Orange Pi AIPro SBC features a 20 TOPS Huawei Ascend AI SoC

Orange Pi AIPro is a new single board computer for AI applications that features a new (and unnamed) Huawei Ascend AI quad-core 64-bit processor delivering up to 20 TOPS (INT8) or 8 TOPS (FP16) of AI inference performance.

The SBC comes with up to 16GB LPDDR4X and a 512Mbit SPI flash but also supports other storage options such as a microSD card, an eMMC flash module, and/or an M.2 NVMe or SATA SSD. The board also features two HDMI 2.0 ports, one MIPI DSI connector, and an AV port for video output, two MIPI CSI camera interfaces, Gigabit Ethernet and WiFi 5 connectivity, a few USB ports, and a 40-pin GPIO header for expansion.

Orange Pi AIPro

Orange Pi AIPro specifications:

  • SoC – Huawei Ascend quad-core 64-bit (I’d assume RISC-V) processor delivering up to 20 TOPS (INT8) or 8TOPS (FP16) AI performance and equipped with an unnamed 3D GPU
  • System Memory – 8GB or 16GB LPDDR4X 3200 Mbps
  • Storage
    • 512Mbit SPI flash
    • MicroSD card socket
    • eMMC flash module connector for up to 256GB modules
    • M.2 Key-M 2280 socket for NVMe or SATA SSD
  • Video Output
    • 2x HDMI 2.0 ports
    • 1x MIPI DSI connector
    • 3.5mm AV port with composite video and audio
  • Camera interfaces –  2x MIPI CSI connectors
  • Audio – Built-in microphone, analog audio via AV port (see Video Output section)
  • Networking
    • Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port
    • WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 module plus two antenna connectors
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 Type-C port, 1x micro USB port (for UART console)
  • Expansion – 40-pin GPIO header
  • Misc- Reset button, Power button, LEDs, 12V fan connector
  • Power Supply
    • Up to 20V (65W) via USB-C PD port
    • 2-pin header for LiPo battery, on-board charging IC
  • Dimensions – 107 x 68 mm
  • Weight – 82 grams

Orange Pi Huawei Ascent SBC Orange Pi AIPro M2 Key M eMMC flash SPI flashOrange Pi says the board supports Ubuntu and openEuler operating systems and can be used for a range of applications such as natural language processing, real-time video analytics, augmented reality, robotics, drones, and various AIoT applications. I could not find documentation on the product page (in Chinese only), but the page points us to Huawei Ascend website which should mean it relies on the company’s MindX SDK with support for Tensorflow and Pytorch frameworks (among others) and Orange Pi Chinese’s forum.

I initially thought the AI SoC might have been the Huawei Ascend A310 released a few years ago, but the specifications are different, so it must be a new part, and Huawei likely tries not to provide too much information to prevent or delay unnecessary sanctions… [Update: another source told us the chip is the Ascend 310B with an Arm Cortex-A76 equivalent core, and the GPU should be a Mali-G57 or similar]

The board is sold on JD.com for 889 RMB ($124.80 US) or 1149 RMB ($161.30 US) respectively for the 8GB and 16GB RAM variants. I did ask Orange Pi for the exact name of the processor, but I was only told the Orange Pi AIPro would only be sold in China… So it might be hard to source unless using a forwarder or waiting for it to show up on some third-party Aliexpress stores.

Thanks to TLS for the tip.

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13 Comments
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ZaryaLyu
ZaryaLyu
2 months ago

After the kirin 9000s, It looks like another products which was “endorsed” by Mrs. Raimondo.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 months ago

Ascent -> Ascend

This news must have gotten someone excited, because I saw it on Tom’s and Liliputing first.

TLS
TLS
2 months ago

Five different power regulators is making this really complicated, for what it is.

Unturned3
Unturned3
2 months ago

When I read your comment I thought you were complaining about the SoC having 5 power domains. But no, the board literally has 5 different PMICs on there (6 if we count the charger chip on the bottom). Aren’t there PMICs that can put out 5 power domains in one package? Or is this SoC just so power-hungry?

TLS
TLS
2 months ago

Well, it seems like there might not be a custom PMIC for this chip, as at least the SoC and AI power stages appear to be something borrowed for a motherboard or notebook design and those are from International Rectifier/Infineon (IR35411) and can apparently deliver up to &0 Ampere. Seems like total overkill for this SoC.

ZaryaLyu
ZaryaLyu
2 months ago

Maybe the costom PMIC is too expensive to use. Just the cost-down tricks.

TLS
TLS
2 months ago

Yeah, no, that’s unlikely. DigiKey lists the IR35411 for US$2.42 a piece if you order 5k and Mouser has a similar price, so that’s not it.

ZaryaLyu
ZaryaLyu
2 months ago

I don’t think they can find some appropriate PMIC for more than one load.Both the core and the AI are heavy load(much more than RK3588). and We have DDR pwr up to 24GB@4266Mbps(due to 20TOPs SOC compatibility) and traditional 3.3V for NVME and 5V for USB. None of them are light stuff.

Jeroen
2 months ago

So we don’t even know for sure wich arch this is?, how are they supposed to sell it?

Willy
2 months ago

who knows, maybe there are people who love voltage regulators and dream about this board 🙂

ZaryaLyu
ZaryaLyu
2 months ago

Maybe you need to ask Mrs. Raimondo. Everyone who made it and use it could find all of them beyound US gov’s sanction.

back2future
back2future
2 months ago

[ Does anyone know, if there’s something like a searchable (text/ascii, text-based ‘web search’ content, (not even) speech2text/pocketsphinx) ) video/movie format and/or a copy(/paste)-able screencast format? (Thx) ]

back2future
back2future
2 months ago

[ avoiding additional computing demand with like ‘https://pyimagesearch.com/2021/09/20/language-translation-and-ocr-with-tesseract-and-python/’ or e.g. ‘sonix.ai’ through a pre-configured video/screen capture format, that already includes text related information (?) ]

Khadas VIM4 SBC