We’ve seen many Arm-based system-on-modules following the Raspberry Pi CM4 form factor, but we’ve now got a RISC-V one courtesy of the Milk-V Mars CM CPU module powered by a StarFive JH7110 quad-core RISC-V SoC.
The RISC-V module comes with up to 8GB RAM, a 16MB SPI flash, an optional eMMC flash, onboard GbE PHY, and a wireless module with WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2 plus the two 100-pin board-to-board connectors offering (partial) compatibility with carrier boards made for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.
- SoC – StarFive JH7110
- CPU – Quad-core RISC-V processor (RV64GC) at up to 1.5GHz
- GPU – Imagination BXE-4-32 GPU with support for OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan 1.2
- H.264 & H.265 4Kp60 decoding
- H.265 1080p30 encoding
- JPEG encoder / decoder
- System Memory – 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB LPDDR4
- SDIO 2.0 (options to eMMC)
- 16MB NOR flash
- Gigabit Ethernet PHY (YT8513C)
- WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2 via AP6256 module
- 2x 100-pin board-to-board connector
- Video Output – HDMI 2.0, 4-lane MIPI DSI
- Audio – 2-channel audio out (via GPIO), I2S
- Camera I/F – MIPI CSI (2x 2-lane or 1x 4-lane)
- USB – 1x USB 2.0
- 1x PCIe 1-lane Host, Gen 2 (5Gbps)
- Low-speed I/Os
- Up to 28x GPIO, supporting 3.3V
- 6x UART, 7x I2C, SPI
- 8x PWM
- Power Supply – 5V DC
- Dimensions – 55 x 40mm
Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, and Debian operating systems are listed for the Mars Compute Module (Mars CM). I could not find documentation for the Mars CM, but it should be mostly software-compatible with the earlier Mars SBC that roughly follows the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B form factor, and whose wiki has plenty of details.
Note the Raspberry Pi CM4-compatible system-on-modules on the market are obviously not software-compatible with the CM4, but mechanically and partially electrically compatible with it. For instance, all alternatives I’ve seen so far lack the second HDMI port. The RISC-V Raspberry Pi CM4 alternative has been tested successfully on the official CM4 IO board.
While a lot of software development work has been done since I tested Debian 12 on StarFive VisionFive 2 SBC, also based on JH7110, earlier this year, RISC-V software support for Linux is still in work in progress, so depending on the target application it may not be production ready.
The Mars CM can be pre-ordered on Arace for $34 with 2GB RAM and 8GB eMMC flash, $49 in 4GB/16GB configuration, and $79 for the 8GB/32GB model. Those are without a wireless module which adds $5. Deliveries are expected to start at the end of September.
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.