With global stocks of Raspberry Pi not being so plentiful, Raspberry Pi alternatives are becoming more and more attractive to makers. StarFive’s VisionFive 2 RISC-V SBC that crowdfunded over the summer is finally available to preorder in several configurations depending on what your networking needs are, with plenty of Linux support.
The board (opens in new tab) is an upgrade from the VisionFive 1 (opens in new tab) . VisionFive2 is built around SiFive’s U74 quad-core 64bit RV64GC running at 1.5Ghz. It’s almost the same chip as in the VisionFive 1, but that was a dual-core version. There's a choice of RAM - 2, 4 or 8GB of LPDDR4 - and an Imagination Technologies (opens in new tab) GPU that supports OpenGL, OpenCL and Vulkan. The VisionFive 1 was fixed at 8GB of RAM, and didn’t have a GPU.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||VisionFive2||VisionFive||Raspberry Pi 4|
|SoC||StarFive JH7110 6-bit Soc with RV64GC Quad-Core @1.5 GHz||SiFive U74 RISC-V 1.5 GHz Dual-Core||Broadcom BCM2711 Quad-Core Arm Cortex A72 @ 1.8 GHz|
|RAM||LPDDR4 2/4/8GB||LPDDR4 8GB||LPDDR4 1/2/4/8GB|
|Storage||Micro SD||Micro SD||Micro SD|
|Row 4 - Cell 0||eMMC socket||Row 4 - Cell 2||Row 4 - Cell 3|
|GPIO||40 pin||40 pin||40 pin|
|Connectivity||2 x Gigabit Ethernet||1 x Gigabit Ethernet||1 x Gigabit Ethernet|
|Row 7 - Cell 0||2 x USB 2.0 2 x USB 3.0||4 x USB 3.0||2 x USB 2.0 2 x USB 3.0|
|Row 8 - Cell 0||M.2 M Key||Row 8 - Cell 2||Row 8 - Cell 3|
|Power||USB-C PD 5V up to 30W||USB-C||USB-C|
|Dimensions||100 x 72mm||100 x 72mm||85 x 56mm|
Thanks to that video processor, VisionFive 2’s visual outputs are more useful than its predecessor, which was stuck at 1080p. The VisionFive 2 can output 4K over its HDMI port, and can decode video at the same resolution in either H264 or H265. There's a MIPI display output too, which can do 2K at 30FPS. Storage comes via an eMMC socket, or a micro SD card.
There's no built-in wireless networking on the VisionFive 2, but you can slot in a Wi-Fi / Bluetooth M.2 networking module. Ethernet fans can specify a board with either one or two ports, one gigabit, the other 10/100 - though a dual-gigabit version has also been promised. There's a pair of USB 3.0 ports for further expansion, plus some 2.0 sockets for a mouse and keyboard, and you can connect cameras via MIPI CSI. The board measures 100 x 72mm (3.9in x 2.8in) and comes with a 5V USB-C power adapter. A 40-pin GPIO header can be seen sprouting from the PCB too.
Linux support for RISC-V boards continues to expand. The original VisionFive launched with just Fedora support, but the VisionFive 2 has that and Debian at launch, with Ubuntu and openSUSE to come, according to the Kickstarter.
The VisionFive 2 is available for pre-order now, starting at $65, from stores including AmeriDroid and Allnet China. Delivery is expected in December this year for some variants, and February 2023 for others.