The first CPU-powered laptop using the RISC-V architecture is up for pre-order. The laptop “rom” is the result of a collaboration between the Chinese DeepComputing and Xcalibyte. It should start shipping around the end of Q4 2022.
For now, it appears to be aimed at developers looking to build and test software on a native RISC-V computer, but it could pave the way for future laptops (and other devices) designed for the general public.
At the heart of the Roma computer is a system-on-module (SOM) with a “Unexpectedly” Quad-core RISC-V processor that is both GPU and NPU for hardware accelerated graphics and AI.
The companies plan to offer a choice of 12nm (Pro) or 28nm (Standard) chips at launch, but the SOM is removable and upgradable, allowing users to switch between them or perhaps even to upgrade to a higher performance processor in the future.
In fact, Xcalibyte claims that the developer-centric PC “comes with free RISC-V SoC and SOM upgrades as well as early access to all new laptop and accessory upgrades. generation, as well as a generous discount”.
Other laptop specs include support for up to 16GB of LPDDR4/LPDDR4X memory, up to 256GB of storage, and an ARM SC3000 secure enclave. The companies claim the computer supports “most Linux variants.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about a RISC-V laptop. last month CNX software reported that Chinese RISC-V chip designer StarFive asked people to complete a survey about their interest in RISC-V laptops, mini-PCs or single-board computers. It is unclear if this project is related to the Roma computer or if the new laptop from DeepComputing and Xcalibyte is a separate project.
According to the laptop announcement, the Roma computer was designed with the support of RISC-V Internationaland Linux news site Phoronix says they were first told about the new laptop by a contact at RISC-V International, giving the project some credibility.
It is said to be only available in limited quantities at launch. Those interested in pre-ordering can express their interest at Rome website.
Update: This article originally suggested that the laptop would only be available in China. But a PR contact contacted me to let me know that it will be shipped to customers in other countries as well.