ROCK64, a 4K-capable single-board computer, now available
Do you want to build a home theater PC that can stream 4K content but are constrained by size, price, or both? The ROCK64 from Pine64 may be your solution. The single-board PC is tiny (about the size of a credit card), cheap, and supports H.265 video encoding for 4K content.
At the heart of the ROCK64 is the Rockchip RK3328 powered by a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU and Mali-450MP2 GPU. This SoC was unveiled at CES back in January and brings support for H.265, H.264, and CP9 codecs, as well as HDR, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and more. The board is available with either 1, 2, or 4 GB of LPDDR3 RAM and support for eMMC flash and microSD storage. Port selection is fairly good considering the size:
- 2x USB 2.0 ports
- 1x USB 3.0 Type-A port
- HDMI 2.0
- 3.5mm AV jack (composite video and stereo audio)
- 40 Pi-2 GPIO pins
- 22 Pi-P5+ GPIO pins
- IR receiver port
The board is powered via a 3.5mm/1.35mm barrel power jack and only requires 5 volts/3 amps of power to run. While nothing earth-shattering, the support for the H.265 codec means the board can play 4K video with ease, which may make it perfect for a tiny media center PC. Given its small size, it wouldn’t be too difficult to rig up a case or mount to attach to the back of a 4K TV, keeping everything out of sight. The fact that the board also supports Android 7.1 Nougat, Debian, or Yocto Linux makes it a pretty versatile single-board PC, and the IR receiver port makes the device controllable via a remote. Load up a media center like Kodi and you’ve got a cheap, small, and power efficient media hub.
The ROCK64 is available from Pine64. The board starts at $24.95 for 1 GB of RAM. Users that want 2 or 4 GB of RAM will have to pony up $34.95 and $44.95 for the boost, respectively. Pine64 is also selling lots of accessory for the board, including a 32 GB eMMC flash storage chip and an audio DAC add-on board. The device is expected to start shipping on July 31.