Introducing a new RISC-V Mainboard from DeepComputing | Laptop News

We’re excited to share a preview of a Framework Laptop 13 Mainboard with a new CPU architecture today, and it’s probably not the one you think it is. The team at DeepComputing has built the first ever partner-developed Mainboard, and it uses a RISC-V processor! This is a huge milestone both for expanding the breadth of the Framework ecosystem and for making RISC-V more accessible than ever. We designed the Framework Laptop to enable deep flexibility and personalization, and now that extends all the way to processor architecture selection. DeepComputing is demoing an early prototype of this Mainboard in a Framework Laptop 13 at the RISC-V Summit Europe next week, and we’ll be sharing more as this program progresses.

There is excellent philosophical alignment between RISC-V and Framework. Both are built on the idea that an open ecosystem is more powerful than the sum of its parts. To explain why, first we’ll go into what RISC-V even is. RISC-V is a fully open Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), which is the interface point between software and hardware. It’s a defined set of instructions that software is compiled and assembled into that the processor executes to run the actual program. x86 (or the latest version, x86-64) is the most common ISA for PCs today, and it’s what is used in the processors for each Framework Laptop we’ve shipped to date. The x86 ISA was invented by Intel, extended on by AMD, and is proprietary, with Intel and AMD being effectively the only two companies able to use and create processors around it. ARM is another popular ISA, owned by Arm Holdings. Arm licenses the ARM architecture out, which enables companies to pay a license fee for cores to make their own processors that leverage it. What makes RISC-V unique is that it is an…

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