RISC-V is the most promising development in the pursuit of a Open Source processor. A development that for some analysts the industry needs and that it can follow the example that Linux and other related FOSS technologies have provided in software, as an alternative architecture to ARM that dominates the mobility market and also to the producers of x86 chips, Intel and AMD, omnipresent in personal computers and servers .
RISC-V was born in 2010 at the Californian University of Berkeley and today is supported by more than 80 companies where Google, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Samsung or Micron stand out as members platinum and welcomes others as significant as Microsoft. Its objective is to develop a new open source chip design based on the RISC architecture that offers a more economical way to manufacture semiconductors, more open, more free and without requiring payment of royalties.
Extending an architecture like this is not easy. We have already seen some solutions such as PicoRio and now another more important one comes to us, since it represents the RISC-V ISA’s first entry into the world of personal computing, with a Mini-ITX form factor and PC-like power supply and I / O connectors.
RISC-V by SiFive
The board houses SiFive’s signature SoC FU740, a five-core 64-bit processor, with four SiFive U74 and SiFive S7. This SoC is capable of work smoothly with Linux operating systems, which gives developers a good platform to perform their optimizations.
It includes 8 Gbytes of onboard DDR4 memory, a MicroSD card slot, and an M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot for system storage. To connect the board to the outside world, it has a Gigabit Ethernet port. For user I / O, there are four USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A ports (1 charging port) and one MicroUSB port. To power the board, you need a suitable power supply with a 24-pin power connector, while its form factor Mini-ITX (170 x 170 mm) allows to use a chassis standardized for this standard.
You have all the information in the SiFive website. It is not focused on mass consumption but on developers, but it is an interesting approach to the world of the PC of what can come from this architecture, free, open and free.