Rockchip’s RK3588 processor is a 64-bit chip featuring four ARM Cortex-A76 CPU cores, four Cortex-A55 cores, Mali-G610 MP3 graphics, support for 8K video, PCIe 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and 6 TOPS of AI performance thanks to a dedicated neural processing unit.

And it’s at the heart of the new Firefly ITX-3588J mini-ITX board that was unveiled earlier this month as a platform for building your own desktop computer or edge computing platform for AI tasks. The ITX-3588J is now available from Firefly for $489.

Firefly’s mini-ITX board joins a handful of other devices powered by Rockchip’s RK3588 processor, including the $129 ROCK5 single-board computer and Banana Pi’s new RK3588 compute module.

While the Firefly ITX-3588J is a pricier option, it’s also substantially more versatile. It’s a 170 x 170mm (6.7″ x 6.7″) computer motherboard with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage baked in, plus a lot of ports and connectivity options, as listed below. It’s also a combination of a carrier board and a smaller, removable board that’s attached via a SODIMM-style connector.

The smaller Firefly Core-3588J board, which sells separately for $229 and up, is actually the brains of the operation, housing the processor, memory, and storage. But since it’s removable, that means the processor module could be upgradeable or replaceable. Right now there’s no way to buy a module with a faster processor, but you can pay $309 for a version with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

Here’s a run-down of the Firefly ITX-3588J’s I/O features:

Video Output1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
1 x VGA
2 x MIPI-DSI
Video input1 x HDMI
2 x 2-lan MIPI-CSI or 1 x 4 lane MIPI-SCI
Audio1 x speaker out
1 x phone out
1 x line in
1 x mic in
PCIe & SATA1 x PCIe 3.0 x4
1 x M.2 SATA 3.0
4 x SATA 3.0 interfaces
USB4 x USB 3.0 Type-A (1A)
1 x USB 3.0 Type-A (2A)
4 x USB 2.0 Type-A (500mA)
Internet2 x Gigabit Ethernet (one with POE)
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
Optional 4G LTE/5G expansion
Other1 x RS485
1 x RS232
8 x GPIO
4 x I2C
1 x SPI
3 x ADC
1 x Debug
2 x UART
1 x 12V/3P-1.25m fan

Firefly says the board supports Android 12 and Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Debian, and Buildroot.

via Tom’s Hardware and CNX-Software

This article was originally published March 4, 2022 and most recently update March 10, 2022.

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  1. 489 USD with only 4GB of non-upgradeable RAM…. I guess I’ll go for a board with fewer features and a lower price tag.

  2. I’m personally hoping to see widespread used of carrier boards starting with Raspberry Pi 5.

    To me…the Raspberry Pi 5 isn’t the future…the CM5 is.

    Best,
    Steven B.(Liquid Cool)

  3. I’m curious about this. How well supported by the mainline kernel is a RK3588?
    This could be pretty nice if it wasn’t stuck on some custom kernel, blobs, and OS release that never gets updated.

    1. I don’t know if there’s any mainline support yet. On the forum for the Radxa Rock Pi 5 there was some discussion about when somewhat stable software might be available, if I recollect well, the more optimistic people seemed to hope for some time in the summer and others suggested maybe around the end of the year.
      But maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can chime in.

      Definitely looks interesting, would be curious to know how much power all the peripheral options draw to evaluate overall efficiency as a home server of sorts

      1. I have a bad feeling it’s like the RockChip device I owned many years ago. Stuck on an old kernel and only worked on an old Ubuntu they provided, but never kept up to date.

        1. That’s the Achilles’ Heel of ARM64 for general purpose computing. Until it reaches parity with AMD64 in kernel and driver support, it’s a non-starter for daily driver machines that can be trusted to stay updated and secure.

          1. Radxa says Linux kernel 5.10 runs on the ROCK 5; Firefly says that Ubuntu and Debian 11 will run on it. Is this not mainline support?

          2. @Robert no it’s not. Mainline support means I can arbitrarily drop in or build the most recent kernel (currently 5.16, with 5.15 as LTS) and have it boot on the device, with appropriate drivers baked in. The 5.10 release is the previous LTS which is the base for Debian 11, which I would bet real money is where this device will be frozen in time as far as official support is concerned. There will be no further kernel development from the manufacturer for this device and no further driver releases. I wish it were otherwise, but that’s just how it is in ARM land right now.

        2. @kaidenshi said: “There will be no further kernel development from the manufacturer for this device and no further driver releases.”

          Bingo – You must cope with the future by buying new hardware. The manufacturers LOVE this approach!