A new single-board computer from Chinese semiconductor designer Allwinner will feature an SoC based on the RISC-V 640bit architecture. However, the board lacks power due to its single-core CPU. Since it supports Linux and should cost less than US$15, the SBC should still be versatile enough for tinkering and projects.
Single-board computers have exploded in popularity over the last decade, thanks in large part to the Raspberry Pi. However, a new competitor will soon enter the low-cost single-board computer (SBC) arena, but it’s unlikely to compete with the Pi.
Allwinner, a Chinese-based fabless semiconductor manufacturer, is set to announce an Allwinner D1-based SBC next week. The board, which is set to release in May, is built around the Allwinner D1 SoC, a single-core chip built on the RISC-V 64-bit architecture.
The full specs of the board are:
- SoC: Allwinner D1 single-core XuanTie C906 (RISC-V, 64-bit, 1 GHz) with HiFi4 digital signal processor and G2D 2D graphics accelerator
- Memory: up to 1 GB of DDR3 RAM
- Video: HDMI 1.4 ([email protected] Hz), MIPI DSI ([email protected] Hz) w/ touch panel support
- Audio: 3.5 mm audio jack, HDMI
- Storage: 256 MB SPI NAND flash w/ microSD support
- Connectivity: 1x USB 2.0 (host); 2x USB-C OTG; Gigabit Ethernet; WiFi 4 (2.4 GHz), Bluetooth; 40-pin GPIO
On paper, the Allwinner SBC looks more akin to a microcontroller than a full-blown Pi competitor, but current speculation is that the board will retail for between US$12-15. The board will also support Debian Linux out of the box, adding to its versatility. The Allwinner board is about the same size as the Raspberry PI as well, coming in at 85 x 56 mm.
All this together makes the Allwinner D1 SBC well-suited for niche projects that don’t need a lot of computing horsepower, and the price tag may entice more tinkerers to join the hobbyist community. We should know more about the board if it is indeed announced by Allwinner next week.
Sam Medley, 2021-04-14 (Update: 2021-04-14)