Intel to Create RISC-V Growth Platform with SiFive P550 Cores on 7nm in 2022

As a part of SiFive’s bulletins at present, together with enabling SiFive IP on Intel’s Foundry Service choices, Intel can be creating its personal RISC-V improvement platform utilizing its 7nm course of expertise. This platform, known as Horse Creek, will characteristic a number of of SiFive’s new Efficiency P550 cores additionally being introduced at present, and can be paired with Intel’s DDR and PCIe IP expertise.

On first studying into the press launch, it isn’t 100% clear that Intel’s commentary discusses a platform with P550 as a bunch or as an add-in system: to cite Intel, ‘We’re happy to be a lead improvement companion with SiFive to showcase to mutual prospects the spectacular efficiency of their P550 on our 7nm Horse Creek platform’. Intel traditionally usually retains its Creek household names, equivalent to Boulder Creek, Cherry Creek, or Timber Creek, for socketed platforms – not for all-in-one embedded improvement platforms. Not solely that, the wording makes it sound like we must always take into account a RISC-V core as an assistant core managing one other a part of a system.

Nonetheless it will seem that Intel intends to make this a fully-featured improvement system, alongside comparable strains to SiFive’s personal HiFive Unmatched platform launched early this 12 months. What makes this particular is that Intel is committing to creating the SoC by itself 7nm course of node, which supplies a ‘easier’ car for Intel to check and ramp up its 7nm expertise. This may be coupled with growing curiosity in RISC-V improvement, and deploying a platform although Intel’s provide chain and distribution may need a far attain to place these within the arms of upcoming builders.

The brand new SiFive Efficiency P550 core on the coronary heart of Horse Creek is SiFive’s highest efficiency processor up to now, with the corporate quoting a SPEC2006int of 8.65 per GHz. It’s a Linux-capable core, with full help for the RISC-V vector extension v1.0rc. It has a 13-stage triple-issue out-of-order microarchitecture with a personal 32KB+32KB L1 cache and a personal L2 cache (per core) The design helps 4 cores in a single cluster that may be paired as much as 4 MB of shared L3.

The time scale for this platform coming to market is sort of attention-grabbing. Regardless of Intel just lately dedicated to bringing its 7nm to market in 2023 with the compute tile for its Meteor Lake processor as its first 7nm product, we’re being informed that Horse Creek silicon can be prepared in 2022, which might make Horse Creek its first 7nm product. For what it’s price, it’s unlikely that the Intel RISC-V answer is tile-based, however it is perhaps simple sufficient to carry a small RISC-V chip improvement platform to market round then. The chip is prone to be small, so which may work in favor of its prices as properly. A query does stay as as to whether Intel’s involvement right here is solely within the {hardware}, or whether or not there can be an Intel-based software program stack to go together with it.

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