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$89 Rockchip RK3066 Dual Core Cortex A9 mini-PC Coming to Market

Liliputing has just reported that a $89 dual core Cortex A9 mini PC may be available soon from a South African company/individual. The SoC would be clocked at 1.6Ghz, come with 1GB RAM, 4GB flash, and destroy all other low cost mini PC in terms of performance.

Rockchip RK3066 mini PCHere are the announced specifications:

  • Operation System – Android 4.0.4 ICS
  • SoC – Dual ARM Cortex-A9 processor up to 1.6GHZ with Mali-400MP4 Quad-core GPU
  • RAM – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage –  4GB Nand Flash , microSD card slot (up to 32 GB)
  • Connectivity – Built-in WiFi 802.11b/g/n
  • USB – 1 x USB 2.0 Host,  1 X micro usb host
  • Video out – HDMI
  • Video Codecs – Mpeg1/2/4.H.264,VC-1,Divx,Xvid,RM8/9/10,VP6
  • Video Containers – MKV,TS,TP,M2TS,RM/RMVB,BD-ISO,AVI,MPG,VOB,DAT,ASF,TRP,FLV etc full formats
  • Audio Codec – DTS,AC3,LPCM,FLAC,HE-AAC
  • Audio Formats – MP3,OGG,WMA,WMAPRO
  • Power – 90-230V, 50/60Hz input, max. power: 30W, Output: 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 10.1 x 3.8 x 1.3cm
  • Weight – 38g

The device will be sold with a USB Cable and a user manual in English. It’s slightly larger than the MK802.

You may have noticed the question mark in the title of this post, that’s because I’m going to play guessing games and probably embarrass myself in the process (Confirmed by Brad Linder, see comments section). Based on the CPU specs (Dual cortex A9, Quad Core Mali-400 and 1.6 GHz),  I believe the SoC is the new Rockchip RK3066 used in Cube U30GT Android tablet. I’m very doubtful it will be clocked at 1.6 GHz however for 2 reasons:

  1. Some people (Equiso) tried (low cost) Cortex A9 processors in a mini PC and would have had to limit the frequency to 600 Mhz to avoid overheating (in a smaller casing that one used used for this product), which is why they switched to a Cortex A5 solution. The Cotton Candy can operate fine with the  Exynos 4212 dual core Cortex A9 @ 1.2 GHz, but cheaper SoCs tend to dissipate more heat and could be problematic in a small package.
  2. Reno Bote, the person promoting the device, shot a video (below) showing the Antutu score of the device (5566) which is lower to Antutu scores I’ve seen for the Cube U30GT tablet (Around 7600), and would put the operating frequency around 1 to 1.2 GHz.

As you can see in the picture above, there are plenty of ventilation holes in the casing, and hopefully they have designed this mini-pc so that there are no heat dissipation issues.

The device is not publicly available yet, and Reno Bote is looking for wholesalers to distribute this product. I’m still a little doubtful about this product, since I can’t find reference to dual core Cortex A9 mini PC anywhere (except for Renesas EV2 @ 533 Mhz), but in case you are interested, you can contact him via his YouTube channel or directly by email (ecotech.rsa at gmail.com)

[Update: The device is now available on Aliexpress.  THe only problem is that you need to buy 2 for now ($199 inc. shipping)]

  1. Sander
    August 14th, 2012 at 20:42 | #1

    Is that a youtube clip of a few photoshopped pictures? If so, that tell something how mature this product is.

  2. August 14th, 2012 at 20:53 | #2

    @Sander
    It could be yes, I’m even sure that product is real yet… Actually I’m pretty sure it is not ready yet, or they would have surely shot a video of the actual device in operation.

  3. August 14th, 2012 at 21:48 | #3

    Yup, Reno just confirmed that it’s an RK3066 chip, and according to a screenshot he sent, it does appear to be clocked at 1.6 GHz.

  4. sao
    August 15th, 2012 at 00:49 | #4

    This indeed looks interesting and in conjunction with the lapdocks turns into a useable ARM smartbook! But question for the experts: What’s Rockchip’s record in open-sourcing kernels/boot loaders etc? With the massive community development & support the MK802 would not have been this successful (price helps)…

  5. max
    August 15th, 2012 at 03:57 | #5

    Looks very interesting, May be just may be this one is not the genuine case, or can’t make out in market for various reasons. But I’m sure somewhere few Chinese men must be tinkering with this kind of stuff, sooner or later this kind of device will come.

    Chinese never disappoint in reverse engineering. 🙂

  6. August 15th, 2012 at 10:50 | #6

    @Brad Linder
    Thanks for the update. If it’s clocked at 1.6 Ghz, the Antutu benchmark is quite different compared to other Rockchip RK3066 devices.

  7. August 15th, 2012 at 10:51 | #7

    @max
    I think the Chinese did it, but it’s promoted by an South African.

