RIOS Lab Pledges to Bring Linux-Capable RISC-V to the Raspberry Pi Price Point with the PicoRio SBC

RIOS Lab, in partnership with Imagination, hopes to launch the first Linux-capable RISC-V board to compete with Raspberry Pi on pricing.

The RISC-V International Open Source Laboratory (RIOS Lab), in partnership with PowerVR creator Imagination Technologies, is looking to bring the free and open source RISC-V processor architecture to the single-board computer market — in a device designed to compete at the same price point as the popular Raspberry Pi.

While RISC-V has been making considerable inroads in hobbyist-friendly microcontroller and ultra-low-power processor form, and is the focus of companies like Alibaba for high-performance compute in the cloud, it hasn't made quite as much of an impact in the single-board computer market. While Linux-capable RISC-V boards exist, like the HiFive Unleashed and the PolarFire SoC Icicle Kit, they're hundreds if not thousands of dollars each — a hard sell against a $35 Raspberry Pi.

In a presentation during the RISC-V Global Forum this week, first noted by CNX Software, RIOS Lab and Imagination Technologies pledged to change all that with the PicoRio. Designed to sell for a price point "comparable to the Raspberry Pi," the PicoRio single-board computer is to be based around a quad-core RISC-V RV64GC processor running at 500MHz or higher with a single RV32IMC management core, 512KB of L2 cache, and Imagination's PicoRio GPU, with an unspecified quantity of LPDDR4 memory.

The PicoRio is designed to be as open as possible: The hardware itself, plus the RISC-V CPU cores, will be entirely open source; the GPU, however, is proprietary — and will only be available in the board's second-generation variant, which is planned for launch some time next year. The GPU-less initial model, meanwhile, could launch by the end of this year.

RIOS Lab is expected to post more details of the board to its official website in the near future.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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