provides HDMI 2.0 for 4K@30, an audio jack, and 3x USB 2.0 ports. There is also an RTC.

Intel made a lot of Cherry Trail SoCs to penetrate the Arm-dominated smartphone market. That didn’t happen, so there are plenty of relatively affordable Cherry Trails for the hacker board market. Other SBCs based on the Atom x5-Z8300 include the open-spec, $34 and up Atomic Pi from Team IoT (DLI) and the more expensive, community-backed UP board and UP Core from Aaeon.

Specifications listed for the Rock Pi X include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom x5-Z8350 (4x Cherry Trail cores @ 1.44GHz / 1.84GHz burst); Intel HD 400 Graphics (200MHz/500MHz); Intel Integrated Sensor Hub (ISH)
  • Memory/storage:
    • 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB LPDDR3-1866 RAM
    • SPI flash
    • eMMC socket for 8GB to 128GB (bootable); optional industrial eMMC available
    • microSD slot for up to 128GB (bootable)
  • Networking:
    • Gigabit Ethernet port; PoE support on Model B only (requires RPi PoE HAT)
    • 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz) with Bluetooth 4.2 and internal antenna (Model B only)
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI 2.0 port (with audio) for up to 4K at 30fps with EDID
    • LCD display connector
    • 3.5mm audio I/O jack with HD codec with 24-bit/96KHz
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 OTG port with HW switch for host/device
    • 3x USB 2.0 host ports
    • USB Type-C port for power input
    • 40-pin GPIO header
  • Other features — RTC with optional battery connector for timed backup; optional recommended heatsink; 2x LEDs; schematics and other open source files
  • Power:
    • 9-20V input via USB Type-C
    • QC 3.0 powering
    • Power/reset button
  • Dimensions — 85 x 54mm
  • Operating system — Ubuntu 20.04, Windows 10

Further information

The Rock Pi X Model B is available for $75 with 4GB LPDDR3-1866 RAM and 32GB eMMC at Seeed with a one week pre-order delay and at AllNetChina with two weeks. AllNetChina also offers some other RAM/eMMC SKUs, but the only one currently available is 2GB/16GB for $59. More information may be found on Radxa’s wiki.


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