Amidst the growing hype around the PinePhone, PineBook Pro and the PineTime it’s easy to forget that ARM-based single-board computers (SBCs) are Pine64’s bread and butter.

Now the community-focused company is back with an updated version of its chief Raspberry Pi rival the RockPRO64.

Meet the HardROCK64.

HardROCK64 Specs & Price

The HardROCK64 costs from $35 — $30 cheaper than the board its related to, with no major sacrifice in power or performance

As the first new Pine64 board in a year you will be forgiven for assuming that the HardROCK64 will, by nature of being new, be more powerful, or better featured than its predecessor.

But it’s not.

The HardROCK64 is built around the same six-core Rockchip RK3399 chip in the older RockPRO64 board (which is at the heart of the Pinebook Pro laptop). Similarly, it also features 802.11ac Wi-Fi, ethernet, Bluetooth 5, and a microSD card slot.

So what’s different, you ask?

Firstly the price. The HardROCK64 costs from $35. That’s a whole $30 cheaper than the board its related to without any major sacrifice in the power or performance — a pretty big deal, I think.

Secondly, it lacks a couple of hardware features that its sibling offer, namely a USB-C port and PCIe connectors. While these are “nice to have”, they weren’t essential for a lot of developers, so jettisoning them to lower the price seems smart.

Otherwise, The HardROCK64 is maintains all the other benefits, including full GPIO pins, SPI flash, eMMC socket, CSI and DSI connectors, IR receiver, heatsink mount (which will be needed, as the board is said to run hot) and more.

Buyers will able to buy the HardROCK64 in 1 of 3 RAM configurations:

  • 1GB – $35
  • 2GB – $45
  • 4GB – $55

Pretty nice, eh?

Because the ‘new’ board is similar to the (very popular) old one, Pine64 say it “…will run all ROCKPro64 OS images with little or no tweaks”, and even some Pinebook Pro OS images (Ubuntu MATE ahoy).

Interested in purchasing this dinky pocket rocket? You can, just not yet. The PineROCK64 will go on sale sometime in April — and we’ll no doubt be back with a post to let you know as soon as it’s out.

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