SiFive Linux PC and Dev Board with Open Source RISC-V Processors
SiFive published the news that it is creating a platform for Linux-based personal computers based on RISC-V processors to use them in PCs. This could be the move in the right direction to make to create Linux-based PCs that use royalty-free processors. At the moment, these development PCs are early alternatives targeted at hobbyists and engineers.
The company’s HiFive development boards allow RISC-V developers to create the software they need for their platforms. SiFive uses open-source RISC-V processors that are capable of powering products ranging from the low end to the high end of the computing needs.
SiFive’s main focus is on Linux-based PCs, not Microsoft Windows PCs. Also, the developers can use the boards to test code for real-time operating systems, custom Linux distributions, compilers, libraries, and applications. The HiFive Unmatched board will have a FU740 SoC, a 5-core processor with four SiFive U74 cores, and one SiFive S7 core. The U-series cores are Linux-based 64-bit application processor cores based on RISC-V. These cores can be mixed and matched with other SiFive cores, such as the SiFive FU740.
The HiFive Unmatched board comes in the mini-ITX form factor. SiFive also added the support for standard industry connectors like ATX power supplies, PCI-Express expansion, Gigabit Ethernet, and USB ports with this single-board RISC-V development system.
The board has 8GB of DDR4 memory, 32MB of QSPI flash memory, and a microSD card slot on the motherboard. For debugging and monitoring, developers can access the console output of the board through the built-in micro-USB Type-B connector. Developers can expand it using PCI-Express slots, including both a PCIe general-purpose slot (PCIe Gen 3 x8) for graphics, FPGAs, or other accelerators and M.2 slots for NVME storage (PCIe Gen 3 x4) and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth modules (PCIe Gen 3 x1). There are four USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports on the rear, next to the Gigabit Ethernet port, making it easy to connect peripherals.
The system will ship with a bootable SD card that includes Linux and popular system developer packages, with updates available for download from SiFive.com. It will be available for preorders soon. More information can be found on the product page.