Rock Pi X: An x86 Computer in Raspberry Pi Form Factor

Rock Pi X
(Image credit: Seeed)

The Raspberry Pi form factor has often been mimicked by other boards and Radxa’s latest board, Rock Pi X sees the form factor accommodate an Intel Atom CPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB eMMC flash storage for $59. (Via cnx-software)

The Rock Pi X is an x86 single board computer, in other words it can run the same software as your main desktop computer / laptop. Windows 10 and various Linux distributions will work on this board. An Intel Atom x5-z8350 with Windows 10 would be bearable for simple projects but don’t expect this to run Crysis, both versions!

  •     SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad-core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz (Turbo) with Intel Gen8 HD graphics @ 500 MHz
  •     System Memory –  1 GB, 2 GB. or 4GB LPDDR3-1866
  •     Storage – 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB eMMC flash , MicroSD card socket
  •     Video Output – HDMI 1.4 port up to 4K @ 30 Hz
  •     Audio I/O – Via HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack
  •     Gigabit Ethernet with PoE support (additional PoE HAT required),
  •     802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 Classic + LE with u.FL antenna connector
  •     USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB OTG Type-C port
  •     Expansion – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with 6x GPIOs, 2x UART, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, 1x PCM/I2S, 1x SPDIF, 2x PWM, 1x ADC, and power signals (5V, 3.3V and GND)
  •     Misc – Power button, LED, RTC with battery connector
  •     5V-20V up to 3A/1A Via USB-C port with QC and PD fast charging support;
  •     AXP288C PMIC
  •     PoE support via additional HAT
  •     Dimensions – 3.3 x 2.1 inches (85 x 54 mm)

With eMMC flash storage options from 8GB to 128GB we have a decent level of storage for most users but choose wisely as the eMMC is soldered to the board. Further expansion options are provided via micro SD. A single USB 3.0 port can also be used with external storage. The remaining three USB ports are USB 2.0, best for keyboard and mouse duties. The USB C port provides power and OTG support which adds the possibility of faster USB C storage. A single HDMI 1.4 port offers 4K at 30 Hz provides the only display output, unless one is hidden in the USB C port. Unlike the Raspberry Pi the Rock Pi X has no CSI (Camera) or DSI (Display) ports but it does have a 40 pin GPIO which is claimed to be compatible with the Raspberry Pi. We have yet to see a pinout or software which completely backs this claim up.

If you need Windows 10 or a different Linux distribution in a small form factor, say embedded applications, then the Rock Pi X could be a viable option. Prices start from $59 for the 2GB 16GB eMMC model, enough for Ubuntu. If you want to run Windows 10 then the smallest eMMC option 32GB, is $75 and comes with 4GB RAM. The prices for larger capacity eMMC are not available at this time.

Les Pounder

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".

  • mspencerl87
    If Rock Pi, or Raspi would release a version with 2x LAN ports. Now that's something id throw money down for.
  • neojack
    Usually my board of choice for embeded x86 is the PCEngine's APU series. they have AMD processors 1-4 LAN ports, M2 storage, 1 sata port, and miniPCi expansions. the board is more expensive, though, about 150USD

    nice to have cheaper options for x86
    how is the cooling of this rockpi ?
  • zeroidea
    mspencerl87 said:
    If Rock Pi, or Raspi would release a version with 2x LAN ports. Now that's something id throw money down for.

    NanoPi R2S Dual Gigabit Ethernet SBCRock Pi E SBC Comes with ... Two Ethernet Ports
  • gruffi
    z8350? No, thanks. I have that one in a Tablet with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB eMMC. Not really enjoyable with Windows 10. I tried Android-x86 some time ago. But that wasn't stable enough. At the moment I'm using Linux Mint Cinnamon. But even that sometimes lags. A more recent Atom would have been a better solution.
  • Randysview
    Admin said:
    An x86 CPU in a board the of a Raspberry Pi. Run Windows 10 or any Linux distro with the Rock Pi X.

    Rock Pi X: An x86 Computer in Raspberry Pi Form Factor : Read more
    You should look at boards from commell in tawain. Excellent processor and network options including multiple ethernet connections.
  • UglyStuff
    I had (past tense, the mobo got fried somehow) a budget laptop that came with that CPU, which is really an SoC, and the motherboard is extremely compact from the the get, so the only "exploit" here is to add a few peripherals that the SoC does support but aren't supplied by the OEMs due to the compacity they try to offer their customers, i.e. an Ethernet port.

    That's it. And for what it's worth, this CPU/SoC has a mean tendency to thermal throttling that can go all the way to crashing your machine, because cooling is passive.