Sipeed’s Lichee Pi 4A is a compact computer that the company says offers better performance than a Raspberry Pi 4. But it has a few key features that set it apart from Raspberry Pi’s devices. First, the Lichee Pi 4A is powered by a RISC-V processor. Second, it supports up to 16GB of RAM. And third, that memory and storage is actually part of a LM4A system-on-a-module that connects to the Pi 4A carrier board.
That same module could be used to power other products and Sipeed is already working on LM4A-powered tablets, routers, cluster boards, and even
a phone-sized device. First announced in December, 2022, the Sipeed Lichee Pi 4A is now available for purchase for $119 and up.
At the heart of the LM4A module is an Alibaba T-Head TH1520 processor. It’s a 12nm RISC-V chip with Xuantie C910, C906, and E902 cores, and up to 4 TOPS of AI performance.
The module also supports up to 16GB of LPDDR4x-3733 memory and up to 128GB of eMMC storage, among other things.
Prices for the module + carrier board range from $119 to $179, depending on the memory and storage configurations:
- 8GB RAM + 8GB eMMC storage for $119
- 8GB RAM + 32GB eMMC storage for $135
- 16GB RAM + 128GB eMMC storage for $179
You can also buy optional accessories from the same link, including a power adapter, camera, PoE module, or a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel display.
The LM4A module is designed to slot into carrier boards like a stick of RAM, and the first board to support the module is the Lichee Pi 4A, which provides plenty of I/O options including;
- 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports (with PoE support)
- 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps) ports)
- 1 x HDMI 2.0 (4K/60fps support)
- 1 x 3.5mm audio
- 1 x 20-pin header
- 1 x USB 2.0 Type-C (power only)
- 1 x microSD card reader
- 1 x 5V/2A DC power input
The carrier board also features a WiFi & Bluetooth adapter and MIPI-DSI and MIPI-CSI connectors for displays and cameras.
Sipeed says the system supports Debian, Android, and OpenWRT operating systems for the little board (which measures 103 x 85mm (4.1″ x 3.3″).
The company says it’s also begun planning for other LM4A-powered products including:
- Lichee Pad 4A with a 10.1 inch display
Lichee Phone 4A with a 6 inch screen
- Lichee Router 4A with a compact chassis, antenna, and optional WiFi 6 support
- Lichee Cluster 4A mini ITX board with slots for up to 7 LMA4 modules, 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, and individual SB and SD cards for each module
This article was first published December 26, 2022 and most recently updated July 9, 2023 to reflect global availability.