MIPS unveils "free" Raspberry Pi development board rival

Totally free for first 1000 developers

MIPS creator CI20

MIPS has unveiled a new motherboard called the Creator C20 that's set to compete against the Raspberry Pi and a growing number of other development boards aimed at the enthusiast and developer market.

The company, which was acquired by Imagination Technologies back in 2013, partnered with Ingenic to deliver that product. The board runs on a JZ4780 SoC which is a dual-core MIPS32 processor clocked at 1.2GHz with a PowerVRSGX540 GPU, a pair roughly equivalent to the hardware that powered the Samsung Galaxy S2.

The Creator CI20 supports both Linux and Android and comes preloaded with Debian 7, with other distributions (including Gentoo, Yocto, Angstrom and Arch) being available soon.

A powerful combination

Other features include an IEEE754 floating point unit, 1GB of RAM, 8GB onboard storage, a HDMI connector, audio out, a camera interface (ITU645), Bluetooth 4.0, an Ethernet port, 802.11n Wi-Fi, two USB ports, 14-pin ETAG connector, 2 x UART, GPIO, SPI, I2C, ADC, expansion headers and a power supply unit.

The first 1,000 developers to apply for the kit on ImgTec's website will get it for free (at the time of writing, the site was down) provided that their projects are first approved.

A spokesperson told TechRadar Pro that once the first batch is exhausted, "if demand is high, we will be polling developers to understand what/how they would be willing to pay."