The team at Radxa, known for its Rock Pi SBCs, has announced the development of a new SBC known as the Radxa Zero, which looks like a Raspberry Pi Zero but provides four times more CPU cores, twice the clock speed and up to four times more RAM. The most basic model is planned to retail for only $15.
The Radxa Zero will feature an Amlogic S905Y2 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor capable of speeds as fast as 2.0 GHz. For graphics, it relies on an Arm Mali-G31 MP2 GPU.
According to Radxa, it comes with a few different spec options. The most basic model offers 512MB of LPDDR4 and an AP6212 wireless module (with Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth 4 support). The next one up has 1GB of RAM and costs $5 more.
The next two editions use an AP6256 wireless module with Wi-Fi 5 support. They come in 2GB (with 8GB of eMMC flash) or 4GB (with 16GB of eMMC flash) options reaching up to $45 in price.
In terms of specs, these compare very favorably to the Raspberry Pi Zero, which has a 1-GHz, single-core CPU and just 512MB of RAM. However, the Pi Zero W, which has built-in Wi-Fi 4, goes for only $10. More importantly, the Pi Zero is backed by a huge support community and ecosystem of compatible products where the Radxa Zero and all other Pi clones are left in the cold.
The Radxa Zero has a couple of other advantages over the Pi Zero. It has two USB-C ports, one of which is USB 3.0, which is better than the dual micro USB ports on the Pi. Instead of a mini HDMI port, it has a micro HDMI port that can output at up to 4K, 60 Hz. However, it does not have a CSI camera port for using Raspberry Pi Camera modules.
Radxa's board will run Android and possibly some other operating systems but not Raspberry Pi OS, which automatically puts it at a huge disadvantage. With 40 GPIO pins, it could possibly work with the best Raspberry Pi HATs, but someone would need to write the software to make them work and, unless they sell a lot of units, it will be difficult to get that kind of developer support.
Over 100 boards have been produced for early devs and plans for mass production should be underway in about 8 weeks. Read more about the Radxa Zero on the Radxa forums and be sure to follow the team for production updates.
via CNX Software
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Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.