Sipeed’s new Lichee RV is a tiny computer-on-a-module featuring a 64-bit RISC-V processor, 512MB of RAM, a microSD card for storage and a USB-C port for power and/or debugging.
While the tiny computer isn’t exactly a speed demon, with prices starting as low as $17, it’s one of the most affordable RISC-V computers to date. It also has a versatile design that will allow it to be connected to carrier boards for extended functionality.
At the heart of the Lichee RV is a 1 GHz single-core Allwinner D1 XuanTie C906 processor, the same chip used in the Nezha single-board PC that launched earlier this year for around $100 and up. The board also has 512MB of DDR3 792 MHz memory.
But the Lichee RV looks more like a stick of RAM than a typical computer. With two sets of M.2 B-Key 67-pin connectors, you should be able to slot the device into a docking board for additional I/O capabilities including HDMI, MIPI-DSI, SDIO, GPI, and Audio.
Sipeed says docking boards will be available in December.
But you don’t necessarily need a dock to use the Lichee RV. Thanks to the integrated SD card reader, USB-C port, processor, and memory, it has everything you need to get started… with the possible exception of a display if you only opt for the entry-level model. But there’s an option to pay $22 instead of $17 to get a model with a 1.14 inch magnetic SPI display that connects directly to the board.
The Sipeed Lichee RV board measures 46.2 x 25mm (1.8″ x 1″) and supports 5V, 500mAh power input. Supported operating systems include Tina and Debian Linux.
The company is also teasing an upcoming Lichee RV-86 “smart home central control development kit” that bundles the Lichee RV compute module with a 480 x 480 pixel IPS LCD touchscreen display, support for external speakers, a 10/100 Ethernet port, USB, and Bluetooth Low Energy. The kit gets its name from its size: it measures 86 x 86mm (3.4″ x 3.4″).
Update: Sipeed has released a brief demo showing the Lichee RV-86 in action, giving us a sneak peek at its size and capabilities:
Simple Demo For Lichee RV-86 Panel’s WAFT frame~ pic.twitter.com/oFY7RKyRlh
— Sipeed (@SipeedIO) November 29, 2021