Less than a week after we found out that the BeagleV Starlight single-board computer with a StarFive JH7100 RISC-V processor was not going to be mass produced, StarFive has announced that you may still be able to purchase a board soon using the same processor.
The Chinese chip maker is partnering with single-board PC maker Radxa on a new device that is expected to launch before the end of Q3, 2021.
The StarFive JH7100 is a 28nm dual-core processor with CPU cores based on SiFive’s U74 designs which, in turn, are based on RISC-V architecture. That’s an open standard instruction set for processors that’s starting to gain steam as an alternative to ARM.
RISC-V designs are still in their early days, and the StarFive JH7100 isn’t exactly a speed demon. It’s expected to offer performance comparable to an ARM Cortex-A55 CPU. But it’s also expected to be a relatively affordable entry-point for developers interested in beginning to work with RISC-V hardware.
Details about the upcoming Radxa board are light at the moment, but in an announcement, StarFive indicated it’ll ship within the next few months.
The company also plans to introduce a next-gen chip called the StarFive JH7110 soon, and that it will have at least one feature the JH7100 lacks: support for a GPU.
Going by what was in the Seeed wiki for the BeagleV, the JH7100 is a beta chip with several issues, so sounds odd that someone wants to mass-produce it. The JH7110 is supposed fix at least some of the issues.
The original wiki page has been taken down, but it’s still available at https://web.archive.org/web/20210427151250/https://wiki.seeedstudio.com/BeagleV-Getting-Started/
SiFive’s HiFive Unmatched has a PCIe slot that can take a graphics card, but it’s not cheap.
Actually, announcement says that the “single board hardware platform” will use the same processor, and will be available in Q3. And then, separately, that the “next-generation JH7110 chip with new GPU feature support will soon be mass produced”. This could end up an important distinction …
I agree that
“The single board computer will be officially released by the end of Q3 2021, and the next-generation JH7110 chipwith [sic] new GPU feature support will soon be mass produced.”
is an awkwardly worded sentence, and could be interpreted in different ways.
And as asdf points out, Seeedstudio says that
“JH7100 has some known issues. Therefore we are ready to fix these issues on JH7110 and make JH7110 SoC ready for mass production.”
My first thought was that the initial board would basically be the beagleboard as scheduled : JH7100, with the GPU from Imagination. That was due to be released about Q3. But there’s the possibility that either they’ll initially release the original dev board without a GPU or, less likely, they’re ready to go with the JH7110 plus GPU.
That’s not correct. The JH7100 doesn’t have the Imagination Tech GPU — that’s the JH7110. The JH7100 (as in the BeagleV Starlight beta board, which I have) has video out but it’s accelerated only by an onboard DSP, not a full GPU.
Both chips have U74 CPU cores that have quite significantly better performance per clock than the A53 in the Raspberry Pi 3, though a lot slower than the A72 in the Pi 4. A55 is about right. The JH7110 is promised to run at 1.5 GHz, which is also faster than the 1.2 or 1.4 GHz in the Pi 3 (depending on original model or B+). The U74 doesn’t have an SIMD capability, so things that use NEON on ARM will run significantly faster.
Thank you for the clarification.
Hopefully we can get these running Steam OS one day.
How boring. Would hope for something of value, not just games.
Speak for yourself. Gaming on a completely free and open OS, that’s completely navigable with a gamepad, using a completely custom Risc V processor sounds awesome.
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