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hardwaretech 
We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 22-Oct-2021 21:24:51
#1 ]
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Joined: 5-May-2010
Posts: 41
From: blaine minnesota usa

https://www.theregister.com/2021/10/21/sifive_riscv_cpu/
We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs, servers, mobile incoming

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 23-Oct-2021 10:18:17
#2 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 12100
From: Norway

@hardwaretech

To me sound like don’t know to sell it, making everything option, look at embedded market. If show it can be kick as laptop, running Linux, or tablet, that’s what they need to do.

You can't sell the chip, there no eco systems, if difference is %1, no one is going to care. is 10%, 15% or 20% well maybe. I think ARM was first to do the right thing, and now its already hard to change direction.

Once ARM is marked standard, it will hard for “PowerPC” or “Risc 5” to get back on the horse.

Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 23-Oct-2021 at 12:00 PM.
Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 23-Oct-2021 at 10:21 AM.

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ferrels 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 23-Oct-2021 16:34:06
#3 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 20-Oct-2005
Posts: 879
From: Arizona

@hardwaretech

Trying to sell a CPU by admitting that it lags behind the other mainstream CPUs but is "catching up and closing the gap" is a terrible marketing strategy. They don't give a single reason why anyone should choose their CPU over any of the other faster and well-established architectures.

And then to make matters worse, to quote the article, "San Francisco-based SiFive didn't provide specific comparative benchmarks, so you'll have to take their word for it, if you so choose."

No hardware developer in their right mind would invest in this CPU and SiFive doesn't even mention what tools, if any, are available to software developers for this CPU.

The whole thing is sketchy AF and comes across as just a way to get the uninformed and the uneducated to send investment dollars in their direction. All smoke and mirrors.

Last edited by ferrels on 23-Oct-2021 at 04:34 PM.

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Fl@sh 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 23-Oct-2021 17:33:42
#4 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 6-Oct-2004
Posts: 246
From: Napoli - Italy

Main reason to develop on it is simply because it's roialty free, it's also most recent and featured arch.
Speed will arrive once some "big" will invest on it, letting use latest fab process like in x86/arm world

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ferrels 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 23-Oct-2021 19:57:26
#5 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 20-Oct-2005
Posts: 879
From: Arizona

@Fl@sh

Quote:

Fl@sh wrote:
Main reason to develop on it is simply because it's roialty free, it's also most recent and featured arch.
Speed will arrive once some "big" will invest on it, letting use latest fab process like in x86/arm world


Sorry to inform you of this, but no hardware developer chooses an architecture because it's royalty free. They choose an architecture based on its performance and based on the potential return on their investment. Even if someone were stupid enough to develop a computer based on this CPU, no one would buy said computer since the CPU admittedly is already outperformed by every other architecture on the market, including ARM.

This CPU isn't going anywhere. Nobody, especially anyone who is "big", is going to throw money at this. This CPU is still-born and the reason that no benchmarks have been provided is because it doesn't even exist in real silicon. It only exists on paper. This is just another scam to rob investors of money. Until SciFive can provide some engineering samples of this CPU for independent verification, validation and testing, it's just someone's pipe dream.

Last edited by ferrels on 23-Oct-2021 at 08:19 PM.

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fishy_fis 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 23-Oct-2021 23:14:26
#6 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 2001
From: Australia

@ferrels

Its an open source architecture that has some traction, and is growing it's audience.... *that* is it's appeal.
Risk-V is a very real thing that is only getting more interest all the time.
It's not some half assed poorly conceived thing that is looking for backers to thrive. If it reaches even the level of performance of upper tier non Apple ARM CPUs it's a massive success that opens doors previously unavailable.

