Intel goes for RISC-V in its 7nm foundry offering

June 22, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
Intel goes for RISC-V in its 7nm foundry offering
SiFive Inc. (San Mateo, Calif.) has announced the 64bit P550 core claiming it provides the highest performance RISC-V processor family yet developed. Intel will provide it for evaluation by foundry customers.

The SiFive 'Performance' family debuts with two new processor cores, the P270, SiFive’s first Linux capable processor with full support for the RISC-V vector extension v1.0 rc, and the SiFive Performance P550 core, SiFive’s highest performance processor to date.

The new SiFive Performance P550 delivers a SPECInt 2006 score of 8.65/GHz comparable to existing proprietary solutions in the application processor space.

"These two new products cover new performance points and a wide range of application areas, from efficient vector processors that easily displace yesterday’s SIMD architectures, to the bleeding edge that the P550 represents," said Yunsup Lee, Co-Founder and CTO of SiFive, clearly making a reference to ARM.

Amber Huffman, CTO of the IP engineering group at Intel, said that Intel would include P550 cores on its 7nm Horse Creek chip set which is something intel will make available for RISC-V software development to show to developers and manufacturers.

Huffman said Intel would offer Horse Creek to mutual customers.

"By combining Intel's leading-edge interface IP such as DDR and PCIe with SiFive's highest performance processor, Horse Creek will provide a valuable and expandable development vehicle for cutting-edge RISC-V applications."

The SiFive Performance P550 features a thirteen-stage, triple-issue, out-of-order pipeline compatible with the RISC-V RV64GC ISA. Evolved from the previously announced SiFive U84 microarchitecture, Performance P550 scales up to four-core complex configurations that use a similar amount of area as a single Arm Cortex-A75 while delivering a significant performance-per-area advantage.

The SiFive Performance P270 is an 8-stage, dual-issue, highly efficient in-order pipeline compatible with the RISC-V RV64GCV ISA. With full support for the RISC-V Vector Extension v 1.0RC, and combined with SiFive Recode, which translates existing SIMD software from popular legacy architectures to RISC-V Vector assembly code, the SiFive Performance P270 is an ideal replacement for dated SIMD architectures.

The new SiFive Performance family joins the recently announced SiFive Intelligence family that is focused on AI & ML applications, and the

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