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Upcoming RISC-V laptop promises free silicon upgrades

Upcoming RISC-V laptop promises free silicon upgrades

The world’s first laptop to use the open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) is expected to begin shipping in September.

The Roma laptop is available for pre-order on Xcalibyte’s website, but the site only takes information from interested parties without providing many details or pricing. The laptop will begin shipping in September, according to spokespersons from Xcalibyte, which performed system tuning for the laptop; a company called DeepComputing, which designed the laptop; and RISC-V International in a Friday report from The Register.

According to the announcement from DeepComputing (which shares the same CEO with Xcalibyte, The Register reported), Roma is using an unspecified quad-core processor with a 28nm or, for the “pro” version, 12nm node in a system. on -module (SoM). There’s also an Arm SecurCore SC300 security enclave processor, an unnamed GPU and neural processing unit, and a feature accelerator.

The system-on-chip motherboard is also supposed to be user-upgradeable. DeepComputing’s announcement indicates that owners of a Roma will have free access to SoC and SoM upgrades.

“The Roma platform will benefit developers who want to test their software natively on RISC-V, and it should be easy to transfer code developed on this platform to embedded systems,” said Mark Himelstein, CTO of RISC-V International, in RISC. -V International’s blog on Friday.

RISC-V processors are generally less powerful than the more common x86-64 or Arm chips, but they have more open intellectual property, so it’s easier for anyone to create RISC-V processors. We’ve seen RISC-V adopted in products like the BeagleBoard V single-board computer, embedded processors and development kits, and for enterprise workloads like high-performance computing. But the Roma is the first RISC-V product announced in laptop form.

“This design is a crucial bridge between development boards and the RISC-V-based professional laptops that will be used for everyday work,” said Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International, on the organization’s blog. non-profit.

Beyond its RISC-V heritage, the Roma comes with up to 16GB of LPDDR4x memory and 256GB of storage. It also supports “most” versions of Linux, according to DeepComputing.

The laptop also has a dubious focus on NFTs, promising 100 of them in early pre-orders, claiming to be “Web3 friendly” and, according to the RISC-V International blog, partnering with companies like LatticeX.Foundation for NFTs and proof-of-stake blockchain.

While RISC-V ISA-based PCs are far from mainstream, the Roma represents a small step towards options beyond x86 and Arm. SiFive, which licenses RISC-V-based processor designs, showed off microcontrollers that could lead to support for phones and laptops. And in March, the company told The Register that its customers could launch RISC-V SoCs for PC by 2025.

This article has been updated to include information on Roma’s NFT links.

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