Disclosure: Some links on this page are monetized by the Skimlinks, Amazon, Rakuten Advertising, and eBay, affiliate programs. All prices are subject to change, and this article only reflects the prices available at time of publication.

The Milk-V Mars CM is a 55 x 40mm (2.2″ x 1.6″) computer-on-a-module that looks a lot like a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, and features the same dual 100-pin connectors, which should make it usable with carrier boards designed for the CM4.

But while Raspberry Pi’s compute module features an ARM-based Broadcomm processor, the Milk-V Mars CM packs a 1.5 GHz StarFive JH7110 quad-core chip based on RISC-V architecture.

That makes the Mars CM the latest in a growing line of RISC-V computers offered by Milk-V. This particular model supports 2GB to 8GB of LPDDR4 memory, 16MB of NOR flash boot memory and support for eMMC memory. But it’s not quite a standalone computer, as it lacks any full-sized USB, HDMI, or other ports. Instead you’ll need to connect it to a carrier board for those functions.

The Mars CM does have optional support for WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, as well as the hardware necessary for

  • 1 x HDMI 2.0 port
  • 1 x MIPI-DSI (4-lane) display connector
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet PHY
  • 1 x MIPI-CSI (2 x 2 lane or 1 x 4 lane) camera connector
  • 1 x PCIe Gen 2 (1-lane, 5 Gbps)
  • 1 x USB 2.0

Software support for RISC-V is still very much a work in progress, but Milk-V says that the board should work with GNU/Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, and openSUSE.

The Milk-V Mars CM is up for pre-order now for for $34 and up. The starting price will get you a model with 2GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and no wireless connectivity, but it only costs $5 to upgrade to a model with WiFi and Bluetooth.

A top-of-the-line 8GB/32GB/WiFi & BT model sells for $84.

This isn’t the first computer from Milk-V to follow a Raspberry Pi form factor. Earlier this year the company launched the original RISC-V Mars single-board computer. That model has the same JH7110 processor, but it’s the same general shape and size as Raspberry Pi’s Model B single-board computers, with built-in USB, HDMI, and Ethernet ports.

That model has a list price of $39 and up, but it’s currently out of stock.

thanks Upgrade pi-top[3]!

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,437 other subscribers

Join the Conversation


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Glad to be of service!

    Though at the risk of being pedantic, isn’t the Mars a Raspberry Pi 3B+ form factor?
    “That model has the same JH7110 processor, but it’s the same general shape and size as the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B”

    P.S. Looking forward to your piece on the Meles – IIUC it has 4xUSB3-A ports and supports up to 16Gb RAM in a RPi3B+ form factor!

    1. Obviously I’m a bit obsessed with preventing pi-top laptops* (and other RPi3B+ based products) from becoming e-waste but I think it would be really cool to see the next generations of developers, electronic engineers, computer scientists etc. learning to code for RISC-V on RISC-V with pi-top laptops

      *specifically those because no one else has yet improved upon the way they integrated SBC + breadboard in a portable form factor and because there are 1,000’s of them in schools across the World

    2. Oops, I’ve updated the article to refer to a more generic “Raspberry Pi Model B,” as that’s what I’d had in mind when writing that line 🙂

  2. Are there any non-Chinese companies releasing RISC-V processors? And if so, are any of them available in a similar form-factor development board?

  3. They should prioritize their stock of the SOC on getting a steady supply of the normal Mars boards first before shifting gears to another form factor since the compute module is not so useful by itself. For a new hardware platform like Risc-v most people would want a self contained device with working video out to test out for the first time. It’s already been a few months since the initial batch of the Mars sold out but is still out of stock. If the wait is too long before additional people can buy the board, then they will loose interest and confidence on the supply chain. Milk-v is going too fast trying to copy the success of Raspberry Pi but it was a few years in between the Pi and the release of their own CM.

    1. “For a new hardware platform” nobody has ever got a self-contained device. Not once, not ever. The whole point of using the CM4 form factor is to lessen supply chain problems, since you can use other (already manufactured) carrier boards.

      The only meaningful objection I’ve heard to this is that it only has one PCIe lane, meaning you can have one NVME drive or one WWAN card but not both. Moving WWAN to USB solves this but uses more power. All of this seems to be a limitation of the CM4 form factor in general.