And now a real RISC-V laptop ... maybe

Phoronix is reporting the first production RISC-V laptop, (code?) named ROMA, with "a quad-core RISC-V CPU (although clock frequencies are not noted), a GPU/NPU accelerator [and reportedly other features], up to 16GB of LPDDR4/LPDDR4X RAM [and] up to 256GB of storage." This sounds great, except that I was seriously underwhelmed by the Allwinner D1 in the DevTerm R-01, so the lack of CPU specs is not encouraging. There are also two distinct process nodes for the System-on-Module, 12nm for Pro and 28nm for Normal, so there may be a wide gulf between configurations. On the other hand, it does prominently claim to be upgradable, possibly by swapping out the modules. Strangely, it advertises itself with an ARM SC300 secure enclave, which seems a bit odd as well.

The other thing that's not encouraging, which Phoronix correctly calls bulls**t on, is the proliferation of buzzwords (NFTs! Web3! AR! BINGO!) in the press release. You can register your interest and how many units you want, though I'm understandably not thrilled about signing up for a pre-order from an unknown potentially sketchy company. If actual product emerges, I'll try to get one, but right now this seems more like just another revolution of the RISC-V hype machine.


  1. I will never not take the opportunity to decry RISC-V as overhyped librewashed garbage until SiV stops jerking themselves off by sprinkling buzzwords like freedom with blobs mixed in like snow. I'm surprised they could come up with a use case for RV that would merit 16 GB of DDR4.

  2. For me, RISC-V's biggest oddity is that many of the chips aren't just RISC-V, they have a bunch of AI stuff crammed on the die as well. It's almost like they don't trust a world that has had an x86 addiction for decades to use an ISA as a 1:1 replacement, so they feel they need to bring all the buzzwords to the table. As long as we somehow manage to avoid the nightmare that is booting different ARM devices, that could already be a win. That being said, where's all the MicroWatt derived OpenPOWER chips? I want to respec my MNT Reform 2 and my ClockworkPi DevTerm!

    1. Well, libre-SoC is doing that, last I heard they manufactured a single chip so far at, uh, 180nm. Prototyping and all that, no reason not to cut costs for the proof of concept.

  3. I've taken a second look at it, and no. This laptop is just an outright scam. Like, it's so obviously fake that I'm surprised it's gotten as much press coverage as it has. Sure, RISC-V International released an article on it, but the article is so amateurish that it's genuinely making me lose any faith I had in RVI. What the hell is an AI speaker?!
    Also, they didn't even photoshop out the Windows logo on the super key. Nice.


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