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A low-cost, Renesas-MPU alternative to the Raspberry Pi® 4

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From the halls of Electronica, Mr. X spreads the word of Vekatech’s VK-RZ/V2L microcomputer platform. It looks like a Pi and still satisfies a hungry belly, but with slightly less calories and the same great taste, we think Vekatech’s offering is the perfect low-fat alternative to the biggest name in the market. Better yet, you might be able to actually get your hands on one!

Perhaps it is best to start with the main differences between the VK-RZ/V2L and the Raspberry Pi 4: The Vekatech board utilises a Renesas RZ/V2L with dual-core ArmCortex®-A55 CPU @ 1.2 GHz and a Cortex®-M33 specialised for IoT and embedded applications that require efficient security or digital signal control. This comes with on-board 1 GB DDR4 RAM, 32 MB QSPI Flash, and 32 GB eMMC/uSSD Flash. In contrast, the Raspberry Pi 4 uses a Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 @ 1.5 GHz with options for 1, 2, 4, or 8 GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM.

To us, it looks like there is a little more flexibility with Vekatech’s board at the sacrifice of some speed and punch when compared to the Pi. That said, the VK-RZ/2VL still offers a rich set of peripherals, so many users may prefer this option for use in their end designs, be that for industrial, consumer, home, IoT, robotics, AI, or computer-vision applications. The latter few are a speciality for Renesas’ RZ/V2L, which has a built-in AI accelerator, ‘DRP-AI’, designed especially for computer vision.

The VK-RZ/2VL’s peripherals include audio on 3.5 mm jack, video on µHDMI 1.4, a low-power WiFi + BLE module (Dialog Semiconductor DA16600), 1x 24-pin FPC camera, 1x SDHI, 2x host USB 2.0 (Type A), 4x user LEDs (R|G|B|Y), 2x user buttons, and a micro-USB 2.0 type-B interface. Power is supplied to the board via USB type-C, and there are two gigabit ethernet PHY interfaces as opposed to the one on the Raspberry Pi 4; this comes at the expense of a pair of USB 3.0 connectors.

The Vekatech VK-RZ/V2L is certainly an interesting concept in a market dominated by another board, but the real question is whether the VK-RZ/V2L is an imitation or a different beast wearing a similar skin to fit with the same crowd. As with many things ipXchange writes about, the only way to know is to test the device. If you’re starting a new design and thinking of using a Raspberry Pi 4, think again and give Vekatech’s board a try. You might very well receive it long before the Pi arrives…

Keep designing!

Vekatech’s VK-RZ/V2L Microcomputer Platform

An excellent solution for all kinds of industrial and professional projects – one that you are more likely to be able to get your hands on!

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