Milk-V Unveils RISC-V Raspberry Pi Alternative: Milk-V Mars

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

Just last week, Milk-V announced a trio of RISC-V powered machines, but one had very little information. But now Milk-V has announced its Raspberry Pi alternative SBC: the Milk-V Mars.

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Milk-V Mars Technical Specifications
SoCStartFive JH7110 64bit SoC with Quad-Core RV64GC at up to 1.5 GHz
RAM1/2/4/8 LPDDR4
StorageeMMC Slot, micro SD
Ports1 x HDMI, 1 x MIPI DSI (2-lane), 1 x MIPI DSI (4-lane)
Row 4 - Cell 0 Camera via MIPI CSI (2-lane)
Row 5 - Cell 0 Gigabit Ethernet (PoE)
Row 6 - Cell 0 3 x USB 3, 1 x USB 2
Row 7 - Cell 0 1 x M.2 E-Key
PowerUSB C 5V 3A minimum
Row 10 - Cell 0 GPIO power input
Row 11 - Cell 0 Power over Ethernet
Dimensions85 x 56 mm

Milk-V Mars SBC

(Image credit: Milk-V /

Taking the board at face value and we can see that it apes the Raspberry Pi 3B form factor. The USB ports and Ethernet are in the correct place for a pre-Raspberry Pi 4 board, but we only have a single, full size HDMI port. Power is provided via USB C, something that is shared with the Raspberry Pi 4 and many of the newer SBCs such as the Khadas VIM4 and Khadas Edge 2 Pro. But power can also be provided using PoE, we're not sure if this is via a four pin header next to the GPIO, or directly into the Ethernet jack. The Raspberry Pi 3B+ and 4 both use a PoE header and Poe HAT (which is on our list of best Raspberry Pi HATs). Three USB 3.0 ports and a single USB 2.0 is an odd configuration when we consider that the ports are typically soldered as dual units, for example the Raspberry Pi 4 has two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports in separate stacks. 

The StarFive JH7110 SoC has, at its heart, a powerful 64-bit RISC-V based quad-core CPU running at up to 1.5 GHz. The supporting LPDDR4 RAM choices (1/2/4/8) are the same as those used on the Raspberry Pi 4. It looks like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is an optional extra, evidenced by an M.2 E key slot for compatible modules. MIPI DSI and CSI connectors suggest that we could connect the official Raspberry Pi display and camera, but this remains to be seen. 

Sharing the same layout as the Raspberry Pi 3B means that the Milk-V Mars should work with many Raspberry Pi cases — but without having one to test, we cannot confirm this. The 40 pin GPIO provides us with the hope of compatibility with HATs. This may be the case, but often a mix of software support and pin conflicts means that we are left wanting.

The price of the Milk-V Mars remains a mystery, but as this is the middle board of the trio ($9 Milk-V Duo and the top-tier 64-core Milk-V Pioneer which has not yet revealed its price) and because of its four memory configurations, we should expect anything between $40 and $100. But take that with a pinch of salt.

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".