FOSDEM 2018 Blog! New PINE64 Boards, Upcoming Hardware and Much More!
Welcome to the FOSDEM 2018 Blog! 

As many of you surely already know, this year we're at FOSDEM and you can find our stall in building AW. While much of this blog - as you probably expect - will feature PINE64's existing and upcoming products as well as peripherals, I will make sure to do the meetup justice by highlighting the things from the countless other projects that catch my eye. And boy am I sure there will be plenty of such things. 

Sadly, its unlikely that I will be able to cover any of the talks or lightning talks as for much of the time I will be either at the our stall or walking around checking things out. In any case, I invite you to have a read. Enjoy!  

Part 1. Pre-FOSDEM Announcement

NB. All images depict pre-production boards. Final products' appearance and features may vary from whats depicted. Posting is disabled in this thread; if you wish to discuss the Pine H64 and the RockPro64 then please head over to the [i]Pine H64 and the RockPro64 discussion thread.  [/i] 
We're happy to announce that we got two powerful boards coming in Q1 2018; the Pine H64 and the RockPro64.  Both boards are featured at our FOSDEM stall this year, so if you are attending make sure to drop by and check them out! The prior is a successor, or an upgrade if you like, to the Pine A64 while the latter is a powerhouse featuring a top-of-the-line Rockchip SOC for power-hungry applications.  

Here are some features shared by both boards: 
  • Both boards have the same dimensions as the original Pine A64 (133mm x 80mm x 19mm). 
  • Both support some of the existing add-ons, dongles, accessories and POTs (more info re. compatibility will follow at a later date). 
  • Both will support Android and Linux Distributions. 
  • Both feature multiple fast IO and expansion options as well as eMMC storage.  
  • Both come in variants with more than 2Gb RAM
  • Both feature 128Mb of SPI Flash

The RockPro64 is the more powerful out of the two boards debuting in Q1 2018. It is based on the RK3399 hexa-core SOC consisting of a dual-core ARM Cortex-A72 and a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53. The GPU on the SOC is a quad-core Mali-T860MP4 with support for OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0 and OpenCL1.2. Its one powerful board, so to keep the thermals at bay there are mounting holes for a heatsink and a header for a fan on the PCB. For those interested in the full feature set of the SOC you can read the feature specs here.

The RockPro64 offers a wide range of IO and expansion options (listed further down). The highlights of this board (in my opinion) are the USB-C - which can also be used to drive a second display (for a total of two) that can output 4K - as well as a PCIe4 connector for whatever expansion card you can imagine (e.g. a USB 3.1 PCIe 4 expansion card). In the future a PICe to NVMe adaptor will be available in our store for those who require ultra fast storage for their use-case scenarios. That said, the existing two fast USB interfaces (3.0 and C) open up a lot of possibilities in their own right when it comes to fast storage (and not only). The inclusion of SPI Flash will also make it possible to boot straight from one of the mentioned storage solutions. 
All that said, perhaps its the price that's the real highlight of this unit, as it starts at approx. $60 for the 2GB RAM variant (see all prices listed further down this post). 

The board also allows you to drive a LCD display right from the PCB (compatible with the existing LCD panel) and two cameras (the existing 5Mpixel camera module is compatible), that can be useful in embedded and robotics applications. To be precise, there are two LCD options on the board; MiPi which supports the existing LCD panel and an eDP port. So you can choose which one to use dependently on what you've already got in production or at hand. 

Its worth pointing out that we will also offer a version with the RK3399Pro SOC called Rockpro64-AI, which includes a Neural Network Processing Unit (NPU) for AI applications; "the computing performance of typical deep neural network Inception V3, ResNet34 and VGG16 models on RK3399Pro is better and improved nearly hundred times" (source). Its a piece of high performance AI hardware compatible with 8bit and 16bit AI software frameworks allowing for easy development of turnkey solutions. More information about this variant of the board will be made available closer to launch date (listed further down). 

I'm not going to write about software at this time - suffice to say that it will run the usual suspects - but the good news is that all the hard work ayufan and other devs have done in the past few months on the Rock64 will, by and large, carry over to the RockPro64. 

