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A month after Sipeed began selling the tiny Lichee Pi 4A computer powered by a removable  computer module with a RISC-V processor, the company is expanding the ecosystem.

Now that little module that looks like a stick of RAM, can be used in a cluster board, a tablet, or a mini-laptop.

The laptop, in particular, looks kind of familiar, because it seems like Sipeed has repurposed an existing design that Chinese PC makers have been using for a few years. But under the hood, the upcoming Lichee Console 4A is a brand new mini-laptop.

Like all members of the Lichee Pi 4A family, the little laptop is powered by an LM4A module, which have a processor, memory, and built-in storage. The processor is an Alibabab TH1520 chip, which features four XuanTie C910 RISC-V processor cores capable of speeds up to 1.85 GHz.

The version of the module used in the mini-laptop also has 16GB of LPDDR4X memory and 128GB of eMMC storage, but Sipeed says there’s also an M.2 slot that you can use to add a faster, higher-capacity SSD.

The Lichee Console 4A has a 7 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel capacitive touch display, a 72-key keyboard with a “RedPoint” stick in the middle, which appears to be a knockoff of Lenovo’s “TrackPoint” pointing stick, and an aluminum alloy case.

Ports include:

  • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C
  • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1 x USB 2.0 Type-A
  • 1 x mini HDMI
  • 1 x microSD card reader
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio jack

There’s also support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5, and the system is powered by a 3,000 mAh/7.6V battery. The Lichee Console 4A measures 180 x 140 x 20mm (7.1″ x 5.5″ x 0.8″) and weighs 650 grams (1.4 pounds).

According to Sipeed, it can run Linux-based operating systems including Debian and PolyOS and supports VSCode. In case the “console” in the name wasn’t a giveaway, Sipeed appears to be positioning the little laptop as a devices for developers, hackers, RISC-V enthusiasts, and early adopters though.

RISC-V is still a relatively new architecture, and while there are a growing number of developers porting apps and operating systems to support RISC-V chips, I wouldn’t expect the same level of compatibility or performance as you’d get from similar hardware with an Intel, AMD, or ARM-based processor.

That said, the Lichee Console 4A could be an interesting platform for RISC-V developers looking for a device with a built-in keyboard, screen, and touchpad that can be used to test or even write software. Or you could use it as a dumb terminal for remote access to cloud or local network systems.

Sipeed hasn’t said exactly when the Lichee Console 4A will ship yet, but it’s expected to cost “about $300,” and the company is taking reservations via PayPal and WeChat. Customers are asked to put down a $10 deposit via PayPal or ¥50 via WeChat, and when the mini-laptop is available for pre-order, customers who paid those deposits will get $20 or ¥100 off the list price, respectively.

You can keep an eye on the Sipeed store at AliExpress for availability details, or visit Sipeed’s website to put down a deposit.

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  1. I like how small it is. It seems to have a regular sized keys. It reminds me of either the Asus EEE netbook or the IBM PC110 computers.

  2. Needing a power brick defeats the purpose of this kind of machine unfortunately, needs usb-c PD so I can travel light with just 1 charger

    1. I have the Topton L4, which is the same laptop, only slightly different internals. The barrel jack “power brick” is anything but. About the size of a pack of cigarettes.

      1. yeah, but it’s not about the size of the additional garbage you have to carry around with you… it’s about not needing it at all.

        And usb-chargers are nearly ubiquitous now – so you’ll have one of those. (either because you already need to carry one for your phone, your camera or whatever, or because wherever you’re heading, there’s already one available)

        If it were charged via USB-C, I could drop it at the desk at my workplace, plug in the dock-cable and be done. If it needs another thing, I have to crawl beneath the table to find the wall plug.

        If it’s charged by USB, I can just plug in my usb powerbank and charge it while running around.

        If it’s charged by USB, there’s a outlet in near-every car now.

  3. This is exactly the form factor I am interested in. It looks comfortable enough to type on and actually use, and entice me to give RISC-V a try. As long as they stay true to their word and did not underestimate on the cost, only to finally reveal the price to be $399 as being “about $300”.

  4. Well well. At least somebody finally stepped up to the plate to make a Risc-V laptop. I’ll keep my eye on this one.

    1. This isn’t the first, there’s also that more normal sized laptop calling itself the “ROMA” that was taking pre orders last October and apparently started making deliveries a couple weeks ago.
      No idea what it’s actually like to try and use.

      1. Well, I just upgraded my older gaming laptop a final time. I don’t plan on purchasing any more x86 computers (but I’ve learned in life to never say never). I didn’t know about the laptop you mentioned. I sent off a message to frame.work a few months ago, asking them to make a Risc-V board that is compatible with their modular laptops, but there has been no word from them on that.

        If this Lichee doesn’t require paypal and they are dependable sellers, I just might get one of these. I’ve been really itching for a Risc-V system for some time. The fact that this supposedly is supported by Debian, and that I use Debian already and have had for years, is a no-brainer for me.

        I’m very interested in this little laptop. I will keep watching it for news.

        1. Hmm, the Lichee Pi 4a is quite a ways from a gaming laptop… I have seen people on YT running GNOME desktops on it, and it manages to be less performant than an RPi 4, I’d say. I am hoping we’ll see some very cool RISC-V designs coming soon, but I would think the main market for these early boards is just developing / porting. If you have developed a serious x686 allergy I’d say ARM is your only serious alternative for a bit longer yet.

          1. I don’t really game any more, save for some Open Arena and solitaire.
            To say I have an ‘allergy’ to x86 might be a bit overstating it, but wanting an (open) alternative, I’ve really been pining for.

            It’s too bad no one has made a 64-core Risc-V laptop, like that desktop system Lili posted about recently. That would be really cool.

            I don’t like ARM though, personally.

    2. To be fair, with the upcoming Milk-V SBC, anyone who has a pi-top laptop (which a lot of school IT labs do) could swap out the RPi and not need to buy yet another screen, keyboard, battery etc. and if the original Beagle-V hadn’t been cancelled, they would have been the first to have a RISC-V laptop…