Features a 1.2GHz MIPS-based, dual-core Ingenic apps processor that runs Debian 7 and Android 4.4 KitKat

UPDATE1: We are now accepting orders for Creator Ci20 dev boards from users. If you are interested in buying one, please go to our store.

A few weeks ago, when I first published an article titled MIPS CPUs, the perfect Linux machines, the first question I got from a lot of developers from the Linux community was:

When can I get access to a MIPS-based development board capable of running Linux and equipped with <enter-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-list-of-peripherals-here>?

Today I am able to answer that question: for developers looking to run Linux on a MIPS CPU, we are introducing MIPS Creator Ci20, a platform running Debian 7 and (soon) Android 4.4 KitKat.

What is MIPS Creator Ci20?

Creator is a new programme from Imagination which will provide low cost development systems for use by the open source community, enthusiast, hobbyist, cross platform developers (i.e. Arduino), and partners looking to create applications using our IP technologies. It covers all our SoC IP processors: MIPS, PowerVR and Ensigma.

MIPS Creator Ci20 is the first project – with more to follow, aiming to proliferate the use and visibility of MIPS CPUs in the Linux and Android developer space. It is also a great resource for universities, schools and other academic institutions; in fact, we have several universities already lined up to receive a few hundreds of these boards.

MIPS-Creator-C120_Close-up3_RGBThe new MIPS Creator Ci20 development board

MIPS Creator Ci20 measures 90.2 mm x 95.3 mm and includes an Ingenic JZ4780 apps processor which is able to support Linux-based operating systems, including Android. Ingenic JZ4780 is a high performance, ultra-low power SoC using a MIPS32-based dual-core CPU clocked at 1.2GHz+ and a PowerVR SGX540 GPU. The Ingenic XBurst architecture features both SIMD and FPU instruction sets; the FPU supports both single and double floating point, IEEE 754 compatible formats.

MIPS Creator CI20 - Ingenic JZ4780 - MIPS Xburst Ingenic JZ4780 is a 1.2GHz+ MIPS-based dual-core apps processor that also includes a PowerVR SGX540 GPU

MIPS Creator Ci20 has a rich complement of communications and multimedia capabilities. On top of a fast Ethernet connection, Ci20 is one of the few development boards on the market to offer both high-speed Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

Additionally, the Creator Ci20 dev board is a multimedia powerhouse that has a OpenGL ES 2.0-capable PowerVR SGX540 GPU and dedicated video hardware for a suite of video codecs, including MPEG-4, H.264, VP8, MPEG-2, RV9 and others, making it ideal for HTPC enthusiasts.

You also get two USB ports (EHCI and OTG) and many more peripheral I/Os (GPIO, SPI, I2C, infrared, JTAG, etc.). An HDMI connector is included for connection to a monitor screen and the board comes with an external 5V power supply.

MIPS-Creator-CI20-Raspberry-Pi-BeagleBone-Black_nThe board features numerous multimedia and connectivity options

The board can boot operating systems directly from flash memory or from an SD card. OS images are available for Debian 7, Gentoo, Yocto, Arch, and other Linux distros – with Android v4.4 soon to arrive too. The Linux kernel BSP (currently for 3.0.8 and 3.16) is open on github and up-streamed imminently; graphics support includes Xorg-compliant OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 drivers.

MIPS Creator CI20 - Running Debian-7MIPS Creator I20 running Debian 7 in our demo room

MIPS Creator Ci20 is one of the development boards that will work with many of the software projects hosted by the recently-launched prpl foundation. prpl (pronounced “purple”) is an open-source, non-profit foundation that encourages collaboration among the Linux community. The group is targeting and supporting the MIPS architecture – while being open to others too – so that developers can create portable software for next-generation devices.

How can I get one?

UPDATE:  A big thank you to everyone out there who applied for a MIPS Creator Ci20 dev board, it’s been quite a ride! We have received an overwhelming number of project proposals that have exceeded our expectations and filled our engineering hearts with joy. Since we have a limited number of boards available for free, we will temporarily stop taking further requests until we can deal with the current demand.

