Using A CM4 Alternative

I was wondering, if you ordered the CM4 uConsole, and then dropped in something like the Banana Pi BPI-CM4, would that work? The BPI-CM4 has 4 x A-73 2.2ghz cores and 2 x A-53 1.8ghz cores, making it a much more powerful board than the CM4. It’s the same dimensions of the CM4, and is marketed as 100% compatible as a CM4 replacement.
It’s not released yet, or at least I haven’t found it for sale, but it’s an interesting idea. There are other CM4 alternatives like the Pine64 and Radxa.


I don’t see why not… However, I am NOT an expert! I’m merely a gadget obsessed enthusiast! But I do pay attention to what I read, and I do believe Clockwork has stated other “Cores” would work in the uConsole. Since It’s not out yet, there’s no way to know for sure. I would recommend posting this, or a similar, question over on the Devterm board. Those folks have had their devices for a while now, and might have a more definitive answer.

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Anyone try a RockPi 3588 based CM4 compatible module with their uConsole yet?

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I have been attempting to get a CM3 module to work and would expect you will have the same issues. We don’t have the documentation yet to make it work. You will need to create a device tree overlay for your specific processor. Likely more than one. Without that, you won’t get the USB power system up so you don’t have a keyboard to help debug. The internal keyboard is also USB powered so that doesn’t work ether.

I have emailed Alex and asked if they were going to produce a CM3 image and he said no.

If they produced some documentation on what needs to be done to get it running, it would help a lot.

I’ve only seen one RK3588 CM3 style board. It was $150, from a company in China id never heard of but had a good website. Can’t remember the name now. Taki Udon used it in his video about RK3588 ARM to x86 emulation for gaming.
I doubt more cores/higher clocks will really improve the experience with the uConsole. I think it’s more like the Steam Deck situation, “dated” hardware that is made amazing by the software it runs. As seen by the ROG Ally, which has incredible hardware specs, but horrible software support. Throwing more cores/higher clocks/more RAM isn’t going to improve the uConsole.
Obviously, the Clockwork Pi team is tiny compared to Valve. So I hope that the software can catch up with the hardware on this. We should all do our best to help by reporting bugs, and writing fixes (if we know how)!

RK3588 board that looks like it would slot right in. Again, the lack of software would really hold back something like this.

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$260 for the 32G version? Somehow I bet it gets warm too.

well, the A-06/CM4 are up to like 8 watt TDP when overclocked? I wonder what the RK3588 board’s TDP is. As stated in the other thread with the testing done the CM4 stays very, very cool in the uConsole.

This thread, click the Google sheets, then “overclock benchmarks” tab. The CM4 doesn’t go over 46C when overclocked, which is very, very good.

There is always a tradeoff between horsepower and watts. I just want fast enough and good battery life. The only thing I don’t like is lack of suspend. CM4 just can’t do that.

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Don’t waste your money. The Turing RK1 isn’t compatible. It has an NVIDIA Jetson Nano through Jetson Xavier NX pin mux.

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The rk3588 boards should be more efficient per unit of work (8nm vs 28nm node) but I think getting any of them to work in a uConsole would be at best non-trivial. New carrier board at a minimum + software. Even the allegedly pin compatible cm4 replacements really aren’t, and the software support sometimes sucks (looking at you, banana pi).

Maybe once Clockwork gets a handle on fulfillment, they’ll release a new carrier board and/or a new sbc. That was the pattern with the devterm - we got the cm4 carrier and the risc-v.


Yea the software support sucks because of the hardware. People have tried using Raspian or other OS’s that work great on the RPi on competitor boards, and the functionality is not the same. That’s why people still pay a premium for RPi’s, even though hardware and price wise competitors have them beat.

How about this Rock5/CM - Radxa Wiki

A dream combo, but same problems as above. In a perfect world, we’d get a carrier board/support for that.

The last time I looked, schematics had not been released yet for the main board used in the uConsole. It is a bit different than the one in the DevTerm. Hard to patch things when you are guessing how they are connected.

Yup - many hurdles to clear before we are running 8 core, 8nm chips in our uConsoles. Maybe someday though!

that’s been “coming soon” for a year now! eventually we will be able to upgrade the uConsole if need be.