Rockchip Sapphire is a $75 Rockchip RK3399 Development Board

While there are several Rockchip RK3399 boards on the market, I’d still recommend to use Firefly-RK3399 development board for Android and Linux based projects since they have decent documentation, and the board has been around for several months now. Price is a little high however, as it starts at $159 on Amazon US. There’s been other boards like 9Tripod RK3399 that’s a little cheaper, but mostly targeting the Chinese market, and Shenzhen Xunlong is working on their own RK3399 board and module, but it’s not available yet.  Nightseas user bought another board called Rockchip Sapphire on Taobao for just 500 RMB (~$75 US), and reported his findings on Armbian forums.

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Rockchip SAPPHIRE board specifications:

  • SoC – Rockhip RK3399 hexa-core big.LITTLE processor with two ARM Cortex A72 cores, four Cortex A53 cores, and an ARM Mali-T860 MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 4 GB LPDDR3, dual channel
  • Storage – 8 GB eMMC flash, micro SD card
  • Video Output / Display Interfaces – 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60 Hz; MIPI DSI, eDP, LVDS via MXM connector
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 type C port with DisplayPort over Type C support
  • Camera I/F – MIPI CSI signals
  • Expansion
    • 40-pin GPIO Raspberry Pi compatible header
    • 314-pim MXM connector with PCIe 2.0 x4 and other signals..
  • Misc – Power and reset keys
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A DC via power barrel; RK808-D PMIC
  • Dimensions & Weight – TBD

That board is allegedly the official Rockchip EVB, and hardware design files (OrCAD schematic, Allegro PCB layout, gerber), and some limited documentation is available in Rockchip Open Source website. Nightseas explains he was able to build Linux 4.4 and Debian 9 with build scripts from Rockchip, and it appears that OpenGLES and OpenCL support is, although the VPU code, for hardware video decoding, still has some problem.

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The MXM connector allows developers to connect Sapphire board into Excavator carrier board bringing out even more ports with the following specifications (as per the EVB):

  • Display & Video Interfaces
    • MIPI Tx, MIPI Rx, MIPI Tx/Rx
    • HDMI output
    • HDMI input
    • eDP output connector
    • CVBS output (RCA)
  • Audio I/O
    • 3.5mm audio jack
    • Built-in microphone
    • Microphone array header
    • S/PDIF output
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB type C port
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet port, 2×2 WiFi & Bluetooth 4.1 module
  • Debug connector
  • Sensors – Light Sensor,Gyroscope,G-sensor, Compass, Hall IC
  • Expansion
    • PCIe interface
    • GPIO header
  • Misc – Power/Volume/Menu/Esc keys
  • Power Supply – 12V DC power jack, power switch, charge IC

The specifications above are for version 1.0 of the board, as version 1.2 above (Black version) looks slightly different, so some of the specifications may be different.

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The RK3399 EVB user guide allows show an optional eDP screen with 2048 x 1536 resolution for the kit. I could not find Excavator board for sale, and Shappire board is not available anymore, as Google translation put it in no-uncertain terms: “Sorry, the baby has been off the shelf, you can stroll around the other baby” 🙂

Rockchip is not in the business of selling development boards, and if they did, they’d compete with their own customers. So I’m not so confident they’ll sell it again, but at least the Gerber files are available, so in theory, it would be possible for somebody to manufacture and support those boards themselves. I could not find any license for the hardware files, so it might be better to ask Rockchip first.

Thanks to Nick for the tip.

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14 Replies to “Rockchip Sapphire is a $75 Rockchip RK3399 Development Board”

  1. I suppose it was bought from RK for designing a product and then someone decided to make some extra cash selling the “spares” when done

  2. I got the samme message on taobao: is sorry that the baby is temporarily off the shelves, you can stroll around the other baby

  3. That’s really an odd online shop. I bought one board from that shop and it turned to sold-out.
    Looks like the owner just set in-stock quantity to 1.

    And BTW: 500RMB includes a 12V 2A ACDC adaptor and free shipping with SFExpress in China.

  4. nice board nice price but will be a nightmare to get vulkan driver for the mali T860 in mainline linux?
    LVDS output, Nice! => Documentation?
    Without a better opensource driver from ARM mali, now i prefer buy a real x86 / x64 computer N3050 (87$) like this :
    or keep a well know H2/H3 board for headless system.
    I really hope Intel next generation device will f**k ARM (closed source mali driver) in low power device target…

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