Rock 4 SE & 5B Single-Board Computers

image showing rock 4 SE & Rock 5B 8GB

Most Makers know how hard it is to get hold of a Raspberry Pi at the moment, so the hunt is well underway to find alternative single-board computers for projects. Radxa has been making their own single board computers, called Rock, for quite a few years now but the stock shortage of Raspberry Pi’s has led to them gaining more popularity in recent years. In this blog post, we will be taking a look at the Rock 4 SE & Rock 5B 8GB, diving into their specifications, and doing a specification comparison to the Raspberry Pi 4.

The Rock 4 was first announced in 2018 after around 3 years of silence from Radxa. The form factor is based on a Raspberry Pi, so it doesn’t take up valuable space in projects. It even shares a similar component layout compared to the Raspberry Pi which is fast becoming a standard for single-board computers. This is where the similarities with Raspberry pi mostly end with the Rock 4 SE featuring a host of powerful parts that make it stand out. While it has been quite a few years since the launch of the Rock 4 board it has stayed competitive in an ever-expanding market. The processor still packs a punch and delivers reliable performance which is a key part of single-board computers. The RAM and GPU ensure that the Rock 4 SE is ready to handle some of the more demanding applications you may have planned.

The noticeable downside to the Rock 4 SE is the lack of multiple HDMI ports, compared to the Rock 5B which has 3, and the Raspberry Pi 4B which has 2, the Rock 4 SE is limited to a single port. This is not ideal as it limits your ability to multitask. There aren’t many other downsides that we can see with the Rock 4 SE and are excited to see the support for it grow.

Released in 2022 the Rock 5B 8GB is the latest single-board computer from Radxa and it is clear to see that they went all out on this board in order to make it a true powerhouse. The first noticeable difference is how the components are so laid out differently compared to the Rock 4 SE and Raspberry Pi 4B. While this change may seem like a simple one it does allow them to pack even more features onto the board. While the Rock 4 SE is more of a direct competitor to the Raspberry Pi 4 boards the Rock 5B has specs that seem more akin to low-end desktop PCs. The powerful Arm DynamIQ processor features 8 cores and when combined with the 8GB of RAM and updated GPU means the Rock 5B 8GB is far ahead of the Raspberry Pi 4. It was not developed just to beat Raspberry Pi but rather to provide a powerful new single-board computer for Makers with more demanding projects in mind. So, if you have a project that requires more performance than a Rock 4 or Raspberry Pi 4 then the Rock 5B is worth a look.

It is hard to find downsides for the Rock 5B with the new form factor being a potential issue if you need your components in specific locations. The Rock 5B is ready for anything and we are excited to see how Makers will use it.

Comparison Table

We put together a table comparing the Rock 4 SE, Rock 5B, and Raspberry Pi 4B 8GB.

Rock 4 SERock 5B 8GBRaspberry Pi 4B 8GB
SOCRockchip RK3399-TRockchip RK3588
ProcessorArm big.LITTLE technology (Dual-Core Cortex A-72 @ 1.5GHz & Quad-Core Cortex A-53 @ 1GHz)Arm DynamIQ (Quad Cortex – A76 @ 2.2/2.4GHz & Quad Cortex – A55 @ 1.8GHz)Broadcom BCM2711B0 (Quad-Core Cortex A-72)
GPUArm Mali T860MP4Arm Mali G610MC4Broadcom VideoCore VI
GPU Support– OpenGL ES 1.1 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 3.1 | 3.2
– Vulkan 1.0
– Open CL 1.1 | 1.2
– DX11
– OpenGL ES 1.1 | 2.0 | 3.2
– Vulkan 1.1 | 1.2
– Open CL 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.2
– Embedded High-Performance 2D Image Acceleration Module
– OpenGL ES 3.1
– Vulkan 1.0
HDMI– 1 x 4k@60fps HDMI– 1 x 4k@60fps
– 1 x 8k@60fps
– 1 x 4k@60fps (Micro HDMI Input)
 2 x Micro HDMI Ports (Up to 4kp60 supported)
MIPI Ports– 1 x 2 lane DSI
– 1 x 2 lane CSI
– 1 x 4 lane DSI
– 1 x 4 lane CSI
2-Lane Camera Serial Interface (MIPI CSI)
USB– 2 x USB 2.0
– 1 x USB 3.0
– 1 x USB 3.0 OTG (Switchable)
– 2 x USB 2.0
– 1 x USB 3.0
– 1 x USB 3.0 OTG (Switchable)
– 1 x USB Type C (Supporting PD 2.0 / DP Display 4K@60fps / USB 3.0)
– 2 x USB 2.0
– 2 x USB 3.0
GPIO Header40-pin40-pin | 2.53mm27 GPIO Pins
Storage– Micro SD
– M.2 (M Key)
– eMMC
– Micro SD
– M.2 (M Key)
– eMMC
– Micro SD

Radxa have created a forum for their community. Check it out if you have questions or are looking for help with your Rock 4 & 5 single-board computer.

We hope this found this breakdown of the Rock 4 & 5 Single Board Computers. If you enjoyed this post then check out our other blog posts, we have a growing collection of guides and project posts up right now. To keep up to date on everything DIYElectronics related such as new products, projects, and Maker news, check out our social media. FacebookInstagramTikTokTwitter and website.

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