Open Source Hardware

Raspberry Pi rival delivers a 4K Android computer for just $25

The Rock64 Media Board Computer may be a similar size to the best-selling $35 Raspberry Pi but its specs help it to stand apart.

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The Rock64 Media Board Computer packs a lot onto a $25 board, offering 4K video playback, USB 3.0 and support for Android.

The board may be a similar size to the best-selling $35 Raspberry Pi, but its specs help it to stand apart.

The Rock64's video capabilities outstrip the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, with Rock64 capable of outputting 4K video at 60Hz, with support for HDR10, via HDMI 2.0a.

Connectivity is also a step up, while the Rock64 has one fewer USB ports than the Pi 3, it includes a single USB 3.0.

Networking differs, with the Rock64 missing the Pi's built-in 802.11n and Bluetooth support, but offering gigabit Ethernet, faster than 10/100 Ethernet on the Pi 3.

The board's makers, Pine64, say it will run Android 7.1, Debian, and Yocto, and claim support for more operating systems is on the way.

In comparison, the Pi can run multiple Linux desktop OSes, with the default Raspbian OS becoming increasingly simple to use and bundling office, web and programming software.

The Pi has earned a reputation for being easier to use out of the box than rival boards, due to the extensive range of software and community support that has grown up around the multi-million selling board since it launched five years ago.

Like the Pi, the Rock64 runs on a quad-core, ARM Cortex A53-based system-on-a-chip, however it uses a different SoC, in this instance the Rockchip RK3328, typically used in Android TV boxes.

The Rock64 has various options for adding hardware to the board, with a total of 62 GPIO pins, on 40-pin and 22-pin GPIO headers.

The Rock64 is available with 1GB memory for $25, 2GB memory for $35, and 4GB memory for $45. It will start shipping from 31 July.

Rock64 Media Board Computer specifications

CPU: Rockchip RK3328 quad core, Cortex A53-based processor

GPU: Mali-450MP2

RAM: 1/2/4GB LPDDR3 @ 1866 MHz

Storage: eMMC flash module socket/micro SD card slot/128 Mbit SPI flash

Video output: HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR10 and HLG support

Audio output: 3.5mm AV port (composite video + stereo audio)

Video codecs supported: 4K VP9, H.265 and H.264, 1080p VC-1, MPEG-1/2/4, VP6/8

Network: Gigabit Ethernet

USB: 2x 2.0, 1x 3.0

Expansion: 40-pin Pi-2 Bus with GPIOs, 2x I2C, Analog inputs, UART, SPI, and power signals (5V, 3.3V, and GND). 22-pin Pi-P5+ Bus with GPIOs, I2S, S/PDIF, Ethernet, and power signals (5V, 3.3V, and GND)

Misc: IR receiver; power, recovery & reset buttons; eMMC jumper

Power: 5V 3A power supply via Type H 3.5mm OD/1.35mm ID barrel 'coaxial' type plug

Dimensions: 85 x 56 mm

The Rock64 Media Board Computer.

Image: Pine64

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