Rockchip Carrier-Mainboard

I would love to buy an ARM Laptop, but currently there is nothing I’m willing to buy.
So I thought about building a Rockchip Carrier-Mainboard for the Framework Laptop.
Since the RK3588 came out as a SOM, I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to build one.
There would be no USB4/Thunderbolt, as the PCIE connectivity of the SOM is pretty limited. But it would be enough to connect a m.2 Gen 3x2 SSD, wifi6 and 4 usb ports.
But it will make a great little efficient ARM Laptop, possible fitting other SOMs.
I have experience to some extend in Altium Designer, but not with SOMs, SOC or similar.

wiki: Welcome to Core-3588J Manual — Firefly Wiki


Set up a github repo:
Any help is appreciated :blush:


This looks very cool, and I hope it works out. Would it work inside the laptop with the screen, webcam, and input cover?

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Yeah that’s the goal. A drop in replacement for the intel based mainboards.

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A Pi CM4 mainboard would also be neat. Would have to figure out the HDMI > eDP connection though.

an SMARC format board would open up a lot of SoM options as well, including AMD Ryzen.

@Jason_Hilton One way to solve this would be to avoid HDMI :sweat_smile:

There are DSI to eDP ICs on the market. Retail IC price seems to be close to $20 though.
Add a PCIe switch for nvme and usb3 and those would be set, too.

The next hard part would be USB-C. You would need to find a way to mux HDMI, PCIe, Power & USB3 to the ports. Not sure what ICs to look at for that… Especially only 2 HDMI outs could be problematic. 4 port USB3 shouldn’t be an issue, and there are 5 port PCIe switches, so 4 + nvme would work…

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The boot process/software side on the CM4 would be easier for sure. And the community is way larger.
There are also other compute modules, radxa cm3 and one from banana pi.

DSI to eDP seems like a good way too.

I think PCIE/USB 4 is not necessary and will complicate all of this quite significantly. Display over USB-C would be nice tho.

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I’m not sure it would be. rpi doesn’t do uefi booting, it has a custom boot loader, the framework motherboard is uefi. I’m not sure if that has implications for any of the other boards in the computer that may expect a uefi boot/initialisation sequence.

Ah, I hadn’t considered that, but it looks like DSI on the Pi is proprietary, however you could use the GPIOs for DPI output.

Basically, that’s not a thing.

Seems like Compute Module is friendlier in that regard

That said, you can go for SoQuartz, which does have a native eDP output (idk about software support tho)

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WHaou great. I have been following pine64 s efforts.
And what they say is that it will take some 2 years before all the features are working (similar to RK3399 and cousins). It seems a good time to start developement as the board is dropping in price, preview models were in the range of +300 USD. It will slowely go down to rk 3399 prices at 80 USD.
It looks quite challenging, but it is a SoC quite opensource, so it should be fine.

Now I am more interested in future developments of Risc V, which will take even longer to come up maybe 5 years to have same features (GPU…).
I personally don t feel like getting an ARM laptop that is somehow as open as intel… and cannot run softwares like games with steam (linux). Bottom line I will always be setback by running games, even if I am not often running them!

That could be a great option, and they’re actually available to purchase.

Yeah the SoQuartz looks pretty good. But also it is a lot slower than a RK3588.
And only has a pcie 2.0 x1 connection…