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Raspberry Pi-Like SBC Taps RK3566

Written by Eric Brown

Pine64 has posted specs for a “Quartz64 Model B” SBC with the quad -A55, NPU-equipped Rockchip RK3566, up to 8GB LPDDR4, optional eMMC, WiFi/BT, GbE, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, 3x USB, and 40-pin and M.2 expansion.

In February, Pine64 revealed a Quart64 Model A SBC modeled roughly on the RK3399-based RockPro64, but with Rockchip’s 1.8GHz, quad-core, Cortex-A55 RK3566. At the time, the company listed some basic specs for a smaller, Raspberry Pi sized Model B based on the same RK3566 SoC. Pine64 has now posted full specs.

Quartz64 Model B (left) and Quartz64 Model A
(click images to enlarge)

The Quartz64 Model A was intended to precede the Model B, but due to delays, both SBCs will arrive around the same time later this year. The delay is due to shortages of the Realtek RTL8211F GbE controller and a subsequent 850 percent price increase. Pine64 is looking for a new controller for both boards.

Pine64 plans to use the Quartz64 Model A as a development platform for its next generation phones, tablets, and laptops. By comparison, the Model B is a Raspberry Pi pseudo clone, based roughly on the RK3328-powered Rock64, and aimed more at mainstream SBC consumers.

Like Rockchip’s similar RK3568, the RK3566 is equipped with a Mali-G52 EE GPU and a 0.8-TOPS NPU. I/O is scaled back, however to dual independent displays, a single GbE port, and PCIe 2.1 instead of the RK3568’s triple displays, dual GbE, PCIe 3.0 x2, and PCIe 2.1.

Geniatech has announced an RK3566 Development Board along with a similar RK3568-based model. The higher-end RK3568 will also appear on Firefly’s Station P2 mini-PC and Core-3568J compute module, as well as Beiqi Cloud’s TB-96AI-3568-CE, which uses the new 96Boards CE v2.0 spec.

Quartz64 Model B vs. Model A

The Quartz64 Model B lacks the Model A’s SATA, eDP, and eInk interfaces. Its MIPI-DSI and -CSI interfaces are 2-lane rather than 4-lane, with slightly lower, 1080P resolution on the DSI and 5-megapixel rather than 8MP for the CSI. The Model B also removes the touch-panel controller and battery controller.

On the other hand, the Model B provides standard, rather than optional WiFi/BT, and supplies a 40-pin Pi-compatible GPIO header rather than the 20-pin header on the Model A. The Model B has an M.2 slot instead of a PCIe x4 interface.

Quartz64 Model B, front and back (left) and RK3566 block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Like other Pine64 products, this is an open-spec board with a strong community and committed open source OS support. Both Quartz64 boards are currently running Rockchip’s “heavily customized” U-boot-2018 and a Linux-4.19 build that is “customized for Android,” says Pine64. Android 11 will also be supported. Mainline Linux is now booting on the Model A and B, and the progress should be accelerated by the rapid advancement in mainlining the RK3566 and RK3568 on the part of Collabora and Rockchip, as detailed in this recent CNXSoft post.

Preliminary specifications listed for the Quartz64 Model B include:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK3566 (4x Cortex-A55 @ up to 1.8GHz); Mali-G52 GPU; 0.8-TOPS NPU
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB to 8GB LPDDR4
    • 128Mb SPI boot flash, expandable to 16MB
    • Optional 16GB to 128GB eMMC
    • MicroSD slot (bootable) up to 2TB
  • Networking:
    • GbE port
    • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with Bluetooth 5.0
  • Media I/O:
    • MIPI-DSI (2-lane) up to 1080p
    • MIPI-CSI (2-lane) up to 5MP
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 host port
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Expansion:
    • 40-pin GPIO
    • M.2 slot
  • Other features — RTC with battery connector; IR receiver
  • Power — 5V/3A DC input jack
  • Dimensions — 85 x 56 x 18.8mm
  • Operating system — Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, Arch); Android 11; BSD

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Quartz64 Model B. More information may be found in Pine64’s April update, which also offers updates on PinePhone software and other projects. More details are found in the Quartz64 wiki.

This article originally appeared on on April 16, 2021

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Raspberry Pi-Like SBC Taps RK3566

by Eric Brown time to read: 3 min