SiFive introduces a chip that advances the potential of the RISC-V architecture

The RISC-V architecture continues to take steps to become an alternative to x86 and ARM. In a sneak peek at the solutions you will present at the conference RISC-V Summit Kicking off next week in California, SiFive has unveiled a new Performance P650 SoC that improves the performance of the previous generation by 50%.

SiFive is a prominent member of RISC-V International, an international alliance that collectively develops a family of processors using the new RISC-V architecture, arguably the most promising in the search for the Open Source processor. Emerged a decade ago at the Californian University of Berkeley, its goal is to develop a new open source chip design that offers a more economical way to manufacture semiconductors, more open, free and without requiring payment of royalties.

What’s new from SiFive for RISC-V architecture

It must be said that SiFive does not manufacture chips directly. Licenses your designs to others who customize them for their own developments as others such as ARM Holdings do (in the architecture of the same name and which are also RISC designs) with superlative success: practically 100% of mobiles and tablets produced use ARM.

The SiFive Performance P650 is a new design that is proposed as an alternative to ARM and like this one, to the Intel x86 that, led by Intel, has dominated the industry for the last 30 years. The chip has comparable performance to the Cortex A77, a mid-range SoC that ARM put out a couple of years ago. This means that it will not be able to compete with anything current that comes from Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple and perhaps not even from MediaTek, but the 50% increase compared to the previous generation (P550) points to high future potential.

«By 2023, we are likely to see the first mobile phone with RISC-V“Said SiFive CEO Patrick Little in a recent interview. «I think we have an excellent opportunity with this terminal«.

It should be remembered that RISC-V International has more than 80 companies where they stand out Google, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Samsung or Micron, and even welcomes others like Microsoft. Its development for commercial use is in its infancy, but it is necessary to name developments such as the Titan M2 security chip from Google as RISC-V design.

Manzana He is also exploring his options with this architecture and it is nothing unusual considering his experience and success in designing other RISCs such as ARMs. Others who may be directly affected by the potential success of RISC-V, Intel, intends to manufacture this type of chip for third parties as it enters the foundry business. For its part, Huawei, already entered this architecture with the HiSilicon Hi3861.

Another startup specializing in RISC-V is AI chipmaker Tenstorrent, whose CTO is Jim Keller, a guru who has held positions at Intel, AMD and Tesla. Another standout is Esperanto Technologies which has revealed an AI chip design with over 1000 RISC-V processing cores and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has released an open source RISC-V chip design that anyone can use.

We want to say that there is a field ahead for this architecture. The RISC-V Summit begins on Monday and we will tell you the most relevant things that happen there. As we always say: the more alternatives the better.

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