Radxa ROCK 3B Rockchip RK3568 SBC combines Pico-ITX and Raspberry Pi form factors

Radxa ROCK 3 Model B, or ROCK 3B for shorts, is a “PI-CO ITX” SBC powered by a Rockchip RK3568 SoC that combines the benefits of Pico-ITX and Raspberry Pi form factors in the sense that the 100x72mm board features all main ports on the rear side and supports expansion through a 40-pin Raspberry Pi-compatible GPIO header and several M.2 sockets for storage and wireless modules.

The ROCK 3B is the younger, but bigger brother of the ROCK 3A business card-sized SBC introduced in 2021, still with an RK3568 CPU and up to 8GB LPDDR4, but the board features two gigabit Ethernet ports, an M.2 B Key socket for 4G LTE/5G cellular modules, an M.2 PCIe 3.0 x1 socket for an M.2 2280 SSD not necessitating an expansion board, besides the M.2 Key-E socket for WiFi 6.

Radxa ROCK 3B

ROCK 3B specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3568(J)
    • CPU – Quad-core Cortex A55 processor at up to 2.0 GHz
    • GPU – Mali G52 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.2, OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan 1.1
    • VPU
      • 4Kp60 H.264/H.265/VP9 video decoder
      • 1080p60 H.264/H.265 video encoder
    • AI accelerator – 1 TOPS NPU; INT8/INT16/FP16/BFP16 MAC hybrid operation; support for TensorFlow, TF-lite, Pytorch, Caffe, ONNX, MXNet, Keras, Darknet
  • System Memory – 2GB, 4GB, 8GB LPDDR4
  • Storage
    • Pluggable eMMC module
    • MicroSD card slot
    • M.2 M key socket for NVMe with PCIe 3.0 x2
  • Video Output
    • HDMI 2.0 port up to 4Kp60
    • 2x MIPI DSI connectors, one with 4-lane MIPI DSI, one with 2-lane MIPI DSI
    • eDP connector
    • Touch Panel connector
  • Camera – 1x MIPI CSI connector
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, digital audio via HDMI
  • Connectivity
    • 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports, one with PoE support through optional PoE HAT
    • WiFi 6 via an M.2 E key socket with PCIe 2.0 x1/SDIO/UART
    • 4G LTE/5G cellular via an M.2 B key 3042 socket with PCIe, SATA, USB interfaces, and a SIM card socket
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 2x USB3.0 (1x OTG+1x HOST) ports
  • Expansion – Color-coded 40-pin GPIO header mostly compatible with ROCK Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi 3/4 exposing 5x UART, 1x SPI, 2x I2C, 1x PCM/I2S, 1x CAN bus, 6x PWM, 1x ADC, 6x GPIO, 1x USB 2.0, and 5V, 3.3V, and GND power signals
  • Misc
    • RTC with connector for backup battery
    • IR receiver
    • RGB LED
    • Fan header
    • Power and recovery buttons
  • Power Supply
    • 6V to 20V DC via USB-C port with USB PD 2.0 (9V/2A, 12V/2A, 15V/2A, or 20V/2A), QC 3.0 (9V/2A or 12V/1.5A), or fixed voltage (6V to 24V) support
    • 5V via GPIO pin 2 or 4
  • Dimensions – 100 x 75 mm (~Pico-ITX and PI-CO ITX form factors)
  • Certifications – CE/FCC

Rockchip RK3568 PI-CO ITX SBC

ROCK 3 Model B RK3568 SBC with M.2 NVMe SSD socket

Radxa currently provides Debian 11 “Bullseye” and Ubuntu 22.04 “Jammy” images for the Rock 3B board, but Android 11 should also be officially supported, plus third-party from Armbian and others should eventually be released. You’ll find a getting started guide, OS images for download, additional hardware information, and instructions to use a 4G LTE module, a MIPI DSI display, the PoE HAT, and more in the wiki.

The Rock 3 Model B was first unveiled in 2021 with a slightly different design which Radxa then modified based on feedback from their users, and the board has only become available now for $45 with 2GB RAM, $55 with 4GB RAM, and $75 with 8GB RAM on Arace Tech. They have not made it easy for potential customers to purchase accessories, as they’d need to navigate the accessories section and it’s not always clear which one is compatible with a specific SBC, and some are simply missing…

Thanks to Geoffrey for the tip.

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6 months ago

The last paragraph says “The Rock Model 5B was first”… when you really meant the 3B.

Brett Cooper
6 months ago

These need 16GB of ram to be a serious desktop computer replacement.

6 months ago

Well, with its RK3568 chip, don’t expect a serious desktop experience, even with 16G of RAM

This is a very nice board with a bunch of extensions and an affordable price.

6 months ago

This is not ROCK 5 Model B with 8 cores but just only with 4 efficient ones.

6 months ago

There’s not much information about the seller. They seem official since Radxa also confirmed the special Black Friday blue edition but not much else.

6 months ago

Tom also confirmed on Radxa Discord that Arace Tech are an official distributor of Radxa boards with blue pcb version exclusive to Arace for the promotion.

6 months ago

Tom should start to think about what it means to hide information and documentation behind this Discord crap.

A nice read would be starting from “Community” here: https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2023/so-you-want-make-raspberry-pi-killer

Tom Cubie
6 months ago

Thanks for your suggestions. I am listening. I think the primary purpose of the Discord channel is on fostering social media engagement and providing a platform for community companionship.

6 months ago

Hi Tom, I personally can’t resolve myself to create yet-another-account on some closed communication places like this. It’s far too annoying, especially when there’s nothing secret being exchanged. I *hate* having accounts everywhere, and having to connect to search for something I recently saw but don’t remember where. And discord is probably one of the worst in this, if not the worst, given that all the possibly useful content is often jealously hidden and harvested by them with no access without an account. And as such it’s not even indexed by search engines, so all the info shared there is… Read more »

Tom Cubie
6 months ago

We have created a public IRC channel on libera.chat and will bridge the Discord to IRC. Public logging request is already sent to whitequark.

6 months ago

OK but are there any publicly searchable archives for search engines ? Otherwise users keep asking the same questions instead of finding their responses on their preferred search engine, you see.

6 months ago

> primary purpose of the Discord channel is on fostering social media engagement and providing a platform for community companionship

But it doesn’t work that way. I quit Radxa forum for the same reason as Willy since it made absolutely no sense trying to ‘discuss’ in one place when everybody there told you ‘Huh? Discussed in another hidden place already weeks ago, join Discord and you’re one of the cool guys’.

6 months ago

Especially choosing this Discord crap (where everything gets immediately absorbed by NSA/GCHQ) as a Chinese company makes no sense whatsoever. If the US starts to become even more hostile towards China (and they probably will soon) then your Discord channels and all its contents are gone as part of some ‘sanctions’…

Khadas VIM4 SBC