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Credit Card Sized Mini Geek PC Hides Powerful Raspberry Pi Alternative

Station M2
(Image credit: Firefly)

There’s small, and then there’s small. The Station M2 is an RK3566 powered board, spotted by CNX Software, is limited in terms of thickness by its Ethernet port, but manages to squeeze a lot of functionality into a case only slightly larger than a credit card.

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Station M2

(Image credit: Firefly)
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A Station M2, left, and a credit card

(Image credit: Firefly)
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The Station M2

(Image credit: Firefly)

Inside the Station M2 there’s a Rockchip RK3566 SoC, at the heart of which is a quad-core Cortex-A55 64-bit processor running at up to 1.8GHz. This is the successor to the A53 chip used in the Raspberry Pi 3B+, Nintendo Switch, and some Amazon Fire HD tablets. You also get up to 8GB of LPDDR4, and up to 128GB of eMMC storage. As the name alludes, there’s an M.2 socket for NVMe SSDs, with read and write speeds up to 400MB/s and 392MB/s respectively. The Micro SD slot provides additional low cost storage.

There’s also an HDMI 2.0 port with support for 4k HDR at 60fps, a smattering of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports including one Type-C OTG that’s also used to power the unit, and a gigabit Ethernet port to complement the onboard Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0. The 3.69 x 2.55 x 0.62 inch (93.8 x 65 x 15.8 mm) aluminum alloy case acts as a heat sink for the RK3566 SoC while keeping the unit neat and tidy.

Station OS is the official Os for the Station M2, just like its predecessors the M1 and P1. Station OS is a media center OS used to create high definition home entertainment centers. Other OS are available such as Android 11 and Ubuntu 18.04. The Station M2 is available now, at a promotional price of $105 for the 4GB/32GB configuration. This will rise to $129 in a few weeks, which makes it a bit more expensive than a Raspberry Pi 4 starter kit, but the Station M2 has hardware and software options that may make it a better fit for some homebrew media center projects.

  • jakjawagon
    Inside the Station M2 there’s a Rockchip RK3566 SoC, at the heart of which is a quad-core Cortex-A55 64-bit processor running at up to 1.8GHz. This is the successor to the A53 chip used in the Raspberry Pi 3B+, Nintendo Switch

    While there are four A53 cores physically present in the Nintendo Switch, they are unused. For some reason it only uses the four A57 cores on its Tegra X1 SoC, with one reserved for the OS. I would think it would make sense to use all four A57 cores for games and use the A53 cores for the OS, but Nintendo.
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