Last week, we noted Firefly launched the first RK3568 system-on-module with Core-3568J AI Core and a corresponding full-featured development kit. But the company has been working on another interesting Rockchip RK3568 based device with Station P2 mini PC.
Most Arm mini PCs need to make compromises when it comes to interfaces having to rely on USB bridges, but Station P2 feels very much like standard x86 based mini PC, albeit with a slower processor, thanks to native interfaces, or implemented through PCIe, with M.2 and SATA 3.0 SSD/HDD, dual Gigabit Ethernet, as well as WiFi 6, several USB 3.0/2.0 ports, and support for up to 8GB RAM among other features.
- SoC – Rockchip RK3568 quad-core Cortex-A55 processor @ up to 2.0 GHz with Arm Mali-G52 2EE GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.2, OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan 1.1, 0.8 TOPS NPU for AI acceleration, 4Kp60 H.265/H.264/VP9 video decoding, and 1080p100 H.265/H.264 video encoding
- System Memory – 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB LPDDR4 “all-data-link ECC” RAM @ 1600 MHz (soldered on board)
- 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB eMMC flash
- 1x M.2 PCIe 3.0 socket for 2242 / 2280 NVMe SSD
- 1x SATA 3.0 for 2.5” SSD/HDD
- MicroSD card socket
- Boot modes – eMMC flash, MicroSD, or USB
- Video Output – HDMI 2.0 port up to 4Kp60
- Audio – 3.5mm headphone jack, digital audio via HDMI
- Dual Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports including one with POE+ (802.3 AT, output power 30W) support
- WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0 plus two external antennas
- USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB Type-C OTG port
- Serial – RJ45 control port with 1x RS485 + 2x RS232 accessible through RJ45 to terminal block expansion cable
- Misc – Power button
- Power Supply – 12V input via 5.5/2.1mm DC jack
- Dimensions – 142 x 89 x 31.5 mm (Aluminum alloy enclosure)
Firefly offers Android 11 and Ubuntu 18.04 for the mini PC, as well as the company’s own Android-based Station OS with desktop and media modes. If the specifications are accurate it’s not possible to boot from SATA or PCIe storage, but only from eMMC flash, MicroSD card, or a USB drive, and based on what I read from the datasheet that’s indeed correct:
Support system boot from the following device:
SPI Flash interface
Support system code download by the following interface:
USB OTG interface (Device mode)
One could also store the root file systems on an SSD drive for faster operation, at least for Linux operating systems. Technical support for the mini PC will be offered through the forums.
Firefly has just launched Station P2 on Indiegogo with a 150,000 HKD (or about $19,300 US) funding target. Rewards start at $120 USD with 2GB DDR4 and 32GB storage, while the 4GB/64GB model goes for $150, and the high-end 8GB/128GB variant is offered for around $210. The mini PC ships with a power adapter, HDMI and USB-C cables. It is also sold in bundles of 10 or 50 pieces. Shipping is free to Greater China
but adds $18 to $60 to the rest of the world depending on the destination country, which can make it a bit more expensive than it should be… [Update April 2, 2021: shipping has dropped by $20 USD on average, and seven Asian countries have been added to free shipping] Deliveries are scheduled to start in May 2021.