SiFive Is Launching The Most Compelling RISC-V Development Board Yet
Written by Michael Larabel in Motherboards on 29 October 2020. Page 1 of 1. 69 Comments

If you've been waiting to port your software to RISC-V until having a decent RISC-V system where you can develop on-host, wanting to experiment with the libre processor architecture or even use it as a daily desktop system, or just wanting a Linux system that's not x86_64 / ARM / POWER, SiFive today is announcing a new board today that is the most promising yet. The SiFive HiFive Unmatched is the best RISC-V development board we've seen to date and the closest to being the first "RISC-V PC" for Linux use.

SiFive launched the HiFive Unleashed years ago as one of the first RISC-V development boards available to the masses but didn't offer too much power, was primarily embedded focused, and retails for $999 USD putting it out of reach for most users especially when they can't use it as a development system / desktop particularly among hobbyists.

With the SiFive HiFive Unmatched being announced today, they claim it to be the world's fastest native RISC-V development platform. On this mini-ITX board there is a SiFive FU740 SoC that the company initially announced last month with four U74-MC cores and one S7 embedded core configuration and 2MB of L2 cache. This is more powerful than the SoC found on the HiFive Unleashed while the HiFive Unmatched also has 8GB of DDR4 memory, 32MB SPI flash, four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one PCI Express x16 slot (operating at PCIe Gen3 x8), one PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe M.2 2280 slot for storage, a microSD card slot, and Gigabit Ethernet. A M.2 slot is also available for WiFi / Bluetooth.

With a more powerful RISC-V SoC, 8GB of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, and a PCI Express x16 slot, the SiFive HiFive Unmatched is the most compelling RISC-V development board to date.

Like with existing SiFive RISC-V support, the HiFive Unmatched will see support with Yocto/OpenEmbedded, Debian, Fedora, and others that have proper support for RISC-V.

The HiFive Unmatched will be available later this quarter for $665 USD. The price is still a bit high but the best we've seen so far for a RISC-V development board and lower than the earlier Unleashed board. Hopefully with time the pricing will become even more competitive to open up more hobbyists and independent developers for being able to experiment with RISC-V.

That's all for now with today's Unmatched RISC-V PC announcement. We don't have our hands on the Unmatched currently but hopefully will be able to get a review sample later this quarter for looking at the Linux support and performance.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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