$149 BeagleV is the Most Affordable RISC-V Single-Board Computer Yet — But Supplies Are Limited

Demand is likely to be high, but Hackster readers are invited to skip the queue and pick up a board from the pilot production run.

BeagleBoard.org and Seeed Studio have announced a partnership with StarFive to launch the most affordable Linux-capable RISC-V single-board computer (SBC) yet, the $149 BeagleV — but supplies will be limited, at least initially, with Hackster readers invited to be among the first to receive the hardware in its pilot production batch.

An open source design, as with all BeagleBoard.org products, the BeagleV is built around StarFive's system-on-chip implementing SiFive's U74 core design. At its heart are two 64-bit Linux-capable RISC-V cores running at 1.5GHz and with 2MB of cache memory, while acceleration for deep-learning tasks is provided via a Tensilica-VP6 vision processing unit (VPU), an NVIDIA Deep Learning Accelerator (NVDLA) with 2,048 MACs running at 800MHz, and a neural network engine offering 1,024 MACs running at 500MHz.

The system is supplied with 8GB of LPDDR4 memory, as two four-gig modules, though a cheaper variant with 4GB is also planned. The board includes four USB 3.0 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio jack, 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and a 40-pin Raspberry Pi-style general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header.

While the board includes HDMI and MIPI DSI video outputs, along with two MIPI CSI camera inputs, there's something missing from the specification sheet: A graphics processing unit (GPU). Those who need video output can use the Tensilica VPU, Seeed has confirmed, while a future respin will integrate an Imagination Technology GPU core.

Demand for the board, even without GPU, is expected to be high, and supplies will be initially limited. Those looking to get access to the first batch of boards are asked to fill in an application form with details of their planned projects.

UPDATE (1/13/2021): Seeed's original offer to allow readers to purchase the board ahead of the queue using the voucher code 'HACKSTER' has now closed; the only way to pre-order the board now ahead of the May/April launch is to fill in the application form and await a single-use authorization code.

The first-production BeagleV boards are due in late March to early April; general availability, with the GPU and cost-reduced $119 4GB models, will follow. More information is available on the official website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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