Meet Nezha, a $99 64-Bit Linux SBC for IoT

The Nezha runs on Allwinner's new D1 chip, which is based on a 64-bit RISC-V T-Head XuanTie C906 core.

Abhishek Jadhav
7 months agoInternet of Things

Following a series of tweets around the Nezha SBC, Sipeed has now launched a crowdfunding campaign for their new 64-bit RISC-V development board for IoT projects — named after the character from Chinese mythology, Nezha.

When it comes to RISC-V-based SoC, SiFive has seemingly been the popular choice within the ecosystem. However, with the increasing adoption of the architecture to support AIoT and data-intensive applications, Allwinner unveiled their new D1 chip — which can be found at the core of Nezha, running at a clock frequency of up to 1GHz and featuring 1GByte DDR3 and 256MByte of onboard NAND flash.

Sipeed has released the SBC with decent interfaces, including a USB 2.0 host, Ethernet, and an HDMI port. You also get a MIPI DSI and touch panel interface up to 1080p60. Those wanting to integrate an LCD display can pledge to $149 Nezha Panel Suit. We had expected the pricing for the first C906 RV64 board to be much lower than this; though, the company reasons out the shortage of chips to the market.

Looking at the hardware specifications, the Nezha is equipped with video decoders for those interested in livestreaming video files. The board can process these at a pretty good speed with support for H.265 up to 1080p60 or 4Kp30, H.264 up to 1080p60 or 4Kp24. But again, it is essential to note that the onboard RAM is significantly less for data-intensive applications. As of the launch of the board, it supports Tina with official SDK support and Debian 11. We anticipate to see the board work on other distros, including Fedora, Gentoo, and Ubuntu.

With all the required interfaces onboard, the Nezha SBC appears to be promising for those embedded RISC-V-based hardware into their IoT projects. The basic package is priced at $99 and jumps to $169 when bundled with an LCD, mic array, and USB camera.

Abhishek Jadhav
Abhishek Jadhav is an engineering student, freelance tech writer, RISC-V Ambassador, and leader of the Open Hardware Developer Community.
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