  8. sao
    August 15th, 2012 at 12:28 | #8

    @cnxsoft

    I don’t know how much weight we should put into this, but here are some benchmarks of RK3066 http://bbs.1pad.cn/thread-45666-1-1.html courtesy of http://www.slatedroid.com/topic/31887-latest-dual-cortex-a9-chips-coming-out-soon/page__hl__rk3306__st__60

    Oh: I do not speak Chinese so I can’t help you with the translation 🙁

  9. Romonid
    August 15th, 2012 at 17:33 | #9

    I appreciate the size of these devices, but dont they lose reliability and speed (due to overheating and countermeasures) by insisting on developing these form factors?
    Why not go with a raspi size board with a 1 to 1.5 inch casing. It would give some space and allows these devices to be used to their fullest? It also doesnt make it less portable.
    Why not put it into the Mele A2000 casing, as it had some serious connectivity options and I have never heard of that device overheating.
    If Mr Botes is in touch with the manufacturer why not get a mold made after discussing this with end users.

  10. Anders
    August 15th, 2012 at 20:02 | #10
  11. Dan
    August 15th, 2012 at 20:14 | #11

    @Romonid

    There are Rockchip RK3066 set top boxes out there but only in China for the most part.

    The RK3066 doesnt seem to be much faster than Amlogics 8726-MX in most benchmarks from that Chinese site and Amlogic chips support XBMC video decoding, no-one else does.

  12. August 15th, 2012 at 20:25 | #12

    @Anders
    Thanks. The only problem is that you need to buy 2, but $199 for 2 including shipping is not too bad.

  13. August 15th, 2012 at 20:34 | #13

    @Romonid
    If you can plug the device directly into the TV, the smaller the better. I have the CX-01 and 2 A10 mini PC, and I really like CX-01 small form factor, it’s more (mechanically) stable when you connect it to the monitor, and there is no need for extra cables.

    However if you are going to put the device on the table with cables lying around, you’re right, the extra small form factor is not such a huge advantage.

    Yesterday, one reader asked me in CNXSoft Facebook page “Why is it that processors can fit into smartphones without overheating, but not in mini PCs”. I hadn’t thought about this. I simply think it’s about the processor used. For AllWinner A10 they will overheat, other processors such as Exynos 4212 will be OK (Cotton Candy). That’s why A10 mini PC are larger than Telechips TCC8925 mini PCs, and Equiso probably had to use the Telechips processor because of the tiny case they selected.

  14. sao
    August 15th, 2012 at 21:27 | #14

    @Anders

    Thanks for the link. Do you notice that some of the pictures there feature the MK802?

    For now I will file this under “I believe it when it see it (benchmarked)”. Of course I’d be *delighted* to change my mind later on. 🙂

  15. joker159
    August 16th, 2012 at 00:34 | #15

    I don’t understand why we need to buy 2 ! so I don’t buy now and wait and see… 🙂

  16. max
    August 16th, 2012 at 01:29 | #16

    @joker159 you can buy it one unit also. http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/611298350-Mini-PC-Android4-0-dongle-Google-TV-Box-Allwinner-Dual-core-1-6GHz-1GB-DDR3-2th-wholesalers.html?cn=null&PID=5741794&tp1=null&tracelog=null&src=ale&URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aliexpress.com%2Fproduct-fm%2F611298350-Mini-PC-Android4-0-dongle-Google-TV-Box-Allwinner-Dual-core-1-6GHz-1GB-DDR3-2th-wholesalers.html&cv=10975781&af=cj_5741794&vd=30

    Also you can ask sellers that you want to buy one unit and can bargain price for single unit with shipping fee /mode etc. I’ve done that in past.
    They create a separate listing for you. On Aliexpress and China some reverse engineering and bargain is always possible 😉

  17. Reno Botes
    August 16th, 2012 at 21:50 | #17

    @cnxsoft

    You are correct. I am assisting the manufacturer to sell the items. We have been working together for a while and he bought his own mould 2 months ago to build a device to rival the mk802. payment will be made directly to the manufacturer and no money have been collected yet. As soon as the manufacturing of the first batch is finalized I will contact the interested buyers and will transact and dispatch.

  18. August 22nd, 2012 at 01:21 | #18

    We are taking preorders for our September 7 shipment date. We are a USA
    based company. Please find out more information here. http://www.ovalelephant.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=2077

  19. August 22nd, 2012 at 02:30 | #19

    @Oval_Elephant
    Cool, my research about this stick leads me to my most favorite ARM website and there I find you 😀

  20. August 22nd, 2012 at 06:32 | #20

    We’re a US seller and expect to sell this unit as well. However, many questions remain and think the best advise to offer folks is to wait and see what is really what with it.

  21. Tommy
    September 18th, 2012 at 23:34 | #21

    @Dan
    You’re right. the Rk3066 is not very impressive. The Amlogic A9-M3 is probably the best A9 out in my opinion and for all intensive purposes puts the Rk3066 to shame.

  22. deadhp1
    September 19th, 2012 at 01:01 | #22

    @Tommy
    I think if you we’re going to compare the rk3066 soc to an Amlogic soc you’d be better off choosing the aml8726-MX over the aml8726-M3.
    You can’t really compare the single core to the dual core.

    The rk3066 is slightly better than the aml8726-MX in benchmarks.
    The rk3066 floors the aml8726-M3 in benchmarks.

    The only thing amlogic has going for it is kernel source code and xbmc support.

  23. Eric
  1. August 15th, 2012 at 21:23 | #1
  2. August 16th, 2012 at 06:48 | #2
  3. August 22nd, 2012 at 10:27 | #3
  4. September 6th, 2012 at 12:29 | #4
  5. October 10th, 2012 at 16:49 | #5
  6. November 3rd, 2012 at 12:42 | #6