Rock Pi X Intel Cherry Trail Board to Sell for as low as $39

Most low cost (sub $100) single board computers are based on Arm processors because Intel processors are normally more expensive, but there are some exceptions with AAEON Up Board and Atomic Pi both powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor and selling for $99 and $35 respectively.

The former follows Raspberry Pi form factor and is easy to use, but the latter requires some more work to wire power supply unless you buy an extra baseboard. There should however soon be a third option for low-cost Intel SBCs with Radxa Rock Pi X board powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Cherry Trail processor and is expected to sell for as little as $39.

Rock Pi X 1.0
Click to Enlarge

Rock Pi X just showed up in Hackerboards database, and there will be two models, namely Rock Pi X model A and Rock Pi X model B with the following specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” quad-core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz (Turbo) with Intel Gen8 HD graphics @ 500 MHz
  • System Memory –  1 GB, 2 GB. or 4GB LPDDR3-1866
  • Storage – MicroSD card socket, eMMC flash socket
  • Video Output / Display I/F – HDMI 1.4 port up to 4K @ 30 Hz, eDP and MIPI DSI connectors
  • Audio I/O – Via HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • Model B only – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2 Classic + LE
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB OTG Type-C port
  • Camera I/F – MIPI CSI connector
  • Expansion – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with GPIOs, 2x ADC, 2x PWM, 2x I2C
  • Misc – RTC
  • Power Supply
    • 5V-20V up to 3A/1A Via USB-C port with QC and PD fast charging support;
    • AXP288C PMIC
    • Model B only – optional PoE support via additional HAT
  • Dimensions – 85 x 52 mm
Cheap Intel SBC
Click to Enlarge

The photos above differ from the ones in Hackerboards website, as CNX Software requested updated photos directly from Radxa.

Apart from the Intel processor and the lack of an M.2 slot, the specifications are very similar to the company’s Arm-based Rock Pi 4 SBC with the differences between model A and model B being the addition of a wireless module and support for PoE for the latter.  If you’re worried about cooling, a variant of Rock Pi 4 heatsink ($7.99) will certainly be made.

Rock Pi 4 Heatsink
Rock Pi 4 with Heatsink

Another similarity is pricing. Since Rock Pi X will have exactly the same pricing options as the RK3399 board:

  • Rock Pi X model A – 1GB RAM ($39), 2GB ($49), or 4GB ($65)
  • Rock Pi X model B – 1GB RAM ($49), 2GB ($59), or 4GB ($75)

The board is a bit more expensive than Atomic Pi board, especially considering the lack of internal storage, but it will be easier to use, and it’s also a much smaller board. Since it’s an Intel board, the usual operating systems such as Windows 10, Ubuntu 18.04 and other Linux distributions, and Android should work out of the box as early issues such as the lack of HDMI audio on Intel Bay Trail/Cherry Trail processors were fixed a few years ago.

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Meth
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Meth

How does this CPU compare to a Pi4 OC to 2GHz when running emulators? Obviously can’t OC an Intel CPU unless you pay the Intel K tax but would be interesting to see how this deals with Gamecube, Dreamcast etc rather than NES….

tof
Guest
tof

Does Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” needs a 32bits bootloader to run a 64bit Linux distro (such as Ubuntu) ??

I’ve got an Atom Bay Trail machine, and frankly this limitation is a pain in the ass.
Thanks that isorespin does exist ( https://linuxiumcomau.blogspot.com/2017/06/customizing-ubuntu-isos-documentation.html ), to make possible (with many tricks and adaptations) to run Ubuntu on those machines/CPU.

But for me an Intel Atom CPU for Linux is a no-go.

Tom Cubie
Guest

We develop the bios, so we can choose to build 32bit or 64bit bios. Of course we choose x64.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Hi, do you know which chip the wifi/bt module uses ?

Tom Cubie
Guest

AP6255, this one has Windows driver. We planned to use the same AP6256 on ROCK PI 4/Raspberry Pi 4, but no Windows driver for it…

Tom
Guest
Tom

Ok thank you, is there a an IPX connector to use external antennas ?

Tom Cubie
Guest

Yes, same design as ROCK Pi 4, on board antenna and uFL connector for external antenna.

NicoD
Guest

Nice board Tom. This could sell very well since a lot of people do not want ARM.
I love ARM, so can’t wait to see a new arm-SBC with the newer RK SoC’s.
Good luck with it, greetings.
NicoD

roel
Guest
roel

Coreboot?

Lalith
Guest
Lalith

Hi Tom,

Is it possible to get a PCI lane out of this board ?

