The Rock 5 B is not a Raspberry Pi killer—yet

Rock 5 model B on desk with Raspberry Pi in background

Radxa's Rock 5 model B is an ARM single board computer that's 3x faster than a Raspberry Pi. And that's just the 8-core CPU—with PCI Express Gen 3 x4 (the Pi has Gen 2 x1), storage is 7x faster! I got over 3 GB/sec with a KIOXIA XG6 NVMe SSD.

It's still half as slow as modern ARM desktops like Apple's M1 mini, or Microsoft's Dev Kit 2023 (see my review here). But it's way faster than a Pi, it comes with 2.5 Gig Ethernet, it has two M.2 slots on board... and, well—it also starts at $150!

Pine64 and Radxa's new Pi CM4-compatible boards

Since the Raspberry Pi was introduced, hundreds of clones have adopted the Pi's form factor (from the diminutive Zero to the 'full size' model B). Often they have better hardware specs, and yet they remain a more obscure also-ran in that generation of Single Board Computer (SBC).

Pine64 SOQuartz and Radxa CM3 in front of Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

So when I saw Radxa's CM3 and Pine64's SOQuartz, I wanted to see if either would be—as they advertised—'drop in, pin-compatible replacements' for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.

tl;dr: They're not. At least not yet.

Hardware and Specs

Both boards are technically pin-compatible. And both will boot and run (to some extent) on pre-existing Compute Module 4 carrier boards, including Raspberry Pi's official IO Board: