A commenter on the previous review of Raspberry Pi CM4 and pin compatible modules brought to my attention that there exists a fifth module: BIGTREETECH CB1.
My hot take on this system on a module is it is underwhelming. The two call outs are the memory size - 1 gigabyte - and the ethernet - 100 megabits only. The other four modules previously tested all had 4 gigabytes of memory and all had 1 gigabit ethernet.
|Module||Single CPU Metrics||Multi-CPU Metrics|
|Raspberry Pi CM4||228||644|
|Banana Pi CM4||295||1087|
|Raspberry Pi CM4||Radxa CM3||Pine64 SOQuartz||Banana Pi CM||BIGTREETECH CB1|
|Core||Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz||Rockchip RK3566, Quad core Cortex-A55 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 2.0GHz||Rockchip RK3566, Quad core Cortex-A55 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.8GHz and Embedded 32-bit RISC-V CPU||Amlogic A311D Quad core ARM Cortex-A73 and dual core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU||Allwinner H616, Cuad core ARM Cortex-A53 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5 GHz|
|NPU||-||0.8T NPU||0.8 TOPS Neural Network Acceleration Engine||5.0 TOPS||-|
|GPU||-||Mali G52 GPU||Mali-G52 2EE Bifrost GPU||Mali-G52 MP4 (6EE) GPU||Mali-G31 MP2|
|Memory||1GB, 2GB, 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4||1GB, 2GB, 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4||2GB, 4GB, 8GB LPDDR4||4GB LPDDR4||1GB DDR3L|
|eMMC||On module - 0GB to 32GB||On module - 0GB to 128GB||External - 16GB to 128GB||On module - 16GB to 128G)||-|
|Network||1Gbit Ethernet - Option for WiFi5, Bluetooth 5.0||1Gbit Ethernet - Option for WiFi5, Bluetooth 5.0||1Gbit Ethernet - WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0||1Gbit Ethernet||100Mbit Ethernet - 100Mbit WiFi|
|HDMI||2x HDMI||1x HDMI||1x HDMI||1x HDMI||1x HDMI|
|GPIO||28 pin||40 pin||28 pin||26 pin||40 pin|
|Extras||-||-||-||SATA ports, one shared with USB 3, one shared with PCIe; Audio Codec||-|
|Geekbench Score - Single CPU||228||163||156||295||91|
|Geekbench Score - Multi CPU||644||508||491||1087||295|
|Price of Tested*||$65||$69||$49||$105||$40|
|Power Consumption||7 watts||N/A||2 watts||N/A||N/A|
If you are thinking, what could this comparatively underwhelming module be used for? First, let's take a look at BIGTREETECH. If you have been into the 3D printer kit scene, you might be familiar with the manufacturer. BIGTREETECH is known for its 3D printer mainboards and other 3D printing related electronics. The CB1 could be easily dropped in in-place for a Raspberry Pi for your Creality Ender 3 Pro or other printer kit. You will need a carrier board for it, but it will work.
OctoPrint or Klipper will run just fine on this module. You will most certainly not need 1Gbit ethernet for printing when most 3D printers print fractions of a millimeter per minute; transmission of gcode will not max out the bandwidth. Likewise for needing more memory; OctoPrint or Klipper will certainly be more responsive with more memory, but 1GB will work just fine.
One thing that this mostly underwhelming module has going for itself is HDMI. It is capable of pumping out 60 fps 4k video. If you are looking for a module that can do this, pick the CB1. For only $40, it is a bargain compared to the RPi CM4 and compatible modules.
For some of the CM4 pin compatible modules, like the Radxa CM3, an eMMC flash writing utility that I was only able to get working on MS Windows was needed. The CB1 is straightforward in comparison. Simply download an image (link above), and use balenaEtcher or Raspberry Pi Imager or
dd to write the image to a micro SD card. The image I ultimately used comes with Linux kernel v5.16.1. Like so many Linux distributions for Arm systems, this kernel is BSP, or Board Specific Package. It is a fork from mainline Linux and it is specifically for the CB1 and its associated Arm processor. Given that this is a niche module, and short of a lot of demand for it, the kernel will likely drift as mainline Linux progresses, eventually becoming outdated. But for now, it is a contemporary, relatively new kernel by comparison; put in constrast with semi-official distribution kernel for the Banana Pi CM4, which comes with v4.9.x, was released in December of 2016.
If you stumbled upon this post by way of some 3D printer-related search, and you are just wanting to write an image to a micro sd card and get on with printing awesome stuff on your printer...here is a video with instructions.
If you do not need much computing or memory, you are mostly interested in a simple 3D printer manager or a barebones HDMI streamer, the CB1, for its price, is pretty good. There even is a drop-in replacement for Ender 3 mainboards, the BIGTREETECH Manta E3EZ V1.0 Mainboard 32 Bit Silent Control Board. This gives you OctoPrint or Klipper, for print management, plus Marlin Firmware, for printer control and gcode execution, all-in-one board for about $65. This is a great deal give the much griped about availability of Raspberry Pi modules and boards, and secondary market prices, for the small order and maker crowds.
Finally, Polycube compiles on runs successfully on this module, I will eventually include it in a network routing comparison of Raspberry Pi CM4 pin compatible modules.