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Run time: 2 min 44 sec

Combining the HiFive Unleashed with its FPGA-based Expansion Board, a PCIe USB 3.0 controller and GPU, solid state drives and a custom enclosure, to create a self-contained RISC-V personal computer.

Here is a short write-up on the project.


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    Back then the HiFive Unleashed was $999 and the Microsemi expansion board was $1999.

    Today, the HiFive Unmatched has better CPUs (the dual-issue U74 instead of the single-issue U54), double the RAM (16 GB instead of 8 GB), a PCIe slot (typically used for a video card), two M.2 sockets (typically one for NVMe SSD, one for WIFI if you don’t want to use Ethernet), four USBs. And it comes in a standard Mini-ITX form factor and uses an ATX power supply.

    And it’s $665 (for motherboard with CPU and RAM) not $2998 for two linked boards.



    Performance is not blazing – it’s about like a 2nd gen Raspberry Pi 3 CPU-wise but with better I/O and capability because of the ability to use a real video card, SSD, and all the extra RAM.

    Boards with the same or higher capability (at least CPU-wise) should be available much cheaper in the coming year. BeagleBoard had a project using the same CPU cores which they expected to sell for $119 with 4 GB RAM and $149 with 8 GB RAM. They distributed 300 beta boards (which work fine – I have one) for free but then some months later cancelled the project. They say they’ll announce a new design after New Year.

    There is also the Allwinner Nezha evaluation board for $99. It’s got a single core 1 GHz CPU with 1 GB RAM. Companies such as Sipeed and Pine64 have pre-announced intentions to make boards using the same SoC for $10 to $20. That would make good competition for the Raspberry Pi Zero, which it has similar performance to.

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      Was doing some Googling about hobbyist-friendly (i.e., open-source & royalty-free) RISC hardware, and found this. I certainly wish there were more info available about it. I hope y’all enjoy!