Raspberry Pi was the first single board computer, or SBC (Single Board Computers) that hit the market many years ago. Its great success aroused the interest of many manufacturers, and today we can find a wide variety of this type of device. One of the latest additions is the Rock Pi X that we are talking about today.
Single-board computers are dominated by processors based on the ARM architecture, which are much simpler and cheaper than x86, and consume less power. However, these benefits are linked to some significant limitations, such as not being able to run Windows 10.
We are talking about the normal version of Windows 10, because it is true that there is a Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi, but it is a special version that has nothing to do with the system you have on your computer.
Rock Pi X is a development board that allows you to use Windows 10
The new Rock Pi X wants to put an end to this limitation. To do this, it mounts an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor , a very simple chip that is common in low-priced Chinese tablets and convertibles, and which generally provides fair but sufficient performance to run Windows 10.
Thanks to this processor we can have a very small and cheap computer with which we can use all the Windows 10 programs , another issue is the performance they will have, don't expect to play or edit 4K video with Premiere with this processor. The processor is accompanied by 4GB of LPDDR3-1866 RAM .
Let's continue looking at the rest of the features of the Rock Pi X. This board includes an HDMI 1.4 port, an Ethernet network port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports, a USB port -C OTG , Raspberry Pi compatible 40-pin header, a microSD slot and a socket for soldering an eMMC memory module. Of course it also includes ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2
In essence, it is a board very similar to the Raspberri Pi 4 but with the difference of including an Intel processor instead of an ARM one. A few weeks ago we published a post explaining the differences between x86 and ARM processors.
The following table summarizes the most important specifications for both boards.
|Raspberry Pi 4||Rock Pi X|
|Processor||ARM Cortex A-72|
with quad cores at 1.5 GHz
|Intel Atom x5-Z8300 with 1.4 GHz Quad Core|
|RAM||1, 2 or 4 GB LPDDR4||4 GB LPDDR3|
|Graphic card||VideoCore VI||Intel HD 510|
|Internal memory||Via micro SD cards||Via micro SD cards + socket to solder eMMC|
|Official operating system||Raspbian||Windows 10|
|Connections||WiFi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0 and Ethernet||WiFi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.2 and Ethernet|
|Price||From 30 euros to change||From 30 euros to change|
Is the Rock Pi X worth it or did I buy a Raspberry Pi 4?
The answer to this question is not simple. The problem that most Raspberry Pi 4 alternatives tend to have is a lack of support from the manufacturer . Many boards of this type offer technical characteristics far superior to the Raspberry equivalents, but the lack of support means that they do not work as they should.
Unstable operating systems, lack of hardware acceleration capacity, crashing programs, problems with WiFi… there are many problems that you can face due to poor support from the manufacturer. We still cannot know what Rock support will be like for its new Rock Pi X board, but the general trend in the market is not very encouraging.
If you are a programming connoisseur you will be able to solve most of the problems on your own, but if you are a user who wants to assemble the board and start using it, you will depend on what the manufacturer offers you and what the fan community can contribute . Many times the community does a better job than the manufacturers, but it cannot work miracles.
The support that the Raspberry Foundation offers to all its development boards is very good. Raspbian is the official Raspberry operating system , based on the Debian Linux distribution and with excellent and highly optimized performance.
To this must be added that Raspberry Pi are usually the boards of choice for most projects. Many users share the projects with the community, explaining how to carry them out and offering their help to users who want to follow in their footsteps.
With a Rock Pi X you may find that you are alone with your project , if no one helps you to solve the problems that you encounter along the way.
Finally, in the market you can find a large number of accessories for the Raspberry Pi 4. Cases of varied designs, fans, heatsinks, parts made with 3D printing and much more. All of this can make your projects much easier.
The new Rock Pi X development board has the advantage that it mounts an Intel processor and allows Windows 10 to be used together with all its programs. It is one of the few options that you can find with this type of processor. If you need to use Windows 10 for your projects, you don't have many options to choose from , the Rock Pi X seems to be the best option for now.
On the other hand, if you don't need to use Windows 10, the new Raspberry Pi 4 is the best option you'll find. You will have at your disposal a debugged software that works well, a huge community ready to help you when you need it, and hundreds of parts and accessories to choose from.
In addition, the Raspberry Pi 4 has taken a great leap in technical specifications , so at the performance level it is not that far from the Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor that this Rock Pi X mounts.
What is your opinion? Have you used an alternative board to Raspberry Pi? Tell us about your experience in the comments so we can better help the rest of the readers who follow us.