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 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
- 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
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.
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.