Lichee Pi 4A RISC-V SBC takes on Raspberry Pi 4 with TH1520 processor

Lichee Pi 4A is a single board computer (SBC) powered by Alibaba T-Head TH1520 quad-core RISC-V Xuantie C910  processor @ 2.0 GHz with an Imagination GPU and a 4 TOPS NPU for AI that can compete against the Raspberry Pi 4 in terms of performance and features.

We previously mentioned the Lichee Pi 4A (LPi4A) in our article about the Sipeed LM4A RISC-V system-on-module, but at the time we only had some benchmarks for the board and no photos and specifications about the SBC. Sipeed has now released photos, published detailed specifications, and is taking orders for the board. So let’s have a closer look.

Lichee Pi 4A RISC V SBC

Lichee Pi 4A specifications against the ones for Raspberry Pi 4.

Lichee Pi 4A Raspberry Pi 4B
CPU T-Head TH1520, 12nm, 4x RISC-V C910 @ 2.0 GHzBroadcom BCM2711B0, 28nm, 4x Arm Cortex-A72 @ 1.5 GHz
Memory 4, 8, 16 GB 64-bit LPDDR4X-37331, 2, 4, 8 GB 32-bit LPDDR4-2400
Storage MicroSD card OR
16, 32, 64, or 128 GB eMMC flash
MicroSD card
GPU Imagination BXM-4-64 GPU
OpenGL ES3.0/3.1/3.2
OpenCL 1.1/1.2/2.0
Vulkan 1.1/1.2
50.7GFLOPS, Fill 3168M pixels/s
Broadcom VideoCore VI
OpenGL ES3.1
Vulkan 1.0/1.2
NPU 4 TOPS @ INT8 (1GHz)
Supports Tensorflow, ONNX, Caffe
Display 1x HDMI 2.0 up to 4Kp60
4-lane MIPI DSI up to 4Kp50
2x HDMI 2.0 up to 4Kp60
2-lane MIPI DSI
3.5mm AV port
Camera 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI
1x 2-lane MIPI CSI
2-lane MIPI CSI
Video H.265 & H.264 @ 4Kp75 decode
H.265 & H.264 @ 4Kp40 encode
H265 4Kp60fps decode
H264 1080p60 decode
H264 1080p30 encode
Audio Headphone jack
Stereo Speaker
Headphone jack
Network 2x Gigabit Ethernet
WiFi 4 or 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
1x Gigabit Ethernet
WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0
USB 4x USB 3.0 Type-A
1x USB 2.0 Type-C
2x USB 3.0 Type-A
2x USB 2.0 Type-A
I/Os header20-pin GPIO header40-pin GPIO header
Power 5V via 5.5mm DC jack or USB Type-C
External PoE
5V via USB type-C up to 3A
5V via GPIO header up to 3A
Power over Ethernet via PoE HAT


TH1520 single board computer

The TH1520 used to be advertised at up to 2.5 GHz, but it seems to have now come down to 2.0 GHz. Software support will include Debian, OpenWrt, and Android which should then be posted in the wiki along with the schematics, pinout diagram, and mechanical files. Here are again some benchmarks that were shared in the initial announcement about the LM4A module.

Dhrystone CoreMarks TH1520 RISC V vs Raspberry Pi

Whether the Lichee Pi 4A or Raspberry Pi 4A is faster will depend on a given application since the platforms are close in the imperfect Dhrystone and CoreMarks benchmarks. RISC-V performance is also likely to improve as the software ecosystem gets more mature. The Imagination BXM-4-64 GPU should be faster than the VideoCore VI based on the GFLOPS numbers provided in the specifications.

Lichee Router 4A

The company had already showcased a 7-module cluster board based on LM4A at the time of the first announcement, but they will also release the Lichee Router 4A based on the Lichee Pi 4A SBC, a 6-inch Lichee Phone 4A and a 10.1-inch Lichee Pad 4A all fitted with the LM4A module.

Lichee Pad 4A

Sipeed has just started taking orders for the Lichee Pi 4A (8GB RAM + 8GB flash) for $119.00 on Aliexpress, and the 16GB RAM version is scheduled for next month. Additional information can be found on the product page.

Thanks to Jim and Mark for the tip.

Updated: This post was initially published on December 27, 2022, and updated once the LicheePi4A board was launched on Aliexpress

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