The whole, "we're gaining on x86/arm" suggestion is nothing more than playing with words though.... hell, in theory so is 680x0.... its sped up by a factor of 2 or more in the last few years.
Doesn't mean anything in the bigger picture though.,

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ferrels 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 0:08:52
#7 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 20-Oct-2005
Posts: 879
From: Arizona

@fishy_fis

I disagree. It only appeals to folks who want something different solely for the sake of being different. SciFive (pun intended because they're more like Science Fiction than anything real) already admits that their design lags behind ALL other offerings. "Very real?" You must be kidding because this design, which only exists in paper, hasn't even been transferred to real silicon yet which costs millions of dollars at a fab plant. And it simply won't happen because there isn't enough interest that will get transferred into investment cash to justify even the creation of engineering samples. The "traction" that you speak of doesn't exist except in your mind.

It's attitudes such as yours that has essentially killed off the Amiga.....fanatics who stuck with dead-end, EOL CPUs when there was no obvious benefit for staying, except for the sake of being different. This architecture offers nothing that doesn't already exist in the market at already competitive prices and with hardware and software dev tools that actually exist. This CPU has none of that.

So, you find it appealing, good for you.....This CPU will never see the light of day....it's folks like you who have driven the Amiga so far into the ground that it will never again be a force to be reckoned with, period. And this monstrosity, err CPU, won't change that. Nor will this CPU be a force of any type to be reckoned with at all. It will end up in the trash heap of history.

Last edited by ferrels on 24-Oct-2021 at 12:18 AM.
Last edited by ferrels on 24-Oct-2021 at 12:12 AM.

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Troels 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 0:39:30
#8 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 2004
From: Unknown

@ferrels
Let's hope SiFive reads Amiga Forums so they do not waste any more effort on this project

I would not be so entirely sure that this does not have a future. It will not see production runs in its current incarnation but I will not be sure it wont happen for future stuff.

Is it for Amiga, should we port OS4 to this (if that was possible)?
No of course not, if we did we would go no were, we'd be stuck in the same situation without HW as we are now.

If anyone thinks about going away from PPC (the sooner the better IMO) just pick random available architecture that makes most sense for porting.. Just have to have HW available at a decent price. Not that hard is it?

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mac6 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 3:36:05
#9 ]
New Member
Joined: 12-Jan-2021
Posts: 6
From: Western Australia

My portable soldering iron runs this chip... umm some version of risc-v

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bison 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 4:31:14
#10 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 18-Dec-2007
Posts: 2035
From: N-Space

@hardwaretech

Yeah, this is interesting. Five years ago I didn't think they had a chance, but I may have been wrong about that.

Still, they're years away from mass adoption, if they do manage to make it.

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matthey 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 4:41:41
#11 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1453
From: Kansas

ferrels Quote:

Sorry to inform you of this, but no hardware developer chooses an architecture because it's royalty free. They choose an architecture based on its performance and based on the potential return on their investment. Even if someone were stupid enough to develop a computer based on this CPU, no one would buy said computer since the CPU admittedly is already outperformed by every other architecture on the market, including ARM.


There is likely a higher return on investment for royalty free hardware. Performance is not the only attribute that matters for a CPU, especially for embedded use. If performance was all that mattered for a CPU then ARM would have been dead long ago. AArch64 gives up much of the RISC philosophy and now ARM is almost competitive in performance with x86-64. RISC-V is going to have trouble competing with the work done per instruction of AArch64 which is only becoming competitive with x86-64 because x86-64 isn't that great of architecture despite being able to execute more powerful instructions than even AArch64. The big difference is that x86-64 instructions can include pipelined cache accesses and ALU operations together. The 68060 did the same. All of the following instructions have single cycle throughput on the 68060 when the data is in the DCache.

add.l (a0),d0 ; single cycle throughput while RISC needs load+add+store instructions
add.l d0,(a0) ; single cycle throughput while RISC needs load+add+store instructions
addq.l #1,(a0) ; single cycle throughput while RISC needs load+add+store instructions

