The Raspberry Pi Pico W has a new competitor in the form of Pine64’s upcoming Ox64, spotted by CNX Software, which uses the increasingly popular RISC-V architecture to pack a lot of computing power into a tiny space. So much, in fact, that it's starting to blur the boundaries between microcontrollers and SBCs.
There's been no official announcement, the company hasn't tweeted or blogged about it, and there's no way to actually buy the board yet, but we do know a lot about it thanks to a post on the Pine64 Wiki. There's a dual-core Bouffalo Lab BL808 RISC-V SoC at the heart of it, but the cores are mismatched: one is an Alibaba T-head C906 64-bit core running at 480MHz, while the other is an Alibaba T-head E907 32-bit core at 230MHz. There's a massive, for a microcontroller, 64MB of RAM, an AI engine (Bouffalo’s BLAI-100), Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth 5, plus IEEE 802.15.4, better known as Zigbee. There's up to 128Mbit of flash storage too, plus a micro SD card slot, and if you fit it into a carrier board with an Ethernet port, it can use that too.
Data and power are catered for by a Type-C USB 2 OTG port, while the micro SD slot can also accept power. The USB also carries a two-lane MIPI CSI interface for a camera connection. Spread around the edges of the board are 26 GPIO holes, which support protocols such as SPI, I2C and UART. There's an on-board MJPEG and h.264 encoder that can manage up to 1920×1080 at 30fps.
The Ox64 is exactly the same size as a Raspberry Pi Pico, at a breadboard-friendly 51mm x 21mm (2in x 0.8in) and seems likely to run a Linux-based OS, though no images are currently available apart from those for Alpha testing. The board is not yet a final product, and not currently for sale, but is likely to be less than $10.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Ox64||Raspberry Pi Pico|
|Size||21 mm x 51 mm||21 mm x 51 mm|
|Processor||Dual-core Alibaba T-head C906, 480MHz and 230MHz||Dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+, 133MHz|
|Storage||Up to 128Mb||2Mb|
|Networking||Wi-Fi 4, Bluetooth 5, Zigbee||Wi-Fi 4 (W and WH variants only)|
|Additional interfaces||SPI, I2C, UART, MIPI CSI||SPI, i2C, UART, PWM|
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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.