Banana Pi has started working on the BPI-KVM box based on a Rockchip RK3568 SoC, but it’s not a mini PC, and instead, it is a KVM over IP solution designed to remotely control another computer or device as if you were on-site with, for example, the ability to turn on and off the connected device, access the BIOS, and so on.
Commercial KVM over IP solutions used to be expensive, but people have started to use Raspberry Pi SBCs with an expansion board such as the PiKVM v3, and more recently Raspberry Pi CM4-based KVM over IP solutions have been launched for under well $200. Seeing the popularity of these solutions, Banana Pi has decided to join the fray with its own BPI-KVM powered by an IO-rich Rockchip RK3568 processor that provides all interfaces needed for this type of application.
Banana Pi BPI-KVM (preliminary) specifications:
- SoC – Rockchip RK3568 with
- CPU – Quad-core Cortex-A55 processor @ up to 2.0 GHz
- GPU – Arm Mali-G52 2EE GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.2, OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan 1.1
- AI accelerator – 1.0 TOPS NPU (probably not used in KVM use case)
- VPU – 4Kp60 H.265/H.264/VP9 video decoding, and 1080p60 H.265/H.264 video encoding
- System Memory – 2GB LPDDR4
- Storage – 16GB eMMC flash
- KVM ports connected to the controlled device
- Video Input – HDMI, VGA, DVI, or DisplayPort (M.2 card with the relevant port, see photo below)
- PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse emulation
- USB – 1x USB 3.0 port for mass storage emulation
- Serial – 2x RJ45 ports with RS232
- DIO – 8-pole terminal block with 4x DI, 1x DO relay output (e.g. to control power)
- Video Output – HDMI, VGA, DVI, or DisplayPort (again selectable with M.2 card add-on)
- 2x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports for LAN redundancy or dual IP operation
- Optional WiFi 6 wireless module
- USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
- Serial – RS485 terminal block
- Misc – PS/2 control port, LEDs
- Power Supply – DC jack
- Dimensions – 160 x 125 x 31.5 mm
- Weight – 600 grams (TBC, looks way too heavy)
The Banana Pi BPI-KVM device allows both remote control through the KVM ports and local control with HDMI output and two USB ports for a keyboard and a mouse. We are not told much about software, but Banana Pi mentions a partnership with IKAS Industries to provide a total solution. IKAS provides industrial solutions such as an AI-powered Smart Manufacturing System, so I’m assuming Banana Pi is working on the board design, and IKAS will provide the OS for the BPI-KVM and the software that runs on the host/server. You’d have thought they would have modified open-source software like PiKVM, but we’ll see. Only time will tell.
Banana Pi did not provide pricing and availability information, but they have already manufactured at least a few dozen samples of the Rockchip RK3568 KVM over IP box if we are to believe the photo below, so we may not have to wait too long before the product launch, provided software development is on track. A few more details may be found in the wiki and the forums.
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.