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posted by Fnord666 on Monday May 03, @07:37PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the chairmen-of-the-boards? dept.

RISC-V International to give away 1,000 RISC-V development boards

The best way for a new platform to get good software support is to bring hardware into the hands of developers. That's exactly what RISC-V International is doing by inviting developers to sign up for a RISC-V developer board sponsored by RISC-V and contributing members.

There are 1,000 boards on offer with 1GB to 16GB RAM depending on the target project from five companies and organizations namely Allwinner,, SiFive, Microsemi, and RIOS.

[...] If you want to apply, you can fill out your contact details and project information on a Google form. Membership status is asked, but the initiative is also open to non-members, although it's not impossible members will get priority, as well as those part of an academic project.

The RISC-V Foundation relocated to Switzerland and was renamed to RISC-V International in 2020.

SiFive to Debut a RISC-V PC for Developers in October
SiFive Announces HiFive Unmatched Mini-ITX Motherboard for RISC-V PCs
$119+ BeagleV "Powerful", Open-Hardware RISC-V Linux SBC Targets AI Applications

Original Submission

Related Stories

U.S.-Based Chip-Tech Group Moving to Switzerland Over Trade Curb Fears 33 comments

Submitted via IRC for Runaway1956

U.S.-based chip-tech group moving to Switzerland over trade curb fears

A U.S.-based foundation overseeing promising semiconductor technology developed with Pentagon support will soon move to Switzerland after several of the group’s foreign members raised concerns about potential U.S. trade curbs.

The nonprofit RISC-V Foundation (pronounced risk-five) wants to ensure that universities, governments and companies outside the United States can help develop its open-source technology, its Chief Executive Calista Redmond said in an interview with Reuters.

She said the foundation’s global collaboration has faced no restrictions to date but members are “concerned about possible geopolitical disruption.”

“From around the world, we’ve heard that ‘If the incorporation was not in the U.S., we would be a lot more comfortable’,” she said. Redmond said the foundation’s board of directors approved the move unanimously but declined to disclose which members prompted it.

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SiFive to Debut a RISC-V PC for Developers in October 9 comments

SiFive to Debut RISC-V PC for Developers based on Freedom U740 next-gen SoC

In recent years, people have discussed the need to have Arm-based PCs or workstations for developers to work directly on the target hardware, and there are now several options including SynQuacer E-Series 24-Core Arm PC, Ampere eMAG 64bit Arm Workstation, and HoneyComb LX2K 16-core Arm Workstation.

Now it appears we'll soon get something similar for RISC-V architecture with SiFive to debut the first RISC-V PC for developers at the Linley Fall Processor Conference 2020 taking place on October 20-22 and October 27-29. The PC will be powered by Freedom U740 next-generation RISC-V processor that will also be introduced at the event.

We have very few details about this point in time, but the company points the SiFive Freedom U740 (FU740) SoC will enable professional developers to create RISC-V applications from bare-metal to Linux-based. The processor is said to combines[sic] a heterogeneous mix+match core complex with modern PC expansion capabilities, which probably means PCIe, SATA etc.., and the company will provide tools to ease professional software development.

Freedom U740 details are unknown, but Freedom U540 is a quad-core CPU that was used in the HiFive Unleashed single-board computer.

Related: SiFive Introduces RISC-V Linux-Capable Multicore Processor
SiFive HiFive Unleashed Not as Open as Previously Thought
SiFive Announces a RISC-V Core With an Out-of-Order Microarchitecture
GlobalFoundries and SiFive Partner on High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2E)

Original Submission

SiFive Announces HiFive Unmatched Mini-ITX Motherboard for RISC-V PCs 12 comments

SiFive has announced a mini-ITX motherboard with its SiFive Freedom U740:

At the heart of the SiFive board is a SiFive FU740 processor coupled with 8 GB DDR4 memory and 32 MB SPI Flash. It comes with a 4x USB 3.2 ports and a 16x PCIe expansion slot. The mini-ITX standard form factor makes it easy to build a RISC-V PC.

