XuanTie C906 based Allwinner RISC-V processor to power $12+ Linux SBC’s

Alibaba unveiled Xuantie-910 RISC-V core (aka XT910) in 2019 for powerful SoC with up to 16 cores, but an update in 2020 revealed the company planned to have a complete RISC-V core family for a wide range of application from low-power microcontrollers to server SoCs.

At the time, I just assumed the company planned to keep their cores to themselves, but time proved me wrong as T-Head, the Alibaba subsidiary in charge of developing RISC-V cores, started to cooperate with Allwinner to develop open-source processors, which should lead to low-cost Linux capable RISC-V SBC very soon according to a tweet from Sipeed.

As far as I understand companies are still under NDA with Allwinner, so they can divulge too much. But here’s what the $12.5 Sipeed Linux RISC-V board specifications should look like based on public information available at this stage:

  • SoC – Unnamed Allwinner single-core XuanTie C906 64-bit RISC-V (RV64GCV) processor @ up to 1 GHz; 22nm manufacturing process
  • GPU – 2D accelerator only (similar to what is found in Allwinner V3s)
  • VPU – H.265/H.264
  • System Memory – 64MB to 256MB DDR3 (built-into processor); external memory version may also be available
  • Storage – MicroSD card socket
  • Video Output / Display I/F – HDMI, RGB LCD
  • Camera I/F – DVP and MIPI CSI
  • Networking – GMAC (Gigabit Ethernet MAC), optional WiFi and Bluetooth module
  • USB – USB host and OTG

I don’t have renders for the SBC, but the company will also make an Allwinner RISC-V system-on-module for other projects.

Upcoming Allwinner RISC-V SoM from Sipeed

Allwinner RISC-V processor will run the Debian Linux operating system (Tina OS), and the $12.5 price tag for Sipeed SBC makes it the cheapest RISC-V Linux board with MMU by far. You can already run Linux on RISC-V using Kendryte K210 boards, but those are not really practical due to the lack of MMU and low-memory, or on HiFive Unmatched offered for $665 and allows you to build a complete RISC-V PC.

The upcoming Allwinner powered RISC-V board from Sipeed does not come with a 3D GPU, and memory is limited so based on the information currently available, it may end being comparable to a Raspberry Pi Model A+ minus the ability to run any application relying on 3D graphics.

There’s still a lot of work to bring RISC-V ecosystem to the level of Arm, but it’s clearly a step in the right direction. Sipeed says the board will be available in one or two months, so let’s make that Q1 2021 to take into account potential delays.

Support CNX Software - Donate via PayPal or cryptocurrencies, become a Patron on Patreon, or buy review samples
Notify of
newest most voted