Radxa has been selling small, cheap single-board computers under the Rock Pi brand for the past few years, but so far most have been powered by ARM-based processors.

The Rock Pi X is different. It’s powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor based on x86 architecture. That means that you should be able to run just about any operating system on this little computer, including Windows 10, Ubuntu (although most other GNU/Linux distributions should probably work as well, as should Android).

As spotted by CNX Software, the Rock Pi X is available for pre-order from Allnet China for $59 and up.

That’s the price for a model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage, which is probably the bare minimum for running Windows 10. But you can pay extra for a bit more of each:

  • 4GB/32GB for $75
  • 4GB/64GB for $85
  • 4GB/128GB for $99

There’s also a listing for a $49 model with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, but it does not appear to be in stock at the moment. Seeed Studio is also selling the 4GB/32GB version for $75.

Intel’s Atom 5-Z8350 processor is a 2-watt, quad-core, quad-thread processor released in 2016. It’s not exactly a speed demon, so don’t expect desktop-class performance from a computer using this chip. But since it’s an x86 processor, it’s compatible with a wide range of software applications.

According to the Rock Pi X product specs, the system has an HDMI 2.0 ports with support for 4K output at up to 30 frames per second, but I wouldn’t really expect the Atom processor’s integrated GPU to be able to perform very at that resolution. 1080p shouldn’t be a problem though.

Here are some key specs for the Rock Pi X Model B:

ProcessorIntel Atom x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail
64-bit, Quad-core CPU @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz (Turbo)
Intel Gen8 HD graphics @ 500 MHz
Memory64bit dual-channel 4GB [email protected]/s
Storage8GB to 128GB eMMC storage
micro-SD card (supports up to 128GB)
DisplayHDMI 2.0 up to [email protected]
Audio3.5mm jack with mic
HD codec that supports up to 24-bit/96KHz audio.
WirelessWiFi 5
Bluetooth 4.2
Onboard antenna and external antenna support
USB1 x USB 3.0 OTG
3 x USB 2.0 HOST
Ethernet1 x GbE LAN with Power over Ethernet (PoE) support
(add-on HAT is required for PoE)
IO40-pin Expansion Header
2 x UART
2 x SPI bus
2 x I2C bus
1 x PCM/I2S
1 x SPDIF
2 x PWM
1 x ADC
6 x GPIO
2 x 5V DC power in
2 x 3.3V DC power in
OthersRTC battery connector for time backup (optional)
PowerUSB PD, support USB Type C PD 2.0, 9V/2A, 12V/2A, 15V/2A, 20V/2A.
Qualcomm Quick Charge: Supports QC 3.0/2.0 adapter, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A
Size85mm x 54mm (3.35″ x 2.13″)

According to the Rock Pi X page on the Radxa Wiki, there may also be a cheaper Rock Pi X Model B at some point, which has the same basic features, but which lacks the integrated WiFi, Bluetooth, and onboard antenna and which does not support Power over Ethernet.

The Rock Pi X was first unveiled over a year ago, but it only recently became available for purchase.

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    1. Don’t think Ryzen comes in ULV variants yet with TDPs low enough to run without a fan or heatsink in a form factor this small. Even the Ryzen Embedded V1000 has a minimum TDP of 12W which is way too high for an SBC like this. The Atom Z8350 has a 2W TDP by comparison and other ARM-based SoCs on similar RPi style boards have similar if not lower TDPs.

  1. Maybe worth pointing out that the Intel Atom x5-Z8350 SoC is also used in the “Atomic” Pi which is still available for $35 with 2GB ram and 16GB Flash. I was excited to try out the Atomic Pi but in the end, I found it disappointing. As another comparison point, there are Z8350 mini PCs available with 4GB RAM, 32GB Flash and Windows installed as low as $90 S&D.

    1. I didn’t spot your comment before posting mine. I think the x5-z8350 is just one notch too slow. Passmark indicates that the x5-z8500 costs three times as much; I’ve seen way more devices with the x5-z8350, but the single-thread performance of the x5-z8500 is 27% better and just enough to run websites scripts.

      1. I have a 1st gen GPD Win with z8750 processor and even though it’s better than these two processors, it still feels slow. I can browse with it , do some minor office documents editing and play some older games + emulation (PSX or older) but that’s about it. The only great thing about it is that the battery doesn’t drain too quickly and that I can actually put it in my pocket.

  2. I wonder if we are going to see an upgrade to Intel’s more than 4-year old, 2W TDP Cherry Trail Atom lineup or is it the end of them?

    1. Celeron is the “upgrade”. It’s basically the same architecture but with a higher TDP, a slightly better GPU, support for more RAM & SSD/NVMe AND it sells for much more.

      Atom as a name still lives on but for industrial applications like the P series which has 8-12-24 cores.

      1. Yeah. I mean is Intel’s 2W TDP processor line whatever it is called currently officially EOLed, have Intel ever said that? That would be sad. As it seems there is still quite an interest in form factors that are made possible by 2W TPD processors, but not 6W TDP processors. Such as this Raspberry Pi lookalike mini PC with an x86 heart or the Windows-based Hi-Fi player from last week.

        https://liliputing.com/2020/09/yinlvmei-w1-is-a-portable-hifi-music-player-with-windows-10.html

        Maybe Intel unceremoniously gave up on the very low end, the fact otherwise signified by Apple’s and Microsoft’s recent ventures into ARM.

        1. I think those processors are permanently discontinued. Their whole purpose was to compete with ARM in the mobile market. Intel couldn’t improve them quickly enough to match ARM progress so they ended up being way too weak to compete.

          1. Yep Intel pretty much gave up on ULV SoCs like their Cherry Trail Atoms. The architecture still lives on though in higher TDP variants but Intel is done with mobile for now. It’s a big shame though because I always felt Intel’s Atom SoCs were pretty competitive with ARM SoCs in the mid range and was able to match the power efficiency of comparable ARM SoCs of that time.

            What I’m surprised about though is even though Cherry Trail is EOL, Intel seems to somehow still have enough stock to be able to supply an OEM with the launch of a new product this many years later. Either Intel is still producing at a lower scale or they really overproduced it many years ago and still have massive stock left over.

    2. There was an article here recently about new Atoms; I’ll be interested to see how well they perform. The x5-z8500 I would rate adequate for basic tasks like browsing.

  3. Are intel still producing Atom x5-Z8350? I am asking because whatever stock that Intel produced should be fully gone by now but we still see more devices with this processor in 2020.