Linley Newsletter: November 15, 2018

 weSRCH's Best of the Internet Award
  15th-Nov-2018
 152


Linley Newsletter

Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues

Issue #626

November 15, 2018


Independent Analysis of Microprocessors and the Semiconductor Industry

Editor: Tom R. Halfhill

Contributors: Linley Gwennap, Mike Demler, Bob Wheeler


In This Issue:

- SiFive Raises RISC-V Performance

- Wave Exposes Broad Roadmap


SiFive Raises RISC-V Performance

By Bob Wheeler

Designing a CPU that scales from microcontrollers to multicore processors is difficult, but that's SiFive's approach with its 7 Series. At the Linley Fall Processor Conference, the RISC-V startup revealed its latest CPU. The dual-issue in-order design is its most complex core yet, moving into the same class as Arm's "little" Cortex-A family. SiFive will offer versions for real-time embedded processing as well as Linux applications.

At the high end, the company's new U74MC intellectual-property (IP) core builds on the U54, which already offers multicore configurations and Linux compatibility. The standard U74MC comes with a double-precision floating-point unit (FPU). Up to nine of the 64-bit cores can share an L2 cache with ECC protection. For deeply embedded designs, the company introduced the 32-bit E76 and 64-bit S76, which include a single-precision FPU. They improve performance compared with the existing E31 and E51. RTL for the E76, S76, and U74 is now available.

Following a $50 million funding round announced in April, SiFive has sharpened its focus on IP for embedded applications. It also disclosed a license agreement with Western Digital, a strategic investor. Although the company announced standard 7 Series cores, part of its differentiation comes from configurability. Customers can start with the specification for an off-the-shelf core and add or remove standard instruction extensions, change memory details, and edit other features. Within weeks, SiFive delivers RTL for a core that consumes only as much area and power as the customer application allows.

Microprocessor Report subscribers can access the full article:

http://www.linleygroup.com/mpr/article.php?id=12060

Wave Exposes Broad Roadmap

By Linley Gwennap

While working to finish its first product, Wave Computing is already planning a diverse roadmap to address AI acceleration in data-center, edge, and client devices. It disclosed at the recent Linley Fall Processor Conference a new roadmap, its first since acquiring MIPS Technologies. The roadmap features a next-generation processor design along with new CPU and AI cores for licensing.

Wave's initial product is a "departmental appliance" that contains four DPU processors in a workstation-size box. The system runs Linux and supports neural networks through the ONNX API. Wave is now shipping evaluation systems that we expect will enter production early next year, but it is withholding prices and power consumption until general availability. The company is already working on a second DPU chip, which will use Broadcom's ASIC flow in TSMC 7nm technology. Wave expects to pack 32,000 of its AI cores into the new chip, twice as many as on the initial 16nm design. Whereas the DPU1 uses Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC), the DPU2 will switch to the more popular High Bandwidth Memory (HBM).

For customers that want to develop their own AI-enabled SoCs, Wave will license its DPU cores, but only in combination with MIPS CPUs. Tapping its deep expertise in intellectual-property (IP) development, the former MIPS team is helping convert the initial DPU RTL into a licensable product while improving the software stack and development tools. Licensees can easily scale the number of DPU cores to achieve a wide performance range, depending on the area and power budget. The company won't ignore the existing MIPS CPUs; it plans to continue developing and supporting both 32- and 64-bit CPUs for a range of end applications. We expect the first new cores from this program to become available in 2019.

Microprocessor Report subscribers can access the full article:

http://www.linleygroup.com/mpr/article.php?id=12059

About Linley Newsletter

Linley Newsletter is a free electronic newsletter that reports and analyzes advances in microprocessors, networking chips, and mobile-communications chips. It is published by The Linley Group. To subscribe, please visit:

http://www.linleygroup.com/newsletters/newsletter_subscribe.php

.

Domain: Electronics
Category: Semiconductors

Recent Newsletters

Linley Newsletter: January 17, 2018

Linley Newsletter Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues Issue #635 January 17, 2019 Independent Analysis of Microprocessors and the Semiconductor Industry

17 January, 2019

Linley Newsletter: January 10, 2018

Linley Newsletter Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues Issue #634 January 10, 2019 Independent Analysis of Microprocessors and the Semiconductor Industry E

10 January, 2019

Linley Newsletter: January 3, 2018

Linley Newsletter Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues Issue #633 January 3, 2019 Independent Analysis of Microprocessors and the Semico

05 January, 2019