New spec details and pricing for the first RISC-V laptops revealed by Alibaba
Back in July this year, Xcalibyte was announcing pre-orders for the first RISC-V laptops dubbed Roma, but there was no info on pricing and availability. The Roma laptops are now available to order from Alibaba, and the spec sheet was updated with more details. Prices start at US$1499, with the first batch expected to ship in Q4 2022.
As far as specs go, the product detail page mentions that the Roma laptops come equipped with an Alibaba T-Head TH1520 quad-core RISC-V SoC running at 2.6 GHz that also includes a 4 TOPS NPU and an Imagination Technologies GPU. As pointed out by Tom’s Hardware, this SoC is part of Alibaba’s new Wujian 600 edge computing platform announced just a few months ago. The processor is complemented by 16 GB of LPDDR4 RAM plus a 256 GB SSD. On the display side, we find a 14.1-inch panel with FHD resolution, which also integrates a 1080p webcam.
Port selection is not detailed on the Alibaba page, but the provided pictures reveal USB-A 3.x ports along with a USB-C 3.x, an HDMI video output, GbE and audio jacks, and even a couple of SD card reader slots. Connectivity is limited to Wi-Fi 5, but at least Bluetooth 5 is offered, as well. A fingerprint sensor appears to be integrated in the touchpad.
No info on battery capacity, but it is estimated to last up to 10 hours. The Roma laptops come pre-installed with Alibaba’s proprietary OpenAnolis OS based on Linux. At 0.7-inch thickness and 1.7 kg weight, this is among the lightest 14.1 laptops out there.
If pricing seems a bit spicy, it is because Alibaba is including additional gifts. There is the Basic package that offers wireless controller and headphones, plus lifelong manufacturer repair service for US$1499. Then there is the Standard package that adds a few more gifts for US$2499, and the Premium package comes at USD$4999 with even more gifts including a pair of speakers and a smartwatch, plus 3-year SoC upgrades and personalized lid engraving.
Only the Premium packages are expected to be delivered this year (100 orders), while the Standard packages are scheduled for Q1 2023 and the Basic ones for Q3 2023.