HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board Makes It Easy to Build a RISC-V PC

Microsemi and SiFive have joined forces to launch their new HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board that brings additional functionality to the…

Cabe Atwell
2 years ago

Microsemi and SiFive have joined forces to launch their new HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board that brings additional functionality to the Unleashed RISC-V development board, enabling Linux fans to build their own RISC-V PCs. This also lets software and firmware engineers to write Linux-based applications utilizing the development board’s 1GHz+ RISC-V 64-bit CPU.

The Unleashed board allows developers to implement their own custom peripherals using Microsemi’s PolarFire FPGA’s, part of the company’s Mi-V Ecosystem. The Unleashed board connects to the development board, adding a host of new capabilities — including a PCIe root port bridge for adding on any number of PCIe cards.

The additional features are many and include a number of ports — SATA, M.2 SSD, 2 X USB, and HDMI can be found packed onto the board. It also comes equipped with DDR4 memory expansion, eMMC NAND Flash, uSD card slot, SPI Flash, QSPI Flash (for GPIO), a pair of CAN transceivers and an FMC connection to HFU540–4A00 kit.

Along with the expansion board, Microsemi is including a one-year license for the Libero GOLD FPGA design and development software, which features Synopsis Simplify Pro and Graphics ModelSim simulator along with debugging tools and secure production programming support.

Microsemi is currently crowdfunding the HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board on Crowd Supply for $1,999 for just the board and $2,998 for a bundle package that features both the Unleashed and Expansion together with delivery (free for the US, $40 and up worldwide) beginning on May 30th. The Unleashed board seems like an expensive solution just to build a Linux-based PC, and it is if that’s all you’re going to use it for but for developers, this looks to be an ideal solution for application design, testing, and implementation.

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