[...] SiFive Unmatched board will be available by Q4'20 for USD 665, and you can already register your interest. You will get a mini-ITX board, 32 GB MicroSD, and 3-meter CAT5e ethernet cable. SiFive did not speak on the commercial aspect of the product but are very confident about future development. Android and Chrome support is something we can see in the future. The product looks promising and we are excited to see future development in the RISC-V PC ecosystem.

Performance will probably be comparable to a Raspberry Pi 3. Alternatively:

PolarBerry is a Compact, Linux-capable RISC-V FPGA SBC and module (Crowdfunding)

Powered by Microchip PolarFire RISC-V SoC FPGA, PolarBerry is both a single board computer with Gigabit Ethernet and 40-pin GPIO header, as well as a system-on-module thanks to three Samtec board-to-board connectors.

[...] PolarBerry is not available just yet, but LinuxGizmos reports the SBC/SoM will be soon launched on Crowd Supply for $995 and shipments are expected to start in January 2021. Besides the aforementioned crowdfunding page, additional details may be found on the product page.

See also: SiFive Is Launching The Most Compelling RISC-V Development Board Yet

Previously: SiFive to Debut a RISC-V PC for Developers in October

Original Submission

$119+ BeagleV "Powerful", Open-Hardware RISC-V Linux SBC Targets AI Applications 23 comments

$119+ BeagleV powerful, open-hardware RISC-V Linux SBC targets AI applications

Running Linux on RISC-V hardware is already possible, but you'd have a choice of low-end platforms like Kendryte K210 that's not really practical for anything, or higher-end board like SiFive HiFive Unmatched or PolarBerry for which you'd have to spend several hundred dollars, or even over one thousand dollars to have a complete system.

So an affordable, usable RISC-V Linux SBC is clearly needed. We previously wrote about an upcoming Allwinner RISC-V Linux SBC that will be mostly useful for camera applications without 3D GPU, and a maximum of 256MB RAM. But today, we have excellent news, as the foundation, Seeed Studio, and Chinese fanless silicon vendor Starfive partnered to design and launch the BeagleV SBC (pronounced Beagle Five) powered by StarFive JH7100 dual-core SiFive U74 RISC-V processor with Vision DSP, NVDLA engine, and neural network engine for AI acceleration.

[...] Based on our previous article about SiFive U74 core, performance should be similar to Cortex-A55, so a dual-core U74 RISC processor will not have that much processing power compared to other Arm boards, but the network accelerator should make it competitive against other AI boards like Coral Dev Board mini.

One obvious item missing from the specifications is a GPU, and I was told while the first batch scheduled in March will be GPU less, but the next batch – slated to be manufactured in September – will come with an Imagination Technologies GPU.

BeagleV will be supported by mainline Linux and a Debian-based software image will be provided. I can also see mentions of Fedora and FreeRTOS. The RISC-V Linux SBC will be open-source hardware just like other boards from the foundation meaning hardware design files, firmware, and the software will be made available publicly.

Related: SiFive Announces HiFive Unmatched Mini-ITX Motherboard for RISC-V PCs

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @08:02PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @08:02PM (#1145798)

    Apparently need to have a google account. Nope.

  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Monday May 03, @08:08PM (10 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Monday May 03, @08:08PM (#1145801)

    This is the kind of thing I'd have jumped on back then. Alas, I'm now retired and would rather do other stuff than work on cutting edge hardware.

    Don't take me wrong, I still code. But I scratch itches, not "hmm, wonder if"'s.

    Having a big nose is no reason to not wear a mask. I mean, I still wear underwear....
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @08:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @08:37PM (#1145813)

      Another thing about being older (for me): I can't get a woody over something that is just a small variation of what I worked on before. Ooh, a PC board, comes with CPU and RAM! Snooze... If I were evaluating it for a particular product, maybe, but to learn it for the "fun"? It's a CPU with a fairly typical instruction set.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Monday May 03, @09:44PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 03, @09:44PM (#1145824) Journal

      I feel similarly. But . . . there is something about the RISC-V. It is the first architecture in decades that tempts me to program in assembly language just one more time before I get too old to be permitted to do this any longer.

