A handful of single-board computers with RISC-V processors have hit the market over the past year or so, making it easier for developers to begin working with hardware powered by RISC-V chips. But most have been low-power, low-performance systems that ship without any sort of 3D graphics processor.
The new Alibaba T-Head RVB-ICE dev board bucks at least part of that trend. This $399 development board features a 1.2 GHz dual-core RISC-V processor with an integrated GPU and neural processing unit. It also comes with a 7 inch display.
RISC-V is an open standard ISA (instruction set architecture) that’s starting to gain steam as an alternative to ARM and x86 architecture… although it’s a much younger technology and even the most powerful RISC-V chips available at the moment tend to lag behind the competition in terms of raw performance.
But these boards are largely aimed at developers looking to work with the emerging RISC-V platform, and since this new dev board has a GPU and NPU, it allows some processing to be offloaded to those units, which could speed things up considerably in some use cases.
At the heart of the T-Head RVB-ICE is a 1.2 GHz Xuantie C910 RISC-V 64GC dual-core processor with Vivante GC800L graphics and un unspecified NPU. The system also has 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 16GB of eMMC flash storage, and a microSD card reader for removable storage.
While the board has an LCD display interface with support for up to a 1080p display, the dev kit comes with a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel capacitive touchscreen display.
Other features include a Gigabit Ethernet port, WiFi and Bluetooth support, USB-C and micro USB 3.0 ports, and a power jack for a 5W power supply.
The board should be able to run Android 11 or Debian 11 software.
If $399 seems like to much spend on a RISC-V dev board, there are lower-cost options. Earlier this year the Nezha single-board computer with a 1 GHz XuanTie C906 single-core RISC-V processor went on sale. It’s currently available for $115 plus shipping, but for that price you get a less powerful processor and no support for hardware-accelerated 3D graphics.
The new RVB-ICE dev board with a dual-core processor, GPU, NPU, and display, meanwhile, is available for pre-order from AliExpress for $399.