Another RISC-V development system has become available — this time with an Allwinner D1s processor on board in a package designed to teach programming. The DongshanPI-D1s, brought to our attention by CNX-Software (opens in new tab), is for sale with its carrier board on AliExpress (opens in new tab) for less than $20 or maybe less with an AliExpress promo code.
Compared to something like a Raspberry Pi 4 (opens in new tab), the 100ask-designed DongshanPI-D1s is a little light in the specs department — but it’s also much smaller and cheaper. The Allwinner D1s features a single XuanTie C906 64-bit RISC-V core clocked at 1GHz, with just 64MB of DDR2 RAM. There's also 16MB of flash storage and it's allegedly powerful enough to encode and decode 1080p video at 60fps (though the encoding appears to be limited to Motion JPEG).
The central board itself is the red bit on the image above, which plugs into a carrier board — no images are available of the core module without its carrier, so they may be soldered together. The carrier adds a Micro SD card slot and a pair of USB Type-Cs, both of which can apparently be used to power the device, but which function differently when not hooked up to the juice: one as an OTG port, the other for UART and CKLink debugging.
There are also three arrays of pins, all of them with 40 of the thin metal spines, but with slightly different uses. One supports display and audio interfaces, one is GPIO, USB, I2C, SPI, and TV in/out, while the third is GPIO, UART, and I2C. The latter pair are also compatible with Raspberry Pi power signaling. There's no mention of networking capabilities.
With its on-board RISC-V debugger, the board appears to be aimed at those interested in low-level programming of the open-source processor architecture, and data sheets (opens in new tab) are available from 100ask. Software support is limited to the Tina Linux SDK, but a crowdsourcing (opens in new tab) campaign is underway to provide greater software support and documentation — though at the moment it appears to only be in Chinese.