"In het verleden behaalde resultaten bieden geen garanties voor de toekomst"
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These are the ramblings of Matthijs Kooijman, concerning the software he hacks on, hobbies he has and occasionally his personal life.

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First impression: Milk-v Duo Linux board

Milk-v Duo board

For a project (building a low-power LoRaWAN gateway to be solar powered) I am looking at simple and low-power linux boards. One board that I came across is the Milk-V Duo, which looks very promising. I have been playing around with it for just a few hours, and I like the board (and its SoC) very much already - for its size, price and open approach to documentation.

The board itself is a small (21x51mm) board in Raspberry Pi Pico form factor. It is very simple - essentially only a SoC and regulators. The SoC is the CV1800B by Sophgo, (a vendor I had never heard of until now, seems they were called CVITEK before). It is based on the RISC-V architecture, which is nice. It contains two RISC-V cores (one at 1Ghz and one at 700Mhz), as well as a small 8051 core for low-level tasks. The SoC has 64MB of integrated RAM.

The SoC supports the usual things - SPI, I²C, UART. There is also a CSI (camera) connector and some AI accelaration block, it seems the chip is targeted at the AI computer vision market (but I am ignoring that for my usecase). The SoC also has an ethernet controller and PHY integrated (but no ethernet connector, so you still need an external magjack to use it). My board has an SD card slot for booting, the specs suggest that there might also be a version that has on-board NAND flash instead of SD (cannot combine both, since they use the same pins).

There are two other variants - the Duo 256M with more RAM (board is identical except for 1 extra power supply, just uses a different SoC with more RAM) and the Duo S (in what looks like Rock Pi S form factor) which adds an ethernet and USB host port. I have not tested either of these and they use a different SoC series (SG200x) of the same chip vendor, so things I write might or might not be applicable to them (but the chips might actually be very similar internally, the CVx to SGx change seems to be related to the company merger, not necessarily technical differences).

The biggest (or at least most distinguishing) selling point, to me, is that both the chip and board manufacturers seem to be going for a very open approach. In particular:

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