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A PINE64 Rock64.
Manufacturer PINE64 (Pine Microsystems Inc.)
Architecture AArch64
Bootloader Upstream U-Boot
Boot options microSD, eMMC, SPI NOR Flash

The ROCK64 is a single board computer built around the Rockchip RK3328 SoC.

There are three models of the board, with 1, 2 or 4 GB of RAM. It can boot from an microSD card or an eMMC. It also has a 128 Mbit SPI flash (not populated on recently manufactured boards) that can be used to store the bootloader.


This board has upstream U-Boot and kernel support, although the mainline kernel may still be missing some features. NixOS can be installed using manual partitioning and nixos-install or by modifying the aarch64 installation image as described in the next section.

U-Boot for this board is packaged in nixpkgs, and Hydra builds can be found here:

This bootloader is not entirely open, incorporating a binary blob for the tertiary program loader (TPL). If your have nix installed you can download the latest version with (This command also works on different architectures since it can be downloaded from the binary cache):

$ nix-build '<nixpkgs>' -A ubootRock64 --argstr system aarch64-linux
$ ls -la result
-r--r--r-- 2 root root    107683 Jan  1  1970 idbloader.img
dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root        40 Jan  1  1970 nix-support
-r--r--r-- 2 root root    789504 Jan  1  1970 u-boot.itb

Note: ROCK64 v2 boards have marginal DRAM routing and may experience memory corruption with the standard U-Boot build. It is recommended to use the ubootRock64v2 package for these devices, which reduces the DRAM clock to increase stability.

Board-specific installation notes

U-Boot needs to be copied to specific sectors on the microSD card, eMMC or image with dd. This can be done either by using a prebuilt image or by manually formatting the storage.

Using Prebuilt Images

You can use nixos-aarch64-images to get an ROCK64 compatible disk image.

Manually Formatting

To manually format your storage, first install the NIXOS ARM 64 image by following the instructions here. Download and flash the SD Card/SBC image to your SD Card

NixOS_on_ARM#SD card images (SBCs and similar platforms)

Next, download/build U-Boot for the board, and write idbloader.img and u-boot.itb to the storage. As mentioned previously, Hydra builds can be found here:

Replace in the command below /dev/mmcblkX with the correct device to the sdcard i.e. /dev/mmcblk0. You can use the lsblk command to get a list of all devices:

dd if=idbloader.img of=/dev/mmcblkX conv=fsync,notrunc bs=512 seek=64
dd if=u-boot.itb of=/dev/mmcblkX conv=fsync,notrunc bs=512 seek=16384

This will make the first partition of the installation device unmountable and it can be deleted, but the space needs to be kept to not overwrite the bootloader with another filesystem.

Note: As an alternative to the above, the u-boot-rockchip.bin file combines both idbloader.img and u-boot.itb and can be written using the single command below:
dd if=u-boot-rockchip.bin of=/dev/mmcblkX seek=64
Note: Prior to NixOS 20.03, a downstream version of U-Boot 2017.09 was packaged, which placed U-Boot in a single idbloader.img file. If that version is used, simply disregard the second command above.

uboot Memory Issues

If you are facing memory issues, kernel panics, kernel oops or general system instability while using the uboot images above (especially with the Rock64 version 2), you can use the ubootRock64v2 image instead, which improves system stability by lowering the memory clock speed at the cost of memory bandwidth.

Hydra builds can be found here (note the v2)

Simply follow the manual formatting instructions as above.

Serial console

The ROCK64 uses a GPIO pinout compatible with the Raspberry Pi 2 and newer. This means that the following pins can be used to connect a serial adapter:

Pi-2 Bus
Pin Function

The serial console runs at 1500000 baud in the bootloader. When using the standard NixOS aarch64 sd image, set console=tty1 console=ttyS2,1500000n8 as kernel option in extlinux/extlinux.conf on the boot partition of the sdimage to get a serial linux console (tty1 is for standard HDMI output and ttyS2 is for the serial, baud rate setting is optional, simple console=ttyS2 seems to be working fine too). For debugging, console=uart8250,mmio32,0xff130000 should give you an early UART console, before the full serial console is up.

From the host computer run (update /dev/ttyUSB0 with your USB-to-serial device)

minicom -b 1500000 -8 -D /dev/ttyUSB0 --color=on

Compatibility notes

Mainline kernel ayufan-rock64/linux-mainline-kernel
Ethernet Works Works
USB As of 5.4, USB 3.0 does not work Works
HDMI Video works, Sound does not Works -

Downstream kernel

To use all hardware functionality, it is currently necessary to use a downstream kernel:

Mic92 has packaged the mainline kernel in his NUR packages repository:

 boot.kernelPackages = pkgs.nur.repos.mic92.linuxPackages_ayufan;

This provides sound over HDMI, which the default kernel does not.

Initrd fails to unpack during boot

The old vendor U-Boot 2017.09 did not leave enough room between the kernel and initrd, causing recent kernels to overwrite the beginning of the initrd. This can be fixed by increasing ramdisk_addr_r in the U-Boot console, or using upstream U-Boot.

Here is how to achieve in the uboot console (hit enter during boot to access it):

=> print ramdisk_addr_r # this prints the old value
=> set ramdisk_addr_r 0x07000000 # this sets a new value
=> saveenv # this persist the the configuration
=> boot # than you can normally boot, if it still fails, you can try to increase the ramdisk_addr_r value further

Video decoding

MPV has support for the rockchip hardware decoder, it is used by default when playing a file. Without this decoder videos will likely stutter during playing. To use his for example in kodi, add the following configuration in .kodi/userdata/playercorefactory.xml

                <player name="MPV" type="ExternalPlayer" audio="false" video="true">
                        <args>--fs=yes "{1}"</args>
        <rules action="prepend">
                <rule video="true" player="MPV"/>

When using kodi it is also recommend to use kodi-wayland rather than the x11 variant to reduce the CPU usage. Mic92 has an example configuration.