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Trekiej 
Risc-V
Posted on 2-Aug-2022 2:25:19
#1 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Oct-2006
Posts: 890
From: Unknown

I like Risc-V and may buy me a dev. board to see what I can do with it.

What is your opinion of Risc-V?

How can the Amiga benefit from it?

Thanks.

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agami 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 2-Aug-2022 3:53:46
#2 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 1010
From: Melbourne, Australia

@Trekiej

See this extremely recent thread https://amigaworld.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=44615&forum=16

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MEGA_RJ_MICAL 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 2-Aug-2022 5:01:43
#3 ]
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Joined: 13-Dec-2019
Posts: 959
From: AMIGAWORLD.NET WAS ORIGINALLY FOUNDED BY DAVID DOYLE

Alternatively, you can bask in the thoroughness this fresh review by some of the cream-of-the-crop members of this illustrious forum.

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Trekiej 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 4-Aug-2022 3:44:37
#4 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Oct-2006
Posts: 890
From: Unknown

@agami

Thanks, I saw the Amiga World Net post and wanted to start off with something of my own.

@ _RJ_ Can anyone resist the Zorram?

Last edited by Trekiej on 04-Aug-2022 at 03:53 AM.

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MEGA_RJ_MICAL 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 4-Aug-2022 13:26:05
#5 ]
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Joined: 13-Dec-2019
Posts: 959
From: AMIGAWORLD.NET WAS ORIGINALLY FOUNDED BY DAVID DOYLE

Quote:

Trekiej wrote:

@ _RJ_ Can anyone resist the Zorram?


What is it?


/mega!

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amigang 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 4-Aug-2022 17:48:42
#6 ]
Super Member
Joined: 12-Jan-2005
Posts: 1870
From: Cheshire, England

I think ARM is a much better platform to go for and support the hacker boards market, like the Pi, Odroid, ASUS SBC Tinker board, or if the Amiga is big enough, make our own Pi like system, like what Retro Games ltd done with the A500 mini but add more to it. ARM boards like the one in A500 mini can be made for as little as 20.

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Trekiej 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 4-Aug-2022 20:23:11
#7 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Oct-2006
Posts: 890
From: Unknown

@amigang

I wish there was an A600 Pi Hat.

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Trekiej 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 4-Aug-2022 20:23:53
#8 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Oct-2006
Posts: 890
From: Unknown

@MEGA_RJ_MICAL

Laughing, I guess I am not fully versed.

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matthey 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 4-Aug-2022 22:22:42
#9 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1580
From: Kansas

amigang Quote:

I think ARM is a much better platform to go for and support the hacker boards market, like the Pi, Odroid, ASUS SBC Tinker board, or if the Amiga is big enough, make our own Pi like system, like what Retro Games ltd done with the A500 mini but add more to it. ARM boards like the one in A500 mini can be made for as little as 20.


Why use ARM to "make our own Pi like system"? Why make a 68k Amiga wannabee when a genuine 68k CPU can be used that has the potential to be higher performance and more compatible for 68k code with a smaller footprint?

Custom SoC ASICs are likely to get cheaper as governments are subsidizing chip fabrication at home for security reasons. This is likely to cause over production and increased supply of chip fabrication services worldwide. The U.S. CHIPS and Science Act is sitting on Joe Biden's Desk waiting to be signed if not already signed. At least 10 new fabs are planned for the U.S. including 6 TSMC fabs (first in Arizona to be operational in 2024) and 4 Intel fabs (2 in Ohio and 2 in Arizona first operational in 2025). These will be high tech fabs (first TSMC fab in Arizona is 5nm) which should dramatically lower the price of newer chip fab processes. Intel may receive tens of billions of dollars of subsidies alone which is why some businesses like Nvidia and AMD opposed the bill (they are fabless semiconductor designers and TSMC or GlobalFoundries gets the direct benefit which may not be fully passed on to them as cheaper fab services). I believe this would be a positive for RISC-V which benefits more from affordable customized SoC ASICs than commodity chips while a negative for the Amiga due to the lack of fabless semiconductor design, reliance on commodity chips which will likely see less of the benefit which may arrive more slowly and the niche market can only afford to use older fab processes which will likely see less of a price drop.

https://www.techspot.com/news/94856-economist-china-must-seize-tsmc-if-us-tightens.html
https://www.eetimes.com/biden-intel-unveil-ohio-fab-tout-chip-legislation/

Last edited by matthey on 04-Aug-2022 at 10:25 PM.

