Radxa Announces ROCK5 CM5 Alternative to Raspberry Pi's CM4, Teases NVIDIA Jetson-Compatible NX5 Too

Eight-core Rockchip RK3588 really packs in the power, offering up to 16GB of RAM and a 6 TOPS neural network coprocessor.

Gareth Halfacree
24 days ago β€’ HW101 / Machine Learning & AI

Radxa has announced a new system-on-module (SOM) designed for compatibility with Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4) carrier boards, with a variant to follow, which offers support for NVIDIA Jetson carriers: the ROCK5 CM5 and NX5.

"Radxa ROCK5 Computing Module (Radxa CM5) is a System-on-Module based on the ROCK5 boards (RK3588/RK3588S inside), containing processor, memory, eMMC flash, and Power Management Unit," the company explains of the modules, brought to our attention by CNX Software. "These modules allow a designer to leverage the ROCK5 hardware and software stack in their own custom systems and form factors. In addition these modules have extra IO interfaces over and above what is available on the ROCK5 boards, opening up more options for the designer."

The ROCK5 CM5 module is powered by the S-suffixed variant of the Rockchip RK3588 found in the Rock 5 Model B, unveiled by the company earlier this year, with a form factor echoing that of the CM3 β€” which, somewhat confusingly, was designed as a drop-in replacement for the hard-to-source Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, the naming of which may go some way to explain why Radxa has skipped launching its own CM4.

The RK3588S on the Radxa CM5 offers four Arm Cortex-A76 cores running at 2.4GHz plus four Cortex-A55 cores running at 1.8GHz, the choice of 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB of LPDDR4 memory, optional eMMC flash storage from 8GB to 128GB with a claimed 250MB/s peak throughput, an Arm Mali-G610 MP4 graphics processor, and a neural network coprocessor offering a claimed six trillion operations per second (TOPS) of compute.

Each module includes support for a single HDMI display running at up to 8k60, an embedded DisplayPort (eDP) with the same resolution, and two four-lane MIPI Display Serial Interface (DSI) outputs, plus one two-lane and one four-lane Camera Serial Interface (CSI) inputs. There's no audio codec on-board, unlike the Radxa CM3, and while there's a gigabit-capable Ethernet controller it relies on a PHY installed on a carrier board. For expansion, there's one each of USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and USB 3.1 ports, two PCI Express Gen. 2.1 lanes, and two SATA ports β€” though these are multiplexed with PCIe and USB β€” plus up to 50 general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins with eight UARTs, eight I2C, four SPI buses. SDIO, PCM, and support for eight pulse-width modulation (PWM) pins plus two analog inputs.

The ROCK5 CM5 is designed to be drop-in compatible with existing Radxa CM3 and Raspberry Pi CM4 carriers, with the caveat that networking won't be available unless the carrier includes its own Ethernet PHY and that some features require connection to the third high-density interconnect on the module's underside β€” not available on carriers built to Raspberry Pi CM4 specifications. The NX5 variant, meanwhile, will launch in a SODIMM form factor designed to drop in to carrier boards built for NVIDIA's Jetson family of systems-on-modules β€” but will otherwise share the CM5's specifications.

What Radxa hasn't shared, at the time of writing, is pricing and availability, for either the modules themselves or their carrier boards. It has, at least, populated its wiki with additional information including a comparison to both its own CM3 and Raspberry Pi's CM4.

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