StarFive Opens Crowdfunding for the VisionFive 2 RISC-V SBC, Starting at Just $46

Designed around the new JH7110, fixing flaws in the original VisionFive, the new VisionFive 2 is available for a lot less money.

Update (10-06-2022): With the crowdfunding campaign closed and fulfilment of the next-generation VisionFive 2 RISC-V single-board computer underway, StarFive has opened pre-orders — with the promise that shipping will begin in December for the "Super Early Bird" version.

"We have succeeded in our crowd-funding campaign and have reached more than 500 per cent of our original goal with 2,017 backers in total," the company announced. "That would be a great support for us to confidently produce VisionFive 2 to the world. At the end of Kickstarter crowd-funding, we are announcing the following official pre-order purchase links to get VisionFive 2 (discount up to 25 per cent off until December 1)."

Stockists offering global shipping including ALLNET China, AmeriDroid, AliExpress, and Amazon, with pricing starting at $55.70 for the 4GB Early Bird model to ship in February next year or $67.70 for the 8GB Super Early Bird which ships in December — but which has one 10/100 Ethernet port and one gigabit port to the Early Bird's twin gigabit ports.

Links to all resellers are available on the RVspace Forum.

Original article continues below.

StarFive has opened crowdfunding for its second hobbyist-focused RISC-V single-board computer (SBC), the VisionFive 2 — promising a faster device with twice the cores, a GPU, and dual gigabit Ethernet ports.

The original VisionFive, unveiled late last year and sold exclusively in 8GB form from March this year, was a strong initial design but not without its troubles: as our testing showed, design flaws in the silicon hampered performance while reliance on an outdated end-of-life operating system — a situation now resolved by Canonical's recent release of an official Ubuntu Server 22.04.1 image for the board — brought its own difficulties.

StarFive has unveiled its VisionFive 2 RISC-V single-board computer range, and it's a big upgrade for less cash. (📹: StarFive)

The VisionFive 2, though, is based on StarFive's next-generation JH7110 system-on-chip (SoC) — not only fixing the known flaws in the original JH7100 chip but doubling the number of usable processors from two to four and increasing the clock speed from 1GHz to 1.5GHz.

The biggest change, though: the introduction of a graphics processing unit (GPU), the Imagination Technologies IMG BXE-32-4, which unlocks new workload possibilities for the board and should greatly improve the desktop experience.

"As RISC-V development accelerates, we are thrilled to continue our collaboration with StarFive," says Imagination's James Liu of the launch. "Together we recognize this architecture's importance, and we share a common goal of driving ecosystem growth. We are pleased to see StarFive leveraging our GPU's compatibility with RISC-V to unlock a wide range of SBC implementations across major markets, accelerating innovation and supporting open-source development."

Other changes in the design include the addition of a second gigabit Ethernet port, official support for both Fedora and Debian Linux distributions, support for 4k30 video from the HDMI port, and a four-lane DSI port with 2k30 output alongside the existing two-lane DSI port. Not all the changes will be welcomed, however: the new board drops the original's on-board Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, though in favor of a more flexible M.2 M-key slot on the board's underside, and the two CSI camera ports have been trimmed down to a single two-lane port.

Unlike its predecessor, the VisionFive 2 is to enjoy a full production run — meaning it will be available in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB variants. The 2GB and 8GB models will ship in February next year, StarFive has promised, while a pre-production version of the 4GB model will be available in November this year for early adopters — but will have one gigabit Ethernet and one 10/100 Ethernet port, in place of the two gigabit ports in the final design.

StarFive is funding the boards' production via Kickstarter, with physical rewards beginning at $46 for the early bird 2GB models — a huge reduction from the $179 retail price of the original VisionFive.

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