Pine64 SoEdge-RK1808 AI Module Delivers 3.0 TOPS via Rockchip RK1808 SoC

A few weeks ago, Ameridroid reported Pine64 would soon launch SoRock and SoEdge systems-on-module, but at the time there was virtually no info except SoRock would be likely based on either RK3328 or RK3399 and work on the existing Clusterboard, while SoEdge would be an AI Neural module for Artificial Intelligence tasks, with up to 3 TeraFLOPS of performance.

I did not write about it at the time, simply because there was so little information, but this morning I’ve just received some photos of SoEdge-RK1808 module fitted to a baseboard that looks to be SOPINE Model “A” carrier board.

SoEdge-RK1808 SoM

SoEdge-RK1808
Click to Enlarge

Let’s try to derive the specifications from the photos even though some components appear to be blurred out or just unclear:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK1808 dual-core Cortex-A35 processor with 3.0 TOPS NPU (Neural Processing Unit)
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM (2x 8GBit Micro DDR4-2400) but limited PC-2133
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.1 flash (FORESEE NCEMAD9D-16G)
  • PMIC – Rockchip RK809-2
  • Edge Connector – 204-pin SO-DIMM connector
  • Dimensions – 67.9 x 31.0 mm (following DDR3 SO-DIMM / SoPine64 form factor)
Neural Network Processing-Unit-NPU System-on-Module
Click to Enlarge

There’s no information about software right now, but SoEdge-RK1808 should Linux, and support RKNN-Toolkit for AI acceleration just like RK1808 AI (USB) Compute Stick.

SoEdge-R1808 and SOPINE Model A Baseboard

As mentioned previously SoEdge-RK1808 appears to be compatible with SOPINE A64 SoM and fits into SOPINE Model “A” baseboard.

SOPINE Model A Baseboard + SoEdge-RK1808
Click to Enlarge

It should be noted that all ports may not be working on that baseboard, since for example RK1808 does not support HDMI, but MPI DSI and CSI connector should be fine.

Rockchip RK1808 has a low-end, low power dual-core Cortex-A35 processor so it will only be interested in those applications where you can leverage the NPU such as object detection, face recognition, and so on. We do not have any information about SoEdge-RK1808 availability and pricing at the time of writing. [Update: I’ve been informed SOEdge-RK1808 module price will be the same as SOPine A64 module, or $29]

As a side note, Pine64 recently published a company presentation where we learn some interesting tidbits about the company including that it’s mainly managed by the community and makes little to no profits:

There is ZERO employee in PINE64. All resource comes from either contract or contribute basis. This keeps the structure in very flexible way and also minimize operating expense.

PINE64 is marginally profitable. Considers PINE64 as a store that services PINE64 community rather as a company.

All recent profit recycle back as working capital and keeps bootstrapping.

I was actually told the recent launch of PineBook Pro laptop was entirely managed and handled by the community.

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Tom CubieJean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft) Recent comment authors
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All of the software is here:
https://github.com/rockchip-linux

I’ve built buildroot and debian for rk1808 but I have no hardware.
All of the AI tools are there too.

And the rockchip developers even occasionally respond when you file an issue.

This is supposed to be a clone of the official dev board or something very close. So hopefully the dev board SDK will boot.

Tom Cubie
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I will send you the hardware 🙂
ROCK Pi NN HAT