Rock Pi S is a tiny single board computer powered by Rockchip RK3308 quad-core Cortex-A35 processor coupled with up to 512MB RAM, up to 1GB SD NAND flash, as well as a USB port, Fast Ethernet & optional WiFi & Bluetooth connectivity which was announced to sell for as low as $9.90 with 256MB RAM, 256MB flash and no wireless module.
Seeed Studio has now started to take pre-orders for Rock Pi S with the board selling for $14.90 with 512 MB RAM, 512MB SD NAND flash, WiFi & Bluetooth. Shipping is scheduled to start on October 15th. [Update: Seeed Studio has also listed the 256MB RAM version of the board for $9.90]
Rock Pi S specifications as currently sold on Seeed Studio:
- SoC – Rockchip RK3308 quad-core Arm Cortex-A35 processor @ up to 1.3 GHz with built-in VAD (Voice Activity Detector)
- System Memory – 512MB RAM
- Storage – MicroSD card for OS storage media, 4-Gbit onboard SD NAND storage
- 100Mbps Ethernet with optional PoE (additional HAT required)
- 802.11 b/g/n WiFi 4 + Bluetooth 4.0 (via RTL8723BS) with external antenna
- USB – 1x USB 2.0 OTG Type-C port, 1x USB 2.0 host type-A port
- 26-pin Pi GPIO header with 4x I2C, 3x PWM, 2x SPI interfaces, 3x UART, GPIO
- 26-pin voice/audio header with I2S
- Misc – Maskrom and reset keys
- Power Supply – 5V via USB-C port
- Dimensions – 3.8 x 3.8 cm
Radxa provides supports for Debian Linux operating system and Buildroot build system. We now also have more details on the Wiki. Note the board’s boot priority means NAND flash will boot before the MicroSD card. But if you’d like to try an alternative OS and boot from a MicroSD card instead, you can do so by pressing the Maskrom key.
In case you wonder what an “SD NAND flash” is, Tom Cubie, CEO of Radxa, explains it and the reason behind the choice of this component as follows:
For the cost sensitive IoT application, SPI NOR is kind of awkward because for small size(< 16MB), you basically can not do anything within it. For larger size(128MB), the cost is relatively high. What we choose on ROCK Pi S for storage is SD Nand, nand flash with SDcard interface, soldered on board, which offers 1Gb/2Gb/4Gb/8Gb options, perfect for an IOT Linux image. So the user don’t need to waste the 16GB uSD card.
The board reminds me of Allwinner H3 based Shenzhen Xunlong Orange Pi Zero and FriendyELEC NanoPi NEO / Neo Air boards and competes against those SBCs. Rock Pi S does offer some unique features however, since AFAIK it’s the only board in this form factor that comes with a VAD (Voice Activity Detector), most competing boards don’t come with built-in storage, it’s the smallest (38×38 mm) from the list, and with an the Cortex-A35 processor, the board should consume much less power (suspend to ram: 9mA; idle: 50mA @ 5V).
If you plan to use WiFi or Bluetooth you may have to buy a separate u.FL antenna, as the board does not have chip nor PCB antenna, and Seeed Studio does not indicate whether they ship the board with an antenna or not. [Update: The company confirmed the board will ship without antenna]
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.
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