PINE64 Formally Unveils the StarFive JH7110-Powered Star64 RISC-V Single-Board Computer

With four processor cores, 8GB of RAM, dual gigabit Ethernet, PCIe, and a graphics processor, this StarFive JH7110-based board impresses.

Gareth Halfacree
20 days agoHW101

Open-hardware specialist PINE64 has released more details on its upcoming RISC-V single-board computer following a teaser announcement last month, including the name Star64 — and confirmation that the board will be powered by StarFive's next-generation JH7110 system-on-chip (SoC).

"The Star64 is a single board computer comparable to the Quartz64 Model-A – the notable difference being the RISC-V SoC at the heart of the SBC," PINE64's Lukasz Erecinski explains. "The StarFive JH7110 64-bit CPU features quad SiFive FU740 1.5GHz cores and comes paired with BXE-2-32 GPU from Imagination Technologies."

Based on the earlier JH7100 that powers StarFive's own VisionFive single-board computer, the JH7110 addresses the major bugs in the original design — including speed-limited USB 3.0 and Ethernet ports, display compatibility problems, and an inability to power off on shutdown — while also bumping the specs up considerably. Where the original JH7100 had two 64-bit SiFive U74 RISC-V cores running at 1GHz, the JH7110 has four cores running at 1.5GHz — though still lacks the vector extensions.

A bigger change to the JH7100 is the addition of an Imagination BXE-2-32 graphics processing unit, which should go quite some way to solving the original SoC's poor performance for desktop use and other graphical workloads.

"The board will be available in two configurations, with 4 and 8GB of RAM, and we aim to match the Quartz64’s price point of the respective hardware versions," Erecinski continues. "Similarly to the Quartz64 Model-A, the Star64 will feature an open-ended PCIe port, USB 3.0, and GPIO [General-Purpose Input/Output]. One thing I hinted at last month was that the Star64 will have 2 native Gigabit Ethernet ports. A version with only one Ethernet port will also be available at a later date, and we expect it to cost $5 less."

The Star64 isn't PINE64's first dalliance with the RISC-V architecture: The company launched its first RISC-V product, a programmable soldering iron with on-board microcontroller, which the company has just upgraded, two years ago and pledged to "commit to the RISC-V platform" just last month. Its plans for a $15 RISC-V board have, however, been shelved in favor of these more capable yet more expensive board designs.

Erecinski has not yet announced a launch date for the Star64 but says "much of the work […] has now finished and the board is in the final layout stage," with availability expected "sooner rather than later."

More information is available on the PINE64 blog.

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