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How to Install the image to ROCK 4B using M.2 NVME SSD

Radxa Single Board Computer

Radxa SBCs are full computers with a microprocessor, memory, input/output (I/O), and other components built on a single circuit board. Radxa SBCs are small and potent devices that can be used for a variety of DIY projects, smart home control, and game machines. Radxa SBCs are completely open, and it is up to you how to use them. Radxa SBCs are the ideal all-in-one solution for any application requiring a full computer, offering the flexibility to modify software and connect a variety of peripherals.

Radxa ROCK 5 SBC

Radxa’s ROCK5 is the single board computer’s (SBC) of fifth generation. Linux, Android, BSD, and other operating systems can all run on it.

Rockchip RK3588(s) SoC powers the ROCK5 and features an Oct core ARM processor (4x Cortex-A76 + 4x Cortex-A55), up to 32GB 64bit LPDDR4X ram, up to 8K@60 HDMI, MIPI DSI, MIPI CSI, 3.5mm jack with mic, USB Port, GbE LAN, PCIe 3.0 x4, PCIe 2.0, 40-pin colour expansion header, RTC. Furthermore, ROCK5 supports USB PD power in display alternative mode.

ROCK 5 Model B

ROCK5 is a series of Rockchip RK3588(s) based SBC(Single Board Computer) by Radxa. It can run Linux, Android, BSD and other distributions.

ROCK5 comes in two models, Model A and Model B. Both models offer 4GB, 8GB and 16GB options. For detailed difference between Model A and Model B.

ROCK5 features a Octa core ARM processor(4x Cortex-A76 + 4x Cortex-A55), 64bit 3200Mb/s LPDDR4, up to 8K@60 HDMI, MIPI DSI, MIPI CSI, 3.5mm jack with mic, USB Port, 2.5 GbE LAN, PCIe 3.0, PCIe 2.0, 40-pin color expansion header, RTC. Also, ROCK5 supports USB PD and QC powering.

Install the image to M.2 NVME SSD

Option 1: with NVME to USB3.0 reader or PC with NVME slot

Step one: Requirements

  • ROCK 5B board with power supply
  • One M.2 NVME SSD
  • NVME to USB3.0 reader or a PC with NVME slot

Step two: Download necessary tools and image

Here we use the following image for writing.


Step three: Write the image to M.2 NVME SSD

  • Insert the M.2 NVME SSD into M.2 NVME SSD to USB3.0 reader, which connects to host computer.
  • Run the application. For example double click balenaEtcher-1.5.116-x64.AppImage on Ubuntu 20.04:
  • In the etcher window, we click button Select image.

  • In the etcher window, we click button Select Drive.

  • In the etcher window, we click button Flash.

  • In the etcher window, it shows us Flash Complete!

Done! Now you have successfully installed the OS image on M.2 NVME SSD.

Option 2: Write to NVMe SSD on ROCK 5B

  • Install Debian Linux image to SD card or eMMC module
  • Boot from SD card or eMMC module on ROCK 5B with NVMe SSD attached
  • Download the ROCK 5B image when running Debian on ROCK 5B
  • Check if NVMe SSD is detected

on ROCK 5B:

   sudo fdisk -l

You can see the output message just like this:

   Disk /dev/nvme0n1: 232.9 GiB, 250059350016 bytes, 488397168 sectors             #The '/dev/nvme0n1' is your NVME SSD device path
   Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes                                           
   Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes                           
   I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes 

Write Image:

on ROCK 5B:

   sudo sudo xzcat 'your compressed image path' | dd of='your NVME SSD device path' bs=1M status=progress            
   #such as: sudo xzcat rock-5b-debian-bullseye-xfce4-arm64-20220906-0626-gpt.img.xz  | dd of=/dev/nvme0n1 bs=1M status=progress

Option 3: Erase M.2 NVMe SSD

When M.2 NVMe SSD is written with Android (or Linux) images before, now we change to Linux (or Android). It’s recommended that you erase M.2 NVMe SSD first. Then write the target images.

Boot from NVMe SSD

After you write the image to NVMe SSD, to boot from the NVMe SSD, you need to write the bootloader to SPI flash. Check Install to SPI to boot from NVMe SSD.

Harshvardhan Mishra

Hi, I'm Harshvardhan Mishra. Tech enthusiast and IT professional with a B.Tech in IT, PG Diploma in IoT from CDAC, and 6 years of industry experience. Founder of HVM Smart Solutions, blending technology for real-world solutions. As a passionate technical author, I simplify complex concepts for diverse audiences. Let's connect and explore the tech world together! If you want to help support me on my journey, consider sharing my articles, or Buy me a Coffee! Thank you for reading my blog! Happy learning! Linkedin

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