Meles RISC-V credit card-sized SBC is powered by T-Head TH1520 quad-core SoC

Shenzhen Milk-V Technology’s Meles SBC (single board computer) is powered by a T-Head TH1520 quad-core RISC-V processor and offered in a credit card form factor similar to the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B layout.

The board is quite more powerful with a 2.0 GHz quad-core SoC equipped with a modern GPU, a 4K capable video encoder and decoder, and a 4 TOPS NPU. The board also features gigabit Ethernet, a WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2 module, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 video output, MIPI CSI and DSI interfaces, and a 40-pin GPIO header.

Meles credit card-sized RISC-V SBC

Meles specifications:

  • SoC – Alibaba T-Head TH1520
    • CPU
      • Quad-core RISC-V Xuantie C910 (RV64GCV – Vector Extension version 0.7) processor up to 2.0 GHz
      • Low-power Xuantie E902 core
    • GPU – Imagination BXM-4-64 GPU with support for OpenGL ES3.0/3.1/3.2, OpenCL 1.1/1.2/2.0, Vulkan 1.1/1.2; 50.7GFLOPS
    • DSP – Xuantie C906 audio DSP @ 800 MHz
    • VPU
      • Video Decoder
        • H.265, H.264, VP9, AVS2.0 up to 4Kp75
        • VP8/7/6, AVS+, VC1, MPEG4 up to 1080p60
      • Video Encoder –  H.264 and H.265 up to 4K @ 40 FPS
    • AI accelerator – 4 TOPS NPU
  • System Memory – 8GB or 16GB LPDDR4x @ 4266MT/s
  • Storage
    • MicroSD card slot
    • eMMC flash socket
    • SPI flash
  • Video Output
    • HDMI 2.0 up to 4K @ 60Hz
    • 4-lane MIPI DSI with touchscreen support
  • Camera I/F
    • 4-lane MIPI CSI connector
    • 2-lane MIPI CSI connector
  • Audio
    • 3.5mm audio output jack
    • Digital audio via HDMI
    • I2S audio input and output via 40-pin GPIO header
  • Networking
    • Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port
    • On-board Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2 module (Ampak AP6256) with ceramic antenna and external antenna connector
  • USB
    • 4x USB 3.0 host ports
    • USB 2.0 Type-C device port
  • Expansion – 40-pin (mostly) Raspberry Pi-compatible GPIO header with up to 3x UART, 2x I2C, 1x SPI, 1x I2S,1x ADC, 8x GPIO, C910 debug port
  • Debugging – JTAG connector
  • Misc
    • Reset and Recovery buttons
    • Bootmode button for eMMC / SPI flash boot selection
    • Power and user LEDs
    • 2-pin fan connector
  • Power Supply
    • 5V / 4A DC in via Type-C port
    • PoE with add-on board connected through 4-pin header
  • Dimensions – 85×56 mm
RISC-V SBC eMMC flash module microSD card slot JTAG
eMMC flash module connector, microSD card slot, and JTAG connector can be found on the bottom of the board (right side on photo)
Meles pinout diagram
Meles pinout diagram

The board runs the Debian-based Meles RevyOS with LXDE desktop environment and is said to support audio, video, Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, AI, and other features well on the Meles RISC-V SBC. The company provides a binary file, but you can also build the image from source by following the instructions on GitHub. Note that RISC-V SBCs are still mostly developer kits as we’ve seen with the Lichee Pi 4A console running Debian last January, and Canonical only provides a Ubuntu 24.04 server for the Mars SBC.

It’s the second RISC-V SBC in credit card form factor from Shenzhen Milk-V Technology as the Mars SBC offers similar features but is based on the StarFive JH7110 quad-core SoC instead and is much cheaper. The Meles SBC provides many of the same features as the Sipeed LicheePi 4A, but in a smaller factor since the latter relies on a carrier board + SoM design.

TH1520 Raspberry Pi SBC

The Meles credit card-sized RISC-V can be purchased on Arace for $80 and up. But that’s provided there’s stock as most boards sold on Arace… Two variants are listed (and out of stock at the time of writing:  one with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB eMMC module and the other with 16GB of RAM. More details may be found on the product page.

Thanks to Mark for the tip.

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12 Comments
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willmore
willmore
1 month ago

Thanks for posting the Vector Extension version the core supports. I’ve decided not to buy any more cores without final 1.0 support, so that’s something I’d have had to look up.

RK
RK
1 month ago

https://www.cnx-software.com/2024/05/10/banana-pi-bpi-f3-sbc-spacemit-k1-octa-core-risc-v-ai-soc/ already available.

There’s also the Milk-V Oasis with the SG2380 that’s ETA this year.

mark
mark
1 month ago
  RK

Thank you for mentioning the BananaPi F3.

There was a comment on the end of that article, which suggested that there was a software issue. I’ve been looking for the opportunity to ask if it has been resolved? (OR to ask if CNX is keeping its eyes peeled for a resolution)

TIA

Sander
Sander
28 days ago

Indeed: RVV 0.7 in 2024. Pity. My Banana Pi has RVV 1.0, for 90 Euro (although 4GB RAM).

Ray Knight
Ray Knight
1 month ago

This board is a bargain compared to the Beagleboard BeagleV®-Ahead which uses the same T-Head TH1520 SOC, but only comes with 4GB RAM and 16GB eMMC for $149. The Beagleboard also lacks the USB 3.0 ports.

Vlad
Vlad
1 month ago

What is better, this or the RPI-5, since they are the same price

Upgrade pi-top [3]
Upgrade pi-top [3]
1 month ago

It’s also worth considering specifically for those who want to use a RISC-V SBC in a RPi3B+ specific case that they already have.

Armisis
Armisis
1 month ago

My meles just shipped can’t wait to try it out!

Willy
1 month ago

Probably the first really decent RISC-V dev board at a decent price (VF2 was dog slow). Too bad it’s still on RVV 0.7 but that’s due to the TH1520 chip itself, which apparently beyond this is not bad.

jack
jack
1 month ago

4A…

Willy
1 month ago

I guess this is due to the 4 USB3 ports. You can’t imagine draining 20W on such an area anyway, or the SoC will be red hot 🙂

Khadas VIM4 SBC