Rockchip RK1808 Datasheet, TRM, Schematics and Linux SDK Released

Rockchip RK1808 is the first chip from the company fully dedicated to artificial intelligence applications. The Neural Processing Unit (NPU) features an accelerator delivering up to 3.0 TOPS and is coupled with two low power Arm Cortex-A35 cores allowing it to run Linux.

We’ve had the specifications for RK1808 for a while, but the company has recently posted hardware and software resources on their open source website.

Rockchip RK1808 Block DiagramOn the hardware side we’ve got:

  • RK1808 Technical Reference Manual (TRM)
  • RK1808 datasheet
  • PDF Schematics for the company’s official RK1808-EVB

On the software side we can get the Linux SDK from Github as explained in the Wiki:

Finally configure the build and start the build process:

After a while, or more accurately close to two hours on a Laptop with Ryzen 7 2700U processor, 8GB RAM, and hard drive, we’ll get U-boot, Linux, buildroot based rootfs, and firmware files and in IMAGE/RK1808-EVB-V10_20190430.1810_RELEASE_TEST/ directory:

Now the only available development board is the RK1808-EVB from Rockchip which won’t be for sale to the general maker community, so we may have to patiently wait until one of the SBC’s companies decides to design one.

Thanks to Jon for the tip.

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The block diagram implies, and the RK1808 Datasheet confirms (page 31), that PCIe and USB3 are muxed on the same pins.


If you have a burning need for the RK1808-EVB it is for sale on taobao for $538. Two places have it listed.
I suspect these two companies bought the kit to make their own PCBs and now are reselling the used kit.

I’m going to wait for a more reasonably priced board that includes a camera option. I know of five companies considering making a dev board for the RK1808 but so far no one has shipped one.

This is chip is for making embedded devices, it is not a good chip for running desktop Linux or building a NAS. But if you want to make a smart speaker or camera with AI, this chip is for you.

The only real flaw I see is that the h.264 encoder is underpowered. The chip supports 4K image sensors but the h.264 encoder only supports 1080P30. That really should have been 1080P60. If it was 1080P60 it could also do 4kP15 which is good enough. Come on, the ancient $3 Allwinner V3 supports 1080P60, seems like a brand new chip should support it.

The rumored Allwinner V5 successor with CNN support can do 4Kp30. Support for 4KP30 is a real winner.


I’m actually very interested in Cams where you leverage the NN as a cam that does networked camera function but does image recog at the camera, so you don’t need something beefy like NVidia’s offering.


In case anyone was wondering the NPU is Vivante VIP8000 not Ceva NeuPro as previously reported…