The market is filled with Raspberry Pi clones that promise to be faster, cheaper or have more ports. However, most of these single-board computers use cheap processors from lower-end brands such as RockChip and Mediatek. A new player, the Thunderberry5, uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, the same brand found in many major brand phones, tablets and Arm-powered laptops.
An upcoming board from French company MakeMyBoard, Thunderberry5 claims to be "the first Raspberry Pi-like SBC based on Qualcomm AI-CPU" and powering the show is a Qualcomm QCS610 Snapdragon. The Kryo 460 Octa-core CPU is powered by two Gold 2.2 GHz cores, and six Silver 1.8 GHz cores. That sounds like it would be faster than the 1.5 to 1.8-GHz CPU in the Raspberry Pi 4 B, but we wouldn't know for sure without testing.
The SoC's Qualcomm AI Engine (AI Stack and Neural Processing Engine) provides the power for general AI duties, making the board an interesting platform for machine learning and robotics. Graphics duties are carried out by an Adreno 612, clocked at up to 845 MHz. Thunderberry5 comes with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB of eMMC 5.1 on which the OS choices are currently Android 10 or Yocto embedded Linux.
The curveball with this board is the embedded RP2040 microcontroller. An embedded microcontroller isn't new. We have reviewed Seeed's Odyssey and LattePanda 3 Delta, each of which had an Intel CPU and an Arduino compatible Atmel microcontroller. But, this is the first board that we have come across to feature the RP2040 as an embedded microcontroller.
In the block diagram, we can see that the "RP4020" -- surely a typo for RP2040 -- is connected to a 2 x 20 pin header GPIO labelled "HAT_conn". We cannot ascertain if this is pin compatible with the best Raspberry Pi HATs and we have contacted the project creator for clarification. We can see in the block diagram that the RP2040 is baked into the board and uses a USB 2 to serial interface for communication. This means that it will appear as a device to the underlying Linux operating system.
|Qualcomm QCS610 Snapdragon
|Row 1 - Cell 0
|Kryo 460: 64-bit Octa-cores, 2x Gold (2.2GHz) + 6x Silver (1.8GHz)
|Row 2 - Cell 0
|GPU: Adreno 612 @ up to 845MHz
|Row 3 - Cell 0
|AI: Qualcomm AI Engine / QUALCOMM AI STACK and Qualcomm® Neural Processing Engine SDK
|64GB eMMC 5.1,
|HDMI 1.4 1920 x 1200 @ 60fps
|Row 7 - Cell 0
|TFT DSI DPHY 1.2 2520 x 1080 @ 60fps
|Decode 4K30 HEVC/VP9
|Row 9 - Cell 0
|Encode 4k30 HEVC
|Row 11 - Cell 0
|Row 12 - Cell 0
|Row 13 - Cell 0
|4 x USB 3
|Row 14 - Cell 0
|USB C (5V power only)
|Qualcomm WCD9341 codec
|Row 16 - Cell 0
|+Qualcomm WSA8810 Speaker Amplifier 1W
|Row 17 - Cell 0
|Sensors / Inputs
|Row 19 - Cell 0
|LSM6DSOTR Gyroscope / Accelerometer
Other than the specs and some images, we don't know too much about this Raspberry Pi competitor, but we have contacted the creator to learn more about Thunderberry5. For now, the price and release date are a mystery, but we will update this story once we have more information.
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The Kryo 400 Series CPUs features semi-custom Gold Prime/Gold and Silver cores derivative of ARM's Cortex-A76 and Cortex-A55 respectively, arranged in configurations with DynamIQ. Qualcomm reveal their semi-custom Cortex-A76 have larger out-of-order execution window (reorder buffer) and data prefetchers more optimised in floating point workloads.
2x 2.2 GHz (default) Cortex-A76 equivalent + 6x 1.8 GHz Cortex-A55 should easily beat 4x 1.8 GHz (the new default clock speed) Cortex-A72. But it's the Adreno 612 GPU and OS support that will make or break it.
I checked Amazon just this past weekend and still only a few Raspberry PI units all at 4-5x MSRP. I am beginning to think they do not care about consumer units anymore, because everyone I know who is looking to buy a SBC is not waiting. Seems almost like another Blackberry in the making.Reply
The SoC is old and weak. It's not anywhere near as powerful as the SM8150 or the RK3588. Consider a used Samsung Galaxy S10/+/e or any RK3588/s SBC.Reply
That sounds like it would be faster than the 1.5 to 1.8-GHz CPU in the Raspberry Pi 4 B, but we wouldn't know for sure without testing.Lame.
My info agrees with @usertests. The A76's are each probably twice as fast as the Pi's A72's, given both running at stock clocks. The A55's are then just bonus. Still, in the era of Rockchip RK3588 boards, that's not going to cut it.
Its saving grace may, in fact, be its Adreno GPU. According to mesamatrix.net, Adreno has far & away the best open source drivers of any mobile GPU (see "freedreno"). Mali's open source drivers are much worse than the Pi's "v3d" drivers, meaning you basically have to use their proprietary, closed-source drivers for any more than the most basic functionality.
Unfortunately, knowing Qualcomm, it's not going to be cheap. I expect it to be DOA, now that we can buy faster RK3588S boards with M.2 NVMe slots for (almost certainly) less money.
I don't think it's a matter of caring. I think they're truly struggling to cope with demand.eye4bear said:I checked Amazon just this past weekend and still only a few Raspberry PI units all at 4-5x MSRP. I am beginning to think they do not care about consumer units anymore,
About 3 months ago, Eben Upton stated:
"in the latter-half of 2023 we can expect stock levels to return to pre-pandemic normality."
Raspberry Pi isn't out of relevance just yet for one purpose only: price. Until the competition can come out with a board of comparable performance for the same price, they'll never topple the golden standard. This board looks nice on paper, but a processor that comes with licensing fees paid by the developer isn't going to come cheap. The value certainly isn't made with a $0.99 microcontroller on the board that is readily available to the average consumer.Reply
Qualcomm alt-OS energy eh? The 4 GB RAM is...I mean Ghidra is too big, right? Seems like a decent engine to connect some lab equipment over MIPI. Microtome a cryo frozen fruit fly brain slice, procedurally compress or alter it, uplink chunks, do microsurgery, see if the fly screenwrites Franzen or Shakespeare on li'l chunky keyboards.Reply
Using it to ROP some other Qualcomm kit makes sense too, offload from an ARM laptop a bit I suppose. Get my Sprint LG V40 keys, thing!
Doesn't matter if you can't actually find it in stock, or with scalper markups.Setnev said:Raspberry Pi isn't out of relevance just yet for one purpose only: price. Until the competition can come out with a board of comparable performance for the same price, they'll never topple the golden standard.
Here's a faster alternative with decent hardware quality, from a company that's been building ARM-based SBCs since well before the first Raspberry Pi:
That's the cost-reduced version, having 4 GB, for only $69. I bought a full-fat N2+ ($83) from them (direct) and shipping to the USA took a while but was still cheaper than buying one from AmeriDroid.
And did I mention it's faster than Pi 4 and has eMMC?