Of course x86-64 used more resources for a larger L1 DCache, dual ported L1 DCache and wider internal instructions so even long instructions with large immediates and displacements could be executed in a single cycle which the 68060 never received. The 68k and x86-64 used to have an advantage on being able to execute more complex addressing modes with single cycle throughput but ARM figured they could do the same and gave up on the RISC philosophy to compete. RISC-V has none of these advantages and can only do code fusion and OoO execution to try to catch up. RISC-V will likely remain behind in performance but they could have valuable attributes businesses want.

ferrels Quote:

This CPU isn't going anywhere. Nobody, especially anyone who is "big", is going to throw money at this. This CPU is still-born and the reason that no benchmarks have been provided is because it doesn't even exist in real silicon. It only exists on paper. This is just another scam to rob investors of money. Until SciFive can provide some engineering samples of this CPU for independent verification, validation and testing, it's just someone's pipe dream.


SiFive has had real silicon chips produced before. They have made deals with some pretty big companies. Intel may even like them enough to offer $2 billion for them if the rumor is true. If they aren't professional chip designers then they must be the best scammers I have ever heard of.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SiFive Quote:

In April 2018, SiFive received $50.6 million Series C funding including a major amount from Intel Capital.

In June 2019, SiFive received $65.4 million in a Series D funding round led by existing investors Sutter Hill Ventures, Chengwei Capital, Spark Capital, Osage University Partners and Huami, alongside new investor Qualcomm Ventures. This brought the total investment in SiFive to $125 million.

On October 23, 2019 at the Linley Fall Processor Conference, SiFive announced the release of SiFive Shield, a platform security architecture. In December 2019, the company announced the SiFive Apex cores for mission-critical markets and SiFive Intelligence cores for vector processing workloads. Later that month, Samsung also announced it will be using SiFive RISC-V cores for SoCs, automotive, and 5G applications.

In January 2020, SiFive hired Chris Lattner, an American software engineer best known as the main author of LLVM and related projects such as the Clang compiler and the Swift programming language. He joined SiFive as Senior Vice President of Platform Engineering after two years at Google.

In August 2020, SiFive received $60 million in a Series E funding round led by investors SK Hynix and Saudi Aramco. This brought the total investment in SiFive to $186 million. That same month, SiFive announced the creation of the OpenFive business unit to focus on the creation of processor-agnostic custom SoC design.

Chip company Tenstorrent, headed by former top AMD engineers, including CTO Jim Keller, licensed SiFive’s Intelligence X280 processor cores in October 2020 into its homegrown AI training and inference chips. Renesas Electronics also announced partnering with SiFive to design chips for vehicles.

In June 2021, SiFive launched a new processor family with two core designs: P270, a Linux-capable CPU; and P550, the highest-performing RISC-V CPU. At the same time, Intel’s Foundry Service adopted P550 for use in its Horse Creek platform, a RISC-V development platform built on Intel’s newest 7nm process node, Intel 4. The announcement furthered speculation of a potential acquisition of SiFive by Intel, which reportedly offered to acquire SiFive for $2 billion.

Last edited by matthey on 24-Oct-2021 at 04:50 AM.
Last edited by matthey on 24-Oct-2021 at 04:46 AM.
Last edited by matthey on 24-Oct-2021 at 04:45 AM.
Last edited by matthey on 24-Oct-2021 at 04:44 AM.

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amigang 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 4:51:37
#12 ]
Super Member
Joined: 12-Jan-2005
Posts: 1820
From: Cheshire, England

I don’t quite get the Royalties free argument either, Arm chips have plummeted in price, pi prove it, you can build a whole computer that can run Amiga stuff for £7 (pi zero) how much cheaper do we need to go? There even Chinese knocks off like the orange zero that I’ve seen on eBay for £2. The postage to get the dame thing cost more lol.

Ok this can maybe only do A500 level of performance but this is emulation, if Amigaos was running natively how much better would it be? The new 68k emu jit build might make it possible to run A1200/ A1200 -030 level of performance on these tiny boards / chips.

Last edited by amigang on 24-Oct-2021 at 05:14 AM.

