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These risc-v commercial processors are also very powerful after alicopo!

date: 2019-08-29
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At today's aliyun summit in Shanghai, flat top, a semiconductor company owned by alibaba, officially unveiled the new gentie 910 processor, which is the first blockbuster product of flat top's semiconductor company since its establishment.According to the detailed information released at the meeting site, the single core performance of the GTC 910 is 7.1 Coremark/MHz, which is more than 40% higher than similar processors, and the main frequency is up to 2.5GHz. It is the risc-v processor with the best performance in the industry at present, and can be applied to 5G, automatic driving and other AIoT scenarios.

One More Thing's gentiq 910 was followed by a bigger plan -- pratt & Whitney.The plan in the fully open the xuan iron 910 IP Core at the same time, the elder brother of the flat also specially built for AIoT scene of customization optimization platform for the chips, vice President of alibaba group QiXiaoNing announced that the elder brother of the flat will provide including CPU IP, SoC platform and the algorithm of software and hardware resources, geared to the needs of different AIoT scenario for enterprises and service developers to provide different levels of chip.All these are aimed at further lowering the threshold for enterprises to design risc-v chips, bringing a new blood to AIoT industry, promoting innovation in the industry, and further accelerating the popularization of risc-v architecture.

Due to its open source and simple architecture, risc-v has attracted wide attention in the industry in the past few years, and related enterprises and chips have mushroomed.So, in addition to the flat-top GTC 910, which companies at home and abroad have their risc-v chips or ips commercially available?

Representative foreign enterprises:

1. SiFive

Yes, SiFive is the same SiFive that qualcomm invested in last month, and the first company in the industry to develop risc-v IP.Its founder is the Berkeley research team that came up with the risc-v instruction set architecture. SiFive is one of the current leaders in commercial risc-v processor core IP, design platform and chip solutions.Since 2015, the company has released a number of risc-v-based processor cores for development at all levels, from hobbyists to major manufacturers.

In 2017, for example, SiFive released u54-mc Coreplex, the first risc-v ISA chip to support Linux, Unix, and FreeBSD.Later in November 2018, SiFive released a series of 7 high-performance risc-v CPU ips.Among them, this series of ips provides scalability for up to 81 cores in a single combination, real-time 64-bit memory addressing capability, and an associated combination of real-time processors and application processors.These features are still unique to SiFive, a company founded by the risc-v development team that is arguably ahead of the game in terms of technology, as evidenced by Intel's massive investment in SiFive last month.

2. Western data

Many people still think of western data as a storage device, but in fact western data is one of the early risc-v companies.Back in 2017, western digital promised to convert the more than 1 billion processor cores it ships each year to risc-v cores.

In February 2019, SweRV, a self-developed general architecture based on risc-v instruction set, was officially released by western data.It is reported that SweRV architecture is a 32bit sequential execution architecture, with bidirectional superstandard design and class 9 pipeline, which adopts 28nm technology and operates at up to 1.8GHz. It can provide 4.9 CoreMark/MHz simulation performance, slightly higher than Arm's Cortex A15 architecture.

3. GreenWaves

GreenWaves Technologies is a Fabless startup based in Grenoble, France, founded in 2014.The company is committed to revolutionizing the smart sensor and device market with ultra-low energy consumption and low-cost solutions, including AI computing for images, sounds and vibrations in sensor devices.GreenWaves is also one of the earliest chip vendors in the risc-v open source ecosystem.

In 2016, GreenWaves launched GAP8 with the risc-v architecture.According to officials, GAP8 is the industry's first ultra-low power processor to realize battery-powered artificial intelligence in Internet of things applications. The processor is optimized to execute image and audio algorithms, including convolutional neural network (CNN) inference that it has the advantages of low cost, high performance and low power consumption in IoT applications.


When it comes to CEVA, many people are familiar with it. CEVA is a world-renowned signal processing platform for intelligent and interconnected devices and IP authorized manufacturer of artificial intelligence processors.At present, according to CEVA, the company's product line has been expanded to AI, voice, video, wireless connectivity and 5G applications and other markets.

In February 2018, CEVA launched the RivieraWaves platform.The bluetooth IP family is a comprehensive IP and platform suite for embedding bluetooth 5.1(low power (BLE) and BTDM) versions into SoC/ASSP.The latest RivieraWaves platform is the first to offer bluetooth and wi-fi IP solutions integrated with the risc-v subsystem, while also including a comprehensive set of peripheral ips.

5. Microsemi

Microsemi is a subsidiary of Microchip and a manufacturer of risc-v cpus and fpgas.In December 2018, Microchip extended its mi-v ecosystem by introducing a new SoC FPGA architecture through its Microsemi Corporation subsidiary. The new architecture combines the industry's lowest power consumption PolarFire FPGA family of products, as well as a complete microprocessor subsystem based on risc-v instruction set architecture (ISA).

PolarFire SoC provides a wide range of debugging capabilities, including instruction tracing, 50 breakpoint instructions, configurable passive runtime high-level extensible interface (AXI) bus monitor and FPGA structure monitor, and Microchip's built-in dual-channel logic analyzer SmartDebug.PolarFire SoC architecture has secure and reliable features, such as single and double error correction detection (sec-ded) for all storage, physical memory protection, DPA secure encryption kernel, protected secure startup, and 128 KB flash boot memory.

