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RK3399 Raspberry Pi clone will launch at $39

Nov 6, 2018 — by Eric Brown 11,502 views

[Updated: 7PM] — Radxa has posted specs for a $39 and up, community backed “Rock Pi” Raspberry Pi lookalike with a Rockchip RK3399, USB 3.0, M.2, HDMI 2.0, and native GbE, plus optional WiFi, BT, and PoE.

Radxa is prepping a Raspberry Pi pseudo clone called the Rock Pi that runs Linux or Android on a hexa-core Rockchip RK3399 SoC. It joins the RK3399-based NanoPi M4 in closely matching the RPi 3 layout, and it appears it may be the most affordable RK3399 based SBC yet, starting at $39 with 1GB RAM.

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

Many other RK3399 based SBCs have the same size and 40-pin connector as the Pi, but with different layouts. These include the new Khadas Edge-V, the Renegade Elite, and several other boards found in our 2018 open-spec SBC roundup.

Tom Cubie, who started before moving to Radxa, informed me of the upcoming Rock Pi a month ago. However, I first saw the specs today on a revised version of the Single Board Computer Database (“board-DB”), now hosted on Hackerboards. As some of you may recall, LinuxGizmos switched to the domain for a year before switching back.


Rick Lehrbaum, who created LinuxDevices, LinuxGizmos, and the PC/104 SBC standard, has been transitioning away from LinuxGizmos in 2018. He decided to revive when board.db creator Raffaele Tranquillini asked if he could take over the database for him. Currently, Hackerboards is devoted to a revised version of board-db, which Lehrbaum is in the process of updating.

In his October email, Cubie informed me that Radxa was acquired by a Shenzhen based OEM/ODM called Emdoor Group in 2016. This temporarily put a halt to the Radxa community, which once brought us open-spec boards like the Rockchip RK3188 based Radxa Rock and RK3288 equipped Radxa Rock 2 Square. This year, Cubie signed an agreement with Emdoor, enabling them to revise the Radxa community. “Rock Pi is the beginning of the rebuilding of Radxa,” wrote Cubie.

The Rock Pi Model A will sell for $39 (1GB), $49 (2GB) and $65 (4GB). The Model B, which adds PoE and a WiFi-ac/Bluetooth 5.0 wireless module will sell for $49 (1GB), $59 (2GB) or $75 (4GB).

Inside the Rock Pi

The ports on the 85 x 54mm Rock Pi are just where a Pi lover would expect them to be. Unlike the RPi 3B or 3B+, the GbE port is native, giving you at least 939Mbps — about three times the bandwidth. Like the 3B+, it supports Power-over-Ethernet using the same official Raspberry Pi PoE HAT.

Rock Pi (left) and pinout diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Specs are almost identical to those of the $75 (2GB) NanoPi M4. The major difference is that the Rock Pi adds an M.2 storage slot for NVMe SSDs. On the other hand, it lacks the M4’s 24-pin GPIO interface, which augments the 40-pin connector found on both boards. The NanoPi M4 also has standard wireless (but no PoE) and has 4x USB 3.0 host ports instead of the 2x 3.0 and 2x 2.0 on the Rock Pi.

The Rock Pi appears to be the most affordable RK3399 SBC yet, even besting the smaller, more limited (1GB only) $50 NanoPi Neo4.

The Rock Pi has a microSD slot and an empty eMMC socket in addition to the M.2. You also get one of the main selling points of the RK3399: an HDMI 2.0 port. The board provides 2-lane MIPI-DSI and -CSI interfaces for dual displays and camera attachments, respectively. Other features include an audio jack with mic, an RTC, and a USB Type-C port for wide-range power.

The Rock Pi can run Android 9.0, and “some Linux distributions.” This just in from Tom Cubie: “The official supported Linux distribution is Debian and Ubuntu. Community supported Linux distribution includes Libreelec, Armbian. Also, I am a fan of ChromeOS, so we will have it running on ROCK Pi.”

Preliminary specifications listed for the Rock Pi include:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 at up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T860 MP4 GPU
  • Memory/storage:
    • 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB LPDDR4 RAM (dual-channel)
    • eMMC socket for 8GB to 128GB (bootable)
    • MicroSD slot for up to 128GB (bootable)
    • M.2 socket with support for up to 2TB NVMe SSD
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz) with Bluetooth 5.0 with antenna (Model B only)
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port; PoE support on Model B only (requires RPi PoE HAT)
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI 2.0a port (with audio) for up to 4K at 60Hz
    • MIPI-DSI (2-lane) via FPC; dual display mirror or extend with HDMI
    • MIPI-CSI (2-lane) via FPC for up to 8MP camera
    • 3.5mm audio I/O jack (24-bit/96KHz)
    • Mic interface
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 host ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • USB 3.0 Type-C OTG with power support and HW switch for host/device
  • Expansion — 40-pin GPIO header (see pinout diagram); M.2 slot for SSD (see mem/storage)
  • Other features — RTC with optional battery connector
  • Power:
    • 5.5-20V input
    • USB Type-C PD 2.0, 9V/2A, 12V/2A, 15V/2A, 20V/2A
    • Qualcomm Quick Charge support for QC 3.0/2.0 adapter, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A
    • 8mA to 20mA consumption
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 80°C
  • Dimensions — 85 x 54mm
  • Operating system — Android 9.0; “some” Linux distros

Further information

The Rock Pi is looking like it’s heading for pre-order or live orders soon, starting at $39. More information may be found on Radxa’s Rock Pi product page.

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7 responses to “RK3399 Raspberry Pi clone will launch at $39”

  1. jdrch says:

    Same 1 GB RAM as the Model 3 B+ and nothing listed under Software.

    I think what a lot of Pi competitors don’t realize is that the Pi isn’t just about hardware, it’s about also having a stable, easily set up OS for it.

  2. Gu says:

    An NVMe Stick directly over the CPU should give many problems with heat.

  3. Hugh Campbell says:

    Mini PCI-E would-be more flexible than M2…? A 4 port SATA mpcie card would give the makings of a great micro NAS .

  4. Griff says:

    Hopefully Armbian will pick this board up for a release. 4GB on a reasonably-priced SBC could be very useful.

  5. Robert Zaccour says:

    No HDMI 2.1? I have a nice 4K TV that would make a great monitor.

  6. sola says:

    Seems like the M.2 SSD would overlap with the SOC so either you cannot put a heatsink on the SOC or cannot use the M.2 slot.

  7. Cableguy says:

    The M.2 SSD IS NOT BOOTABLE? Shame on you RockPi

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