Radxa has revealed a “Radxa E25” board with 2x 2.5GbE and M.2 M-key that runs Linux on a new RK3568 powered Radxa CM3 Plus module. The company has also posted more specs for its “Radxa E23” board based on an RK3566-driven Radxa CM3 module.
In November, Radxa unveiled a Rockchip RK3566 based Radxa CM3 compute module that works with Raspberry Pi CM4 carrier boards. It also teased a few details about a Radxa E23 carrier board for the module. Since our last report, Radxa has posted more detailed preliminary specs for the Radxa E23 (see farther below).
Today’s report, however, leads with a new Radxa E25 carrier board with an RK3568-based Radxa CM3 Plus module. Radxa Radxa sent a sample to CNXSoft, which posted photos and preliminary specs.
Radxa E25 carrier (left) and rear views of carrier and Radxa CM3 Plus modules showing 4x 100-pin connectors
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Back in November, Radxa mentioned that a Radxa E25 board was coming by the end of 2021 that would feature dual 2.5GbE ports and added that “10G/25G/40G comes next year.” It is unclear if there will be a separate, monolithic Radxa E25 SBC in addition to the Radxa E25 carrier board covered by CNXSoft.
The Radxa CM3 Plus is larger than the Radxa CM3 and RPi CM4 modules. It adds a fourth 100-pin B2B connector compared to 3x on the Radxa CM3 and 2x on the RPi CM4. The Radxa CM3 Plus is incompatible with RPi CM4 carrier boards, says CNXSoft.
Rock Pi E
Like the Radxa E23, the Radxa E25 has a feature set that is much like the quad -A53 RK3328 powered Rock Pi E SBC, which is out of stock. A Sep. 9 forum posting by Radxa said that an update of the Rock Pi E was coming called the Radxa E23, and the Radxa E25 photos on CNXSoft show a board labelled Rock Pi E 2.5 V1.3. Whereas the Rock Pi E has 10/100 and GbE ports, the Radxa E23 carrier has GbE and 2.5GbE and the Radxa E25 has dual 2.5GbE ports.
Radxa E25 carrier
The Radxa E25 wiki lacks detailed specs but contains schematics and GPIO specs. There is also documentation for the new Radxa CM3 Plus module that includes a detail view of the module (see below).
The Radxa E25 wiki says the Radxa E25 is equipped with 1GB to 8GB LPDDR4 and offers a microSD slot and an M.2 slot for SATA storage. The Radxa E25 “supports a wide range of WiFi & Cellular modules, making it perfect for 4G/5G and network applications,” says Radxa.
Radxa E25 carrier, front and back
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Radxa calls the Radxa E25 a single board computer and makes no mention of the Radxa CM3 Plus or the optional eMMC storage noted in the CNXSoft specs for the carrier board. Yet the “v1.3 SMD” file posted under the E25 shows the block diagram for the Radxa CM3 Plus module. The drawing of the E25 SBC looks exactly like the images of the Radxa E25 carrier. This suggests there will be separate, but similar SBC and sandwich-style products, which is also likely for the E23.
Radxa interchangeably refers to the Radxa CM3 Plus as the Rock 3 Compute Module Plus and the Radxa CM3 as the Rock 3 Compute Module. This is confusing because the Rock 3 Model A and upcoming, more feature rich Rock 3 Model B are both monolithic SBCs without compute modules. The Model A SBC is now on sale for developers, as detailed in our recently published 2022 roundup of 136 Linux hacker boards.
Radxa CM3 Plus block diagram
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As revealed by CNXSoft, the Radxa E23 Compute Module runs Debian 10 (Buster) or Ubuntu Server 20.04 on the 2.0GHz, quad -A55 RK3568, which features an Arm Mali-G52 and 0.8-TOPS NPU. Other CM3 Plus features include up to 8GB RAM, up to 128GB eMMC flash (250MB/s max), and optional WiFi and Bluetooth. On the block diagram above the RAM is listed as LPDDR4, the eMMC is 5.1, and the WiFi/BT is 802.11ac with BT 5.0.
The Radxa E25 carrier, which is larger than the Radxa E23 carrier, at 72 x 66 mm, supports applications including NAS, portable wireless storage, wireless router and firewall, 5G edge server, and 4G gateway. The 2x 2.5GbE ports are delivered via a Realtek RTL8125B transceiver. Radxa has tested the ports at 2.2Gbps to 2.3Gbps when using a Xiaomi AX6000 router, which is also covered in the CNXSoft story along with a separate 2.5GbE switch. The AX6000 router incorporates Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax).
The Radxa E25 carrier is further equipped with a USB 3.0 OTG port, which comes with a hardware switch between host and device modes. A USB Type-C port delivers 5V power. The image also appears to show a DC input jack.
The board is equipped with the previously mentioned microSD slot and M.2 slot for SATA storage. The latter is listed as an M-key slot. There is also a mini-PCIe socket with SDIO and PCIe Gen 2.0 x1, which is accompanied by a SIM card slot. Mini-PCIe module options will include WiFi/BT and 4G or 5G cellular. The M.2 M-key slot also supports 4G.
Unlike the Radxa E23 carrier, which offers a 40-pin GPIO header, the E25 model is limited to a 10-pin GPIO, which is detailed here. GPIO includes UART, SPI, CANBus, I2C, and I2S. There is also a serial debug header and a power button. A heatsink and enclosure are in the works.
Radxa E23 carrier
Our Radxa E23 link from our November story no longer works. We did find a new Radxa E23 page with more detailed specs than before but missing the photo we found earlier. The Radxa CM3 module is available with the quad -A55 RK3566 with Mali G52 and 0.8-TOPS NPU. The RK3566 is almost identical to the RK3568 except that it offers lesser PCIe and I/O expansion.
Radxa E23 carrier, front and back with Radxa CM3 module (from Nov. report)
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The module supplies 1GB to 8GB LPDDR4 and 8GB to 128GB eMMC. This is also likely the source for the listed SPI NOR flash (capacity unspecified). A wireless module with 802.11ac and BT 5.0 BLE is optional and includes an antenna.
The carrier board adds a microSD slot for up to 128GB. There are 1GbE and 2.5GbE ports, with the latter offering PoE support. Other features include USB 3.0 host and USB 2.0 OTG Type-C ports plus a 40-pin GPIO header that offers USB 2.0 and other I/Os.
The 65 x 56mm carrier is equipped with a 3.5mm jack “with mic” and an up to 24-bit/96KHz audio codec. You also get power and recovery keys and 2x LEDs. Audio, USB-to-serial, and Ethernet cables are optional.
The Radxa CM3 module goes head-to-head with the similarly RK3566-based, RPi CM4 compatible SOQuartz module from Pine64. For comparisons with the Radxa CM3, see the SOQuartz/Radxa CM3 link above. In the Radxa E23 report from the same week, we also cover a half Mini-ITX form factor Radxa CM3 IO Board that uses the same Radxa CM3 module.
No pricing or availability information was provided for the Radxa E25 or Radxa E23 carriers. More information on both products plus the Radxa CM3 Plus (Rock 3 Compute Module Plus) and Radxa CM3 (Rock 3 Compute Module) may be found on Radxa’s Rock 3 page. More specs for the Radxa E23 carrier may be found on this Radxa E23 Getting Started wiki page.
Radxa | https://wiki.radxa.com/