The product of a collaboration between DeepComputing and Xcalibyte, the new ROMA laptop will be powered by a mystery quad-core RISC-V processor and companion GPU, Arm security enclave, up to 16GB LPDDR4/X RAM and as much as to 256GB on-board storage.
ROMA, which will support most Linux distros, is designed predominantly for developers working on software built to run natively on RISC-V chips.
“Native RISC-V compile is a major milestone,” said (opens in new tab) Mark Himelstein, CTO at RISC-V International, the body tasked with promoting the instruction set architecture (ISA).
“The ROMA platform will benefit developers who want to test their software running natively on RISC-V. And it should be easy to transfer code developed on this platform to embedded systems.”
RISC-V hits the laptop market
RISC-V is a free, open source ISA built around the same design principles as Arm’s proprietary cores, which command royalties each time they are integrated into a chip.
At the moment, RISC-V-based processors are far less common than either Arm- or x86-based chips, but the movement appears to be gaining in momentum.
For example, China is now leaning heavily into RISC-V in the hope of minimizing its reliance on western semiconductor companies. And even Intel is dabbling in the space, having presumably come to the conclusion that x86 cannot compete for power efficiency in the long term.
The recent success of Arm-based processors like Apple’s M-series chips is proof that RISC designs could have a future in the PC and workstation market, something that has not been lost on RISC-V International.
Until now, RISC-V has been found exclusively in dev kits, embedded technology and the like, but it appears the leap to fully-featured client devices is now on the horizon.
“The ROMA native RISC-V development platform laptop demonstrates the power of collaborative culture and the potential of the RISC-V ecosystem,” said Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International.
“This design is a crucial bridge between development boards and RISC-V based business laptops that will be used for day-to-day work. We applaud the contributions of the entire development team that collaborated to achieve this important moment.”
To sweeten the deal and mark the occasion, the first 100 models sold will also come with a commemorative NFT. Make of that what you will.
There has been no confirmation of pricing thus far (the “pre-order” process currently extends only as far as submitting a declaration of interest), but the ROMA laptop is expected to start shipping in September.