Rock Pi 4 is an affordable single board computer inspired by Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, but equipped with a more powerful Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor, and selling for around $80 with 4GB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11ac + Bluetotoh 5.0 wireless module.
I’ve just come across ecoPI STARTER mini PC kit for the board with an aluminum case that can also fit an M.2 extension board to add an M.2 NVMe SSD card.
The kit comes with an aluminum housing, an acrylic cover, some screws, bolts and silicon feet, and short ribbon cables for M.2 card. The acrylic cover is designed to let the WiFi & Bluetooth signal go through, but I’m not so confident the case won’t cause issue with WiFi.
It’s currently sold for $16.50 on Aliexpress. You’ll also need to get Rock Pi 4A or 4B for $40 and up, M.2 Extension board ($8.39), heatsink ($8.39), and your own SSD and power supply.
The video below shows how to assemble the complete ecoPI STARTER kit with an M.2 NVMe SSD. Note that contrary to the photo above, the acrylic case has some ventilation holes.
If you’d also like to add a PoE HAT to your configuration, there’s another similar case with extra height and integrated heatsink called ecoPI Pro HP sold for $35.90 on the same Aliexpress store.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
I think it’s really difficult to fight versus Raspberry PI4, now. In the past, when Raspberry didn’t have H265, without out-of-order cpu, only USB2, only 1GB RAM, fastethernet or limited gigabit NIC … for some use cases was better to search an alternative, even with a lightly higher cost; but now, with PI4 with 4GB at a 59euro pricepoint … I think that now some raspberry alternatives has no more much sense. I really appreciate eMMC or NVME, A73 instead of raspberry’s A72 … but I think they didn’t really worth the bigger expenses, or the lack of the really… Read more »
With the Rock Pi 4 you can move the root file system from the eMMC to the NVMe and then run the OS from it. I have not checked if they updated the software to allow booting directly from the NVMe – but the short boot phase from the eMMC is basically nothing and then you run your disk IO at NVMe speed. You can’t do that with a Raspberry Pi 4. With the Rock Pi 4 you can decide to forget about an NVMe SSD and instead use an NVMe to PCI 2 x4 open ended adapter and then… Read more »
Even with Raspberry PI currently you can move the root partition on an external drive; an SSD using USB3 connection, just to say; doing so you can collect the advantage of having a short boot phase on microSD, and after having loaded the kernel from microSD, Linux will mount the root partition on the external drive. In the near future (with a newer firmware) the Raspberry PI4 can also directly boot from USB (currently only PI3 can). I agree with you that this is an USB3 connection and not an NVME connection, but I think that also an USB3 connection… Read more »
> a so high bandwidth that an ARM-based SBC cannot take profit That’s wrong in two regards: 1) of course ARM-based SBC can benefit from appropriate protocols (NVMe) compared to horrible stacks of inappropriate protocol layers like ‘USB3 attached storage’. Especially on low-end devices you want ‘native’ access to flash storage instead of every bit having to jump through various hoops. USB3 storage is inefficient and wastes CPU cycles for nothing. 2) Why the heck is everybody focused on ‘bandwidth’ when it’s about SSDs, especially when it’s about putting the rootfs on the thing? You look for low latency and… Read more »
You are being delusional, please show us some proof about those hypothetical higher speeds using NVMe. As far as I know, No current ARM SBC can achieve reading speeds over 500MB/s, not even with NVMe. Please, prove me wrong if you can. 1700MB/s?, In your dreams. Come on bro, who you are trying to fool here! Nothing personal but you sounded like a fanboy.
> No current ARM SBC can achieve reading speeds over 500MB/s
My SSD/RK3399 combo from mid 2018 went even higher, up to 1.3GB/s https://forum.armbian.com/topic/7498-nanopc-t4/?do=findComment&comment=59807 … and btw. 10GB networking goes up to 6.6 Gbit/s https://twitter.com/armbian/status/1161515847124488198
ROCK Pi 4 all models, V1.4 or later, there is a SPI flash on board, you can put the bootloader in SPI flash and the kernel/rootfs on NVMe. We ported the NVMe driver in u-boot. With GPT partition table, it’s no difference to boot from uSD card, eMMC or NVMe, one image, dd to uSD/eMMC/NVMe and boot. All other distributions are supported, Armbian/Manjaro etc.
Anybody has data on thermal throttling by the Pi4 CPUs inside that box? Also can one burn oneself on the exterior?
If you watch the short assembly video you’ll see that the board is using the regular RockPi 4 heatsink so there’s nothing the ‘enclosure’ contributes here. Since the heatsink is on the bottom there is minor risk for burning unless you rotate the whole thing by 180° for some few degrees less.
Huge heatsinks with relatively small fins but high thermal mass are rather inefficient for constant high loads. Applies to RockPi 4, NanoPi M4 and NEO4.