Enter Tinker: Asus pulls out RISC-V board it hopes trumps Raspberry PI
Chances its Arm that maker community is looking for a fresh SBC
Asus has unveiled a RISC-V model in its range of Tinker Board single board computer (SBC) systems, which up until now have all been Arm-based. However, it seems users should not expect too much in the way of performance from this first device.
The Tinker Board has been around since 2017 as Asus’ answer to the Raspberry Pi, even keeping the same form factor and GPIO pinout in some models. Like the Pi, they have been based on various Arm-based system-on-chip (SoC) hardware.
Announced this week, the Tinker V is powered by a 64-bit RISC-V chip and aimed at embedded and IoT applications, but like other Tinker Boards and the Raspberry PI, is likely to find its way into the hands of makers and enthusiasts as well.
According to Asus, Tinker V “provides impressive power, comprehensive functionality and rich connectivity, making it the perfect choice for a diverse range of industrial IoT applications”.
However, it is based on a 1GHz Renesas RZ/Five chip, which has just a single CPU core, the AX45MP designed by Andes Technology, whereas most rival products sport multiple processor cores.
Tinker V also features 1GB of DDR4 memory and an optional 16GB eMMC SSD, plus a range of I/O including GPIO ports on a 20 pin header, micro-USB, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, a pair of CAN bus interfaces and two RS232 ports, all on a Pico-ITX board.
As befits its intended purpose as an IoT platform, the system supports Yocto Linux as well as the Debian distribution, Asus said. It also lacks a display output, unlike many other Tinker Board models. Full specifications for Tinker V can be found here.
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Asus said it is offering at least five years of support for Tinker V, plus dedicated on-site technical support is also available to shorten customer development cycles and accelerate application deployment.
The move shows that the RISC-V open-source instruction set architecture continues to garner support. The last RISC-V Summit in San Jose saw the launch of a family of datacenter-class processors based on the architecture from Ventana Micro Systems, while XMOS unveiled new high-performance microcontrollers using RISC-V.
According to Asus, Tinker V samples will be available in Q2 of this year, but it did not disclose a date for full availability or pricing. ®