RockPi4 and New Kids on the Block


Everyone says Raspberry Pi succeeded because of its supportive community, that’s something Rock Pi should follow. However. there obviously are technical perspectives too.

I chose Rock Pi 4 because of 2 reasons at the beginning: Raspberry Pi 3 form factor, and USB-C Power Delivery support. I almost placed the order for a Nano Pi 4, until I read the USB-C connector on that Pi is not true Power Delivery.

Since 2016 whenever I buy a gadget, it has to be either powered through USB-C, or an AC plug, period. Here is my bench set up:

I have 3 Power Delivery power supplies on the strip (in the background), all with 100W rated USB-C cables, capable of anything I could plug into, laptop, tablet, smartphone, headset, even my toothbrush (using a Qi wireless charger with USB-C). When I was shopping for a new monitor, found one almost perfect but use a proprietary power brick, I pass it without second thought. When I’m shopping for a new power adapter, it must be able to power all the gadgets I have, and must provide 12V rail (be careful some latest PD adapters dropped it).

There are some really exciting hardware showing up recently, Odroid N-2 is one of them, but again, I think their choice of the power supply is not excusable. The 2 new AI boards from Google and Nvidia, I think Google won hands down because of the same reason.

The picture above shows my Google AI board and Rock Pi 4 stacked up (there actually is a Z-Wave HAT in between).

Speaking of power strip, I highly recommend this one from Nekteck (I hope they have European version but don’t know), I can use it as power switch for all my Pis:


Unfortunately, the RockPi’s support for Power Delivery is unique. I don’t understand that, actually all new boards that are even a touch faster than a Raspberry Pi 3 are forced to use Power Delivery if they don’t want to work with a 12V plug.
I also have a board with an NXP i.MX 8M SOC. I was very excited about the Soc and pre-ordered the WAND-PI-8M-PRO last year in early April in New Taipei City. At the beginning of November finally a PICO-PI-IMX8M was delivered, but according to the delivery note the ordered PI-8M-PRO. There is no software development, the community is dead, on inquiries, whether by E-Mail or in the forum is not answered.

Now I just forgot to reveal the reason for my enthusiasm. Who programs MCU, but also small single boards Linux systems, wants a Cortex M in the SoC of his SBC. Until such a Linux SBC reacts to an external event, an MCU would already be in sleep mode again. And the i.MX 8M SOC has a built-in Cortex-M4F. NXP already has experience with this.


It seems Mouser once carried that PICO-PI-IMX8M but now marked it as obsolete. On their own website, the price is way too steep, more expensive than Google Coral board. I don’t think it would go anywhere at that price point.


Shortly after I ordered the WAND-PI-8M-PRO, Mouser set the board to obsolete. I just looked at the updated price for the board, I certainly wouldn’t have bought the board at the new price.


I’m trying to avoid ordering from Mouser. I order there only if it is absolutely necessary. Although Mouser has a customer center in Munich, everything I’ve ordered from them so far came from the USA. The tracking makes it easy to see how the real thing is first transported across the USA before it goes to Europe. From Shenzhen I usually get my deliveries faster and cheaper than at Mouser. The delivery with China Post takes extremely seldom as long as announced.


I see. Although in my opinion in case you received a DOA, Mouser probably would handle it better. I hope Radxa could work with the distributors like Mouser close to their major market, that will help a lot.


For Europe Radxa has authorized distributors who are known here for good products and I found a dealer in Berlin who sent me the RockPi by mail, but if necessary I could go there to exchange something. Of course I’m also afraid of a DOA if I import something myself.