Alibaba T-Head TH1520 RISC-V processor to power the ROMA laptop

The ROMA RISC-V laptop was announced this summer with an unnamed RISC-V processor with GPU and NPU. We now know it will be the Alibaba T-Head TH1520 quad-core Xuantie C910 processor clocked at up to 2.5GHz with a 4 TOPS NPU, and support for 64-bit DDR at up 4266 MT.

The TH1520 is born out of the Wujian 600 platform unveiled by Alibaba in August 2022, and is capable of running desktop-level applications such as Firefox browser and LibreOffice office suite on OpenAnolis open-source Linux-based operating system launched by Alibaba in 2020.

T-Head TH1520

So that means we now have a better idea of the specifications of the ROMA RISC-V developer laptop:

  • SoC – Alibaba T-Head quad-core RISC-V Xuantie C910  processor @ 2.5 GHz, unnamed Imagination GPU for graphics, 4 TOPS NPU for AI
  • System Memory – Up to 16GB LPDDR4/LPDDR4X RAM
  • Storage – Up to 256GB eMMC flash
  • Display – 14.1-inch IP display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI port
  • Camera – 1080p monocular camera
  • Networking
    • Ethernet RJ45 port
    • WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2/5.0
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports,
  • User input – Backlit keyboard, touchpad with fingerprint reader
  • Security – Arm SC300 Cortex-M3 security enclave processor, Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) security certification
  • Battery – Good for up to 10 hours
  • Power Supply – Via USB Type-C port
  • Dimensions – 325 x 225 x 18 mm
  • Weight – 1.7 kg

The specifications from a PowerPoint presentation sent to people who expressed interest in purchasing a laptop say most Linux variants are supported, but I suspect the laptop will initially ship with the OpenAnolis Linux distribution from Alibaba.

I got a quote for $4,999 for the laptop last July. This includes 3 years of unlimited service with free SoC upgrades, lifelong limited repair, and free repairs (excluding postage/shipping not included) and “six continuous-quarter ROMA OWNER SURPRISE PACKAGE”  with AI headphones, AR glasses, AI speakers, classic game console, and autonomous Robots or Racing Car, plus some NFT thingy…

But now, I can see the laptop listed on Alibaba for $1,499 and up presumably without all the perks above unless you select the Premium package. The first 100 premium versions will be delivered in Q4 2022 and the company plans to produce 1,000 more units in Q1 2023. A much cheaper way to own the laptop would be to get it for free, and you can do so, provided you are a developer with a compelling use case, by registering to the RISC-V Developer Boards program before December 15. It’s also possible to apply for the VisionFive 2 SBC instead, and you’d probably be more likely to qualify.

Via RISC-V blog

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8 Replies to “Alibaba T-Head TH1520 RISC-V processor to power the ROMA laptop”

  1. I’m enthusiastic about all things RISC-V, but am most excited of all about the T-Head family of chips, purely because they’ve open sourced their designs.

    So I would very much like to see T-Head do very well. The TH1520 ought to be enough processing power for Sipeed’s next SBC, could go into a Framework laptop, or even a Shift phone. What’s needed now though, is a (preferably open sourced) RISC-V GPU. I guess that’s only a matter of time. 

    1. At least we have open source PowerVR Linux drivers which is no small thing given how they didn’t even want to hear about this some time ago.

  2. The ‘premium’ version has some more gifts. Included… a car ??!?
    I wonder what that means. A car charger ?

  3. I am very excited about the development of a RISC-V laptop but disappointed to see Imagination run the GPU, they have a very poor track record of delivering drivers.

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