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Firefly Reveals ITX-3568JQ Arm-based Motherboard

Firefly's ITX-3568JQ board
(Image credit: Firefly)

Firefly’s Mini-ITX ITX-3588J (opens in new tab) caused a few raised eyebrows when it appeared back in March, and the impressive, interface-rich board has now been joined by a smaller sibling, as spotted by CNX-Software (opens in new tab): the ITX-3568JQ (opens in new tab).

ITX-3568JQ

(Image credit: Firefly)

While it keeps the 17cm x 17cm (6.7 x 6.7 inch) form factor common to all Mini-ITX boards, the ITX-3568JQ dials the processing down a significant notch. Its Rockchip RK3568 quad-core Cortex-A55 CPU at 2 GHz and an Mali G52 GPU a much less powerful prospect than the potent mix of four Cortex-A72 cores, four A55 cores, and a Mali G610 GPU on the ITX-3588J. As a result, it claims a total of one single TOP in machine learning applications instead of the six TOPS achieved by the more heavily core-endowed, 8K-capable board.

The RAM is dialled back on the new board too, with a maximum of 8GB available instead of 32. What remains is a board still studded with ports. There are two Gigabit Ethernet sockets, which support 60W PoE, four USB 3.0 ports and a single USB 2.0 port, with more USB ports via a pin header. Storage can be attached to a SATA 3 port, a SATA 3 M.2 socket, or a single PCIe 3.0 slot, while up to 128GB of eMMC flash can be attached. Video is taken care of with a single HDMI 2.0 (4K), two VGA ports (1080p), a MIPI DSI capable of 1440P in dual-channel mode, and pins for an LVDS display interface. 

And the interfaces keep coming. There's RS232, RS485, I2C, UART, ADC and more. There's a MIPI camera connection, headphone and speaker outputs, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5. Power comes via the PoE (Power over Ethernet), an external 12V power supply with its own connector, or a standard PC case PSU. Optional modules add 5G/4G LTE connectivity.

Software support comes in the form of Android, Ubuntu or RTLinux, making this a potential board for a NAS, some edge computing applications, or even a standalone Ubuntu PC, though we’d prefer the hotter ITX-3588J board for that. The eight-core board did eventually appear for retail (opens in new tab) a while after its announcement, so while the ITX-3568JQ board isn’t available to purchase yet, we’re sure it’ll be along any week now.

Ian Evenden
Ian Evenden

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.