Rock 3A Offers Faster M.2 Storage in Raspberry Pi Form Factor

The Raspberry Pi form factor is a popular one, compact enough to fit in some interesting places yet packed with power and IO. What the form factor lacks is fast and cheap storage possibilities. Step forward the Radxa Rock 3A, as spotted by CNX Software, which offers the familiar form factor and two M.2 slots for Wi-Fi and SSDs.

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(Image credit: Radxa)
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The underside of the Rock 3A

(Image credit: Radxa)

Closely following the Raspberry Pi 3B layout, the Rock 3A is powered by a Rockchip RK3568 SoC that manages to squeeze in a 2GHz quad core Arm Cortex A55 CPU, 2,4 or 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM. But the most interesting features of this board are the two M.2 slots, one for an NVMe SSD (albeit with only two PCIe 3.0 lanes) and the other with one PCIe 2.0 lane for one of the short ‘module’ cards, such as a Wi-Fi 6 adapter. The faster M.2 socket is situated underneath the board, but doesn’t feature a retention screw, so either the M.2 slot is connected via an adaptor board or we will need to hack our own solution.

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