Pineberry Pi, Now Pineboards, Launches New PCIe Boards and Looks Beyond the Raspberry Pi 5

Rebranding exercise comes as the company aims to make its PCI Express boards compatible with devices other than the Raspberry Pi 5.

Gareth Halfacree
1 month agoHW101

Single-board computer accessory maker Pineberry Pi has announced a name change, with the freshly-unveiled Pineboards launching four new boards to celebrate — including one that adds a full-size PCI Express connector to a Raspberry Pi 5 and another which combines M.2 NVMe storage support with analog audio capabilities.

"While the 'fruit + pi' naming convention served us well in the past," Pineboards writes of its rebranding, "it often suggested that we were manufacturing single-board computers, which is far from the truth. Our new name, Pineboards, not only aligns with our mission to lead and innovate within the ecosystem of add-on boards and accessories for the Raspberry Pi 5 but also allows us to build our own distinct brand identity."

At the same time as it rebrands, the company has announced four new Raspberry Pi 5 add-ons — which, it claims, "have been requested by our community for months." These, brought to our attention by CNX Software, including the Hat uPCIty Lite, which breaks out the Raspberry Pi 5's PCI Express lane to a 4x-mechanical open-ended slot compatible with full-size PCIe cards. For devices that need additional power, there's the choice of ATX or barrel-jack connectors.

The HatDrive! Piano, meanwhile, combines the company's existing HatDrive! design with an analog audio output — a feature present in older Raspberry Pi models but missing from the Raspberry Pi 5. The board offers support for 2230 and 2242 form factor M.2 NVMe storage devices and uses a Texas Instruments digital to analog converter (DAC) to drive a 3.5 headphone jack and stereo RCA jacks.

The final two devices in the new Pineboards line-up are the Hat mPCIe, which adds a mini-PCI Express connector with USB 2.0 support and a nano SIM slot to a Raspberry PI 5, and the Hat Ai! Dual — designed specifically for use with the Google Coral Dual Edge TPU, a dual-processor accelerator designed for high-performance but energy-efficient machine learning workloads.

"It has also come to our attention that the 16-pin PCIe connector standard is starting to become an industry-wide standard for single-board computers," Pineboards adds of its devices built with the connector and originally specifically targeted at the Raspberry Pi 5. "We are thrilled to start testing our products against alternative SOCs [Systems on Chips] and working with manufacturers to ensure perfect compatibility with the PIP (PCIe Peripheral Board) standard."

More information on the new boards is available on the Pineboards website, along with links to purchase them starting at €18.99 (around $20.30) for the Hat mPCIe before taxes and shipping.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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