Amidst the growing hype around the PinePhone, PineBook Pro and the PineTime it’s easy to forget that ARM-based single-board computers (SBCs) are Pine64’s bread and butter.

Now the community-focused company is back with an updated version of its chief Raspberry Pi rival the RockPRO64.

Meet the HardROCK64.

HardROCK64 Specs & Price

The HardROCK64 costs from $35 — $30 cheaper than the board its related to, with no major sacrifice in power or performance

As the first new Pine64 board in a year you will be forgiven for assuming that the HardROCK64 will, by nature of being new, be more powerful, or better featured than its predecessor.

But it’s not.

The HardROCK64 is built around the same six-core Rockchip RK3399 chip in the older RockPRO64 board (which also sits at the heart of the Pinebook Pro laptop). This offers 2 powerful ARM cortex A72 cores @ 2.0GHz, and 4 low-power ARM Cortex A53 cores @ 1.6GHz.

Similarly, the HardROCK64 comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, ethernet, Bluetooth 5, and a microSD card slot as standard.

So what is different, you ask?

Firstly the price. The HardROCK64 costs from $35. That’s a whole $30 cheaper than the board its related to without any major sacrifice in the power or performance — a pretty big deal, I think.

Secondly, it omits a couple of hardware features its sibling touts, namely a USB-C port and PCIe connectors. While these are “nice to have”, they weren’t essential for a lot of the tasks developers are using the board for, so jettisoning them to lower the price is a pragmatic move.

Otherwise, The HardROCK64 is maintains all the other benefits of the regular RockPRO64, including full GPIO pins, SPI flash, eMMC socket, CSI and DSI connectors, IR receiver, heatsink mount (which will be needed, as the board is said to run hot) and more.

Buyers will able to buy the HardROCK64 in 1 of 3 RAM configurations:

  • 1GB – $35
  • 2GB – $45
  • 4GB – $55

Because the ‘new’ board is still similar to the (very popular) old one, Pine64 say it “…will run all ROCKPro64 OS images with little or no tweaks”, and may even handle Pinebook Pro OS images with a few minor tweaks — Ubuntu MATE mini-PC ahoy!

Interested in purchasing this dinky pocket rocket? You can, just not yet. The PineROCK64 will go on sale sometime in April — and we’ll no doubt be back with a post to let you know as soon as it’s out.

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