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agami 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 5-Aug-2022 5:06:30
#10 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 1010
From: Melbourne, Australia

@Trekiej

Quote:

Trekiej wrote:
@agami

Thanks, I saw the Amiga World Net post and wanted to start off with something of my own.

Fair enough.

Here's what I think about RISC-V.
I think it is an interesting endeavour at an interesting time of development in computing technology.

When it comes to RISC-V, I look at more what it will be 10 years from now and not what it is today. I predict that the torch for embedded applications will be transferred over to RISC-V from ARM, just as it transitioned from PPC and 68k before that. I see the diversity of RISC-V designs being a net positive as the line between software and hardware becomes more and more blurred.

How can 'Amiga' benefit from it?
In many ways asking the question that way reveals a wrong approach. It's a bottom-up question. A solution in search of a problem.

Anyone serious about future 'Amiga' or Amiga-inspired computing should start with a product strategy that addresses a select market segment and solves problems for that segment. Then looks at the investment and potential returns from serving that segment. Then the technology is sourced to bring about the product. If that future 'Amiga' product works best with CPUs and/or MCUs based on RISC-V, then they will be included. Not because RISC-V is cool, but because it makes the most sense from a product lifecycle point of view.

Think back to the nascent days of Hi-Toro. They didn't start with a 68000 CPU and wonder what they can do with it. They started with a goal to make a powerful consumer gaming console that can be turned into a personal computer (product), then they looked at the technologies that would help make that a reality. Where the right price/performance components didn't exist, they created their own custom designed silicon. Like Apple today.

I've had a business plan for a little while now, to bring to market a 3rd commercial consumer computing platform that is inspired by the Amiga. In it, it does not specify a particular architecture such as x86-64 or ARM. That is left to the engineers when the product development actually starts. The amount of funding I will be able to raise (budget) will be a key factor in determining the hardware designs.

I would have to say, that at least for the first two iterations, any new product would be based on existing, mature, tried and tested (and supported) components. But it would be wise to keep a watchful eye on developments in the RISC-V arena for future SKUs.

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Hammer 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 5-Aug-2022 5:32:52
#11 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 4409
From: Australia

@agami

Tesla T10 (the same GT200B ASIC for NVIDIA GTX 280) is a RISC-V dead-end door stop (eWaste) while Commodore's Amiga 500's CPU accelerator market continues to evolve which includes PiStorm/Pi 3a (quad-core ARM Cortex A-53 1.5Ghz)/EMU68.

Commodore designed Amiga 500/1200 hardware platform to be expandable beyond its stock CPU limitations.

Neo-Amigas such as AmigaOne, and Vampire 4 Standalone didn't follow Commodore-Amiga 500/1200's expandable concept.

Many of neo-Amigas are door stops that follows the Android hardware business model.

It's a strange situation when Commodore's Amiga 500 hardware platform with a PiStorm/Pi 3a (quad-core ARM Cortex A53 @ 1.5Ghz)/EMU68 can beat the neo-Amigas.

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Hammer 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 5-Aug-2022 5:40:18
#12 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 4409
From: Australia

@matthey

The context with US Congress' U.S. CHIPS and Science Act;

From https://medium.com/discourse/tsmc-the-taiwanese-titan-be0774531bb

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Taiwanese government gave the semiconductor industry strategic priority for development.

Smart weapons require many chips and a potential war of attrition in a total war situation is about manufacturing logistic capability.

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Amiga 500 (rev 6A, KS 3.2, PiStorm/RPi3a/Emu68)

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Yssing 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 5-Aug-2022 7:08:27
#13 ]
Super Member
Joined: 24-Apr-2003
Posts: 1069
From: Unknown

@MEGA_RJ_MICAL

Quote:
Alternatively, you can bask in the thoroughness this fresh review by some of the cream-of-the-crop members of this illustrious forum.


