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Orange Pi 3B, an alternative to Raspberry Pi with Rockchip RK3566

The Orange Pi 3B is a Single Board Computer (SBC) that has recently been released to the market by the manufacturer Shenzen Xunlong Software.

Orange Pi is known for being a lower-cost alternative to the well-known Raspberry Pi. In this case, the Orange Pi 3B is a renewed version of its previous model Orange Pi 3, which aims to “compete” with the Raspberry Pi 3 (not the 4).

The new board features a Rockchip RK3566 processor with four Cortex-A55 cores at 1.8 GHz, an Arm Mali-G52 2EE GPU, and an NPU AI accelerator.

On paper, the performance should be considerably superior to the BCM2837 of the Raspberry Pi 3. However, due to the lack of benchmarks or tests on both SoCs, it is difficult to assess the difference.

As for RAM, the Orange Pi 3B is available in three different configurations of 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB (LPDDR4/4x). 2GB does not seem very suitable for that processor, so I would advise the 4GB or 8GB models.


Among the available storage options are a slot for an optional eMMC socket, a microSD card, an M.2 Key-M socket for NVMe or SATA III SSDs, and additional SPI flash memory that allows functions such as network booting.

In terms of connectivity, the Orange Pi 3B offers the usual Gigabit Ethernet port, a WiFi 5 wireless module, and Bluetooth 5.0.

On the other hand, in terms of connections, we have four USB ports, MIPI DSI and CSI connectors. In addition to a 40-pin header, compatible (copy) with that of the Raspberry Pi, with up to 28 GPIO, UART, I2C, and SPI.

Another very interesting point is that it has a form factor similar to the Raspberry Pi 3B (not to say that they have literally copied the layout of the elements). This makes it compatible with most accessories and projects.


  • SoC: Rockchip RK3566
  • CPU: Quad-core Cortex-A55 up to 1.8 GHz
  • Memory: 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB LPDDR4/4x
  • GPU: Arm Mali-G52 2EE with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.2, OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan 1.1
    • Video decoding 4Kp60s H.265, H.264, VP9
    • Video encoding H.265 1080p100, H.264 1080p60fps
  • NPU: 0.8 TOPS artificial intelligence accelerator
  • Storage:
    • Socket for eMMC module (16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB)
    • MicroSD card slot
    • 16MB or 32MB SPI flash
    • M.2 M-Key socket for SATA III or NVMe PCIE 2.0 SSD
  • Connections:
    • 40-pin GPIO header compatible with Raspberry Pi with 28 GPIO
    • UART, SPI, I2C, PWM
    • Video output - HDMI 2.0 up to 4Kp60, 2-lane MIPI DSI, eDP 1.3
    • Camera interface - 2-lane MIPI CSI connector
    • Audio - 3.5mm headphone jack
    • USB - 1 USB 3.0 host port, 2 USB 2.0 host ports, 1 USB 2.0 device/host port
  • Connectivity:
    • Dual-band WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0
    • Gigabit RJ45 Ethernet port
  • Power:
    • 5V/3A via USB Type-C port
    • 2-pin RTC battery connector
  • Dimensions: 85 x 56 mm
  • Weight: 49 grams

As for prices, there are different configurations to choose from, with these approximate prices.

  • 2GB RAM for €35
  • 2GB RAM + 32GB eMMC for €40
  • 4GB RAM for €40
  • 4GB RAM + 64GB eMMC for €45
  • 8GB RAM for €50
  • 8GB RAM + 256GB eMMC for €70

Personally, the 4GB RAM + 64GB eMMC model for €45 seems the most interesting to me. And in all cases, I would opt for the one that includes eMMC, as the SD card is one of the biggest issues with Raspberry Pi.

As is customary with Orange Pi, the Orange Pi 3B is compatible with various operating systems, including Android 11, Ubuntu 22.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Debian 11/12, OpenHarmony, Orange Pi OS (Arch), Orange Pi OS (OpenHarmony), among others.

In short, a quite interesting device in terms of features/price. The 4GB + 64GB eMMC model seems very interesting to me. The fact that it is compatible in form and GPIO with the Raspberry Pi 3 is also a plus.

It probably won’t be as straightforward a machine to learn as a Raspberry Pi, given that one of its strong points is its documentation and simplicity. But if you already have some experience with Linux mini PCs, the Orange Pi 3B is a more than interesting option for your projects.