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Linux-friendly modules adopt hexa- and octa-core Rockchip SoCs

Nov 29, 2016 — by Eric Brown 2,570 views

Theobroma unveiled a Qseven module built around a hexa-core, Cortex-A72/-A53 Rockchip RK3399 SoC, plus a µQseven version based on an octa-core -A53 RK3368.

Austrian Qseven specialists Theobroma Systems announced two computer-on-modules that build on Rockchip SoCs with Linux and Android support. The Qseven-based “RK3399-Q7” features the new Rockchip RK3399, with dual Cortex-A72 cores at up to 2.0GHz and a quad-core bank of Cortex-A53 cores at up to 1.42GHz. It’s billed as the first Qseven module with a Cortex-A72. This appears to be true, although several COMs, such as the eInfochips Eragon 820, have tapped Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820, which has four “Kyro” cores that roughly mimic the Cortex-A72.

The mid-range µQseven RK3368-µQ7 expands upon the octa-core Cortex-A53 RK3368, which clocks at up to 1.2GHz. Theobroma claims the RK3368-µQ7 is the first octa-core module using the 70 x 40mm µQseven form-factor.

Summary of RK3368-µQ7 and RK3399-Q7 module specs (preliminary)
(click image to enlarge; source: Theobroma)

Theobroma has released a Qseven form-factor A80-Q7 COM incorporating the octa-core Allwinner A80, and Samsung has released the eight-core Artik 7, among other octa-core ARM COMs. Earlier µQseven COMs from Theobroma include the Allwinner A31-based A31-µQ7 and Allwinner A64-based A64-µQ7.



The Rockchip RK3399 that forms the foundation of the RK3399-Q7 module was announced in April. The SoC features a high-end, quad-core Mali-T864 GPU, dual ISPs at up to 800MPix/s, and support for dual USB 3.0 Type C, HDMI 2.0, MIPI/eDP, PCIe, and 8-channel mic array input.

RK3399-Q7 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The SoC supports multi-format video decoding, including H.264 and H.265 at 2160p60, as well as and video encoding. The Mali T864 gives you OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0/3.1 and OpenCL, as well as a dedicated 2D hardware engine that offloads image scaling, rotation, and window composition.

The 70 x 70mm, Qseven 2.1 form factor RK3399-Q7 follows through on all of these attributes except for the Type C ports and mic input. The module runs on less than 15 Watts, claims Theobroma. A Common Criteria (EAL4+) certified security module is available, along with a GlobalPlatform 2.2.1 compliant JavaCard environment.

The RK3399-Q7 supports up to 4GB, dual-channel DDR3-1600 RAM, and offers 16Mb to 128Mb SPI NOR flash and up to 128GB eMMC. You get a Gigabit Ethernet port with full throughput, as well as a 4-lane PCI-Express 2.1 interface.

The RK3399-Q7 offers triple display support with HDMI 2.0 for up to 2160p60, as well as 2x MIPI-DSI, at up to 2560 x 1600p60. There’s also an Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) interface with up to 4x lanes at 2.7Gbps each, and 2x MIPI-CSI camera connections, each with 4x lanes at 1.5Gb/s per lane.

The module offers 2x USB 3.0 host ports and a “dual-role,” USB 3.0 port, which presumably refers to OTG. A USB 2.0 host interface is also available. Rounding out the feature list is UART, I2S, I2C, SMBus, SPI, Fan, and 8x GPIO. There’s even a CAN “communication offload controller.” The 5V module is available in 0 to 60ºC and -20 to 85ºC versions.


The RK3368-µQ7 uses the octa-core Rockchip RK3368, as seen in the GeekBox mini-PC/SBC hybrid and mini-PCs like Tronsmart’s Orion R68. The RK3368 features a high-end PowerVR 6110 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenCL 1.2, and DirectX 9.3. The RK3368 also supports HDMI 2.0, as well as 4Kx2K H,264 and H.265 video at 60fps.

RK3368-µQ7 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The 70 x 40mm RK3368-µQ7 shares a number of features with the RK3399-Q7, but runs on less than 9 Watts instead of 15W. Like the RK3399-Q7, it ships with up to 4GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, but it’s not listed as being dual-channel. It similarly offers up to 128Mb SPI NOR flash and up to 128GB eMMC. The GbE port has full throughput,

There’s no mention of triple display support, but the module offers HDMI 2.0 (4K@60) for up to 2160p60, a single MIPI-DSI connection, an LVDS interface, and an eDP interface with up to 4x lanes at 2.7Gbps each. There’s also a non-standard MIPI-CSI interface on the Qseven edge connector, offering up to 1.0Gb/s throughput per lane.

The 3x USB host and single dual-mode ports are all USB 2.0, and there’s no PCIe expansion. The other I/O, temperature, power, and security details are identical to those of the RK3399-Q7.

Further information

The hexa-core RK3399-Q7 Qseven module will ship in Q1 2017. No ship date was provided for the octa-core, micro-Qseven RK3368-µQ7 COM, and no pricing was supplied. More information may be found in the Theobroma Systems announcement, as well as the PDF-format RK3399-Q7 and RK3368-µQ7 datasheets.


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