LOL, that made me laugh.. Thanks buddy

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Yssing 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 5-Aug-2022 7:10:39
#14 ]
Super Member
Joined: 24-Apr-2003
Posts: 1069
From: Unknown

@Trekiej

I think there is a real future for RISC-V, I am convinced that RISC-V can easily compete with ARM.

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MEGA_RJ_MICAL 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 5-Aug-2022 9:59:08
#15 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 13-Dec-2019
Posts: 959
From: AMIGAWORLD.NET WAS ORIGINALLY FOUNDED BY DAVID DOYLE

@Yssing

Quote:

Yssing wrote:
@MEGA_RJ_MICAL

Quote:
Alternatively, you can bask in the thoroughness this fresh review by some of the cream-of-the-crop members of this illustrious forum.


LOL, that made me laugh.. Thanks buddy



I LIVE TO SERVE

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matthey 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 6-Aug-2022 7:59:57
#16 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1580
From: Kansas

agami Quote:

Here's what I think about RISC-V.
I think it is an interesting endeavour at an interesting time of development in computing technology.

When it comes to RISC-V, I look at more what it will be 10 years from now and not what it is today. I predict that the torch for embedded applications will be transferred over to RISC-V from ARM, just as it transitioned from PPC and 68k before that. I see the diversity of RISC-V designs being a net positive as the line between software and hardware becomes more and more blurred.


I'm not so sure RISC-V is superior enough to ARM for embedded use to fully replace it. RISC-V most resembles MIPS which had limited success in the embedded market. Open hardware is a big RISC-V advantage that will continue to grow. More free encoding space for customization and optional variable length encoding for improved code density are appealing for embedded use as well. Is it enough though? You speak of PPC like it was an embedded leader and it likely was by revenue but maybe not by units sold despite a little better code density and more powerful CISC like instructions compared to most old RISC architectures like MIPS, SPARC, PA-RISC and the original ARM architecture. Motorola maintained some of the embedded market as they transitioned from the 68k to PPC requiring customers who needed performance to switch to PPC or leave. Many customers remained loyal until better alternatives better suited for embedded came along. Many customers remained on the 68k that did not require performance even though Motorola was only creating 68k cores with minor improvements. The numbers tell the story.

1995 32 and 64 bit units shipped
1) x86 ~70 million
2) 68k ~50 million
3) SuperH ~14 million
4) i960 ~6 million
5) MIPS ~5 million
6) PPC ~4 million

source: http://www.ee.unlv.edu/~meiyang/ecg700/readings/micro-today.pdf

PPC had been out since the 601 in 1991 and Motorola was investing heavily in PPC, many workstations were transitioning away from the 68k and Apple was transitioning the Mac to PPC. Despite minimal Motorola investment in the 68k and a minimal 68k roadmap, the 68k was outselling the PPC by more than 12 times and gaining market share much faster (the 68k added more units shipped from 1994 to 1995 than PPC sold in 1995). The fastest growing RISC architecture by units shipped was SuperH which was developed by Hitachi, a 2nd supplier of the 68k, as closely resembles the 68k ISA of any RISC architecture I know and focused on improving code density even though it did not match the 68k despite some literature claims. The fixed 16 bit encoding of SuperH was good for code density but required many more instructions than even a fixed 32 bit RISC encoding which is bad for performance but it was not difficult to surpass the performance of the 68k architecture which Motorola had practically stopped developing and had no roadmap. SuperH thus became the embedded market leader for a short time after the 68k. ARM licensed the SuperH technology and developed the ARM Thumb ISAs which were an improvement in code density comparable to the 68k while reducing the number of executed instructions for better performance even though still inferior to the 68k. ARM allowed customizations, made incremental improvements and had roadmaps. ARM with Thumb2 ISA then became the embedded market leader.

