Radxa Rock Pi 4 Review – Part 1: A First Look at RockPi 4B Performance Set

Rock Pi 4 ReviewHey, Karl here with another RK3399 board. This one is by Radxa and is called the Rock Pi 4. There are 2 main variants to this board and I was shipped the B version “performance set” which includes a power supply, heatsink, and acrylic case. Also shipped was 16gb eMMC 5.1 module, eMMC flashing board, and USB-TTL debug cable. It looks like the difference is the B version has AC wifi and GbE LAN with PoE support with a hat. The A version only has GbE.

Rock Pi 4B Performance Set Unboxing

RockPi 4 Board
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Rock Pi 4 Board Bottom
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Rock Pi 4 Performance Set
Rock Pi 4 Performance Set – Click to Enlarge

Some of the more notable specs

  • eMMC module support
  • M.2 NVME SSD support (SATA not supported)
  • HDMI 2.0 [email protected]
  • MIPI DSI 2 lanes via FPC connector
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • MIPI CSI 2 lanes via FPC connector, support up to 8MP camera
  • 802.11 ac wifi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 40-pin expansion header :
    •  1 x UART
    • 2x SPI bus
    • 2x I2C bus
    • 1x PCM/I2S1
    • 1x SPDIF
    • 1 x PWM
    • 1x ADC
    • 6x GPIO
    • 2x 5V DC power in
    • 2 x 3.3V power pin
    • USB PD – Support USB Type C PD 2.0, 9V/2A, 12V/2A, 15V/2A, 20V/2A
    • Qualcomm Quick Charge – Support QC3.0/2.0 adapter, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A

Chips

  • RK808-D looks like it is the standard power delivery chip for the RK3399
  • AP6256 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 5.0
  • RTL8211E provides gig ethernet
  • NCLD4C2MA512 Memory
  • ES8316 Low Power Audio CODEC
  • LDR6015SS USB Type C

I apologize I could not read some of the chips regardless of the angle.

Raspberry Pi Compatibility

The RockPi 4 has an identical footprint as the Raspberry Pi. I tried to install in a Raspberry Pi case that I have. It fits but it would have to be modified to allow the heatsink to protrude out the back due to the processor being located on the back of the board. They improved several things over the Raspberry Pi in my opinion. Power delivery, option to use eMMC instead of an SD card, and upcoming M.2 for storage. I’ve had issues with power delivery and SD cards on the Raspberry Pi when using for projects. So far the Rock Pi has been solid. The Raspberry Pi camera and display are both supported.

Rock Pi 4 QC 3.0 Power Supply

S19 Power Adapter

Rock Pi 4 eMMC Adapter

Rock Pi 4 Firmware Images

5 images are currently available to flash. With 2 more in the works

  • Provided by Radxa
    • Android TV
    • Android
    • Debian Desktop
    • Ubuntu Server
  • Third Party
    • Armbian 5.67
    • LibreElec (coming soon)
    • Recalbox (coming soon) I had to look this one up it is an emulator

Flashing is easy with Etcher and I had no issues on the ones I have looked at so far.

Final Thoughts

A lot of additional information can be found here. All the pinouts. Flashing instructions. OS Images. Some additional information can be found here. I will follow up with individual firmware findings.

Finally. Last week when I was looking up information I was really surprised to see that there are almost 150 SBC’s on the market. Whoa. It seems like they are throwing everything they can at the wall and seeing what sticks. I am not sure any board will capture the imagination like the Raspberry Pi. The RockPi 4 seems to have got a lot of things right at least from my perspective and initial review.

It looks like Allnet has the exclusive selling rights on these.

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