Make A RISC-V PC With New Development Board


Many developers, makers or hobbyists are innovating in the emerging open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) for Linux-based designs. The new Microsemi/SiFive RISC-V solution offers a compelling development environment that enables Linux software and firmware developers to build RISC-V PCs (personal computers) for the first time.

Expansion Board For Building RISC-V PCs

The new HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board broadens the capabilities of SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed RISC-V development board launched a few months ago.

HiFive Unleashed is the first RISC-V-based, Linux-capable development board featuring the Linux-capable, multi-core, RISC-V processor – the Freedom U540.


Powered by Microsemi’s PolarFire FPGA, HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board is purpose-built to expand the capabilities of the HiFive Unleashed board and allows the creation of Linux-based applications for a 1GhZ+ RISC-V 64-bit CPU.

The HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board lets developers create custom peripherals in the PolarFire FPGA. Developers can implement a RISC-V PC by enabling standard PCIe devices, USB and secure digital cards to connect to SiFive’s Freedom U540 RISC-V processor.

The solution also offers additional features, such as a PCIe root complex, SATA port, M.2 SSD port, two USB ports, HDMI, DDR4 memory expansion, an eMMC managed NAND Flash and secure digital card slot.

Potential applications of the new RISC-V solution

The developer board is ideally suited for a variety of embedded applications within the communications, industrial, defense, medical and avionics markets, including control plane solutions, imaging/video processing, machine learning, control processing, time-sensitive networking, encryption and root of trust, secure wireless communications and aircraft networking.

“Working together with SiFive to accelerate the growth of the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) and our Mi-V ecosystem, the HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board and HiFive Unleashed development board give the broader Linux market an extremely robust platform for RISC-V development,” said Ted Speers, head of Product Planning for Microsemi’s Programmable business unit. “Our cost-optimized, lowest power, mid-range PolarFire FPGAs are an ideal solution for embedded development engineers to implement custom peripherals.”

“The RISC-V Foundation applauds the work Microsemi and SiFive have done in collaboration to deliver a comprehensive Linux software development platform for RISC-V,” said Rick O’Connor, executive director of the non-profit RISC-V Foundation. “Numerous commercial and open source developers are adopting RISC-V for Linux-based designs. Particularly in the embedded market, where a growing majority of today’s designs run Linux, this Microsemi/SiFive RISC-V solution offers a compelling development environment.”

RISC-V is a free and open ISA enabling a new era of processor innovation through open standard collaboration. As the ISA is frozen, software which is written will always run on the RISC-V core, and since the RISC-V IP core is not encrypted, it can be used to ensure trust and certifications not possible with closed architectures. To learn more about RISC-V visit:

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Microsemi will showcase the platform at the RISC-V Workshop being held May 7-10 in Barcelona, Spain.

The board is sold by Crowdsupply.

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