When mini PCs first started hitting the market, we saw three main form factors – the set-top-box style, the TV stick option and the barebones single-board computer (SBC) style. Since those early days, there have been comparatively fewer low-cost SBC options with HardKernel’s Odroid-X series arguably the most notable release (aside from the Raspberry Pi, of course). However, in recent times, we’ve seen an increase in SBCs hitting the market such as the WaxberryPi and Parallela models. Now a new brand Radxa looks set to release two new boards based on Rockchip’s popular RK3188 quad-core Cortex A9 SoC CPU – the Radxa Rock and Radxa Rock Lite.
Essentially, the only difference between the two is the amount of RAM and flash on board. The Radxa Rock delivers 2GB of DDR3 RAM and 8GB of flash, while the Rock Lite simply halves those levels. In both cases, that internal storage can be expanded via MicroSD card, but unlike most mini PCs, this one supports SDXC cards up to 128GB.
Elsewhere, these SBCs look to be well featured. They’ll include HDMI and composite AV output and you can throw in S/PDIF audio and analog headphone output as well. Networking is well covered with RJ45 Fast Ethernet port and decent wireless support with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi at up to 150Mbps as well as Bluetooth 4.0 functionality, fed through an external whip antenna.
But the key feature for developers however will be the dual 40-pin IDC headers that provide a range of extra goodies including (according to the website) ‘GPIO, I2C, SPI, Line in, USB 2.0, PWM, ADC, LCD, GPS’ and more. The only thing lacking is a SATA port…
According to linuxgizmos.com, Radxa is another brand developed by Cubieboard founder Tom Cubie.
The Radxa Rock Lite is expected to sell for $69 while the slightly richer Rock will go for $89. At these prices, the Radxa boards should give the newly-announced Odroid-XU a run for its $169 pricetag. The RK3188 SoC CPU won’t have the legs to match the Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa ’4×4′ Cortex A15+A7 processor, but for potentially less than half the price, the Rock and Rock Lite can afford not to.
Pre-orders are now being accepted over at the Radxa website, although there it’s more ‘pre-order interest’ as there’s no indication of a delivery date on the preorder page at time of publishing this story. The board details including mechanical drawings are also available on the site.
At this stage, there’s no word on which version of Android will be supplied or whether the compile will be made using Rockchip’s recently-released SDK2.0, which appears to be delivering a much more optimised OS build for the quad-core Cortex A9 processor.
|Model||Radxa Rock / Rock Lite|
|Processor||Rockchip RK3188 quad-core Cortex A9|
|Clock||Up to 1.6GHz|
|GPU type||ARM Mali-400 MP4 @ 533MHz|
|Operating system||Android / Linux (TBD)|
|RAM||2GB / 1GB DDR3|
|Internal storage||8GB / 4GB|
|External storage||MicroSDXC, up to 128GB|
|Wi-Fi connectivity||802.11b/g/n (inc antenna, RJ45 Fast Ethernet)|
|No./type of USB ports||2 x USB2.0 host, 1 x microUSB OTG|
|HDMI form factor||v1.4 (inc. composite AV, S/PDIF, analog headphone)|
|Announce Date||September 2013|
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