[Image: n8LGoSp.jpg]
(View from the top - USB 3.0 not soldered on revealing USB-C )
[Image: WSfnFpd.jpg]
(Front view with the - currently available - WiFi/BT module mounted. An AC and BT 4.1 module will be available in the future) 

Specs run-down:
  • 40pin GPIO header (I2C/SPI/I2S/UARTs/GPIOs)
  • 128Mb of SPI Flash
  • Heatsink mounting holes + FAN header
  • Power Button
  • Reset Button
  • Recovery Button
  • Dual Channel LPDDR4 Memory
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • IR RX
  • eMMC
  • micro SD card bootable
  • SDIO socket for WIFI module
  • HDMI
  • eDP connector
  • MIPI connector + TP connector + backlight supply
  • 2xUSB2
  • 1xUSB3
  • 1xUSB-C (with DP)
  • PCIe4
  • parallel CSI
  • 2 x MIPI CSI
  • ES8316 Audio Codec (Headphone/MIC jack)
Pricing and availability:
  • Rockpro64 2GB board, $59.99
  • Rockpro64 4GB board, $79.99
  • Rockpro64-AI 4GB board, $99, available in November 2018
Pine H64 

[edit 31/01/2018] The Pine H64 is now available for purchase. 

The Pine H64 is based on the new Allwinner H6 SOC and is a successor to the Pine A64. It is a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 SOC with a Mali-T720 MP2 dual-core GPU capable of 4K60 playback and HDR -- which makes it a compelling media board. It will be available in 3 different variants: 1GB, 2GB, and 3GB LPDDR4 RAM. So for those of you who always wanted a bit more RAM on your Pine A64/LTS you are bound to be happy now that such an option is available on this new unit. It will also feature 128Mb of SPI flash, that will allow it to boot off of a USB 3.0/2.0 HDD or SSD in addition to bootable micro SD cards and eMMC modules. You can find the complete feature set of the SOC here

Similarly to the RockPro64, the the Pine H64 PCB is packed with a wide range of IO and expansion options. The one that probably stands out the most to is the mini PCIe connector. The mPCIe connector opens up a number of different options for storage, WiFi cards or other expansion cards - e.g. a USB 3.1 expansion board - just to name a few obvious examples. With the Pine H64 you could conceivably support multiple fast storage mediums, turning it into a NAS or server. I'm sure people will think of other interesting applications for all this IO. Speaking of the available IO - if you already have the Pine A64 DAC POT or the BT/WiFi module, you will be happy to hear that both are compatible with this board. Similarly, as is the case with the RockPro64, the footprint is identical to the Pine A64/LTS, so if you have a purpose built enclosure or an off-the-shelf case its highly likely that the Pine H64 will fit it just fine.   

Another piece of good news is that at the end of January Allwinner will release a BSP with kernel 4.9 for the board. This means that while we all wait for mainline we will have a relatively new kernel to work on. As with the RockPro64, I am not going to write anything about software at this point other than you can obviously expect to run Android and Linux on the board.  

Summing it up, I feel that its safe to say that the Pine H64 is a worthwhile update to the Pine A64. Personally I see the inclusion of the much faster Mali-T720 MP2 and USB 3.0 as well as mPCIe as major selling points for this board; making it both viable as a media board (especially if ayufan makes one of those awesome ATV images for it) as well as a low powered NAS or a server that can drive multiple fast storage solutions. You can probably think of other awesome applications for this board as I'm sure there are plenty both for play and embedded applications. 

[Image: IbwdIb2.jpg]
(view from above)

Specs run-down:
  • microSD - bootable
  • 128Mb of SPI Flash
  • 1xUSB3.0 Host port 
  • 2xUSB2.0 Host ports
  • RTC - Real Time Clock Battery Connector
  • Wifi/BT Module Header - SDIO 3.0 and UART
  • 2x20 pins "Pi2" GPIO Header
  • mini PCIe connector
  • HDMI 2.0a (Type A)
  • 3.5mm stereo earphone/microphone plug
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2x20 pins "Pi2" GPIO Header
  • eMMC 
  • IR RX
Pricing and availability:
  • Pine H64 1GB board, $25, available on January 31, 2018
  • Pine H64 2GB board, $35, available on January 31, 2018
  • Pine H64 3GB board, $45, available on January 31, 2018

Concluding the first part of this blog, I leave you with a picture of the PINE64 SBC lineup for the foreseeable future. Check back in a 5 days to read about some of the other exciting things we'll be showing at FOSDEM this year... as well as the countless other things from other Open Source and Open Hardware projects that I'll make sure to cover.  

[Image: 9PdVGm6.jpg]
 (From Left: RockPro64; Pine H64, Rock64, Pine A64-LTS; SOPine in Baseboard; Pine A64+)
You can find me on IRC, Discord and Twitter

Messages In This Thread
FOSDEM 2018 Blog! New PINE64 Boards, Upcoming Hardware and Much More! - by Luke - 01-23-2018, 10:36 AM

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