RISC-V SoC and Snapdragon 8 Gain Mainstream Linux Compatibility

The RISC-V logo
(Image credit: RISC-V Foundation)

RISC-V is the latest processor architecture to be enshrined in the Linux kernel, with mainline support for the StarFive JH7100 SoC coming in kernel version 5.17. The news, as reported by Phoronix, comes at the same time as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip from Qualcomm also makes its Linux kernel debut.

The VisionFive V1 SBC

(Image credit: StarFive)

Support for the StarFive JH710 has been merged into the Linux 5.17 kernel, along with support for the prototype BeagleV Starlight which never went into mass production. 

In case you’re not familiar with the Chinese-developed StarFive JH7100, it’s a SoC with two U74 64bit cores running at 1.5 GHz. It doesn’t have a built-in 3D GPU, but does support 4K output over its HDMI port. It supports LPDDR3 and 4 (the VisionFive V1 board pictured above, for example, comes with 8GB of the latter), Gigabit Ethernet, built-in flash storage, SD cards, Wi-Fi, and various camera modules and LCD panels. Boards even come with a row of GPIO pins like a Raspberry Pi. Phoronix reports that the performance of the U74 is similar to an Arm Cortex A55, the successor to the Cortex A53 chip used in the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

"This SoC promises to be the first usable low-cost platform for RISC-V," reads the pull request that introduces the SoC’s support in Linux. It will be great to see cheap computers running the likes of Ubuntu or Debian, adding an open-source competitor to the X86 and Arm architectures.

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.