Polos GD32VF103 Alef Brings 32-bit RISC-V Development Boards Below the $3 Mark

Breaking out all the GD32V's features, AnalogLamb's sub-$3 Polos GD32VF103 Alef offers low-cost entry into RISC-V development.

Gareth Halfacree
a month ago β€’ Hardware 101
The Alef board breaks out all the pins of the GD32V. (πŸ“·: AnalogLamb)

The low-cost RISC-V microcontroller battleground is heating up, with a new sub-$3 development board entering the arena towing the GigaDevice GD32V behind it: the Polos GD32VF103 Alef.

First spotted by CNX Software after being listed for sale by China-based AnalogLamb, the Polos GD32VF103 Alef is a compact development board based around the GigaDevice GD32V microcontroller β€” itself launched last year as a drop-in replacement for the company's previous Arm-based GD32. As a result, it shares features with other GD32V-based boards: It uses the free and open 32-bit RV32IMAC instruction set architecture in a chip running at 108MHz and with 128kB flash storage and 32kB of SRAM.

The pins of the microcontroller are brought out to 52 2.54mm-pitched pin headers located on three of the board's four edges, offering connectivity to all buses and GPIOs including three USARTs, two I2Cs, three SPIs, two I2Ses, two CAN buses, and two analog-to-digital and two digital-to-analog converters (ADC and DAC).

In comparison to the $5 Sipeed Longan Nano, which is built around the same microcontroller, there's access to more pins but at the cost of a micro-SD socket and β€” in the variant sold by Seeed Studio β€” bundled SPI display. Both these likely help keep the cost down, however, and it's here where AnalogLamb is aiming to impress: The development board is priced at just $2.99, with an optional breakout board priced at an additional $1.49.

More information on the Polos GD32VF103 Alef can be found on the AnalogLamb website.

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