There’s now a microATX motherboard and workstation for native RISC-V development based on the SOPHON SG2042 64-core RISC-V C920 processor with up to 128GB DDR4 memory, various SATA and M.2 NVMe interfaces for storage, three PCIe x16 slot for expansion and more.
I remember a few years ago, there was a lot of talk about making a workstation for native Arm development instead of relying on x86 machines, cross-compilation, and emulation. So we got hardware like the HoneyComb LX2K, Ampere eMAG, and more recently the ADLINK Ampere Altra Dev Kit to achieve this goal. The RISC-V ecosystem is now getting something similar thanks to the Milk-V Pioneer microATX motherboard and the Pioneer Box that provides a complete 64-core RISC-V workstation with DIMM memory, SATA and NVMe storage, a graphics card, 10GbE networking, a 350W power supply, and more.
Pioneer board specifications:
- SoC – Sophgo SOPHON SG2042 64-core RISC-V processor (T-Head C920 – RVV 0.71) clocked at up to 2.0 GHz with 64KB I-cache, 64KB D-cache, 1MB L2 cache per cluster, and 64MB L3 system cache
- System Memory – 4x DDR4 DIMM slots up to 128GB ECC RAM
- Up to 2x NVMe SSD via M.2 M Key 2280 (PCIe 3.0 x4) sockets
- 5x SATA III ports
- eMMC module socket
- MicroSD card for recovery or OS loading
- 64MB SPI Flash for BIOS
- 2x 2.5GbE RJ45 ports
- Optional WiFi and Bluetooth via M.2 socket
- USB – 8x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, 1x USB header for front panel (2x USB 3.0)
- PCI Express: 3x PCIe x16 Slot (PCIe 3.0 x8)
- 1x M.2 E Key (PCIe 3.0 x1 + USB 2.0) for wireless module
- 2x M.2 M Key 2280 (PCIe 3.0 x4) sockets for SSD or other modules
- Misc – Header for front panel power, reset, LED, etc.
- Power Supply – 24-pin ATX power connector
- Dimensions – 24.4 x 24.4 cm
Pioneer Box specifications:
- Motherboard – Pioneer board described above
- System Memory – 128GB 3200 MHz DDR4
- Storage – 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
- GPU card – AMD R5 230 graphics card with HDMI, VGA, and DVI
- Networking card – Intel X520-T2 network card with 2x 10 Gbps RJ45 ports
- Power Supply – 350W MSI A350 power supply
- Cooling – Cooler with PWM fan up to 2300 RPM
- Slim enclosure with handle
The Pioneer microATX motherboard supports UEFI boot through the OpenSBI mainline code, and Yixun Lan, the developer of Gentoo, completed the initial porting of U-Boot so it can be used to boot the OS instead of Linuxboot. Sophgo engineers are also working on EDK2 for UEFI/ACPI support.
We are told the Pioneer Board supports various Linux distributions such as Fedora, OpenEuler, Debian, Gentoo, Deepin, Ubuntu, and ArchLinux. You’ll find some documentation on the project’s website, as well as tools and source code for Linux, the bootloader, openSBI, etc… on GitHub.
The 64-core RISC-V motherboard and workstation can be found on Crowd Supply with a $50,000 funding target. The Pioneer Motherboard sells for $1,199 with a heatsink and heatsink mount bracket, and the complete Pioneer Box with 128 GB RAM and a 1 TB NVMe SSD, a dual 10GbE network card, an AMD graphics card, and a power cable goes for $1,999. Prices include worldwide shipping, and deliveries are scheduled to start on December 19, 2023.
Thanks to Tom for the tip.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.