Espressif Leaks an ESP32-C5 "BETA3" System-on-Chip and Compact Development Board

Having announced the chip back in 2022, it seems Espressif is finally getting ready to launch — with a bonus IEEE 802.15.4 radio, too.

Details have leaked about an upcoming development board from Espressif, housing the company's ESP32-C5 RISC-V system-on-chip — dubbed, for now at least, the ESP32-C5-BETA3 Test Board, and coming with the surprise addition of IEEE 802.15.4 connectivity.

The ESP32-C5 was unveiled back in 2022 as Espressif's first to use a main CPU core built atop the free and open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture, a move that it announced would cover all future chips unless "we have some special needs" which would require a proprietary alternative. It was also the company's first part to offer dual-band Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, along with Bluetooth Low Energy.

Now, the first sign of an official development board built around the part has been uncovered by CNX Software — ahead of any official announcement from Espressif itself. Based on a pre-release system-on-chip named in documentation the ESP32-C5-BETA3, the board promises a single 32-bit RISC-V core running at up to 240MHz, 400kB of static RAM (SRAM), and 384kB of flash memory. Both the promised Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy (BLE) radios are present and correct, but with a third: an IEEE 802.15.4 radio promising Zigbee 3.0 and Thread 1.3 support.

Off-chip, the board includes a user-addressable RGB LED, 4MB SPI flash, breadboard-friendly general-purpose input/output (GPIO) headers, physical boot and reset buttons, and not one but two USB Type-C ports — one offering a USB UART bridge for programming and power, and the other offering JTAG debugging or support for USB 2.0 Full Speed operation at 12Mb/s.

While these details are included in the board's published PDF user guide, Espressif has so far not announced general availability or pricing for the board — nor when the system-on-chip on which it's based will be dropping the beta label and heading to market.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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