Hikey 970 Development Board is Now Up for Pre-order for $299.99

Four A.I. development boards compliant with 96Boards specifications were announced at Linaro Connect HK 2018 last month: HiKey 970, Ultra96, as well as ROCK960 PRO & Enterprise Edition.

So for we only knew pricing for Ultra96 ($249), but I’ve now noticed Hikey 970 “Super Edge AI Computing Platform”  is now up for pre-order for $299.99 on Lenovator website, with shipping planned for the end of April. [Update: Also found on Seeed Studio for the same price]

Hikey 970 specifications:

  • SoC – Huawei/Hisilicon Kirin 970 with 4x Cortex A73 @ 2.36GHz,  4x Cortex A53 @ 1.8GHz, Arm Mali G72-MP12 GPU, NPU (Neural Processing Unit) with 256MAC/cycle @ 960MHz
  • System Memory – 6GB 1866MHz, 4 Channel LPDDR4x
  • Storage – 64GB UFS storage, micro SD card slot, PCIe Gen3 on M.2 M key connector
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 type A up to 1080p60 (TBC), 1x 4-lane MIPI DSI (via HS expansion connector)
  • Video – MPEG2 @ 80 Mbps, MPEG4 @ 50 Mbps, H.264 @ 240 Mbps, H.265 @ 160 Mbps, VP8 @ 100 Mpbs, VP9 @ 120 Mbps
  • Camera – 4-lane CSI + 2-lane CSI (via HS expansion connector)
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, GLONASS
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports,  1x USB 2.0 type C (OTG) port, 1x USB 2.0 type C host port
  • Expansion
    • PCIe Gen 3 mPCIe slot
    • PCIe Gen 3 M.2 Key M slot
    • 40-pin 96Boards Low-speed expansion header with 1.8V, 5V, GND, 2x UART, 2x I2C, SPI, I2S, 12x GPIO
    • 60-pin 96Boards High speed expansion header with 4L MIPI-DSI, 2x I2C, SPI (48M), USB 2.0, 2L+4L MIPI CSI
    • CAN V2.0B @ 1 Mbit/s
  • Misc – 6x LEDs (WiFi, Bluetooth, 4x User)
  • Power Supply – 8 to 18V via 4.75/1.7mm power barrel (12V/2A recommended )
  • Dimensions – 100 x 85 x 10 mm (96Boards CE Extended)

The specifications on Lenovator show a HDMI 1.4 port limited to 1080p60, but hopefully it might be a mistake, as initially it was announced with HDMI 2.0a up to 4K 60 Hz with HDR, and Kirin 970 processor does support H.265 4K video decoding up to 60 fps.

The board can run Android (AOSP) or Linux distributions (Ubuntu/Debian), and supports Huawei HiAI SDK that delivers up to 25 times performance, and/or 50 times the power efficiency for A.I. applications. The latest HiAI SDK V150 supports Caffe, TensorFlow, TensorFlow Lite, and Android NN frameworks, and various tools.

I could not find detailed documentation for the board, but eventually resources should be made available on 96boards.ai.

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14 Replies to “Hikey 970 Development Board is Now Up for Pre-order for $299.99”

  1. The “GEN3” slot actually looks like mini PCIe rather than M.2, which is weird.
    The M.2 key M slot on the bottom should be Gen 3 though, according to the spec list
    It seems like the person that made the call outs on the images was confused.
    That’s a seriously expensive board though.

    1. Pricing the new HiSilicon high-end Kirin SoCs in dev boards is a little tricky since they outperform many of Intel’s i3 mobile SoCs…

  2. Can someone experienced in hardware design, comment if it is wise to have those connectors so close to a heatsink?

    1. As long as the heatsink doesn’t touch anything else, it shouldn’t be a problem.
      If you look at the source link, there’s a slightly higher resolution image and the heatsink isn’t actually that close to the connectors. Obviously if it’s attached poorly, then you might get a short, but that applies to any PCB.

  3. I wish they would use DisplayPort instead of HDMI all the time. Sure for AV focused boards HDMI sadly makes sense, but otherwise it should DP

    1. miniDP would also take up less room on the board.
      although now I’d hope for USB-C with video on that.

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