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amigang 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 5:03:02
#13 ]
Super Member
Joined: 12-Jan-2005
Posts: 1820
From: Cheshire, England

@amigang

Also because where tech nerds we get a bit hang up on tech specs, but if anything the average user doesn’t care what it runs on as long as it works.

The mini console and now The A500 mini, no hardware spec I believe of the product have been announced, i not heard many people ask what does it run on, they just ask will it play Amiga games, and a good 95% will be happy with its performance, maybe the last 5% will say well if it was done in FPGA it would be more accurate but most won’t care.

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matthey 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 5:57:18
#14 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1453
From: Kansas

amigang Quote:

I don’t quite get the Royalties free argument either, Arm chips have plummeted in price, pi prove it, you can build a whole computer that can run Amiga stuff for £7 (pi zero) how much cheaper do we need to go? There even Chinese knocks off like the orange zero that I’ve seen on eBay for £2. The postage to get the dame thing cost more lol.


The Pi Zero uses a Broadcom VideoCore IV which is paying a middleman markup tax, ARM tax and likely over half the chip area is used for the 3D GPU which is rarely used with such low of resources (larger chip area adds cost). There are likely royalties payed for HDMI and maybe USB, wireless, etc. but they are difficult to avoid (ask Apollo core guys how they don't pay for HDMI). The chips themselves are very cheap to mass produce where packaging and testing may cost more. The Chinese knockoff may be trying to unload the last of a mass production run that didn't sell well.

amigang Quote:

Ok this can maybe only do A500 level of performance but this is emulation, if Amigaos was running natively how much better would it be? The new 68k emu jit build might make it possible to run A1200/ A1200 -030 level of performance on these tiny boards / chips.


Emulators at best are supposedly around 1/3 the performance of the emulated CPU but there are many variables. Even these super cheap processors, like cell phone processors, easily outperform even the 68060 due to the chip process used. Even a 1GHz 6502 processor using a modern chip fab process could likely outperform a 100MHz 68060. The 68k and Amiga chip fab technology is just that old. The sad thing is how cheap these low end chips are to produce. An 1GHz 68060 Amiga SoC could likely be produced for a similar price, if not lower price due to lack of Broadcom tax, lack of ARM tax and smaller area without 3D GPU but Amiga companies only creates niche market noncompetitive products.

Last edited by matthey on 24-Oct-2021 at 05:59 AM.

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Fl@sh 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 6:11:26
#15 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 6-Oct-2004
Posts: 246
From: Napoli - Italy

Of course Risc-V already exists in silicon
Here in Europe it will be the next cpu arch to be adopted against USA and UK x86/arm solutions.
World goverments are founding, contributing and adopting these new archs because they are totally open and royalty free.
There's much interest in China and Russia countries too.

The Intel offer was rejected simply because there are other interests bigger than money.

The IT field will be strategic just like energy, food, pharma, transports and other huge industries.
As you can undestand there are some strategic geopolitics reason to drive a fast adoption of Ricv-V solutions inside IT core communication machines of Europe/China/Russia contries.
Someone could remember recent NSA gate, Huawei ban, hw/sw backdoors present in today common spread OS and software.
There are no others alternatives to Risc-V, in next 5 years you'll see.



Last edited by Fl@sh on 24-Oct-2021 at 10:58 AM.
Last edited by Fl@sh on 24-Oct-2021 at 08:42 AM.

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kolla 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 9:10:20
#16 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2037
From: Trondheim, Norway

@Fl@sh

Damn those hippies at Berkeley - first BSD and now this?! Traitors!!

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Fl@sh 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 9:13:24
#17 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 6-Oct-2004
Posts: 246
From: Napoli - Italy

@kolla

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amigang 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 10:40:19
#18 ]
Super Member
Joined: 12-Jan-2005
Posts: 1820
From: Cheshire, England

Again dont get me wrong paying royalties kinda sucks and if they where high and prevented low cost products like the pi zero come to market, id be with you, but it 0.05 cent per unit for HDMI, and arm chips it 1% of cpu cost, so ok pi zero might be able to come to market for £6.

