Pine64 and Radxa’s fresh Pi CM4-successfully matched boards

Pine64 and Radxa’s fresh Pi CM4-successfully matched boards

Since the Raspberry Pi used to be introduced, loads of clones contain adopted the Pi’s develop ingredient (from the small Zero to the ‘corpulent dimension’ model B). Most steadily they’ve better hardware specs, and but they continue to be a more imprecise additionally-ran in that skills of Single Board Computer (SBC).

Pine64 SOQuartz and Radxa CM3 in front of Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

So when I noticed Radxa’s CM3 and Pine64’s SOQuartz, I desired to see if both would possibly perchance possible perchance perchance be—as they advertised—’drop in, pin-successfully matched replacements’ for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.

tl;dr: They are no longer. As a minimum no longer but.

Hardware and Specs

Both boards are technically pin-successfully matched. And both will boot and bustle (to some extent) on pre-existing Compute Module 4 provider boards, alongside with Raspberry Pi’s legitimate IO Board:

Pine64 SOQuartz on Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 IO Board

For the reason that boards are pin-successfully matched, it’s possible you’ll possible perchance bid them on nearly every pre-existing provider board designed for the CM4—I’m monitoring nearly 100 on my Pi PCIe situation!

That is generous, due to the while loads of the CM4 provider boards are on hand, the CM4 itself is no longer. It’s virtually no longer doable to snag the model you admire to contain, and for a range of flavors there obtained’t be any in stock for months!

And trusty due to the the boards are Pi clones, they form no longer need to follow the final boundaries of the CM4’s structure—the Radxa CM3 sports actions a third IO board-to-board connector alongside the pinnacle edge that is no longer contemporary on the CM4 or SOQuartz:

Radxa CM3 3rd connector on bottom for IO

This connector breaks out two SATA ports (split between the PCIe bus and USB 3.0 port), a further USB 3.0 port, and extra GPIO pins above and beyond what the Pi offers. But it requires a board that helps the third connector, and none that are on hand live, but (Radxa’s have is serene no longer on hand for checking out or have interaction).

The RK3566 (frail by both the CM3 and the SOQuartz) additionally involves ARMv8 crypto extensions, and a 0.8 TOPS AI accelerator, so there are some diversified hardware niceties on provide, even supposing the 4x Cortex A55 cores are reasonably slower (even at an even bigger clock) than the A72 cores within the CM4.

But whenever you happen to trusty are searching for to drool over specs, fling be taught them on the source:

The Promise

After months of checking out dozens of PCI Categorical gadgets with the Compute Module 4—which exposes the BCM2711 PCIe Gen 2.0 x1 lane without prolong—I’ve encountered concerns with some drivers, seriously any GPU / graphics card, some storage controllers, and the Coral TPU.

The Pi’s chip would now not contain an fully-baked PCIe bus. It’s completely ample for USB 3.0 chips (admire the VL805 frail within the Pi 4 model B and Pi 400), most NVMe SSDs, and a more than just a few of diversified gadgets, but the Pi locks up in abnormal ways whenever you happen to strive one thing crazy admire plugging in an AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT.

Rockchip RK3566 SoC on Pine64 SOQuartz

So I’m hoping the Rockchip RK3566 frail in these diversified boards would possibly perchance possible perchance perchance contain a closer PCIe implementation. Shapely ample so that you just should load drivers for more gadgets without hacky patches to work around the PCIe bus boundaries on the Pi.

And supposedly the bootloader and firmware surrounding Rockchip-primarily primarily based boards is more initiate than that on the Raspberry Pi. This is no longer a generous discipline for most users, but it for sure is a thorn within the otherwise stellar recognition Raspberry Pi has for working with initiate source hardware and utility.

The Subject

But right here is the insist: as I’ve encountered with virtually every non-Pi clone within the past, the hardware and specs are generous, but the utility, documentation, and workforce fall quick.

I had loads of trouble getting both boards to a bid the effect I could perchance possible perchance perchance initiate utilizing them (e.g. with Debian or Ubuntu working and accessible over SSH, as a minimal), and I detailed my scoot in this video:

But having to utilize hours trusty making an strive to salvage the boards moreover—for any individual who is no longer completely fresh to the world of single-board computers—highlights the shortcoming of polish on the utility and documentation facet.

The Pi, despite its warts, has two things going for it: a firm that devotes loads of time to checking out, documentation, and malicious program fixes, and an active and huge workforce—one which is no longer comprised mostly of devoted ‘hacker’ kinds who know the that technique of u-boot, buildroot, and UART!

And I’m no longer on my own in my misery—earlier this month there used to be a post on CNX Tool about concerns getting Linux working on a mini PC with the same RK3566 chip.

Even supposing loads of these boards bid the teach identical chip, OS photos serene need to be constructed customized for every board. So you’re counting on every board supplier—Pine64, Radxa, or whomever else—to preserve as a lot as this point and dealing Linux builds.

And definite, there is Armbian and customised distro maintainers obtainable, but those in overall require map more technical data, and are no longer ‘formally’ supported by vendors.

Pine64 as a minimal states the utility for the SOQuartz is in early construction… but even when it is prepared, will the documentation, workforce, and toughen be as a lot as par with the Pi? I’m doubtful (but ever-hopeful, even after years of disappointment).

I reflect for both of these Compute Module replacements, Radxa and Pine64 need to devote time and resources to sharpening their utility and documentation, especially targeting the predominant-outing-of-the-box experience.


Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, Radxa CM3, and Pine64 SOQuartz SBCs

In the halt, I search for loads of doable. Having three successfully matched merchandise on hand for the breadth of Compute Module 4 provider boards must serene provide loads of reduction for folks who’re searching for to energy some fresh IoT or edge mission with a tiny ARM board, but the CM4 imaginable choices trusty will now not be there but.

I hope they are going to be—and I’m serene struggling forward with both the CM3 and SOQuartz; it’s possible you’ll possible perchance be conscious my growth in these GitHub concerns:

Be half of the pack! Be half of 8000+ others registered users, and salvage chat, salvage teams, post updates and salvage friends around the world!



Hey! look, i give tutorials to all my users and i help them!