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The Radxa Rock5 Model A is a single-board computer that’s about the size and shape of a Raspberry Pi 4, but it has a faster processor and support for more memory.

Radxa says the board, which is also known as the ROCK 5A, will begin shipping in the second quarter of 2023. While it officially has a starting price of $99, folks who sign up early will be able to snag one for $74.

In January, AllnetChina began taking $5 deposits from customers in exchange for a $30 discount when the ROCK 5A goes on sale in the coming months. Now OKDo is offering a similar discount to folks who sign up to register interest in the single board computer.

OKDo is just asking for an email address though, not a deposit. The retailer says folks who do that will be eligible for “an exclusive online price” starting at $74 for customers in the US, £65 for those in the UK, and €72 in Europe.

At the heart of the Rock5 Model A is a Rockchip RK3588S processor, a close cousin of the RK3588 used in the Rock5 Model B, which launched last year. But the Model B is a larger board that measures 100 x 72mm and features a few additional ports.

The Model A features a more compact design that could make it a better fit for projects where space is at a premium… although I suspect the main draw is that the form factory is close enough to the Raspberry Pi Model B that it could be used as a drop-in replacement in some situations.

Rockchip’s RK3588S processor features four ARM Cortex-A76 CPU cores at up to 2.4 GHz, four Cortex-A55 cores at up to 1.8 GHz, Mali-G610 MC4 graphics, and a neural processing unit with up to 6 TOPS of hardware-accelerated AI performance and support for 8K/60fps video playback.

The board features LPDDR4X memory and it will be available in three different configurations:

  • 4GB RAM for $99 (or $69 with a pre-order discount)
  • 8GB RAM for $119 (or $89 with a pre-order discount)
  • 16GB RAM for $159 (or $129 with a pre-order discount).

Each model features:

  • 1 x USB Type-C port (for power)
  • 2 x micro HDMI ports (one with 8K/60Hz output, the other with 4K/60Hz support)
  • 1 x USB 3 Type-A OTG/host port
  • 1 x USB 3 Type-A Host port
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A host ports
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port
  • 1 x microSD card reader
  • 1 x eMMC module connector (eMMC 5.1 supported)
  • 1 x M.2 E Key with PCIe 2.1 one-lane, SATA and USB 2.0 support
  • 1 x LCD Display connector (4-lane MIPI-DSI)
  • 1 x Camera connector (1 x 4-lane MIPI-CSI or 2 x 2-lane MIPI-CSI)
  • 40-pin header

There are also a few other odds and ends including a fan connector and RTC battery connector.

Radxa says the ROCK 5A supports up to three displays when using both HDMI ports and the MIPI-DSIC display connector. And you can use an eMMC module, microSD card, or M.2 E Key for storage.

via Radxa forum (1)(2)

Thanks Upgrade pi-top [3]!

This article was first published January 21, 2023 and most recently updated February 2, 2023. 

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  1. Not a drop in replacement for a $35 Raspberry pi at 3x the cost… Sure has more power and similar form factor, but those going for the price point won’t choose this or other comparable options priced the same or higher.

    1. The cheapest rpi 4 is $45. The cheapest rpi I can buy right now is… checks notes… non-existent

    2. People sometimes buy the 8 GB Pi 4s, with an expected price of $75 and an actual price sometimes significantly higher. This is more expensive for the same amount of RAM, but it’s in a similar range to it. It’s not very useful if the 1 GB Pi 4 is useful for your case, but it’s a small jump in price if you compare it to the comparable Pis; for example if you include the discount, the 4 GB model of this is $14 more than the 4 GB model of the Raspberry Pi, and this one has twice as many and faster cores.

  2. m.2 2230 ssd are available on Amazon with good pricing. Hopefully RPi5 will use that form factor for their ssd storage.

    1. I wouldn’t say “good” pricing. You’ll pay $140 or more for a 1tb SSD, and it’s going to be from a company name like Aispex, Frescu, or Strictfish.

      I can buy a 1tb M.2 2280 for $55 from a brand like Western Digital.

      Also watch out for SSDs that don’t have any warranty. Lots of 2230 SSDs are actually intended for OEM use only, and aren’t intended for resale, but they end up on Amazon anyways.

      1. Sabrent and Micro (so presumably eventually Crucial) have their own M.2 2230 SSDs coming out…

        1. I didn’t mention Sabrent because their 1tb model doesn’t appear to be on Amazon.

          Elsewhere, it goes for about $170. More than 3x the price of a comparable DRAM-less M.2 2280 drive

          1. Strange, I could have sworn I’d seen it on there – in a clip from Gardiner Bryant’s Steam Deck news video about it…
            Sure, it’s expensive but hopefully those prices will start to come down over the next year or so.

  3. One thing I’ve never wondering about when reading about many of the newer single board computers is that they always point out that you can connect 3 or 4 or something 4K monitors. For me, it really seems like a small niche that would need that. I’d assume that most SBCs are running headless or perhaps using a monitor during the setup. Okay, the newest can replace a desktop computer for at least light tasks, but I really doubt that many connects 2 or more monitors, and I’m wondering if the space for the second HDMI connector and the silicone to drive 3 or 4 monitors could be used for something better.
    Well, it’s just my thoughts. Perhaps it’s fairly common to use them with multiple monitors.

    1. Maybe they’re expecting people to use them to display the menus in fast food restaurants.

      1. I doubt it because the display cost would be an unwanted expense, especially the “Apps” era where delivery of pig feed to your doorstep.

        1. You might think that, but nevertheless most of the burger joints I’ve been in or otherwise seen lately (and before you get the wrong idea, I don’t do this very often, usually only when I’m traveling and just want to get a move on quickly) have between 3 and 5 large displays in them. Most of those have USB ports, so using something that can run off the mere 5V those put out spares you having to run another power cord somewhere.
          Also consider that the alternative is large format custom printed color transparencies, which have to be gotten in a print shop and have to be disposed of every time the menu changes. And if print shops are becoming increasingly sparse and expensive like all other forms of manufacturing, it might actually be cheaper in the long run to just use large format displays, even though intuitively that shouldn’t make any sense considering that a display is a billion times more complicated than a transparent piece of plastic with lights behind it.

          1. It isn’t just fast food. All kinds of retailers use them from estate agents to clothes shops.

    2. Hopefully the Rock 5C will follow the RPi3B+ form factor with a single, full size HDMI and corresponding Ethernet/USB port layout…