We are hosting the latest documentation and software downloads on a dedicated page at eLinux.org. You can use the dev zone community page for technical support.

For more MIPS-related news and announcements from Imagination, follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationPR, @MIPSGuru).

 

Comments

  • Tablecat

    Site seems to be down, yo.

  • Lukáš Novotný

    Is there an interface available to decode videos under linux? So far I’ve been able to find only boards with BCM2835 (rpi) that expose OpenMAX or similar.

  • Zero_NzYme

    People have to be hitting the store hard. It’s been down for at least an hour now.

    • We are aware of this. We’re working hard to get it back up and running again.

    • Michael

      when I experienced this problem with wordpress I had changed some settings on my home server which affected it.

  • morris

    Hi alexandru , French student interested here.
    I would like to know if its worldwide or Us only?
    Regards

  • roninja

    How about a 64bit Warrior + Rogue G6650 or a G6500 variant for lets say £200 / $300 – VideoLogic branded???

  • Attila Gyula Iván

    Still down 🙁

  • kevin mclaughlin

    Can’t wait for the store to get up and running again this would make the perfect htpc i’ll be sure to sign up and give you my info and ideas for my board 😉

  • john king

    Store’s down, really hoping they don’t run out.

    Would love to get my hands on one to use for emulators.

    • Make sure you enter the full project description. Sounds like you’re doing something exciting.

  • Izikiel

    Beautiful board, I want one! Store is down btw, at least 4 hours now

    • I think we’ve fixed most of the issues, try again now.

      • Tian Xiaobo

        I want one!

      • Tian Xiaobo

        how to buy one?

  • Izikiel

    Now the store is up but it doesn’t show any products

  • Nikola Čejović

    The store is up, but I can’t see the request form.

    • Izikiel

      I can enter the request form, but the captcha code doesn’t appear

  • Izikiel

    The captcha doesn’t work

    • We’ve removed the captcha plugin and store should be working now.

  • Kurt

    I’ve been able to get to the submissions form however, the WordPress captcha ‘Really Simple CAPTCHA’ was either not enabled or properly installed and I just receive the error: ‘Validation errors occurred. Please confirm the fields and submit it again.’

  • Kurt

    Just let me buy the damn board so I don’t have to deal with an overwhelmed web server.

  • Alex

    Any update on the Captcha issue? Store page is up but there isn’t much you can do in it.

    • I think the store is up and running now.

      • Aulus

        I’m also interested in buying one.

      • Tian Xiaobo

        how to buy ?

        • We will provide an update soon. Stay tuned to our blog and follow us on Twitter.

  • Izikiel

    Well, now that they removed the captcha it’s working 😛

  • Kurt

    Thanks for disabling the captcha but, please approve my request. Thanks!

  • xi_Slick_ix

    Is there a time frame that we can expect to be notified if our submission was approved for a board, and when there might be a shipping date?

    **and thanks for getting the site back up, I know you guys are getting hammered pretty good!

  • WeaponZero

    Is this limited to organizations? Aka do individual developers qualify?

  • YDOL

    The free offer is much appreciated – but I’m most interested in formal pricing information to determine if this solution will fit into my applications from a cost perspective. Please announce pricing information as soon as possible!!!
    Looks like a great product!

    • Thanks, we will be thinking about a pricing strategy in the future.

  • Jorge

    Hi, I’m Jorge, a Spanish student interested. I can fill in the form? or just limited to organizations?

    • Everyone can apply for a board. Make sure to fill in all of your details so we can evaluate your application.

  • Daniel

    Will you inform everbody who requested a development board if he will receive one or not? That would be nice.

  • Abby

    Hi,

    is there a hdmi cec onboard? What are the spec of audio chip(line out)?

  • Yes, but first we need to go through thousands of project proposals so it will take some time.

    • Daniel

      Thats ok with me. Its fully understandable after this overwhelming interest in your development board. Take your time. 🙂

  • Riant

    When the last date when I can send a requst for this board?

