Sipeed unveils RISC-V tablet, portable Linux console, and cluster

Sipeed RISC-V tablet, cluster, Linux console

Sipeed has unveiled three new hardware platforms based on the LM4A RISC-V system-on-module found in their LicheePi 4A SBC, namely the Lichee Cluster 4A cluster for native RISC-V compilation, the Lichee Pad 4A 10.1-inch tablet running Android 13 or Debian, and the Lichee Console 4A a portable Linux console with a small 7-inch display and a built-in keyboard.

As a quick reminder, the Sipeed LM4A SoM is based on the Alibaba T-Head TH1520 quad-core RISC-V processor @ 1.8 to 2.5 GHz that has just gotten some support in Linux 6.5, comes with up to 16GB RAM and up to 64 GB eMMC flash, integrates two Gigabit Ethernet PHY, and exposes all I/Os through a 260-pin SO-DIMM connector. We’ve previously noticed the TH1520 module delivers performance similar to the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 and even more when using a customized toolchain.

Lichee Cluster 4A

Lichee Cluster 4A

All new Sipeed hardware platforms feature an LM4A module, but the Lichee Cluster 4A supports up to seven RISC-V system-on-modules and the following interfaces:

  • SoM slots – Up to 7 LM4A slots for LM4A modules with TH1520 (4x C910 @ 1.85GHz) and a total of up to 112GB LPDDR4X, and up to 869GB eMMC flash
  • Storage – 7x microSD card slots, one per slot
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI port connected to slot 1
  • Networking
    • 1x Gigabit Ethernet port for the cluster
    • 1x Gigabit Ethernet port for slot 1 only
    • 1x Ethernet for BMC control
  • USB
    • 7x USB 3.0 ports, one per slot
    • 1x USB 2.0 port for BMC
  • Power Supply – 12V DC input or 1U Power Module; At least 60W,  recommended >= 90W
  • Dimensions
    • Motherboard 17 x 17 cm (Mini-ITX form factor)
    • Box – 20 x 12 x 22 cm

RISC-V cluster board

The cluster runs Debian with distcc + Zabbix pre-installed for demonstration. A Linux 6.4 kernel build takes 64 minutes on one module, and 15 minutes with seven modules.

Zabbix demo

Lichee Pad 4A RISC-V tablet

Pine64’s PineTab-V RISC-V tablet based on the StarFive JH7110 SoC is getting some competition with the Lichee Pad 4A tablet equipped with a more powerful TH1520 RISC-V SoC. But note that none of them can be considered consumer tablets, and they are sold as “development kits” or “Android development platforms”.

Sipeed Lichee Pad 4A

Lichee Pad 4A specifications:

  • SoM – Lichee LM4A (TH1520, 4x C910) with 16GB LPDDR4X, 128GB eMMC flash
  • Storage – MicroSD card slot
  • Display – 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 LCD
  • Video Output – 1x mini HDMI
  • Camera – 5MP front-facing camera, 5MP rear camera
  • Audio –
    • 3.5mm headphone jack
    • Dual MEMS MIC + dual speaker
  • Networking
    • WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.4
    • Optional dual GbE via an external card with 2x UART as well.
    • Optional 4G module + SIM card slot
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 Type-A ports, 1x USB 2.0 Type-C port
  • Expansion – M.2 custom slot, but we’re not told what for…
  • Misc – Power, Reset, and Volume buttons
  • Battery – 8,000 mAh @ 3.7V
  • Dimensions – 24 x 15 x 1 cm (Aluminum Alloy Case_

Sipeed RISC-V tablet ports

Sipeed provides Android 13 and Debian support for the RISC-V tablet/Android development platform.

Lichee Console 4A

The final product – the Lichee Console 4A – is a portable Linux terminal with a keyboard and a 7-inch display.

Lichee Console 4A

Lichee Console 4A specifications:

  • SoM – Lichee LM4A (TH1520, 4x C910) with 16GB LPDDR4X, 128GB eMMC flash
  • Storage – MicroSD card slot, M.2 SSD support
  • Display – 7-inch 1280 x 800 LCD with capacitive touch
  • Video Output – 1x mini HDMI
  • User Input –  Capacitive touch, 72-key keyboard with “RedPoint” pointing stick
  • Camera – 2MP front-facing camera
  • Audio
    • 3.5mm headphone jack
    • MEMS MIC + stereo speaker
  • Network – WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.4, optional GbE
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 Type-A port, 1x USB 3.0 Type-C port, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A port
  • Battery – 3,000 mAh @ 7.6V
  • Dimensions – 18 x 14 x 2 cm (Aluminum Alloy Case)
  • Weight – 650 grams

Sipeed says the Linux console supports Debian or PolyOS, and can run VS Code.

None of the three platforms above shows up in the Wiki for LM4A, so it’s unclear where to download the images. There’s a preview Yocto SDK that has not been updated in four months.

Availability and pricing

Maybe we just need to be patient, as none of the new RISC-V devices are currently selling. They’ll all be sold on the Sipeed Aliexpress store starting with the Lichee Cluster 4A scheduled to launch next week, and the Lichee Pad 4A and Lichee Console 4A will become available in September or October. Sipeed mentions a $299 price tag in the Twitter/X announcement, but it’s unclear for which device it is… The RISC-V tablet and console can be “pre-ordered” on Sipeed website by paying $10 for a $20 coupon code to be redeemed once the products are launched on Aliexpress.

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10 months ago

This “console” looks very appealing, I’m very tempted to get one, HOWEVER, due to barely any real-life specs I have no idea whether it’s almost 23Wh battery is able to withstand and deliver a whole train ride of coding with actual tools, not just immodest Electron app, although it would be hilarious to see it actually be the biggest battery drainer, with or without energy-wasting bugs.

Also what do they mean by “PolyOS”? HP’s teleconference platform, or woefully outdated distro for i.MX 6?

Steve Nordquist
Steve Nordquist
10 months ago

Looking forward to some e-Paper stuff with USI stylus at that price in the future. Compilation gah …just get the AI chips added already. No heatsinks no thermochromic indicators?

10 months ago

the video show a temperature of 82°C

Khadas VIM4 SBC