Orange Pi teams up with Huawei to create a SBC for AI development — Huawei Ascend chip delivers 8/20 TOPS of AI performance

Orange Pi AIpro
Orange Pi AIpro (Image credit: Orange Pi)

Orange Pi, popularly known for its Raspberry Pi competing products, has expanded its lineup with a new SBC (single-board computer). The latest Orange Pi AIpro is unlike any offering the brand has produced, as it features an Ascend chip from Huawei instead of the typical processors from Rockchip, Allwinner, or Arm.

The Orange Pi AIpro is a SBC that measures 107 x 68mm (4.21 x 2.68 inches), so it’s more or less in the range of the Orange Pi 5. The Orange Pi AIpro is significantly larger than the Raspberry Pi 5, which has an 85 x 56mm (3.45 x 2.2 inches) footprint. An unspecified Huawei Ascend 64-bit chip with a quad-core design and integrated AI processor powers the Orange Pi AIpro. The vendor claims that the chip delivers an AI performance of 8/20 TOPS. The SBC is available with an 8GB or 16GB LPDDR4X-3200 configuration.

The Orange Pi AIpro has an M.2 2280 slot, which the manufacturer placed at the SBC’s rear. Although Orange Pi doesn’t specify the interface’s speed, it supports NVMe and SATA drives—an additional eMMC slot, which complies with the eMMC5.1 HS400 specification, provides the means to add another 32GB to 256GB of storage. There’s also a TF slot if you have a bunch of unused TF cards.

The Orange Pi AIpro is infused with a plethora of connectivity options. The SBC provides Wi-Fi 5 with Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless connections and a standard Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connections. Meanwhile, display outputs include two HDMI 2.0 ports capable of 4K at 60 FPS and one 2-lane MIPI DSI connection. Orange Pi also equipped the SBC with two 2-lane MIPI interface camera inputs compatible with the Raspberry Pi Camera Module. A 3.5mm audio jack lets users connect their headphones to the Orange Pi AIpro. It also has an integrated analog silicon microphone.

A few buttons on the Orange Pi AIpro provide quick access to essential functions like powering off, resetting the SBC or toggling the startup mode. A 12V fan header allows you to connect a single fan to the Orange Pi AIpro. 

For connecting peripherals, the Orange Pi AIpro offers two USB 3.0 Type-A ports and one USB 3.0 Type-C port. There's another USB Type-C port with a 20V power delivery, but that's for connecting the power adapter. A conventional 40-pin GPIO header supports interfaces, including GPIO, UART, I2C, SPI, I2S, and PWM. As for operating system support, the Orange Pi AIpro embraces Ubuntu and openEuler.

The Orange Pi AIpro is up for pre-order at The 8GB model costs $125.71, whereas the 16GB model sells for $162.48. Customers with pre-orders can register for anystery developer gift box, which is limited to 1,000 units. Orange Pi will ship out orders on January 5.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • usertests
    instead of the typical processors from Rockchip, Allwinner, or Arm.
    What "Arm" processors could you be talking about other than Rockchip or Allwinner? There were reports that Arm would make a processor in the future, but only as a demo.
  • bit_user
    usertests said:
    What "Arm" processors could you be talking about other than Rockchip or Allwinner?
    I'm guessing the author meant to say "Rockchip, Allwinner, or Amlogic".
  • bit_user
    BTW, I had a look at the Orange Pi 5 Plus and the layout sure does look different! The 5 Plus features an 8-core Rockchip SoC with a NPU that claims 6 TOPS, in contrast to the 4-core SoC on this board, with its claimed 8 - 20 TOPS performance.

    Upon viewing the page via Google Translate, I noticed they claim "Shengteng AI technology roadmap" as one of the features. Perhaps this gives a clue what AI engine or SoC it uses? A quick Google search suggests it might just refer to Huawei's AI platform, which makes sense.
  • williamcll
    Doesn't seem to be using new Huawei Hardware though, I'll have to wait for the benchmarks to see if it is comparable to the Pi 5
  • bit_user
    williamcll said:
    Doesn't seem to be using new Huawei Hardware though,
    How do you know?