Pine64 Unveil Star64 RISC-V Raspberry Pi Alternative

The Star64 board layout
(Image credit: Pine64)

A little while ago we reported on noted SBC manufacturer Pine64 teasing a new board. This new board is based on the popular RISC-V architecture rather than the company’s usual Arm chips. The new board’s name hadn’t yet been announced, but Pine64 published a riddle that, when solved, would reveal the name. It was all very exciting, and despite not actually solving the riddle, we predicted that the board’s name would end in 64.

Well we were right! The name of the board is Star64 (the riddle required knowledge of astronomy and the London Underground to get there) and thanks to Pine64’s July update post, we also now know the specs.

The Star 64 is comparable to the Quartz64 model A, apart from the presence of a StarFive JH7110 64bit RISC-V CPU. This chip features four SiFive FU740 1.5GHz cores and comes complete with a BXE-2-32 GPU from Imagination Technologies, and boards will be available with 4GB and 8GB of RAM. Standard features include  an open-ended PCIe port, USB 3.0 and GPIO, as well as two gigabit Ethernet ports. A cheaper version with only one Ethernet socket is expected to follow. 

The Star64 is in its final layout stage, with some testing still needed, but Pine64 reports that the “initial review has yielded some very positive results, partly because the SoC runs cool without the need for passive or active heat dissipation, even under load”. The post also notes that it will still be some time before the board is available at retail, but they’re working on it. The Star64 is the first board in a whole range of RIAC-V computing products from Pine64, so the company clearly wants to get it right.

Pine64’s other news includes a new version of the Pinecil temperature-controlled soldering iron, which itself uses a RISC-V processor, and may be available by the time you read this. Plus the shipping of the first batch of QuartzPro64 boards to developers. This board is powered by the eight-core RK3588 chipset, and should make a very interesting addition to the maker space when it becomes generally available.

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.