BigTreeTech’s CB1 takes on the Raspberry Pi CM4

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BigTreeTech known primarily for its 3D printing accessories, has released a Raspberry Pi CM4 (opens in a new tab) alternate board. The device, as reported by CNX software (opens in a new tab), uses the exact same form factor as the compute module, but downgrades the specs. Still, if you’re looking for a low-power IoT board or other product that requires the kind of I/O a CM4 can provide, this looks like a reasonable replacement.

The BigTreeTech CB1

(Image credit: BigTreeTech)

There is also a backing board that turns it into a full Pi 4 B style (opens in a new tab) board, but the actual specs seem low compared to the real thing. You get an Allwinner H616 quad-core Cortex-A53 SoC running at 1.5 GHz, a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU, and a single gigabyte of RAM. DDR3 RAM, at that. It’s not a great comparison to the tiny powerhouse that is the Pi 4, but it might suffice for a NAS or other low-power computing project.

The CB1 will decode video up to 4K/60 and display it through a single HDMI port on a carrier board. It can communicate using Wi-Fi 4 or 100Mbps Ethernet through a carrier, and there are two board-to-board connectors close enough to those of the CM4 to make it compatible with accessories designed for the more powerful module. It measures 55 x 40 x 4.7mm – the same as, you guessed it, the CM4.

There is also good software support, with a Debian Linux image available for download at GitHub (opens in a new tab). It’s a release from Bullseye, the distro that powers the official Raspberry Pi operating system, and uses the 5.16 kernel, so isn’t particularly outdated, although the chipset is supported in the newer Linux 6.0 kernel. (opens in a new tab).

Performance should be similar to the Raspberry Pi 3, which was never released in the CM4 form factor, instead appearing as a DIMM-like board with a wide-edge connector. The CB1 is available at the Biqu store (opens in a new tab) in a bundle with the Pi adapter for around $40. It has not yet appeared on BigTreeTech AliExpress Store (opens in a new tab).

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