Notebookcheck Logo
, , , , , ,
search relation.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
 

Imagination presents RISC-V Catapult CPU lineup, plans to compete with ARM

RISC-V is seeing increased adoption. (Image Source: Imagination)
RISC-V is seeing increased adoption. (Image Source: Imagination)
For now, Imagination is shipping RISC-V Catapult microcontrollers for the automotive industry, but the roadmap includes real-time CPUs, high performance application processors and functionally safe CPU models releasing throughout 2024. Beyond that, there are plans to release "next gen heterogeneous compute" cores for datacenters and AI applications.

Imagination Technologies has been in the GPU market for some decades with its PowerVR lineup that started out on desktop PCs and shifted to smartphones in later years, but the company also has experience with CPUs, as it once owned the Meta and MIPS IPs. The recent rise of the RISC-V and its push to rival ARM's processor architecture have inspired Imagination to reenter the CPU market with a plan to release a new RISC-V-based family of processor cores named Catapult over the next several years.

At this year’s RISC-V summit, Imagination announced that the Catapult heterogeneous processor family will compete with ARM’s Cortex lineup, complete with microcontrollers, real-time CPUs, high performance application processors and functionally safe CPUs. The microcontroller segment is already covered via an in-order core design for 32 / 64-bit systems that is now shipping to automotive integrators. This initial in-order core is also available for real-time CPU applications, but it is not yet ready in silicon form.

No performance figures have been provided as of yet for the microcontroller cores since they are meant for low-power devices, but Imagination’s schematics show that these can scale to 8 cores per cluster and each core comes with ECC for the L1 and TCM memory caches. There is also support for the new RISC-V Vector extensions and the plan is to integrate future instruction sets, as well.

The roadmap for the coming years includes an application processor based on an upgraded version of the current in-order core design with Linux support releasing in 2022, followed by a faaster in-order real-time and application processors in 2023. For 2024, Imagination plans to release its first 64-bit-only out-of-order multi-core application processors similar to what ARM is producing now. Beyond that, the roadmap shows “next gen heterogeneous compute” designs, which will most likely target datacenters and machine learning applications.

Other companies like SiFive and even Intel and Apple are looking to take the RISC-V architecture to the next level, so Imagination needs to come with a unique value proposition if it wants to emerge as a true ARM competitor. As it stands, the British company does have the extensive experience with the MIPS architecture, plus it designs its own GPUs and NPUs. Additionally, since it is not based in NA or SEA, there would not be geopolitical issues that restrict the access to core patents.

 

Buy the GPD XD Plus portable gaming console with Imagination PowerVR GX6250 GPU on Amazon

(Image Source: Imagination)
(Image Source: Imagination)
(Image Source: Imagination)
(Image Source: Imagination)
(Image Source: Imagination)
(Image Source: Imagination)
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - Senior Tech Writer - 1750 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I first stepped into the wondrous IT&C world when I was around seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, whether they were from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I'm also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics aficionado, and a crypto geek. I started writing PC-related articles for Softpedia and a few blogs back in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior tech writer mostly covering processor, GPU, and laptop news.
contact me via: Facebook
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 12 > Imagination presents RISC-V Catapult CPU lineup, plans to compete with ARM
Bogdan Solca, 2021-12- 7 (Update: 2021-12- 7)