    • Like I have stated in my article, we have a limited supply of free boards. We are keeping the page open for as long as we can (i.e. until we get a considerable amount of proposals) so that developers can register their projects.

      After that, we will close down the store and start analyzing every submission. We will let people know if they are getting a board or not.

  • NothingMuchHereToSay

    What the heck is MIPS? What’s the difference between it and ARM? Are they similar architectures compared to amd64/i386? What’s the-

    Whoa, whoa, whoa.. wait.. PowerVR? I bought an Odroid-XU and I was quite dissatisfied with the lack of a GPU driver when I was running Xubuntu 13.04 at some point. I eventually sold it on eBay. No way am I going to bother with PowerVR again.

    • Hi,

      MIPS is one of the three CPU architectures supported by Android and the brainchild of professor John L. Hennessy, president of Stanford University. You can read more about the history of the MIPS architecture here
      https://www.semiwiki.com/forum/content/1881-brief-history-mips-architecture.html

      It is your personal choice what dev board you are going for. We delivered the OpenGL, OpenGL ES and OpenCL drivers to Hardkernel and supported them in their efforts to port multiple operating systems for the board.

      Best regards,
      Alex.

  • Eric.B

    I’m glad you guys FINALLY got around to releasing something using MIPS that is cheap, AND has video out. I’ve been hoping for years for something like this. Lemotes are over priced, SGI machines are old, and MIPS is too good to just die in consumer computing.

    Is there any estimations on price and if there will be a second run that people can ~buy~ instead of ~apply~ for? I highly doubt the stuff I want to do with it will be approved, but I do really want to buy 2 or 3 of them! 😀

    • I know, we are very excited too. We are also evaluating how we will take this project forward – stay tuned for more details coming soon!

  • Tjiani Lucht

    I would make a small nicely powerd portable gaming pc.

  • Ypnose

    Hi,
    You should contact NetBSD project and ask to the MIPS port devs if they’re interested, about this hardware. You could provide them boards for testing purposes. Just an idea.
    Y.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, we’ll get in touch with them.

      • Ypnose

        Nice Alexandru! Is there a way to be be informed, if the feedback is positive?

        • If they’re interested, we’ll ask them to post about it somewhere on social media (Twitter, Facebook, their blog, reddit, etc.).

          • Ypnose

            Ok. I’ll also follow you on Twitter.

  • Tian Xiaobo

    Beautiful board, I want one!

  • zhengchun liu

    I submitted the form less than one hour before closing. Thank god. had a plan for MIPS long time ago, hope I will get one and start my MIPS career.

  • Wow, So it’s like a super Raspberry Pi Cool. I’m glad that I found this blog! I want one MIPS Creator; just to play around, maybe increase my knowledge on computers.

  • Tian Xiaobo

    Beautiful board, I want one!

  • 杨涛

    我想申请一个用来做软件开发的学习

  • 杨涛

    Hello, I want to apply for a study used for software development.

  • universeye

    Hoping all is well with the confirmation mails

  • Make-it-just-available

    What make ARM more popular and widely used than MIPS, is easy access of development boards for developers.
    Here is another example!
    Why this board is not just available for every developers at cost price to make
    MIPS more attractive, popular and common to developers

  • Shawn

    nice board, but why no pwm supported?

  • CaptainPugwash

    There are 3 or 4 errors in each of the comparison columns for the Raspbery Pi and the BeagleBone Black. eg. the 4 USB connectors on the Raspberry Pi B+ as against the 17 GPIO of the older RPi B, or the 2 missing ARM Cortex M4 cores in the AM3359, (not the AM3358 as stated), used by the BeagleBone Black.

    If you’re trying to sell the MIPS Creator C120, by compering it to other boards, please get your facts right.

    • Thanks, I’ll try to get the table updated. Based on the the public information available on various websites, there are different versions of the board currently available. Perhaps you can provide the exact SKU that you are referring to?

      Additionally, we have not been selling the board, we are giving it away for free to selected developers.

      Regards,
      Alex.

