Radxa Lifts Lid on Eight-core Compute Module To Take On Raspberry Pi

Radxa CM5 board
(Image credit: Radxa)

The powerful eight-core Rockchip RK3588S processor is usually found at the larger end of the single-board computer spectrum, but Radxa has today announced, as first reported by CNX Software, that it will be incorporating the chip in a board that’s the size of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. And it comes with as much as 16GB of RAM, too.

Dubbed the Radxa CM5, the tiny board crams in a lot of functionality, and has a third high-density connector underneath. Along with the mighty CPU, which pairs four Arm Cortex A76 cores with four Cortex A55s, a 6 TOPS NPU, and a Mali G610 Odin GPU, you get a choice of 4GB, 8GB or 16GB of DDR4 RAM. There's up to 128GB of eMMC flash on board too.

Most interesting is the presence of two PCIe interfaces, both single lane and hitting the Gen 2.1 spec, which sees data transferred at 5Gbps. This is complemented by gigabit Ethernet (without a PHY), USB 2, USB 3 and some SATA interfaces which share bandwidth with the USB and PCIe systems. Being a compute module, all these ports are dependent on being broken out by a larger carrier board of some type. Its form factor and pinout are said to be compatible with the Compute Module 4, meaning it could be used as a drop-in replacement.

Video support comes in the form of an HDMI 2.1 that’s capable of pushing 8K at 60 frames per second and there's an eDP that shares its bandwidth. Other screens can be connected via MIPI, as can cameras, with both a two-lane and four-lane camera interface available. If your thirst for peripherals is still not quenched, there are GPIO pins, UART, I2C, PCM and up to eight PWM channels. What it seems to lack, however, is any sort of wireless connections, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, limiting its usefulness.

Software support comes in the form of Ubuntu, Debian, Android, Yocto and Buildroot. We don’t have any pricing or sales information yet, but Radxa says the board will be available for ten years. A SODIMM form factor is also expected, for compatibility with NVIDIA Jetson, TX2 and Xavier boards.

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CM4 vs CM5
Row 0 - Cell 0 Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4Radxa CM5
CPUBroadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHzRockchip RK3588S, Quad core Cortex-A76 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 2.4GHz + Quad core Cortex-A55 64-bit SoC @ 1.8GHz
RAMUp to 8GBUp to 16GB
Storage (eMMC)Up to 32GBUp to 128GB
Video2x HDMI 2.0, MIPI1x HDMI 2.1, eDP, MIPI
Connectivity1 × USB 2.0 port, 1 × PCIe 1-lane Host, Gen 2 ( 5Gbps ), 28 GPIO pins, 5x UART1 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x USB C 3.1 port (5Gbps), 1x USB 3.0 host port, 2 x PCIe 1-lan host, Gen 2.1 (5Gbps), 2 x SATA ports, one shared with USB 3, one shared with PCIe, 50 GPIO pins, 8x UART
Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

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.