ROCK 5B SBC makes debut at electronica 2022

16th November 2022
Mick Elliott

OKdo, part of RS Group, unveiled the new compact-form-factor ROCK 5B octo-core single-board computer (SBC) at electronica 2022 in Munich.

This latest member of the ROCK SBC family delivers the kind of desktop PC level performance required for compute intense activities such as AI or gaming, as well as a wide suite of use cases across sectors such as object recognition, predictive maintenance or motion detection and analysis, yet meeting stringent budgets for energy consumption and price.

Rich Curtin, CTO and Co-Founder of OKdo commented: “Not since I stepped into the single-board-computing business 10 years ago, have I been part of such a tectonic shift in this industry. This market has now graduated into a broad and globally recognised professional industry that is racing to stay ahead in a world of IoT, AI and gaming. Delivering input/output (I/O) options that are second to none with new interfaces not seen before in the SBC market, the new ROCK 5B delivers an awesome level of performance and versatility for myriad applications in automotive, computing, industrial automation, or advanced video handling.”

These new SBCs are designed to empower professional engineers, developers, and students worldwide to create innovative products by making use of versatile hardware with a flexible design service model. Its small form factor provides a host of features as standard to enable users to develop connected solutions that are robust and secure.

OKdo is the global master distributor of the ROCK boards following the recent announcement of its exclusive partnership with Radxa to manufacture and distribute ROCK SBCs and System-on-Modules (SoMs).

OKdo says that, in a huge leap in SBC innovation, the ROCK range of boards can be customised.

The ability to depopulate SBCs without compromising their integrity brings substantial financial and environmental benefits, allowing professional design engineers to leverage cutting-edge technology for developing high-volume end products that meet their exact needs and work towards reducing e-waste.

The ROCK 5B features a Quad Arm Cortex A76 CPU and Quad Arm DynamIQ Cortex A55 ARM Cortex processor cores making it one of the most powerful devices in the SBC market today. The board employs Rockchip RK3588 SoC, which in addition to the octo-core processor integrates a general-purpose quad-core Arm Maliä graphics processor (GPU) and Neural Processing Unit (NPU) and powerful video encoding/decoding capabilities.

The Arm Mali-G610 GPU supports the latest graphics standards including Open GL ES3.2 and Vulkan 1.2, as well as supporting Open CL 2.2, which allows compute intensive tasks to be offloaded from the CPU, thereby delivering enhanced processing performance and freeing up the main processor for other tasks.

For AI applications, the integrated NPU offers up to 6 TOPS of compute performance, thereby removing the need for external coprocessors.

The board’s integrated 4Kp60 HDMI input is ideal for video capture, which usually requires dedicated hardware accessories at additional cost; and its dual 8Kp60 video delivers the capability to upscale to higher resolutions for enhanced video in TV streaming applications. The board also delivers the ability to run four displays, such as two HDMI outputs, one USB-C and one MIPI DSI, which makes it a highly versatile board from desktop computing applications to multi-screen use cases such as digital signage.

The ROCK 5B is also no slouch when it comes to data transfer with 2.5Gbps Ethernet, typically two and a half times faster than available on most other SBCs, making it ideal for dealing with intensive data transfers on the network, such as NAS applications or as part of a compute cluster. It also features the popular four-ring audio jack – supporting stereo-out and microphone-in – making it suitable as a desktop PC replacement for video calls, or if coupled to the NPU, providing the capability to build a voice assistant application.

In terms of memory storage, as well as a standard micro-SD card, the SBC accepts low-cost robust eMMC modules, which enables users to deploy in hard-to-reach environments without the worry of corrupted operating system storage. For applications demanding significant cooling, the board allows the easy addition of a variable-speed PWM-controlled fan to the industry-standard connector. Or for applications demanding the ultimate in processing power, specific mounting points are built into the board for ultra-high performance heatsink accessories.

The onboard battery-backed real-time clock (RTC) maintains precise time information between power outages, it also provides developers with advanced ability to send the board to sleep for a predetermined duration before automatically waking up to carry out tasks, thus making battery operation possible. In addition, its built-in power button can switch the board on/off safely without corrupting its storage, thus removing the need for expensive external accessories. The SBC’s 40-pin header also comes with a 12-bit 1MS/s successive-approximation analogue-to-digital converter (SAR ADC), which is ideal for fast and high-precision sensor measurements.

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