This raspberry pie The form factor is a popular form factor, compact enough to fit some interesting places, but full of power and IO. What the form factor lacks is the possibility of fast and cheap storage.Step forward to Radxa Rock 3A as it was discovered CNX software, It offers a familiar form factor and two M.2 slots for Wi-Fi and SSD.
Following the Raspberry Pi 3B layout, Rock 3A is supported by Rockchip RK3568 SoC, which can squeeze into 2GHz quad-core Arm Cortex A55 CPU, 2,4 or 8GB LPDDR4 RAM. But the most interesting feature of this board is two M.2 slots, one for NVMe SSD (although there are only two PCIe 3.0 channels), and the other with one PCIe 2.0 channel for one of the short “module” cards. For example, a Wi-Fi 6 adapter. The faster M.2 slot is located under the circuit board, but there is no fixing screw, so the M.2 slot is connected by an adapter board, or we need to modify our own solution.
There is a bit of IO weirdness on the board, in the form of supporting SATA through a pair of USB 3.1 ports. As its core Rockchip RK3568 SOC contains four Cortex A55 cores and up to 8GB RAM, as well as some multiplexed SerDes (serializer/deserializer) channels that can be configured as USB or SATA in software. This technically breaks the USB specification, that is, other protocols cannot be passed through any USB port except Type-C. The board comes with a SATA breakout cable, which is probably a power protection device, so that SATA peripherals will not accidentally introduce the full power output of USB 3.1.
Elsewhere on the board, you will find a space for eMMC module, micro SD card slot, an HDMI 2.0 port, 3.5 mm audio jack, CSI camera connector, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2 ports And a “main” GPIO header is compatible with the Pi 3. We want to know how much work these inverted commas do. Power is provided via USB-C, and the size of the entire circuit board is only 3.3 inches x 2.1 inches (85 mm x 54 mm).
Debian 10 support is touted alongside Manjaro Linux and Slackware. The board is so new that it is not even available for purchase, and only a few early samples are in the field. By the end of August, all this should change, but at that time it is expected to launch Raspberry Pi 4 prices for 2GB 35 US dollars, 4GB 55 US dollars and 8GB 75 US dollars.