Chinese chip maker Rockchip started talking about the RK3588 octa-core processor more than two years ago, but due to a series of delays it has yet to actually ship.

That could change soon. The company shared detailed specs and benchmark results for its highest-performance processor to date during the 2021 Rockchip Developer Conference. And at least two companies are planning to launch single-board computers with RK3588 processors in 2022.

The RK3588 processor’s feature set includes:

  • 4 x ARM Cortex-A76 CPU cores at up to 2.6 GHz
  • 4 x ARM Cortex-A55 CPU cores at up to 1.8 GHz
  • ARM Mali-G610 MP4 graphics
  • NPU (neural processing unit) with up to 6 TOPS of AI performance
  • Support for up to 8K/60Hz video decoding
  • Support for PCIe 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1, and dual Gigabit Ethernet

While those specs won’t be enough to make this processor competitive with the latest ARM-based flagship chips from Qualcomm or MediaTek, the new chip should offer a major performance boost over older Rockchip processors like the popular RK3399, a hexa-core chip found in a number of older Chromebooks, single-board, computers, and and even some laptops like the PineBook Pro low-cost Linux laptop.

In benchmarks provided to CNX-Software, the RK3588 offers a 2.7X single-core performance boost in Geekbench 4, and a 3.4X improvement in multi-core performance. It also offers up to 6X the graphics performance.

According to Pine64’s Lukasz Erecinski, the new chip brings “entry-level desktop-class ARM CPU performance and plenty of IO options,” and it’s likely that upcoming single-board computers and other products from Pine64 could use the new chip. The upcoming Radxa Rock 5 Model B is also expected to use the RK3588 processor.

You can find more details about the RK3588 processor at CNX-Software, including the full 35-page datasheet and a roundup of key details.

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    1. Some SBCs using just the performance cores would probably appear in the future, like maybe a Raspberry Pi 5 with four A76 cores, but it probably won’t use a Rockchip processor…