Milk-V Drops the Unusual Sophgo SG2002 Into an Upgraded, AI-Ready Duo Development Board

With either four or eight times the memory, four different processor architectures, and Ethernet, the new Duos stand out from the original.

Gareth Halfacree
2 months agoHW101

The unusual four-architecture Sophgo SG2002 system-on-chip (SoC) is available in another development board design, this time from RISC-V specialist Milk-V — which has unveiled two variants on its microcontroller-like breadboard-friendly Milk-V Duo design dubbed the Duo 256M and Duo S.

The original Milk-V Duo was unveiled back in June last year as a RISC-V-based alternative to the Raspberry Pi Pico or Raspberry Pi Zero range. At its heart was Sophgo's CV1800B, a dual-core Linux-capable system-on-chip with 64MB of RAM. That's not a lot of memory for running Linux, though, so it's no surprise to find the company offering an updated version with more — and this time you can have up to 512MB on there.

The new Duo 256M and Duo S are based on Sophgo's SG2002 and SG2002 processors respectively. Unveiled earlier this month, they come with two primary processor cores using completely different architectures, one based on the T-Head C906 RISC-V core and the other on Arm's Cortex-A53, with the user selecting which one to run at boot time.

There's also a second C906 core for real-time operating system (RTOS) use, a Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) coprocessor, and — if the design wasn't already out there enough — a microcontroller core based on Intel's venerable MCS-51 8051 architecture, originally launched in 1980.

The Duo 256M, brought to our attention by CNX Software, uses the higher-end Sophgo SG2002, which offers a TPU with a claimed one tera-operations per second (TOPS) performance level to the SG2000's 0.5 TOPS version. Both chips have their main processor cores running at 1GHz and the RTOS-focused secondary core running at 700MHz, plus the aforementioned 8051 microcontroller core. The Duo 256M, as the name implies, offers 256MB of memory — while the Duo S, despite having the lower-end system-on-chip, doubles this to 512MB.

The difference between the two boards extends further as you look at peripheral connectivity: the Duo 256M offers microSD and optional NAND flash on board, a USB Type-C connector for data and power, a two-lane MIPI Camera Serial Interface (CSI), Fast Ethernet when paired with an optional connector breakout, and 26 general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins.

The Duo S, meanwhile, offers a USB 2.0 Type-A Host port, an additional two-lane CSI port, a four-lane Display Serial Interface connector on the GPIO header, an built-in RJ45 connector for Fast Ethernet, on-board Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 radios, and up to 39 accessible GPIO pins.

More information on both boards is available on the Milk-V website, while orders have opened for the Milk-V Duo 256M at $7.99 — a discount from a planned $9 retail price. The Duo S, meanwhile, had not yet been priced at the time of writing.

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