Libre Computer has launched a Raspberry Pi-shaped single-board computer dubbed the AML-S905D3-CC Solitude, which offers a low-cost entry point for accelerating edge and embedded artificial intelligence (AI) projects thanks to an onboard neural network coprocessor.
The Solitude Board uses a board layout that will be immediately familiar to anyone who has used a Raspberry Pi: there are four USB Type-A ports, all of which are USB 3.0, next to a single gigabit Ethernet port on one side, a 3.5mm analog audio-video jack next to a full-size HDMI 2.0 port and a USB Type-C power connector which doubles as USB 2.0 data, connectors for MIPI Display Serial Interface and Camera Serial Interface (DSI and CSI) accessories, and a 40-pin general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header — with a second header for an optional Power over Ethernet (PoE) accessory, according to a product listing brought to our attention by Linux Gizmos.
It's not a slavish copy, by any means. There's also 16MB of NOR flash memory onboard, connected over an SPI bus, and an infra-red receiver at one end, plus support for an optional eMMC storage module in addition to the microSD card slot. More importantly, though, it uses a different system-on-chip — one tailored to energy-efficient edge-AI workloads: the Amlogic S905D3, providing four Arm Cortex-A55 processor cores running at up to 1.91GHz and an Arm Mali-G31 MP2 graphics processor with two execution units and 32 shading units.
Alongside these relatively mainstream cores, though, is a neural processing unit delivering a claimed 1.2 tera-operations per second (TOPS) of INT8-precision compute. This, Libre Computer hopes, will make the board a go-to device for working on machine learning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence at the edge — and without breaking the bank or the power envelope.
The launch comes four months after the company unveiled the AML-A311D-CC Alta Cottonwood, a similarly Raspberry Pi-shaped single board computer built around the Amlogic A311D system-on-chip and including a neural network coprocessor delivering a claimed five tera-operations per second (TOPS) of INT8-precision compute for edge-AI workloads. The Alta is a considerably more powerful board, offering faster Arm Cortex-A73 cores plus two low-power Cortex-A53 cores, double the GPU cores, and an NPU with five times the performance — but the Solitude has it beaten on price.
The AML-S905D3-CC Solitude is now available to buy on the Libre Computer store at $45 for a model with 4GB of LPPDR4 RAM; a 2GB model is also listed, but was showing as unavailable to order at the time of writing.