Milk-V Reveals RISC-V Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 Compatible Board

Milk-V Mars CM
(Image credit: Milk-V /

Raspberry Pi alternative, Milk-V, has previously released three other single-board computers, many of which share more than a passing resemblance to our favorite single-board computer. One of the trio was the Milk-V Mars, a board that looks like a Raspberry Pi 3B+, albeit with a white PCB. Another Milk-V Mars board has dropped into the range, but this board, the Milk-V Mars CM, apes the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 form factor.

The show's star is the JH7110 SoC, specifically the RISC-V-based CPU. This is the same CPU as the Milk-V Mars. This quad-core CPU is capable of up to 1.5 GHz and is supported by between 2 and 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM.

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Milk-V Mars CM Technical Specifications
SoCStartFive JH7110 64bit SoC with Quad-Core RV64GC at up to 1.5 GHz
RAM2 / 4 / 8GB LPDDR4
Storage8 / 16 / 32GB eMMC
Row 3 - Cell 0 1x SDIO 2.0
Row 4 - Cell 0 1x Nor Flash for boot (16M)
Ports1 x HDMI, 1 x MIPI DSI (4-lane) via breakout
Row 6 - Cell 0 Camera via MIPI CSI (2-lane) via breakout
Row 7 - Cell 0 3 x USB 3, 1 x USB 2 via breakout
Row 8 - Cell 0 1x PCIe 1-lane Host, Gen 2 (5Gbps) via breakout
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2 via AP6256
Row 10 - Cell 0 Gigabit Ethernet (PoE) via breakout
GPIO40 pin GPIO via breakout
Dimensions55 x 40 mm

On the Milk-V product page, we can see an image that shows the Milk-V Mars CM connected to a Compute Module 4 IO board via 2 x 100-pin connectors, and this could mean that it is electrically compatible with breakout boards designed for the CM4.

The page also states "1x SDIO 2.0 (options to eMMC)" as a storage option but fails to clarify if that means there is a micro SD card slot or various eMMC capacities to choose from. If Milk-V is following the Raspberry Pi playbook, then there are most likely versions with eMMC and "lite" versions with micro SD. We need to go to a reseller to confirm the three models that will be available and their RAM/storage configurations.

We can confirm from the official product page that the Milk-V Mars CM has an onboard Gigabit Ethernet IC; of course, this can only be used with an IO board. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are provided via an AP6256 IC. This chip connects to the SoC via SPI and provides Wi-Fi 802.11ac/a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 5.2 in one handy package. Unlike the Compute Module 4, which uses an on-chip antenna, an external antenna connection is required.

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Milk-V Mars CM Configurations
RAMeMMC StoragePrice

We need a breakout board to use the Milk-V Mars CM. The official Raspberry Pi CM4 IO board seems compatible and can connect to HDMI, Ethernet, micro SD, and PCIe. It also provides access to the GPIO. We have a 40-pin GPIO (6 x UART, 8 x PWM, 7 x I2C, SPI and I2S). Are these GPIO pins compatible with the best Raspberry Pi HATs? We do not know. Electrically, they may be consistent, but software support may be a dealbreaker.

The Milk-V Mars CM is currently on pre-sale, with units expected to ship from September 30.

Les Pounder

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".