1999 32-bit Microcontroller Sales in units
1) ARM 151 million
2) Motorola 68k 94 million
3) MIPS 57 million
4) Hitachi SuperH 33 million
5) x86 29 million
6) PowerPC 10 million

source: https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.29.1298&rep=rep1&type=pdf

The 68k was still in 2nd place and unit sales were increasing faster than PPC despite practically no Motorola development. SuperH was losing market share to the superior ARM Thumb2. MIPS moved up likely do to the Sony Playstation, which abandoned MIPS after the PS2, compressed MIPS16e and MicroMIPS ISA options which improved code density and friendly licensing terms. RISC-V uses short 16 bit instructions for common 32 bit instructions improving code density and resembling MicroMIPS. RISC-V is completely free and open and reencoding likely improves ISA efficiency while freeing encoding space for customization but these are only incremental improvements. Code density of RISC-V compressed remains inferior to ARM Thumb2 and the 68k but is superior to ARM AArch64 and PPC. The number of executed instructions is likely fewer than ARM Thumb2 but more than ARM AArch64, the 68k and PPC so performance potential is likely to be relatively weak but maybe a little better than Thumb2. RISC-V is practically a more open MIPS architecture with minor improvements so nothing special. OpenSPARC and OpenPOWER Foundation/Consortium efforts did not guarantee success. RISC-V is likely to benefit from a lack of competition as the competition has narrowed to only 3 primary contenders ARM AArch64 (but still Thumb2), RISC-V and x86-64. It's too bad Motorola took the risc of jumping the fence from the green pastures of the 68k to the PPC. What business exec can look at these numbers and say jump to PPC (there was some late PPC success with consoles and for high margin telecom and automotive embedded use but that comes more from development spending and political choices). I think Motorola realized their mistake when they decided to develop ColdFire to retain the high volume embedded market but they messed that up by not making it a compatible subset of the 68k and lack of 64 bit planning as late as it was reduced its reach. Intel went back to x86 when they realized their Itanic mistake and x86-64 is far from a great 64 bit extension of x86.

agami Quote:

Think back to the nascent days of Hi-Toro. They didn't start with a 68000 CPU and wonder what they can do with it. They started with a goal to make a powerful consumer gaming console that can be turned into a personal computer (product), then they looked at the technologies that would help make that a reality. Where the right price/performance components didn't exist, they created their own custom designed silicon. Like Apple today.


The 68k really was the perfect choice for the Amiga. Workstation level performance, datatype support and ease of compiler support was coupled with the best available overall embedded code density (the 8086 had better code density for tiny text based programs). Most RISC architectures would have required 50% more memory and the much increased memory traffic from instruction fetching would have stolen memory bandwidth needed for the custom chips when fast memory was not available as CBM often delivered the Amiga. Some people may say the Amiga should have gone with the 8086 and the Amiga would have cheap CPUs today. IBM should have gone with the 68000 for their PC and Motorola should have continued to develop it though. Jay Miner made a better choice than IBM but it wasn't enough to save the Amiga.

Last edited by matthey on 06-Aug-2022 at 03:25 PM.
Last edited by matthey on 06-Aug-2022 at 03:07 PM.
Last edited by matthey on 06-Aug-2022 at 08:03 AM.

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cdimauro 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 7-Aug-2022 12:02:29
#17 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Oct-2012
Posts: 2691
From: Germany

@Trekiej

Quote:

Trekiej wrote:
I like Risc-V and may buy me a dev. board to see what I can do with it.

What is your opinion of Risc-V?

I agree with what Matt said.
Quote:
How can the Amiga benefit from it?

In absolutely no way.


@agami

Quote:

agami wrote:
Anyone serious about future 'Amiga' or Amiga-inspired computing should start with a product strategy that addresses a select market segment and solves problems for that segment.

Anyone serious (and sane) cannot think about a future for Amiga...

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agami 
Re: Risc-V
Posted on 8-Aug-2022 1:54:47
#18 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 1010
From: Melbourne, Australia

@cdimauro

Quote:
Anyone serious (and sane) cannot think about a future for Amiga...

Correct. Anyone who is serious about a future 'Amiga' product, has to also be a little bit insane.
Frontiers have always worked that way.

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