World’s first Linux-capable RISC-V development board benefits from expansion that adds PCIe, M.2 SSD, SATA, HDMI, a 300K element PolarFire FPGA, and more.

Launched back in February at FOSDEM the HiFive Unleashed RISC-V development board boasts a 64-bit Freedom U540 SoC with features that include a 4+1 Multi-Core Coherent Configuration (up to 1.5 GHz), implemented in TSMC 28nm process. The development board also has 8GB DDR4 RAM, a USB UART for console, gigabit Ethernet, Micro SD storage, and FMC expansion.

Previously if you wanted to add PCIe peripherals — which also includes USB devices via a PCIe/USB adapter — it was necessary to use a Xilinx VC707 FPGA development board plus FMC PCIe Root module at a combined cost approaching $5,000. However, this has now dropped to $1,999 thanks to a custom expansion board from MicroSemi announced earlier this week.

The HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board features include:

  • 300K logic element, low power PolarFire FPGA
  • 24 lane PCIe Switch
  • x1 PCI Express card connector
  • x16 PCI Express card connector with four lanes of PCIe gen2 connected
  • SSD M.2 connector
  • SATA connector
  • HDMI connector
  • eMMC Nand Flash
  • uSD card slot
  • USB to UART bridges
  • 4 Gbit DDR4 x16
  • SPI Flash for remote FPGA updates, QSPI Flash connected to GPIO
  • Two CAN transceivers

The $1,999 price also includes a free one year Libero Gold License, which is required if you want to synthesize your own FPGA designs. At the time of writing a bitstream is provided that enables a PCIe Root Complex, although it is stated that in future the kit will be opened up to custom solutions, such as implementing your own application-specific hardware accelerators, for example.

Limited expansion boards and bundles that include a HiFive Unleashed are being made available via Crowd Supply and orders placed now are scheduled to ship at the end of the month.