Right here come the Raspberry Pi Compute Module pseudo-clones

Pine64 launched an RPi CM4-like “SOQuartz” module for $35 (2GB) to $75 (8GB) with WiFi/BT and SATA help. In the meantime, Radxa revealed a equally RK3566-equipped “Radxa CM3” that additionally provides USB 3.0. Each modules can use CM4 carriers.

In June, when Pine64 launched its Quartz64 model-A SBC, the corporate revealed preliminary particulars for a SOQuartz compute module, which equally runs Linux or Android on the quad-core, Cortex-A55 Rockchip RK3566. Aimed initially at builders, the SOQuartz has now launched in 2GB LPDDR4 ($40), 4GB ($50), and 8GB ($75) variants, that are priced the identical as equal RPI CM4 modules. The module has twin 100-pin B2B connectors just like the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, enabling customers to plug right into a CM4 provider board, very like Antmicro’s upcoming, RISC-V based mostly (StarFive 71×0) ARVSOM module.

The launch got here a day after Radxa posted specs for an unpriced Rock3 Compute Module, which is confusingly nicknamed the Radxa CM3. The “3” on this case refers back to the $35-and-up Rock 3 Model A and the upcoming, extra feature-rich Rock 3 Model B SBCs. Though the SBCs use the equally quad -A55, however extra I/O wealthy Rockchip RK3568 moderately than the Radxa CM3’s RK3566, there may be doubtless a good diploma of software program compatibility. Each the SOQuartz and Radxa CM3 mimic the CM4’s 55 x 40 x 4.7mm footprint and 4x M2.5 mounting holes.

SOQuartz with antenna (left) and on DFRobot CM4 Provider Board
(click on photos to enlarge)

Just like the SOQuartz, the Radxa CM3 has the identical twin 100-pin connectors discovered on the RPi CM4. It additionally provides a 3rd 100-pin GPIO connector (see farther under). Radxa additionally revealed two provider board choices for the module: a tiny Radxa E23 board with 2.5GbE and GbE ports and a full-featured Radxa CM3 IO Board, which we are going to cowl in a separate report.

Efficiency comparisons with the Raspberry Pi CM4 could also be extremely depending on the appliance. The CM4’s quad-core Broadcom BCM2711 makes use of a Cortex-A72 structure that's extra highly effective than the RK3566’s Cortex-A55. Nevertheless, on the CM4 the SoC is clocked to 1.5GHz moderately than as much as 2.0GHz on the RK3566. The RK3566 additionally has the benefit of including an 0.8-TOPS AI accelerator, and as famous by the CNXSoft publish that broke the Radxa CM3 story, the Rockchip SoC helps Armv8 Crypto extensions, which might give it a efficiency increase over the CM4 on some functions.

The Radxa CM3 additionally gives quicker, elective eMMC. The SOQuartz, in the meantime, could have an edge on some functions if you are going to buy its elective 128 Mbit SPI flash.

The SOQuartz and Radxa CM3 modules have the benefit of providing native SATA help, multiplexed with the identical PCIe Gen2 x1 interface supplied by the CM4. Not like both module, the Radxa CM3 helps USB 3.0, which allows help for 2x SATA, with the second SATA interface multiplexed with USB 3.0. A CM4-based system can use the PCIe interface for SATA however it additionally requires a separate SATA controller, as with KubeSail’s latest PiBox mini-PC for NAS functions.


The RPi CM4, in the meantime, has the benefit of supplying 2x vs. 1x HDMI 2.0 interfaces. Nevertheless, the RK3566-based modules add an eDP interface that equally helps as much as 4Kp60.

Though the RPi CM4 is in brief provide, there is no such thing as a indication when the Radxa CM3 will probably be out there. The SOQuartz, in the meantime, is a leading edge developer launch and can doubtless be offered out earlier than a manufacturing launch arrives. For some consumers, the SOQuartz and Radxa CM3 will supply a bonus in that they supply extra intensive open supply sources than Raspberry Pi, together with full schematics, which have already been posted by Pine64.