      In the intervening decades I've been focused on ever higher level languages more abstracted away from hardware. But the RISC V does interest me. It's instruction set and design appeal to me.

      The opposite of Pro is Con. The opposite of Progress is ___gress.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @10:13PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, @10:13PM (#1145830)

        I could see the desire to program something directly without 100 unknowable layers of crap in between you and getting the job done. It is hard to look back on my work done in a modern environment and think: that's elegant. I always think instead, it's the best I was able to do given the tools. It robs you of pride of craftsmanship. Sometimes, I know EXACTLY what needs to be done, but the modern tools make it prohibitively difficult to solve in the best way

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday May 04, @01:12PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 04, @01:12PM (#1146120) Journal

          There can be a pride and craftsmanship in work done in high level abstractions. Why do people use languages like Mathematica, Maxima, Matlab, Julia, Lisp, etc.

          Good luck rewriting GCC, Linux, and the GNU tools in assembly language. For every supported platform.

          I recognize that assembly language is suitable for certain things. And I can recognize and appreciate a well thought out instruction set design. Somehow, by some miracle, RISC-V seems to work without a "management engine". How did the humble Z80 or 68000 manage to work without a management engine?

          Part of the appeal (to me) of RISC-V is thinking about and dabbling with how one would emit instructions from a higher level representation.

          It would be fun to be employed designing and improving compilers. But life is such as it is.

          The opposite of Pro is Con. The opposite of Progress is ___gress.
    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Monday May 03, @11:01PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Monday May 03, @11:01PM (#1145845)

      I don't know if RISC-V passes for cutting edge. Like, it's a modern RISC mostly free of legacy and is free and open source so it's definitely something to be happy about and look forward to... But really, they use the stuff to teach the intro classes at the local community college since it's so conventional.

      What might catch my interest is if someone actually came out with some advancement into the microthreading problem... Now that would have been something worth playing with for sure.

      Incidentally, Tachyum recently showed off a working FPGA implementation and offered real physical delivery in the coming months: [] [] []

      However it's not very encouraging to hear they're targeting the AI government sector considering those sorts of non general purpose applications tend to circumvent the types of ILP issues that interest us the most...

      Back on topic, there's plenty of RISC-V hardware around already and more coming this year from all over at all price points so I doubt skipping on this one will make anyone regret anything for more than a few weeks.

    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Tuesday May 04, @01:58AM (4 children)

      by driverless (4770) on Tuesday May 04, @01:58AM (#1145912)

      It's also the only chance you'll ever get of getting your hands on one of the things if you want a Linux-capable one. BeagleV? Missing in action. Allwinner? Missing in action. Polarfire and SiFive? Let's see, pay off the mortgage or pay for one of those, decisions, decisions... you can't actually get the damn things outside of this lottery.

      • (Score: 2) by NateMich on Tuesday May 04, @01:09PM (3 children)

        by NateMich (6662) on Tuesday May 04, @01:09PM (#1146117)

        The HiFive Rev B is $59 from Mouser. They have a couple hundred in stock.

        • (Score: 2) by driverless on Tuesday May 04, @01:12PM (2 children)

          by driverless (4770) on Tuesday May 04, @01:12PM (#1146118)

          Runs Linux does it?

          • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday May 04, @06:25PM

            by Freeman (732) on Tuesday May 04, @06:25PM (#1146259) Journal


            With the accompanying Freedom Unleashed SDK you can build your own custom Linux distribution. A tutorial was provided by Western Digital back in 2018 for using this to create a Fedora install that could be booted with the HiFive Unleashed board.

            In 2019 AB Open demonstrated this with a system composed of the HiFive Unleashed together with its FPGA-based expansion board, plus aPCIe GPU and USB 3.0 controller. More recently EFI support for RISC-V has landed in Linux and has been verified working on HiFive Unleashed.


            You didn't say anything about practicality or ease of use.

            "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @10:54PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 04, @10:54PM (#1146317)

            No, the $60 board does not run Linux. They say the $600 board does.