The Pine64 Ox64 is a tiny single-board computer that looks a lot like a Raspberry Pi Pico. But while Raspberry Pi’s tiny board is powered by an RP2040 microcontroller, the Ox64 has a dual-core RISC-V processor, 64MB of embedded RAM, and support for up to 128Mb of flash storage  plus a microSD card for additional storage.

It’s expected to support RTOS and Linux and blurs the lines between a microcontroller and a (very low power) single-board PC. It’s expected to go on sale in November with prices starting at $6 for an RTOS-ready version of the board and $8 for a Linux-compatible model.

As spotted by CNX Software earlier this month, the board is designed to be a small, inexpensive single-board computer with a RISC-V processor that’s aimed at developers.

At the heart of the little computer board is a Bouffalo Lab BL808 processor, which features:

  • 1 x Alibaba T-Head C906 64-bit CPU core @ 480 MHz
  • 1 x Alibaba T-Head E907 32-bit CPU core @ 320 MHz
  • BLAI-100 NPU (AI accelerator)

The little board also supports WiFi 4, Bluetooth 5.0, and 802.15.4 (Zigbee) wireless protocols. The board is designed for use in smart home products, among other things.

The board has two USB Type-C ports: one is for power only and works with a 5V/0.5A power supply, and the other is a USB Type-C OTG port.

There’s also a 26-pin GPIO header with GPOIO, SPI, I2C, I2S, and UART, as well as support for a MIPI CSI camera. Pine64 plans to offer 10/100 Ethernet, audio, and camera adapter boards in the future and notes that the system features H.264 and MJPEG encoders, a JPEG decoder, and an audio subsystem.

Pine64 says an RTOS SDK should be available in October, but getting Linux to run on the board will be a community project – which means that the board might not support Linux-based software at launch, but Pine64 has already begun shipping Ox64 boards to Linux developers and is hopeful that they’ll be able to port the free and open source operating system to run on the board.

The $6 version of the board has 16Mb of flash storage and no microSD card socket, and it’s designed specifically for RTOS. The $8 model has 128Mb of storage and a microSD card socket, and is designed for Linux development.

Both versions are expected to be available in November, 2022.

via Pine64 blog, CNX Software and Pine64 Wiki

This article was first published October 10, 2022 and most recently updated October 15, 2022. 

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  1. @Grant Russell
    sorry you dont know about microcontroler
    risc is no matter, blobs in wifi, BT etc, is possible and probably IST instaled
    no firmware not change for this components

  2. Pine64 promised a lora communicator. to this day they have not done anything.
    i doubt they will be able to do anything reasonable. I would wait for the 3rd or 4th revision.

    1. It’s significantly more powerful than anything else I see fusix having acknowledged ports for. That said, I’ve seen some chatter about porting it to some RISC-V chip so if it works on that it shouldn’t be terrible difficult to port it to this one.
      As it is very light (capable of running on old 8-bit personal computer CPUs), it could be an ideal lightweight but powerful system for building a lightweight Unixy sort of system). Being able to port and run popular open source solutions to a light inexpensive chip with low power requirements may also be a big help as far as helping RISC-V get more attention, and if PINE64 sticks with RISC-V (as they clearly seem to want to) then they will help to get hardware samples and donations out to RISC-V developers. This is all excellent news.

      1. The question is whether it is an open computer, whether there are no hidden blobs, and whether I can just order it from the processor company. If it’s so open that I’ll be able to do it, firmweare and any hidden components down to the instructions in the processor (not risc but meta) then it would make sense.
        But Pine64 sell computers with blobs, why should today be any different?
        To that, however, you would have to add an open implementation of networking (any) and screen.

        1. It’s a BL808, a relative of the BL602, which has been reverse engineered down to the radio stack:

          That’s not to say there may be blobs at launch – the 64 bit CPU should be ok, but the codecs are new. I’m betting that the low-power side of the chip will be accessible out of the gate and at $6, there are still many applications which can make use of just the open source parts with 64MB ram.

          Lastly, just to note that the board is essentially the BL808 chip, the flash and some IO, so it’s not as though Pine64 are locking us out with proprietary board components.

    2. Maybe if you keep asking, makers of single-board computers will attach them all to lithium polymer batteries and sell the ensemble, or so you seem to suppose.

  3. What’s the point of having one 64-bit core and one 32-bit core? Is the 64-bit core not backwards-compatible with 32-bit software?

    1. Yeah it’s weird. I haven’t seen a single product of RISC-V that made me think it’s a good buy. Most are bad, or weird, or at-best okay. This niche is filled with Intel Atom/Celeron products, and now more and more, ARM-based products (mostly A53, A55, and some A73).

      1. The $6-$10 niche is definitely not filled with Intel anything, and even ARM cores are rare.

        1. Oh yeah, sorry my brain was thinking about Single-Board Computers ($50-$200) and not ($5-20) Pico/micro-controllers.

        2. There are some ARM options under $10. The STM32 family is an ARM chip. The chips themselves are priced under $2 in volume, and there are some dev boards under $10.

          I’ve designed and prototyped a few PCBs with them. I switched to STM32 when pricing and availability of AVRs like the ATmega family got bad. The ATMEGA32U4 was my go-to microcontroller, but I can’t risk spending time designing a board, only to find that it’s tripled in price since I started.

          1. yes, but question is how eficient energy is, and it is open? (ARM)
            no i’m not ask about cpu I ask about blobs on board
            bios etc. You will be suprice how many element is closed source in microcontrolers

          2. @ewrtg5r3eg

            The manufacturer provides all the tools needed to flash the bootloader yourself. It’s a very open chip.

            Just because RISC-V has an open source architecture, doesn’t mean that products using RISC-V will be any more open.

            As far as I can tell, RISC-V stands to present the end-user with no additional benefits compared to a closed architecture. Perhaps they might save a fraction of a penny on a product that otherwise might have had a small royalty or licence cost integrated into it.

    2. No, that is one of the features of RISC-V, you don’t need to include un-used features. So, it’s not normal for a RISC-V chip to have both a 64-bit & 32-bit core(s). (Except that the management core tends to be 32-bit, even when the user cores are 64-bit.)