Rock 5 Model B available for preorder

Heads up! Radxa are taking preorders for the new Rock 5 SBC.

This is based on the RockChip RK3588 SOC, which by the look of things is about 2 to 3 times faster than the Broadcom 2711 in the Raspberry Pi 4. It would give Zynthian a serious kick in processing power, for running hungry synths like Pianoteq, Surge, etc.

https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/cpu/compare/11836244?baseline=12073179

The Rock 5 board includes 8 ARM cores: four Cortex-A76 cores @ 2.4 GHz and four Cortex-A55 cores @ 1.8 GHz. Amongst other interesting features is 4k HDMI video input, as well as the ability to drive 3 displays. There is a 40 pin GPIO connector, and it runs Debian Buster and Android 12. It also directly supports NVMe SSDs.

Shipping is Q2 2022.

(Possibly!)

Stopping shipping when they get bored???

For that price you could get three Raspberry Pis with… 3 times the resources of a single RPi! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Always interesting to see what new tech is available (or promised to be available at some time in the future) but I retain my opinion that few survive a couple of years and that Raspberry Pi continues to give benefits beyond its cost / performance, like longevity of supply and support.

Really? A 4Gb Rock 5 is priced at $US129, so to get 3 for that price you’d need a price of $US43 each. Current prices in this country (Australia) range from $US66 to $US76, so at best I could buy two Raspberry Pis for the price of one Rock 5.

If you take the introductory pricing of $79 the Rock 5 looks like a good deal, considering that you get more than 3 times the processing power. Of course at this stage its unknown whether Zynthian would even run on it which is obviously an obstacle. And as you say, longevity of supply and support is also essential.

But it would be nice to be able to run Zynthian on a cluster of Raspberry Pi machines. Is that possible using Jack? I don’t know about other DAW software, but Reaper offers a network plugin processor “ReaMote” where you can pool any number of machines to process your synthesis workload.

Probably wouldn’t help if the workload of a plugin was beyond the capability of a single core, for example a synth like “Surge”. For that you would need a faster CPU.

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If you want to control multiple zynths there’s this protocol called MIDI :smiley:

A little more seriously there is qmidinet installed on the default zynth images.

This rk3588 chip looks really promising. Its in 8nm technology VS 28nm for rk3399 or for Broadcom chips. So one can expect many horsepower (Quad A76 + Quad A55) and low power consumption.

With the -50$ offfer, the board is interesting, even I’m quiet sure it won’t expose the 8 channels I2S GPIOs pins the rk3588 can provide, and that the software support will lack a bunch of functions. It should run the 5.10 kernel.

Maybe I’ll put 5 bucks on it :innocent:
But right now, I’m just waiting for more specifications and also, other boards (from Khadas, Pine64, FriendlyArm …) may follow. (something like this for the same price , 175$, would be great)

Hopefully it will get full upstream kernel support. I was surprised that the Pi4 still isn’t supported by Fedora because the 4k HDMI graphics stuff still hasn’t made it upstream. The Pinebook Pro I have has almost entirely upstream kernel support apart from the deeply unofficial wifi & bt firmware. My Pinephone is pretty dead in the water unless you’re running a custom patched kernel.