Teardown Finally Reveals Huawei’s Secret Chip Powering Raspberry Pi Competitor — Orange Pi Kunpeng Pro SBC Tested


The Orange Pi Kunpeng Pro development board, which was announced in May, has always been a mystery — we knew the Raspberry Pi alternative had a 64-bit quad-core Arm processor, but little else was certain, with Huawei and OrangePi refusing to say what type of processor the device was using. A recent teardown of the device revealed a few things.

The Orange Pi has removed all markings from the board, and Huawei isn’t revealing the architecture and GPU that the Kunpeng Pro is based on. This is, of course, common practice for the Chinese chipmaker as it tries to bypass US export restrictions while avoiding prying Western eyes.

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However, one of the chips is marked. The “Hi 1910” label indicates what may be the HiSilicon Hi1910 AI module. This chip is also used in the Atlas 200 AI module, which provides 22 TOPS of AI performance. The Orange Pi Kunpeng Pro is described as having only 8 TOPS, so CNX software suggests Orange Pi may operate a scaled down version to reduce costs.

Disassembled Orange Pi Kunpeng Pro (Photo source: CNX Software)

After reading our previous article on the Orange Pi Kunopeng Pro , in which we pointed out that the chip was intentionally covered up, YouTuber Technically Unsure (video below) decided to get his hands on one to reveal the chip under the hood. While Orange Pi doesn’t officially sell the Kunpeng Pro outside of China, the channel managed to get his hands on a sample of the board. The sample we received shows up as an Orange Pi Ai Pro in Linux’s fastfetch results. It’s running OpenEuler 22.03, a Red Hat derivative built on Linux kernel 5.10.10.

First Look at Huawei’s Elusive Mystery Kunpeng Processor | OrangePi Kunpeng Pro – YouTube
First Look at Huawei's Elusive Mystery Kunpeng Processor | OrangePi Kunpeng Pro - YouTube

Be careful

Since the operating system is dominated by Chinese outputs, Technically Unsure had trouble getting the more advanced SBC features working. His investigation using an oscilloscope, multimeter, and Linux’s built-in benchmarking tools revealed some captivating details.

The Orange Pi Kungpeng Pro processor processed 8020.46 events. Technically Unsure indicates that the Raspberry Pi 5 processor can handle at least 10,000 events per second.

During my tests, Technically Unsure couldn’t get GPU acceleration to work, nor could it run the AI ​​benchmark. I took the system apart and installed an M.2 NVMe SSD, which Linux sees and mounts without a hitch. Regardless, it couldn’t get GPU acceleration to work, and many of the sample tests I installed on the system failed unceremoniously.

Still, the teardown and assessment confirm some of our suspicions about the secret processor’s origins. The up-to-date Orange Pi Kunpeng Pro SoC is positioned as a Chinese alternative to AI-powered single-board computers, but its capabilities seem to lag behind what its competitors currently offer.

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