Diversity is the key to Pine64's business model. From RISC-V powered soldering irons to Arm powered laptops, Pine64 seems to have its fingers in many pies -- including the single board computer market dominated by the Raspberry Pi. In their February update, Pine64 has announced the Quartz64 model-A AM SBC, which seems to have an impressive set of features.
Powered by a Rockchip RK3566 SoC, the Quartz64 comes with a quad-core Arm Cortex A55 CPU running up to 1.8GHz and a Mali-G52 GPU running at 800 MHz which supports Vulkan 1.0 and 1.1. Quartz64 supports up to 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM, but there will be models starting from 2GB of RAM.
Quartz64 model-A is quite a large board, larger than a Raspberry Pi 4 for sure. Measuring 5.2 x 3.1 x 0.7 inches (133 x 80 x 19mm), the Quartz64 offers plenty of extra space for extra features and a port layout that takes advantage of all the extra space.
Around the perimeter are the usual selection of two USB 3.0 and two 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, Micro SD, and a full-size HDMI port capable of 4k60 video output. Wireless connectivity is provided via an optional (model-A) WiFi and Bluetooth expansion, but the Quartz64 wiki indicates that this will be built into the model-B. Power comes via a DC barrel jack requiring a 5V 3A power supply.
Moving inwards, we see a plethora of ports and connections, including those for external displays (DSI) and cameras (CSI) and a 4xPCIe slot for additional expansion, but we doubt an RTX 3080 will be compatible. A single SATA 6.0 port, which can be used for mass storage and as a boot device, resides behind the USB ports. A vacant eMMC slot offers the chance to purchase an optional eMMC module between 16GB and 128GB.
Something new with the Quartz64 is a native e-ink port, compatible with a 10-inch e-ink panel, which will be released at the same time as the Quartz64. According to teaser information in an earlier update, the e-ink display will support a capacitive pen. Quartz64 comes with an integrated battery charging circuit, enabling the board to run from battery power.
How much and when can we expect the Quartz64? Well, those questions remain unanswered for now, but we are looking forward to learning more about this board.
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Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".