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Rock Pi X: An x86 Computer in Raspberry Pi Form Factor

The size of a Raspberry Pi but with an Intel CPU

(Image credit: Seeed)

The Raspberry Pi form factor has often been mimicked by other boards and Radxa’s latest board, Rock Pi X sees the form factor accommodate an Intel Atom CPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB eMMC flash storage for $59. (Via cnx-software)

The Rock Pi X is an x86 single board computer, in other words it can run the same software as your main desktop computer / laptop. Windows 10 and various Linux distributions will work on this board. An Intel Atom x5-z8350 with Windows 10 would be bearable for simple projects but don’t expect this to run Crysis, both versions!

  •     SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad-core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz (Turbo) with Intel Gen8 HD graphics @ 500 MHz
  •     System Memory –  1 GB, 2 GB. or 4GB LPDDR3-1866
  •     Storage – 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB eMMC flash , MicroSD card socket
  •     Video Output – HDMI 1.4 port up to 4K @ 30 Hz
  •     Audio I/O – Via HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack
  •     Gigabit Ethernet with PoE support (additional PoE HAT required),
  •     802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 Classic + LE with u.FL antenna connector
  •     USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB OTG Type-C port
  •     Expansion – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with 6x GPIOs, 2x UART, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, 1x PCM/I2S, 1x SPDIF, 2x PWM, 1x ADC, and power signals (5V, 3.3V and GND)
  •     Misc – Power button, LED, RTC with battery connector
  •     5V-20V up to 3A/1A Via USB-C port with QC and PD fast charging support;
  •     AXP288C PMIC
  •     PoE support via additional HAT
  •     Dimensions – 3.3 x 2.1 inches (85 x 54 mm)

(Image credit: Radxa)
(Image credit: Radxa)

With eMMC flash storage options from 8GB to 128GB we have a decent level of storage for most users but choose wisely as the eMMC is soldered to the board. Further expansion options are provided via micro SD. A single USB 3.0 port can also be used with external storage. The remaining three USB ports are USB 2.0, best for keyboard and mouse duties. The USB C port provides power and OTG support which adds the possibility of faster USB C storage. A single HDMI 1.4 port offers 4K at 30 Hz provides the only display output, unless one is hidden in the USB C port. Unlike the Raspberry Pi the Rock Pi X has no CSI (Camera) or DSI (Display) ports but it does have a 40 pin GPIO which is claimed to be compatible with the Raspberry Pi. We have yet to see a pinout or software which completely backs this claim up.

If you need Windows 10 or a different Linux distribution in a small form factor, say embedded applications, then the Rock Pi X could be a viable option. Prices start from $59 for the 2GB 16GB eMMC model, enough for Ubuntu. If you want to run Windows 10 then the smallest eMMC option 32GB, is $75 and comes with 4GB RAM. The prices for larger capacity eMMC are not available at this time.

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