RISC-V breaks into the mainstream to go toe-to-toe with Arm

(Image credit: RISC-V International)

Chip designer SiFive has unveiled its new SiFive Performance line of chips based on the open source RISC-V architecture, capable of running 64-bit operating systems like Linux.

Of the two new processor cores, dubbed SiFive Performance P270 and SiFive Performance P550, the latter is hailed as the highest-performance RISC-V processor to date with SPECInt 2006 score of 8.65/GHz.

In fact, SiFive takes on Arm’s Cortex-A75 chips with the P550, which it claims delivers a “significant performance-per-area advantage.”

“SiFive Performance is a significant milestone in our commitment to deliver a complete, scalable portfolio of RISC-V cores to customers in all markets who are at the vanguard of SOC [System-On-a-Chip] design and are dissatisfied with the status quo,” said Dr. Yunsup Lee, co-founder and CTO of SiFive.

Battlegound SoC

Interestingly, SiFive has also revealed that Intel will use the P550 processor cores in its 7nm “Horse Creek” processor platform.

While there aren’t more details on how Intel plans to use the P550 cores, the move is interesting considering it comes on heels of reports that Intel has made a $2 billion offer to acquire SiFive, in its bid to take on the Nvidia-Arm combine.

According to SiFive, the Performance P550 processor core builds on the company’s SiFive U84 microarchitecture, and the company can pack up to four P550 CPU cores into the same amount of space as a single Arm Cortex-A75 CPU core.

“The arrival of the SiFive Performance family of processors is proof that we’ve entered a new phase at SiFive, as we have just now delivered to lead customers the highest performance licensable RISC-V processor in the industry,” wrote SiFive CEO Patrick Little in a blog post outlining the company’s three-pronged strategy to break into the mainstream.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.