RIOS Laboratory is working on PicoRio development board with risc-v-soc

The RIOS Laboratory and Imagination Technologies are collaborating on a PicoRio development board. This single-board computer is based on risc-v, an open source instruction set architecture . The first version should be available in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The PicoRio is mainly intended for developers who want to port software to the risc-v- isa , the RIOS Laboratory reports . The sbc is inspired by the Raspberry Pi, but the company tries to use open source hardware as much as possible. At the same time, the company reports that some closed source components are still being used, including the memory and USB controllers. According to a presentation at the Risc-v Global Forum, which by Twitter user pdp7 published . The PicoRio is also said to be more efficient than the Raspberry Pi and will initially target devices that run on batteries.

As per the preliminary specs, the PicoRio will get its own risc-v-soc called Pygmy. This soc gets four 64bit cores with an expected speed of 500MHz or higher. The development board must also get an always-on 32bit core. The chip is made using a 28nm process from TSMC. Furthermore, the sbc would have 512KB l2 cache and an unknown amount of lpddr4 memory. The development board will also receive support for USB 3.0. There is no mention of a storage medium or video connections yet.

The single board computer will target the price segment of the Raspberry Pi. The PicoRio runs on the Linux kernel and has support for programming languages ​​such as JavaScript and WebAssembly. A first revision should be available in the fourth quarter of 2020. A second version with a PowerVR GPU from Imagination Technologies will follow later. In future variants, less closed source hardware should also be used.

Risc-v is an instruction set architecture originally developed by the Computer Science Division of the University of California. This isa is open source, allowing chip designers to integrate it into their chips free of charge. Other risc architectures, such as ARM’s, are licensed for a fee only.