The Chinese company StarFive sells the VisionFive 2 via Kickstarter. The 4 GB version for around 78 euros is to be delivered from November.
The StarFive JH7110 is the first affordable RISC-V chip that can compete with a Raspberry Pi processor in terms of paper form. The StarFive VisionFive 2 developer board is equipped with the JH7110, and the first units with 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM are scheduled to be delivered in November.
The StarFive JH7110 is significantly more powerful than its predecessor JH7100 and has a GPU from Imagination Technology. According to StarFive, the Imgtec BXE-4-32 graphics processor delivers significantly more 3D performance than the VideoCore GPU of the Raspberry Pi 4 SoC Broadcom BCM2711.
The four SiFive U74 RV64GC cores, on the other hand, are said to be only slightly weaker than the four ARM Cortex-A72 cores in the Raspi 4.
StarFive already sells the more expensive VisionFive V1 board with the weaker JH7100. Now StarFive has launched a Kickstarter campaign to sell the VisionFive 2.
Originally, BeagleBoard.org had planned to release a similar board with the JH7100 and later probably also with the JH7110. However, these plans were canceled and the BeagleV became the StarFive VisionFive V1. There is already an adapted Ubuntu version for this. For the VisionFive 2, however, StarFive currently recommends Fedora or Debian.
The StarFive VisionFive V1 is available with either 2, 4 or 8 GB of LPDDR4 RAM; However, StarFive will not deliver the versions with 2 or 8 GB until February 2023. Regular prices excluding sales tax and shipping are $55, $65, or $85.
Unlike the Raspi, there is no WLAN or Bluetooth adapter on board; but it can be retrofitted via USB or in the M.2 slot on the underside of the board. StarFive has not yet revealed exactly how the M.2 socket is wired.
The board has two Gigabit Ethernet sockets; in the first Kickstarter series “Super Early Bird”, however, one of them only masters Fast Ethernet.
Otherwise there are four USB-A sockets, two each with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 (aka USB 3.2 Gen 1). A USB-C socket is used for power supply with 5 volts; the power pack should be loadable with 3 amps. A jack socket provides analogue stereo audio signals.
The HDMI socket should connect displays up to 4K resolution, then with a maximum of 30 Hertz. For camera and display modules there are connections according to MIPI CSI and DSI. Several video decoders and encoders are built into the graphics processor, for example for H.264 and H.265. It is unclear what the Linux drivers required for this will look like. However, Imagination is working on open GPU drivers.