Radxa ROCK 3A: New Raspberry Pi-sized single-board computer arrives with two M.2 slots at an affordable price
The ROCK 3A may look like another Raspberry Pi alternative, but it has two tricks up its sleeve. According to a community post, the ROCK 3A utilises a Rockchip RK3568, a weaker version of the Rockchip RK3399 found in many single-board computers (SBC). In return, however, Radxa has included two M.2 slots for storage and a Bluetooth/Wi-Fi module. Specifically, the ROCK 3A has an M key socket that supports two PCIe 3.0 lanes for NVMe SSDs and an E key with a single PCIe 2.0 lane. The latter could be used for UART connectivity or a Bluetooth/Wi-Fi modem.
The built-in RK3568 has four ARM Cortex A55 cores that can operate at up to 2.0 GHz. Additionally, the SoC has an ARM Mali-G52 GPU, a 0.8 TOPS NPU and up to 8 GB of LPDDR4 RAM at its disposal. Furthermore, the ROCK 3A has a pluggable eMMC module and a microSD card slot, should you prefer not to use an NVMe SSD. The ROCK 3A has other typical SBC I/O too, including an HDMI port, four USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet and a 40-pin GPIO header.
Radxa states that the ROCK 3A will run Debian 10, Manjaro Linux and Slackware Arm, among OSes. The company hopes to start selling the ROCK 3A by the end of the year, with prices starting at US$35 with 2 GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the 4 GB of RAM variant will retail for US$55, but Radxa will charge US$75 for the ROCK 3A with 8 GB of RAM.