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Alibaba’s Roma is a Laptop Running a RISC-V-based Processor

Written by Stephen Vicinanza

Alibaba, the Chinese distribution and tech retail marketplace, is now selling the Roma, which runs a processor that is based on the RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). RISC-V has been gaining traction all across the embedded markets, and now they have a general-purpose computing product for the consumer markets.

The Alibaba Roma RISC-V laptop, which was announced this past summer, and first spotted by CNX Software, is now available. It runs a quad-core processor plus plenty of features we are used to from Intel and AMD computers.

The computing platform the Roma is based on is known as Wujian 600 aimed at cost-effective edge computing. The CPU is an Alibaba T-Head TH1520 quad-core Xuantie C910 processor. The processor is clocked at 2.5GHz with a 4 TOPS NPU and an Imagination Technologies GPU on the side. The memory is up to 16GB LPDDR4 or 4X RAM at up to 4266 MT/s, with SSD storage of 256GB.

It is offering one display size, a 14.1-inch 1080p panel, and a resolution matched to the webcam. There is also an HDMI port, for expanding the screen real estate should that onboard display need some help. In the networking department that is Wi-Fi 5 and an Ethernet port. There is a Bluetooth 5, for headphones and other peripherals.

The laptop can charge on the USB Type-C port and there are a pair of USB Type-A ports, also. The battery is rated for a ten-hour turnaround. In security there’s a dedicated security chip onboard, an ARM SC300 Cortex-M3 security enclave processor with Trusted Execution Environment security certifications. The laptop runs Alibaba’s own Linux-based OS OpenAnolis.

There is a backlit keyboard and the entire unit is only 20 mm (0.7) thick and weighs 1.7kg (3.7 lbs). It is definitely a thinner and lighter laptop than most on the market, excluding of course the HP Pavillion Aero.

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The Roma is available in Q4 of 2022 the first 100 units, from Alibaba, (of course) in a basic package for $1499. which comes with a warranty of more than five years and free spare parts. For those with a taste for the premium packages, there is just that, a premium package for $4,999, with extras like headphones, and a smartwatch, along with your name engraved on the case.

After the first run of 100 units in 2022, there will be the next run of 1000, to arrive in Q1 2023.

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For the past 8 years, I have been writing about embedded technologies, added to my technical, academic, and medical editorial experience, with companies like Elsevier and Cambridge University Press. I tell people to read what I write, not try to pronounce my last name. I am always available for comments and suggestions you can reach me at product-editor@circuitcellar.com and I promise I will take the time to reach back out to you. I live in the North East with my wonderful family.

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Alibaba’s Roma is a Laptop Running a RISC-V-based Processor…

by Stephen Vicinanza time to read: 2 min