6. Codasip

As a founding member of the RISC -v foundation and LLVM and processor based on GNU solution supplier for a long time, the headquarters is located in the Czech republic Codasip can provide industry leading processor IP and advanced design tools, open standards for ASIC design personnel to provide RISC - V all the technical instruction set architecture, as well as the distinctive function of automatic optimizing processor IP.

In November 2017, Codasip released bk5-64, its first risc-v ISA to implement 64-bit.Moreover, according to Codasip, the company's IP and advanced design tools can automatically meet the needs of customers to meet the design, the uniqueness of the function is praised.

7. Cortus

Founded in 2005 in France, Cortus is also a platinum founding member of the risc-v foundation, with a range of Cortus ISA and risc-v ISA processor cores, digital and software IP, analog and rf IP, complete development tool chain and Internet of things chip products.

The company specializes in SoC architecture design, embedded computing software and hardware design, and provide full process professional chip design services.Cortus is one of the few technology manufacturers with a complete ecosystem and tool chain, which can accelerate the development of chip products, deepen the industrial foundation, expand the industrial application market, master the basic intellectual property rights of chip development and improve various modules.

Highlights of local manufacturers:

1. Crystal core technology

Established in the first half of 2005 at the silicon conductor research and development center in hsinchu science park, crystal technology is well known in the chip industry.In 2016, jingjing joined the risc-v foundation as a founding member.

In April 2018, jingjing launched the first generation of AndeStar V5 based on risc-v architecture, becoming the first mainstream CPU IP company to adopt risc-v.AndeStar V5 is the fifth-generation instruction set architecture of crystal core, which supports 64-bit processors and the widely concerned risc-v instruction set architecture, making the open, streamlined, modular and extensible risc-v architecture officially enter the mainstream SoC applications.

The 32-bit N25 and 64-bit NX25 AndesCore processors based on V5 can operate at a frequency of more than 1 GHz in TSMC's 28nm HPC process, providing performance not lower than 2.8dmips /MHz and 3.4coremark /MHz, and the logic gates can be as low as 30K and 50K, respectively.

2. Huami technology

Founded in 2013, huami technology, located in xiaomi's ecological chain, is a company with rich experience in biometric identification and sports data-driven in the field of intelligent wearable technology.

In September 2018, huami technology released huangshan 1, the world's first artificial intelligence chip in the wearable field.The chip adopts risc-v open source instruction set and integrates AI neural network module.It is reported that a number of huangshan leaped up to 240 MHZ, compared to the Arm architecture (M4 architecture processor operation efficiency by 38%, and has a heart biometric recognition engine, ECG and abnormal ECG Pro, heart rate, monitoring engine four core artificial intelligence engine, low power design allows it to be for 24 hours monitoring of human biological data analysis, referred to as the domestic first the RISC - V ISA to design the core of the AI.

3. Xinlai technology

Xinlai technology co., LTD., a representative risc-v processor core IP and solution company, created the first open source risc-v processor project in China -- hummingbird E203.According to the editors, hummingbird E203 supports instruction extension of the coprocessor interface and provides embedded ITCM and DTCM.Meanwhile, the core power consumption area and performance are no less than ARM's cortex-m0 + processor core (M0+ is ARM's smallest processor core).Hummingbird E203 is also being adopted by most companies in China thanks to xinlai's 'one cent plan'.

4. Risi core

OURS, a Chinese company set up by OURS, a silicon valley start-up, in shenzhen in 2017, is a student of the founder of risc-v instruction set.What made the company famous was that it designed a Pygmy AI chip based on risc-v instruction set in only seven months. The energy consumption and area were significantly better than Arm architecture chips of the same level.

Based on TSMC's 28nm Pygmy AI chip, 12 highly programmable AI acceleration engines are also designed based on risc-v vector expansion instruction set developed by RISC.The risc-v CPU in Pygmy has a 64-bit bit width, a main frequency of 600 MHz, an rv64g-based instruction set, supports double-precision floating-point operation, and is equipped with multiplier, divider, square root, etc. The power consumption of the main control CPU is only 10mW.

5. Zhiyuan technology

Headquartered in hsinchu science and technology park, Taiwan, chiwon released its ASIC platform solution based on risc-v in April this year, which has been successfully applied to the design and mass production of the new generation of terminal artificial intelligence and Internet of things system single chip (SoC).This solution includes complete system-level design services, such as risc-v core IP integration, SoC design verification, and provides complete peripheral drivers and real-time operating system (RTOS) reference design suite.


Of course, in addition to the commercial risc-v processors and IP companies mentioned above, many companies have completed the design of risc-v processors and will put them into commercial use, such as domestic time engine intelligence, nastar and foreign InCore.At the same time, the editor also believes that with the advance of the project of flat head ge pratt & Whitney chip, more and more local companies will join the risc-v camp, and its open source advantage will be the biggest impetus for the independent research and development of domestic CPU.It remains to be seen what choice the Chinese market will make between ARM's new IP licensing plan and risc-v.

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