$20+ NanoKVM is a tiny low-power RISC-V KVM over IP solution

Sipeed NanoKVM is a tiny KVM over IP solution based on the Lichee RVNano RISC-V microcontroller board that offers most of the features provided by the popular Raspberry Pi 4-based PiKVM solution allowing users to fully remote control a host such as a computer, server, or SBC down to the BIOS level and power on/off.

Two variants are available, namely the NanoKVM Lite and NanoKVM Full. Both support up to 1080p60 displays, virtual USB keyboard and mouse, USB storage emulation, Ethernet with Wake-on-LAN, and IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface) through serial interfaces, but the Full version also adds a resin enclosure, 0.96-inch information display, ATX power control through USB-C port, a microSD card with the firmware, and optional WiFi or PoE support

NanoKVM Tiny RISC-V KVM

Sipeed NanoKVM specifications:

  • SBC – Sipeed RVNano
    • SoC – SOPHGO SG2002
      • Main core – 1GHz 64-bit RISC-V C906 or Arm Cortex-A53 core (the latter is likely not used here)
      • Minor core – 700MHz 64-bit RISC-V C906 core
      • Low-power core – 25 to 300MHz 8051 MCU core
      • NPU – 1 TOPS INT8, supports BF16
      • Integrated 256MB DDR3 (SiP)
    • Storage – MicroSD card slot
    • Networking – 10/100M Ethernet RJ45 port
    • USB – USB Type-C port for connection to PC for keyboard/mouse emulation
    • Misc – Power and Reset buttons
    • Power Supply – 5V via USB-C port
  • Video Input – HDMI input up to 1080p60 via MIPI CSI to HDMI adapter board (work-in-progress for MJPEG/H.264 video encoding)
  • Top plate (Full version)
    • 0.96-inch OLED display
    • Easily accessible Power and Reset buttons
    • 5V and PWR (for the host) LEDs
  • Power Control (Full version)
    • USB-AUX USB Type-C port for an additional 5V power adapter to be able to power the host machine when it is off
    • ATX-Power USB Type-C port to control the host machine’s power button and reset button, and read the power LED status using the provided NanoKVM-B (aka ATX-B) board
  • Power Consumption – 0.2A @ 5V
  • Dimensions
    • Lite version – 37 x 23 x 15 mm (board only)
    • Full version – 40 x 36 x 36 mm (enclosure)
NanoKVM Lite
NanoKVM Lite
NanoKVM Full
NanoKVM Full
NanoKVM-B board power control
NanoKVM-B board connection to PC for power control

Compared to the latest PiKVM v4, the NanoKVM Full is much smaller, consumes a fraction of the power, has a fanless design, and costs much less. The lag is similar but still in favor of the PiKVM v4 (100 to 160ms vs 100 vs 140ms), ATX power control is done through an Ethernet port on the PiKVM, while it’s done through a USB port on the NanoKVM as shown above, and 4G LTE connectivity is an option that’s not available on Sipeed’s KVM over IP solution.

The wiki is only available in Chinese at the time of writing, but the English version should be up in the next few days, and the GitHub repo for the project provides English documentation and the binary for the closed-source NanoKVM firmware that runs from the microSD card.

NanoKVM Lite vs Full
NanoKVM Lite vs Full

Sipeed will usually launch its new products on Aliexpress. However, this time around the company decided to take pre-orders on its website with pricing for the NanoKVM Lite starting at $20 plus a $2 commission to PayPay and shipping, and the NanoKVM Full is sold for $43 ($40 plus a $3 commission). The NanoKVM will also become available on Sipeed’s Aliexpress store but only at the end of July. Needless to say, that’s the cheapest KVM over IP solution I’ve seen so far.

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22 Comments
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Anders Einar Hilden
7 days ago

If i understand correctly “ATX power control can be done through Ethernet on the PiKVM, while it’s done through USB on the NanoKVM” – What you mean is that on the PiKVM the ATX-daughter board is connected through a RJ45-terminated cable, while the NanoKVM uses a USB(A/C?) terminated cable? But neither uses the ethernet or USB protocols?