But i doudt it as arm chips are massivly over produce for mobile phone market getting the cost down unless risk-v can do the same i doudt even with out royalties you be able to produce a simular chips for less.

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kolla 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 10:52:15
#19 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2037
From: Trondheim, Norway

I use so called “Chinese knockoffs” pies not because they are cheaper, but because they offer much more variety, versatility and flexibility. For example they have zeros with onboard ethernet, dedicated rs232 pin row (not just hidden away among GPIO) and the wifi antenna isn’t an accessory that requires soldering.

Last edited by kolla on 24-Oct-2021 at 11:37 AM.

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matthey 
Re: We're closing the gap with Arm and x86, claims SiFive: New RISC-V CPU core for PCs...
Posted on 24-Oct-2021 17:16:30
#20 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1453
From: Kansas

amigang Quote:

Again dont get me wrong paying royalties kinda sucks and if they where high and prevented low cost products like the pi zero come to market, id be with you, but it 0.05 cent per unit for HDMI, and arm chips it 1% of cpu cost, so ok pi zero might be able to come to market for £6.


Costs add up no matter how cheap they are and having a lower cost is a competitive advantage. Demand is more important but it is based on cost too. Demand has a lot to do with having a product which is able to differentiate itself from the rest of the mostly ARM market. At least RISC-V offers something different which will attract some people if the price is comptetive.

amigang Quote:

But i doudt it as arm chips are massivly over produce for mobile phone market getting the cost down unless risk-v can do the same i doudt even with out royalties you be able to produce a simular chips for less.


ARM has no inherent advantage for mass production. It used to be cheaper to mass produce because the cores minimized area (transistors) but gave poor performance which was adequate for the low power embedded market where they caught on. Performance started to pick up when they abandoned RISC principles. They went from many minimal area weak often in-order multi-cores to much stronger cores using a less RISC like AArch64, OoO execution for low to mid performance cores and even introduced micro-oping for their high end cores. AArch64 cores no longer minimize area and resemble a further improved and better standardized PPC architecture. Like the PPC architecture which was limited how low end it could be scaled, AArch64 has the same problem if not worse. This leaves room in the low to mid performance embedded market where RISC-V, with its compressed encodings, may be able to compete with the mostly ignored ARM Thumb2. I believe a modernized 68k64 architecture could compete in the mid to high performance embedded markets as it could have at least as good of code density as 32 bit Thumb2, better performance and 64 bit support without being as fat as AArch64 although it likely couldn't scale down as low as Thumb2 and RISC-V for low end embedded cores.

kolla Quote:

I use so called “Chinese knockoffs” pies not because they are cheaper, but because they offer much more variety, versatility and flexibility. For example they have zeros with onboard ethernet, dedicated rs232 pin row (not just hidden away among GPIO) and the wifi antenna isn’t an accessory that requires soldering.


The RPi Zero is basically a cost and size reduced original RPi using the same SoC. The original RPi didn't have ethernet or wifi either but that is an off the shelf commodity SoC that someone else specified for their requirements kind of like the Tabor A1222 SoC. This is likely why the RPi foundation has started small (cheaper) designing their own SoC with the Pico despite the barely lower cost. Maybe the Pico2 will be able to fully replace the Zero with the missing desired features.

As far as serial port, I like what the CD-32 did with adding serial capabilities supporting networking over the cheap PS2 keyboard port which would be a nice feature to support. Old Amiga and PC keyboards could be supported as well as USB keyboards. A PS2 port is so cheap and small even a wedge style Amiga could have one in place of the DB-25. Maybe an optional I/O board could connect to GPIO pins if full size serial and parallel ports are wanted too.

Last edited by matthey on 24-Oct-2021 at 05:20 PM.

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