BIGTREETECH CB1 – A Raspberry Pi CM4 compatible Allwinner H616 system-on-module

The BIGTREETECH CB1 core board is an Allwinner H616 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 system-on-module (SoM) that follows the Raspberry Pi CM4 form factor and was designed by BIGTREETECH, a company whose main business is related to 3D printer motherboards and their peripherals.

The BIGTREETECH CB1 comes with 1GB RAM, an HDMI output interface, 2.4GHz WiFi, and 100Mbps Ethernet. The CB1 has better multimedia capability than the CM4 with support for 4Kp60 H.265/H.264 video decoding and 1080p60 H.264 video encoding, while the Broadcom BCM2711 processor on the CM4 can only handle 4Kp60 H.265 and 1080p60 H.264 video decoding, and 1080p30 H.264 video encoding. Some disadvantages include the lack of CSI and DSI interfaces on the Allwinner H616 system-on-module and the presence of only one video output interface against two for the Raspberry Pi CM4 module.

CM4 1
BIGTREETECH-CB1

BIGTREETECH CB1 specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H616 quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz with Mali-G31 MP2 GPU with OpenGL 3.2, Vulkan 1.1, OpenCL 2.0 API support
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 port up to 4Kp60
  • Video Encoding– H.264 up to 1080p60
  • Video Decoding– H.265 up to 4Kp60/4Kp30 hardware video decoding
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi 4
  • 2x board-to-board connectors mostly compatible with the ones on Raspberry Pi CM4
  • Dimensions – 55x40x4.7mm

CB1 relies on the same board-to-board connectors as the Raspberry Pi CM4 which makes it compatible with most carrier boards for the Raspberry Pi CM4. BIGTREETECH also developed the “PI4B Adapter” carrier board with Raspberry Pi 4 form factor which features most of the same interfaces, plus a 5V fan header.

CM4 2
BIGTREETECH PI4B adapter

When PI4B is used with the CB1, the CPU performance will be close to that of the Raspberry Pi 3B, but with compatibility with many of the accessories for the Raspberry Pi 4. If you wish to do so, you could also connect a Raspberry Pi CM4 to the PI4B adapter board. BIGTREETECH provides a Debian Linux for the CB1, and other operating systems are also in the works, but the company has not released public documentation for the board nor any OS images just yet. [Update: The OS image and Linux kernel source code can be found on GitHub]

The BIGTREETECH CB1 system-on-module can be purchased on Taobao in mainland China for about $19.9, and the complete package with the PI4B adapter goes for about $29.9. The company also has an Aliexpress store, but the CB1 is not listed yet. Let’s hope it will show up on Aliexpress in the near future. [Update: it can be purchased on the BQ store, see comments section]

CM4 3
BIGTREETECH PI4B with CB1 system-on-module
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14 Comments
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Jeff Geerling
1 month ago

Currently you can get a CB1 if you buy it bundled with the PI4B adapter board from BIGQ directly: https://biqu.equipment/collections/control-board/products/pi4b-adapter-v1-0?variant=39847230242914

I would like to be able to buy it separately, though!

Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
Admin

Thanks. I can see they provide the link to the OS image and kernel on GitHub on the store. I’ve added those to the article.

Mark Birss
Mark Birss
1 month ago

It was initially available separately, i ordered 2 with heatsinks on Jul 4th 2022

Jo Sch
Jo Sch
10 days ago

you can purchase the CB1 by itself from the Manta Control Board page. Took me awhile to find it …

Hedda
Hedda
1 month ago

Nice but hope we will to see other competing brands/models variants with more RAM and onboard eMMC Flash storage.

Orange Pi is a candidate for that I guess?

WereCatf
WereCatf
1 month ago

Those are pretty anemic specs and a severe downgrade from the CM4; only 100Mbps Ethernet instead of gigabit, no 802.11AC, Pi3-level performance.. As for the compatibility with Pi-accessories: that only refers to the hardware, but whether the software-side works is an entirely different matter! In fact, there are plenty of Youtube-videos out there showing just how the software-side is far from compatible.

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 month ago

> only 100Mbps Ethernet instead of gigabit, no 802.11AC, Pi3-level performance

And also the single Gen2 PCIe lane is missing. Speaking of software-side: the kernel they’re ‘shipping’ is an unmaintained crappy Allwinner BSP kernel stuck on version 4.9.170… this pretty much sums up the software situation.

yenda
yenda
1 month ago

Not true (anymore?) — the have also 5.16 kernel now at https://github.com/bigtreetech/CB1/releases/tag/V2.2.0

Ghent The Slicer
1 month ago

Support is sorely lacking. Asked for pinout on the connectors a month ago – crickets. The provided image barely boots – the hdmi out does not work most of the time.

BTT is focused on selling their printer controller boards and any support questions not pertaining to klipper go to /dev/null

Nuno
Nuno
1 month ago

This is much better than the Radxa alternative with Rockchip SoC without any mainline support in sight.
Allwinner after a few months gets very reasonable support in mainline from the Sunxi project.
Now, is the WiFi chip just trash? Can’t find a reference of the model, but I’m yet to find a Allwinner board with a mainline supported WiFi chip.
Anyone knows the WiFi module being used?

Ray Knight
Ray Knight
1 month ago

Mainline support for Rock 3 is already available. Since Rock CM3 is just a subset of Rock 3 hardware/features I would think the Rock CM3 only requires a DTS file to be supported in mainline.

Nuno
Nuno
1 month ago

Unfortunately not for u-boot…

Hedda
Hedda
1 month ago

Amlogic SoC would have been a better choice since they have moch better support in Linux kernel mainline

yenda
yenda
1 month ago

The “official” distro is armbian + custom kernel. It was actually and surprisingly quite easy to get run (compared to what I saw about Radxa and other CM4 alternatives from Jeff Geerling — I don’t think I would be able to figure out those).

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