Tim
Tim
7 days ago

Be aware that this is another network security hole.

Alex Star
7 days ago

Indeed, especially for a product made in China where government will use all their powers to obtain remote control over PCs in EU/US/UK/AU/NZ/CA for massive cyber attacks and hacking.

Karl
Karl
7 days ago

Was thinking the same thing once I saw closed source

evadim
evadim
6 days ago

You mean, second after the Intel ME inside every intel CPU?

Anyway, almost any IPMI solution know to be one big security hole, so nobody open them to the internet anyway – hide to management VLAN and that’s all.

tkaiser
tkaiser
6 days ago

It’s really fascinating how some of these people who used whatever crappy iKVM device w/o knowing anything about the internals (fully closed source) get in alert mode once the ‘CHINA’ label is applied.

There’s even this guy you replied to mentioning ‘EU/US/UK/AU/NZ/CA’ which funnily when you delete ‘EU/’ from the string ends up with the so called ‘Five Eyes’ trying to spy on every person on this planet.

Alex Star
7 days ago

If someone can trust “the binary for the closed-source NanoKVM firmware that runs from the microSD card”, I have bad news: from that moment PRC communist party has full control of your PCs for free (you even paid for that).

Joe
Joe
7 days ago

How is that any different from Raspberry PI?

Sander
Sander
7 days ago

Stupid question: how does this ethernet-KVM “Keyboard, Video (monitor), Mouse.” work?

  1. conect just one KVM to your remote PC, and from your laptop use software (which?) to access & control the remote PC via the ethernet-KVM?
  2. or connect one KVM to your remote PC, and one KVM to your local keyboard/video/mouse.
Anders Einar Hilden
7 days ago

“over IP” can mean a lot, but since it compares itself to the PiKVM: you connect the KVM to the machine to be controlled, and the KVM serves a interface with a video stream, controls etc. over HTTP (thus the ethernet)

Sander
Sander
7 days ago

thanks!

Sander
Sander
7 days ago

Thanks. From PIKVM page: “Extra lightweight Web UI and VNC
No weird proprietary clients. No ugly applets. Just use your favorite browser to connect to the PiKVM. No flash plugins either! Ah, and VNC is also supported.”

Cool.

Rogan Dawes
Rogan Dawes
7 days ago

There’s a fair chance that the PiKVM firmware might run on this hardware (would require some additional dev to support the ATX breakout board, most likely, and the mini display). From what I saw, the main hardware interfaces are straightforward – Linux USB Gadget for the HID and Mass Storage, and V4L for the HDMI capture device. Anything that can interface with those should just work.

zepan
zepan
7 days ago

commission means 5%+fixed fee for paypay.

tkaiser
tkaiser
7 days ago

Will it be possible to build own KVM firmware images starting from https://github.com/sipeed/LicheeRV-Nano-Build without any BLOBs?

Vall
Vall
6 days ago

Yeah, no way I’m buying anything like this closed source, much less from China — it’s basically a guaranteed “PCC inside”… too bad because the price and etc are all very nice.

Looking forward to future reverse-engineering/porting efforts that would solve this.

tkaiser
tkaiser
6 days ago

> much less from China — it’s basically a guaranteed “PCC inside”

OMG! Brain damaged by too much propaganda? What does “PCC” mean?

Sander
Sander
6 days ago

maybe PCC = Parti Communiste Chinois, so French spelling?

frostwork
frostwork
6 days ago

thank you for the article!
I opened an issue on the github project yesterday asking for plans to open source the firmware.

you can find it here if interested:

https://github.com/sipeed/NanoKVM/issues/1

T1an
T1an
5 days ago

Nice price point. Very interesting… The pikvm prices are ridiculous.

Just put this on a isolated vlan and log all it’s call home.

Khadas VIM4 SBC