  • Zhengchun Liu

    Hello, may I ask that about when will you announce the result? I am really eager to dive into the sea of MIPS. Especially after read the news about I6400 today (P.S. I have never used MIPS based SoC before.).

  • Zhengchun Liu

    forgot to login for the last post…

  • Will Mason Moses

    I tried to submit a reason to get one during the down period. Before going off on a weeklong trip without internet. Looks like I missed my chance. Drat.

  • Tian Xiaobo

    How to buy?

  • Tian Xiaobo

    Raspberrypi anyone can buy, is a good promotion strategy, free CI20strategy, want to get the people do not have to, is not a goodpromotion solutions.

  • Dan

    I submitted a project idea and, a little more than a week ago, received a message letting me know you guys were reviewing submissions and determining how to distribute the initial run of these boards. Any updates on how that process is going or when we could expect selection to be completed and boards to start shipping? I’m itching to get to building! 😀

    • I can understand you want to get an answer soon but we are almost done reviewing the submissions. I will provide an update soon and you should get a notification email too.

      Regards,
      Alex.

  • Chris K.

    Want!

  • Marcelo_L

    Just got my notice today that they were overwhelmed, and “regretfully” could not fulfill my request. I’m just curious exactly how many “free” boards were anticipated to be requested.
    I have to say it’s a bit disappointing that for putting something out there like this, that any anticipation of the sort of demand that might exist, wasn’t accounted for.

    • Hi,

      I’m sorry we couldn’t offer you a board. We had contacted several Linux and Android kernel and app developers as well as universities to see what the level of interest was.

      Based on their feedback, we manufactured a first run of 1,000 boards which we are now offering to the community for free. We are working hard to provide a solution to everyone who applied to stay tuned for an update.

      Regards,
      Alex.

    • Roland

      Got my denial email too… Makes me think that they only put up the “free” boards offer so they can steal the ideas from people… Good thing I only gave them some generic ideas on what I plan to do with it… Wouldn’t want the next billion dollar NEST idea falling in some other’s hand….

  • 7layer.org

    Hi Everyone!
    Just received my CI20 board today and it works just like a dream!
    This is a pice of Engineering art I must say!

    Debian7 preinstalled on it and plenty of space left on the nand-flash drive.
    I will post a detailed description of the installation and setup regarding to the board on my website, and also with my development about this new devboard.

    Thanks ever so much for ImgTec!

    • Hi,

      We’re happy you find the board useful. Looking forward to hearing more about your project.

      Regards,
      Alex.

      • Hi Alex,

        As I mentioned when I ordered the board I’ve created the link on my site related to CI20 devboard. http://www.7layer.org/?p=676

        I’ll update/maintain the site tab with all CI20 related projects.

        Regards,
        Laz

  • Hopeful_1

    Will boards be available to purchase for hobbiest like me, or is this a developer only system? I have a port project I would love to try on MIPS.

  • adam

    Is there a way to check shipping status? I haven’t received mine =(.

  • t0v

    i just got my board and cannot wait to power it up 🙂

  • Rui Wang

    How can I buy a I6400 board like ci20? thx!

  • Nice one 🙂

  • andystannard

    This would be amazing if you could get an AndroidTV lollipop firmware on it, any plans to offer this?

    • We are working on porting Android 5.0 to the board. I will offer an update soon.

      • andystannard

        Cool thanks Alexandru, I look forward to hearing about this in the upcoming update.

  • Bobby Youstra

    32bit?????

  • tiny bords fan

    Seems interesting, but wish to have 802.11ac (yes 5GHz band, hate 2.4GHz band), Eth 1Gbit and excited if USB3 included and 2GB RAM

  • Sebastian Schaetz

    Doe this board support OpenCL? If no, which Imgtec dev-board supports OpenCL?

  • Lefty McStinky

    Could IRIX be ported? A beautiful environment it was.

  • Jessica Hart

    MIPS Creator CI20, a platform running Debian 7 and (soon) Android 4.4 KitKat.

  • Deacon Wellman

    Is there a 5 or 7″ touch screen for use with this board?