SiFive announces new RISC-V processor architecture plus its first-ever desktop PC processor in response to Nvidia's plans to dominate the server market
Quite a few market analysts suggested that the RISC-V processor architecture could see increased adoption if Nvidia takes over ARM and restricts all related IPs for big players like Apple, Qualcomm or Samsung. Now that team green has indeed emerged as the fresh owner of ARM, RISC-V IP owner SiFive immediately issued an announcement regarding its updated RISC-V processor architecture that will be fully unveiled at this year’s Linley Fall Virtual Processor Conference in late October.
As expected, the new RISC-V architecture will focus on improved AI performance and will target data centers / research-oriented HPCs, which also happens to be the markets targeted by Nvidia’s latest expansion plans fueled by the ARM acquisition. While the ARM IPs could be affected by the Nvidia's expansive moves, SiFive’s RISC-V instruction set architecture still remains free and open source, so it could become a solid alternative even for mobile computing and smartphones. In this respect, the new RISC-V architecture is designed to enable different classes of performance, efficiency and features through a boon of highly-configurable parameters.
When it comes to supercomputers, the updated RISC-V instruction set allows for a combination of scalable vector processing with Linux-capable superscalar multi-core processor designs. The new processor cores also include a complete implementation of the latest RISC-V Vector (RVV) extension that enables a unified processing and development environment for scalar and high-performance vector processing applications.
Previously only restricted to servers and supercomputers, the RISC-V processors can now be scaled to power desktop PCs, as well. SiFive is planning to demonstrate its first PC-oriented SoC called Freedom U740 at the Linley Conference. This new SoC comes complete with an expanded development environment that allows for the creation of RISC-V applications from bare-metal to Linux-based systems, including porting all existing server-grade applications. PCs with various form-factors can benefit from the heterogeneous mix+match core complex features of the new FU740 SoC.