Tom Cubie
Guest

The only one PCIe connects to the GbE…

roel
Guest
roel

Strange, I run standard manjaro on a Mele PCG02U without problems. Everything works out of the box. Maybe bleutooth not but as I don’t need it, I don’t use it and it is also not related to the intel cpu.
No problems on the J1900 bay trail also. The only one I have problems with is my thecus N2810 NAS with a N3050. For some reasons this thing is slow (although it runs from ssd and has 8GB of ram). I think it is rather a design fault in the motherboard somewhere.

Willy
Guest
Willy

It seems that the board’s layout is flipped along the Y axis compared to other x-Pi boards. It’s not necessarily a problem until someone expects to upgrade these boards in field and face issues as stupid as cable paths and lengths.

hackerboards
Guest

I believe the pcb design will be revised so that the RPi bus is in the “right” location. That’s why I did not use the new photo in the listing at HackerBoards.com. –Rick

ziew
Guest
ziew

I wrote a comment that those flipped boards show “V1.0” on silk screen and the bottom one marked “V1.3” is correct, but then I noticed these are two different products. Silly me.

willy
Guest
willy

I doubt it. It’s quite some work to route such a PCB, they might have had good reasons to make it this way (or maybe someone mixed the top and bottom layers and they decided to finish). Actually on my desk it would take less space with the connectors that way because I’d have it on the left and the cables go towards the left. But considering how RPi has created a de-facto standard, having it flipped will inevitably keep the product away from many use cases.

eFfeM
Guest
eFfeM

Heatsink will probably be a must on this one

manuel
Guest
manuel

Any SATA hat?

TLS
Guest
TLS

No SATA support in these chips.

manuel
Guest
manuel

And if PCI line is exposed in the gpios, it’s possible to add a PCI SATA controller?

Tom Cubie
Guest

There are some models of Cherry Trail which has two PCIe buses, the CPU cost is higher than the current boards…

Tom Cubie
Guest

ROCK PI Quad SATA HAT for Raspberry Pi 4 and Penta(yes, penta) SATA HAT for ROCK Pi 4 will make you happy.

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

> Penta(yes, penta) SATA HAT for ROCK Pi 4

One ASM1062 combined with two JMB575?

Tom Cubie
Guest

one JMB585 does the job.

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

Ah, right. I confused Deca with Penta 🙂

bob
Guest
bob

Great, an working GPU out the box and less power dissipation than RPI4, if the nanopi M4 case can fit this board : hourra!

Willy
Guest
Willy

I have a 8350 on my desk for random stuff (at least serves as an external gigabit machine). I unplugged its fan because I can’t stand hearing a fan spin next to me. Even under high stress it remains touchable. It’s slightly higher in frequency, with a turbo at 1.92, or 1.68 when all 4 cores are running, and it’s quite correct. Thus I guess this one will not have issues spreading the heat in the enclosure. However you won’t make it fit into any other enclosure since it’s flipped.

bob
Guest
bob

What great idea to flip gpio (ok) but also USB, RJ45 port! These guys are incredible…no go for me to fund so stupid idea ^^

capcoding
Guest
capcoding

can this support two HDMI out and two CSI-in?

also for board at this level it could be more meaningful to provide PCIe extension than a few low-speed pins on the board, PCIe will make much more applications possible.

A larger board with same CPU(or more powerful ones), with 2xHDMI, 2xCSI-in(even HDMI-in), 4 Ethernet ports and PCIe expansion, will make it a choice for mid-to-high range applications, higher price is definitely acceptable.

Tom Cubie
Guest

ROCK Pi 5 will make you happy.

manuel
Guest
manuel

Rock pi 5? Where is it?

Antonym
Guest
Antonym

Do the CPUs on these Rock PIs with heat sink throttle as much as a Raspberry Pi4 with heat sink?

Willy
Guest
Willy

As mentioned above it should not as my UP-board using a slightly faster z8350 doesn’t throttle while cooled only by a plate, with the fan unplugged. BTW the RPi4 becomes OK even at 2 GHz with a large heat sink that totally encloses it like this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Aluminum-Alloy-CNC-Enclosure-Case-Metal-Shell-Suitable-For-Raspberry-Pi-4B-HS3/133122089737

Dru Nelson
Guest
Dru Nelson

This actually is the first Intel based board that I’ve seen in a while that looks compelling. I have some code that I don’t want to port to ARM right now. I wonder how the GPU compares to the various RPi models.

Slice
Guest
Slice

Meh

Mark
Guest
Mark

What Gigabit NIC IC does this use?
I’m interested to find out if it supports hardware timestamping.

Member

Hardware timestamping and at least dual GigE would be awesome !

Richard Hughes
Guest

Can this run ESXi

David Jashi
Guest
David Jashi
Member

What about UEFI?

Meth
Guest
Meth

So where is it? The Rock Pi X page on radxa website is a joke.. so many missing text sections… FAQ is empty! WHEN?