New Beagle Board Offers Dual-Core RISC-V, Targets AI Applications

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We’ve been tracking the rise of RISC-V given that the ISA debuted almost a 10 years back. Whilst the optimum-carrying out RISC-V CPUs are nevertheless considerably at the rear of their x86 or ARM equivalents, the absolute amount of overall performance you can get from a RISC-V main is increasing quickly. Even superior, primarily for individuals who like experimenting with new architectures, the cost is coming down.

It is been doable to obtain a RISC-V board ahead of this, but the possibilities have been constrained, notably for the cash you’d spend. We reviewed an high-priced SiFive possibility very last year — a quad-core chip, in that case — but there is now a a great deal less expensive Beagle board alternative.

The CPU is a twin-core U74 constructed by “StarFive” — you can see the label beneath — but the U74 is a SiFive CPU main. StarFive and SiFive use the exact logo, implying a romantic relationship concerning the two. The firm may do enterprise less than each names or have spun off component of its chip growth workforce. Regardless, the U74 main is widespread to both of those this $119 BeagleV and the more-expensive Hive Unmatched platform we coated again in 2020. Options involve:

  • VIC-7100 RISC-V twin-main at 1.5GHz with 2MB L2 cache.
  • Vision DSP Tensilica-VP6
  • NVDLA engine (2048 MACs @ 800MHz)
  • Neural community engine (1048 MACs @ 500MHz)

The board expenditures $149 with 8GB. H.264 and H.265 decode are both supported, as is 1080p @ 30Hz refresh level output about HDMI. There are 4x USB 3. ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and 802.11b/g/n wireless. There’s also a 40-pin GPIO header, as you can see:

There are two versions on the way. The initially, shipping and delivery quickly to fanatic backers, lacks dedicated video clip components and only ships with 8GB of RAM. The second will supposedly characteristic a GPU by PowerVR along with open supply motorists. It’ll ship in two flavors — a $119 4GB variant and an 8GB variant, at $149. These later boards are anticipated to swap to a new SoC, buying and selling out the VIC-7100 for the VIC-7110. This will be a quad-core SoC, with the aforementioned focused video clip components.

It’s awesome to see RISC-V price ranges coming down and we’ll be curious to see if the open up ISA commences finding up supporters in the client place. Raspberry Pi is definitely the 800-pound, $35 gorilla in the place, but a good number of organizations have launched very similar Do-it-yourself goods with higher rate tags than the RBP and correspondingly greater element sets.

The U74 is claimed to have performance very similar to a Cortex-A55, so do not be expecting miracles from the diminutive chip, but leading-end general performance on RISC-V is improving nicely, calendar year to 12 months. If any ISA is heading to create alone as a substantial-effectiveness (broadly construed) alternative to ARM or x86, it appears to be like like it’ll be RISC-V.

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