LicheePi 4A quad-core RISC-V SBC is now available with 16GB RAM and 128GB eMMC flash, and Sipeed has also introduced various accessories such as a metal enclosure, a 10.1-inch touchscreen display, a PoE module, and a camera module.
The Lichee Pi 4A board was first unveiled in December 2022, before the beta version launched in May 2023 with 8GB RAM and 8GB flash. Since then Sipeed also started selling an 8GB/32GB model, and now a new version of the T-Head TH1520-powered single board computer is now available with 16GB LPDDR4X and 128GB eMMC flash for $179 plus shipping.
While pricing is quite different, the LicheePi 4A was launched as a RISC-V alternative to the Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, so here are the specifications of the two boards side-by-side.
|Lichee Pi 4A||Raspberry Pi 4B|
|CPU||T-Head TH1520, 12nm, 4x RISC-V C910 @ 2.0 GHz||Broadcom BCM2711B0, 28nm, 4x Arm Cortex-A72 @ 1.5 GHz|
|Memory||8 or 16 GB 64-bit LPDDR4X-3733||1, 2, 4, 8 GB 32-bit LPDDR4-2400|
8, 32, or 128 GB eMMC flash
|GPU||Imagination BXM-4-64 GPU|
50.7GFLOPS, Fill 3168M pixels/s
|Broadcom VideoCore VI
|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
|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 header||20-pin GPIO header||40-pin GPIO header|
|Power||5V via 5.5mm DC jack or USB Type-C|
|5V via USB type-C up to 3A
5V via GPIO header up to 3A
Power over Ethernet via PoE HAT
Sipeed currently provides a Debian image based on Linux 5.10 and built with Yocto, but Linux mainline support is being worked on. OpenWrt and Android images will also be released by the company, and a few third-party images are also offered by the community. You’ll find all images on the wiki, but note that as with other RISC-V platforms software is still a work in progress.
We’ve already discussed performance in our article about the Sipeed LM4A T-Head TH1520 RISC-V module found in the LicheePi 4A SBC and benchmarks like Dhrystone, Coremark, and GeekBench 5 show a performance very similar to the one of the Raspberry Pi 4, sometimes faster or slower depending on the workload. The 16GB RAM version of the LicheePi 4A brings a feature that’s
impossible not available on the Raspberry Pi 4B even though the Broadcom BCM2711 SoC is limited to 8GB supports up to 16GB RAM.
As noted in the introduction, the LicheePi 4A also got a metal enclosure and other accessories. so let’s have a look at some of those.
The first one is a 10.1-inch display with a capacitive touchscreen and 1280×800 resolution, which should connect to the 4-lane MIPI DSI connector on the board via a small adapter board and a flat cable.
Next, there are two 5MP camera modules. The first one is based on an Omnivision OV5693 CMOS sensor and connects to the board through its MIPI CSI 0 connector, but the second is also based on a 5MP sensor, but also comes with a microphone, and exposes a USB Type-C port for connection to the SBC.
Lichee also offers a 37V-57V PoE module with an output of 5V/2.4A to power the board. It needs to be soldered to the board, and based on the photo above, it won’t fit into the metal enclosure. So you have to pick one: case or PoE module.
Other accessories like a 12V/2A power adapter and the RV Debugger Plus UART/JTAG debugging board are older items that were already available previously. The aluminum enclosure sells for $10.80, the display can be purchased for $49.90, the MIPI CSI camera module for $7.90, the USB camera module for $12.50, and the PoE module for $6. You’ll find all these on Aliexpress along with the LicheePi 4A SBC.
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.