Mekotronics Reveals Budget Friendly Board With Eight-Core RK3588

Mekotronics R58
(Image credit: Mekotronics)

 A new single-board computer powered by the eight-core Rockchip RK3588 SoC has appeared via the pages of CNX Software, and the Mekotronics R58 looks to be almost budget-friendly, starting at $169 (pre-order).

The high-end chipset, often found at the expensive end of the single board computer market, pairs two quad-core complexes of Cortex-A76 cores and Cortex-A55 cores respectively, then adds up to 32GB of RAM, a quad-core GPU, video processing up to 8K, and a neural processor for TensorFlow and similar applications.

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SoCRockchip RK3588 octa-core processor with four Cortex-A76 cores @ 2.4 GHz, four Cortex-A55 cores @ 1.8 GHz, an Arm Mali-G610 MP4 GPU, a 6TOPS NPU, 8K 10-bit decoder, 8K encoder
RAM / Storage Options4GB LPDDR4x + 32GB eMMC flash
Row 2 - Cell 0 8GB LPDDR4x + 64GB eMMC flash
Row 3 - Cell 0 16GB LPDDR4x + 64GB eMMC flash
Video2x HDMI 2.1 ports up to 8Kp60
Row 5 - Cell 0 1x DisplayPort up to 8Kp60
Row 6 - Cell 0 DisplayPort via USB-C port
Row 7 - Cell 0 Video Input – 1x HDMI 2.0 port
Connectivity1x Gigabit Ethernet
Row 9 - Cell 0 Dual-band Wi-Fi 6
Row 10 - Cell 0 Bluetooth 5.0
USB1x USB 3.0 Type-A
Row 12 - Cell 0 2x USB 2.0 Type-A
Row 13 - Cell 0 1x USB Type-C
GPIO2x 5 pin GPIO
Row 15 - Cell 0 2x Serial port headers
Power12V DC via barrel jack

The more budget friendly release, Mekotronics’ R58, cuts a few features such as the second gigabit Ethernet port, RS485/RS232 terminal block and M.2 socket, but it does gain an extra HDMI-out port along the way. The two HDMIs, along with a DisplayPort and USB-C that can be put into DisplayPort mode, mean the board can support four independent displays. Yet another HDMI port functions as an input. A separate input handles power, leaving the USB-C free.

RAM for this board is capped at 16GB, and the eMMC flash tops out at 64GB. Storage is where the cuts to the chipset will make themselves felt, as while the currently unpopulated SATA header should be functional in the final release, and there's a pair of USB 3 ports, the missing M.2 socket was a convenient way of attaching fast storage in a convenient small form factor, essential if you're working with 8K video files.

The board is square and, while official dimensions have yet to be revealed, guesses based on the width of  an Ethernet port put it at about three inches to a side. Images for Android 12, Debian 11, and Ubuntu 20.04 OS will be provided at launch, and an aluminum case is in development. Pre-orders are currently being taken on Mekotronics' store starting at $189 for the 4GB model ($169 if you pre-order), while an AliExpress page should be up soon. Mekotronics' R58X mini PC puts a similar board in an enclosure ready for embedded applications, but cuts down on the USB and HDMI ports, while adding an extra gigabit Ethernet.

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.