Pine64, the single board computer manufacturer known for their range of open-source-supporting phones, laptops, smartwatches, and, of course, SBCs, has recently revealed that they are working on a new RISC-V powered computer.

This isn’t the first time Pine64 has dabbled in the realm of RISC-V; the Pinecil soldering iron and the Pinecone IoT board are both powered by RISC-V. However, this offering promises to be different, with desktop-class performance.

What To Expect?

As Pine64 pointed out in their announcement, some details haven’t been finalized yet, and they haven’t revealed everything yet. However, this is what we do know now:

  • Similar performance to the Quartz64
  • 133mm x 80mm footprint
  • 4 or 8 GB RAM
  • USB 3.0
  • Open PCIe slot
  • One or two Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Vulkan 1.2 and OpenGL 1.1/2.0/3.x support

As you may have noticed, “similar performance to the Quartz64” is a little unambiguous. However, it does at least give us an indication of the performance.

Well, they aim for this to be an affordable option and a decently powerful one.

However, all this power is useless if there’s no IO for it to interact with. Fortunately, the board should have a similar layout to Pine64’s other boards, so at least have a general idea of the I/O.

If it is anything like the Quartz 64, I expect three to four USB ports, one or two of which will be USB 3.0. Additionally, there should be one HDMI connector, as well as a MIPI-DSI interface. In terms of PCIe, there is going to be an open slot on the board. In line with previous boards, this is likely to be a PCIe 2.0 1x slot, opening up possibilities for NVMe SSDs and other PC expansion cards.

Overall, I expect this board to be quite powerful for an SBC, and especially a RISC-V-powered one. It should be an interesting one for sure!

How Much Does It Cost?

With most new and niche technologies, generally comes a higher price tag. Fortunately, this does not appear to be the case with this new SBC, as Pine64 has confirmed a general price range.

The board will premiere in our signature model-A form factor, feature CPU performance which falls somewhere in the neighbourhood of the Quartz64, offer plenty of IO, and sport a price-tag similar to that of the Quartz64.

Considering that the Quartz64 has a price tag of 60 USD for the 4 GB model, I expect a price somewhere in the range of $70 – $80 for the 4 GB, and $90 – $100 for the 8 GB model.

This is all around the same price as the equivalent Raspberry Pi’s, while offering more features and an exciting new architecture.

A Riddle for the Name

In signature Pine64 style, we don’t yet know what it will be called. However, they have left us a riddle:

Victoria Line Station

I sing, act and dance

celebrated by them all

I never climb my stage

but I sometimes fall

In the sea I dwell

and in every magic book 

By heaven!

adding 64 is all it took

On my stage I shine

and when I feel truly blue

then there’s nothing

This is the final clue

Although I am still clueless as to what it means, there are a few hints. First, they are likely to continue naming their SBCs after certain natural materials. Think pine64, Rock64, Quartz64. When combined with the information provided in the riddle, I’m sure someone will be able to guess it correctly. And, that person is promised to get the first board off the production line for free!

If you want to have a crack, all you need to do is post your guess on the Pine64 announcement page’s comments.

Overall, I’m really excited to see what this board is going to turn out like, and I’m optimistic about its performance. I’ll be sure to grab one as soon as they’re available!

Jacob Crume

I am a Robotics Student in New Zealand that loves to tinker. In my spare time, I love firing up virtual machines and trying out new distros, as well as customizing my setup to maximize my productivity.