Sipeed Lichee Book 4A 14-inch modular Linux laptop launched with TH1520 quad-core RISC-V processor

We’ve just written about Deep Computing’s DC-ROMA RISC-V Laptop II, but Sipeed has just launched the Lichee Book 4A modular RISC-V laptop based on the quad-core Alibaba T-head TH1520 processor and running Debian Linux.

I was expecting the Lichee Book to launch with the SpacemIT K1 octa-core RISC-V processor, but Sipeed started with the time-tested TH1520 quad-core RISC-V processor coupled with up to 16GB RAM and 128GB eMMC flash and equipped with a 14-inch IPS display. In the future, we’ll get the Lichee Book 3A with the SpacemIT K1, and the Lichee Book 5A with an unnamed Cortex-A75-class RISC-V SoC with a 20 TOPS AI accelerator.

Sipeed Lichee Book 4A

Sipeed Lichee Book specifications:

  • 260-pin SO-DIMM system-on-module (SoM)
    • Sipeed LM3A – Upcoming module based on SpacemIT K1 octa-core RISC-V CPU (Cortex-A55 class) with 2 TOPS NPU
    • Sipeed LM4A
      • SoC – Alibaba T-Head TH1520
        • CPU
          • Quad-core RISC-V Xuantie C910 (RV64GCV – RVV 0.7) processor @ 1.85 GHz
          • Low-power Xuantie E902 core
        • DSP – Xuantie C906 audio DSP @ 800 MHz
        • 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
        • 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 RAM
      • Storage – 32GB or 128 GB eMMC flash
      • Networking – Up to 2x Gigabit Ethernet PHY
    • Sipeed LM5A – Upcoming module based on ESWIN EIC7700 quad-core SiFive P550 RISC-V CPU (Cortex-A75 class) with ~20 TOPS NPU
  • Storage
    • M.2 2280 PCIe socket for NVMe SSD
    • MicroSD card slot
  • Display – 14-inch 1920×1200 LCD
  • Video Output – mini HDMI port
  • Audio – Built-in MEMS microphone, built-in speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Camera – 0.3MP (VGA) webcam
  • Wireless Connectivity – WiFi 6 + Bluetooth 5.4
  • USB – USB 3.0 Type-A port, USB 3.0 Type-C port, USB 2.0 Type-A port
  • User input – 88-key round cap silent QWERTY keyboard and touchpad
  • Battery – 35Wh battery (4500 mAh @ 7.6V)
  • Dimensions – 314 x 217 x 17mm
  • Weight – 1.3Kg

Lichee Book RISC-V laptop ports

The Lichee Book 4A laptop is like a large brother of the Lichee Console 4A 7-inch terminal as both share the same motherboard and module. I reviewed the Lichee Console 4A earlier this year and found out that performance was somewhat disappointing (slightly lower than a Raspberry Pi 4) and there were still plenty of things to improve on the software front while running Debian 12. That may be why Sipeed says the platform is targeted at developers in the Wiki where most of the information about the RISC-V laptop is available:

Note: High-performance RISC-V consumer electronics are still in the early stages as of 2024. Lichee Book 4A is mainly aimed at RISC-V developers with at least proficient Linux operating experience, and ordinary consumers may not be able to use it directly. If you are an ordinary user without Linux experience, please do not purchase.

Note it’s not specific to Sipeed hardware, and if you are a regular user and purchase a RISC-V laptop in 2024 you’ll almost certainly be disappointed. Sipeed also ranks the TH1520 quad-core SoC as a faster processor than the SpacemIT K1 octa-core processor because of the different RISC-V core. As a modular platform, you’ll eventually be able to replace the system-on-module with a choice between the LM3A, LM4A, and LM5A modules.

Sipeed LM3A LM4A LM5A

The good news is that it’s relatively inexpensive to get a Lichee Book laptop with pricing starting at just $188 without the CPU module for people who already own a Lichee LM4A system-on-module. A complete laptop goes for $298.40 with 8GB RAM and a 32GB eMMC flash, or $348.80 with 16GB RAM and a 128GB eMMC flash on the same link. Aliexpress currently runs a summer sale, so you can also benefit from using the discount code USAFF40 for a $40 discount on orders over $269 (US only), or code SS40 for some other countries.

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9 Comments
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Richard Bennet
Richard Bennet
26 days ago

I cannot wait to see this Risc-v tech bloom! These are exciting times.

Orzel
Orzel
26 days ago

217€ from france, 20% tax included, and…. 129€ for delivery 🙁

urostor
urostor
26 days ago

This looks like a very nice testing platform for developers (so not me). The rise of RISC-V may mean the end of US/Canada/UK IP in processors. China is playing the long game.

mark
mark
26 days ago

Sipeed have been very smart with their board, in presenting it in various form factors.

And actually, this ought to be a capable enough processor to perform a wide variety of duties.

Mobile JAD
26 days ago

Am I reading the specs correctly that the laptop can come with two gigabit ethernet? I am honestly trying to remember the last time I have seen any laptop include two gigabit ethernet adapters built-in. Is that something you would only expect to see in a workstation class laptop?
Either way the price for laptop is really nice looking, even for the fully spec’d out model!

Mobile JAD
25 days ago

Bummer, oh well, still very completive pricing for the laptop, so it will stay on my list of things I’ll be interested in.

Yann
Yann
26 days ago

On the same subject, Framework just announced their RISC-V mainboard compatible with their FW13 casings. It will be done by DeepComputing too, more info here: https://frame.work/blog/introducing-a-new-risc-v-mainboard-from-deepcomputing

Khadas VIM4 SBC