The SOQuartz is “in an early growth stage, and subsequently solely appropriate for builders and superior customers wishing to contribute to software program growth,” says Pine64. Each mainline and Rockchip’s BSP fork of Linux have been booted on the platform, and the module can also be supported by an Android 11 SDK for the Quartz64 mannequin A. But, even though the module makes use of the identical processor because the model-A, in addition to the upcoming, extra feature-rich Quartz64 Model B SBC and PineNote E-Ink pocket book, “it will likely be months earlier than end-users and trade companions can reliably deploy it,” says the corporate.

The SOQuartz, which we noticed on CNXSoft, provides 16GB to 128GB eMMC vs. 8-32GB on the CM4. Not like the RPi and Radxa module, there may be an choice to solder the eMMC on the again, in addition to normal, moderately than elective, 802.11 b/g/n/ac with Bluetooth 5.0 (Azurewave AW-CM256SM).

The module supplies a GbE controller and a USB 2.0 interface. Media I/O contains HDMI 2.0, EDP, 2- and 4-lane MIPI-DSI, and 2- and 4-lane MIPI-DSI. There additionally seems to be a separate “4Kp60, 10-bit Digital Video” port, though that is maybe referring to eDP. Pine64 notes that the RK3566’s Mali-G52-2EE GPU makes use of the open supply Panfrost driver.

As famous, the 5V board gives SATA multiplexed with PCIe Gen2 x1. There are additionally 28 pins of user-available GPIO with 6x UART, 6x I2C, 5x SPI, SDIO, DPI (Parallel RGB), PCM, 2x PWM, and 3x GPCLK.

SOQuartz Mannequin-A Baseboard
(click on picture to enlarge)

Preliminary specs have been posted for a SOQuartz Mannequin-A Baseboard. The 133 x 80 x 19mm provider is provided with a microSD slot, 2x USB 2.0 ports, and 2- and 4-lane MIPI-DSI and -CSI. Different listed specs embody a 40-pin GPIO header and a PCIe x1 open-ended slot. The picture additionally exhibits a GbE port and different options. The wiki additionally exhibits photos of the SOQuartz loaded onto CM4 carriers from DFRobot and Waveshare.

This isn't Pine64’s first compute module. In 2017, it launched the SoPine A64 SODIMM module with an Allwinner A64.

Radxa CM3

The Rock3 Compute Module (Radxa CM3) will probably be out there with Ubuntu 20.04, Debian 10, Buildroot, and Android. The RK3566 will probably be backed up by 1GB to 8GB LPDDR4. There may be additionally elective eMMC starting from 8GB to 128GB, and the eMMC entry is sped as much as 250MB/s moderately than 100MB/s on the CM4.

Rock3 Compute Module (Radxa CM3), back and front
(click on photos to enlarge)

just like the SOQuartz, the module gives USB 2.0 and native SATA multiplexed with PCIe. It additionally supplies USB 3.0 by way of its third 100-pin B2B connector. This speedier USB connection might be configured as a second, albeit slower, SATA interface.

The HDMI 2.0, eDP, and MIPI-CSI help is identical as on the SOQuartz. It differs, nonetheless, in providing 2x 4-lane MIPI-DSI (moderately than single 2- and 4-lane DSI), one among which might be configured as 4-lane LVDS. Not like the CM4 and SOQuartz, there may be an onboard audio codec and help for audio line-out, I2S, PDM, and a mic array.

The Radxa CM3 supplies 50 user-accessible GPIO pins, moderately than 28, with options together with as much as 8x UART, 8x I2C, 4x SPI, and 8x PWM. You additionally get SDIO 3.0, PCM, and 2x ADC. The 5V module gives elective 802.11b/g/n/ac with BT 5.0. We hope to cowl the 2 Radxa CM3 baseboards quickly.

Additional data

The SOQuartz module is offered to builders for $35 (2GB), $50 (4GB) or $75 (8GB) with WiFi/BT and elective eMMC. No pricing or availability data was supplied for the Rock3 Compute Module (Radxa CM3).

Extra data on the SOQuartz could also be discovered on Pine64’s SOQuartz shopping page and wiki.

Extra on the Radxa CM3 could also be discovered on Radxa’s wiki and GitHub page.

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