2024 RISC-V trend prediction, AI and high-performance chip blowout
Electronic Enthusiast Network reports (Text/Zhou Kaiyang) As 2023 passes, the RISC-V architecture has spent another year of breakthrough innovation. Many manufacturers have chosen to release new products in 2023, and the RISC-V industry has also ushered in a new era. Lots of breaking news. Looking forward to 2024, whether RISC-V will bring us new surprises, we can also make some small trend predictions.
AI becomes the focus of the next round of design
With the official release of the RVV 1.0 standard, we have seen that many RISC-V IP companies have upgraded their cores in 2023, such as Pingtou Ge, Andes Technology, SiFive, etc. For example, Canaan Technology launched it last year The world's first commercial mass-produced chip K230 supporting the RCC 1.0 standard was launched. New AI processors based on the RVV 1.0 architecture have been launched one after another, or are already in planning and design, and will even use the most advanced technology.
In addition to RVV itself, IP manufacturers are also making additional efforts in AI customization, such as Pingtou Ge's new Matrix matrix standard, SiFive's SiFive Intelligence expansion, and so on. At present, the RISC-V vector processor product lines of several IP manufacturers have been completed, and many new manufacturers have also launched related research and development plans. It can be said that RVV 1.0 has completely opened the door for RISC-V to enter the AI era.
Judging from the currently known information, 2024 will still be the AI year of RISC-V. With the continued growth in AI demand, everyone is more willing to promote their RISC-V products from the perspective of AI chips. For example, Espressif Technology, which has begun to develop AI SoC, its current main product line is the Xtensa-based ESP32-S3. However, the edge AI chip ESP32-P4 based on RISC-V has completed tape-out and is expected to be launched this year. The chip will have Higher computing power meets the requirements of more AIoT applications.
High-performance RISC-V chips are booming
The SG2042, which will be released by Suanneng at the end of 2022, integrates 64 flathead brother's C920 RISC-V CPU cores. With its super performance and 120W TDP, it has become the industry's first server-level RISC-V CPU processor. , and also took the lead in realizing the implementation of hardware. This year, Suaneng plans to release the latest SG2044 SoC, which not only achieves higher performance, but also supports RVV 1.0 and can even support the 7 billion parameter Llama 7B model.
In addition to computing power, another major RISC-V manufacturer will also launch new products in 2024, and that is Ventana. After building the Veyron V1 based on TSMC's 5nm process, we don't seem to have seen the commercial implementation of this high-performance data center processor. This is normal for the first product of a start-up company. Even Nvidia's Grace has not been launched recently. Deliveries started two years later.
In order to solve various pain points on Veyron V1, Ventana plans to launch Veyron V2 this year. The V2 processor will integrate 192 RISC-V cores, improving single-core performance by 40%. V2 will also adopt UCIe standard chiplets and add customer-customizable DSA chiplets. Whether it is FPGA or ASIC, it is entirely left to the customer to optimize the load efficiency, rather than blindly pursuing the highest SPIECint running score.
After major RISC-V IP manufacturers have successively improved their high-performance RISC-V processor core lineup, this trend has become more and more obvious. Even the open source RISC-V processor core has moved towards high-performance Performance has evolved. Take Xiangshan as an example. The Xiangshan processor based on the second version of Nanhu architecture was officially released last year, and the joint research and development work on the third generation of Xiangshan (Kunming Lake architecture) has already started. It is expected that we will see the latest progress this year.
The emergence of more product forms
Many new RISC-V electronic products will appear in 2023, such as tablet products based on RISC-V chips PineTab-V, LicheePad 4A, DC-ROMA RISC-V PAD, etc. After experiencing the shipment of the first RISC-V notebook computer, everyone has realized that RISC-V also has the opportunity to take a share of high value-added consumer electronics products, and is no longer limited to ordinary IoT and consumer electronics products. in wearable products.
As more chips based on RISC-V are implemented, related development boards continue to introduce new ones. For example, Banana Pie recently launched the BPI-F3 RISC-V development board based on the K1 chip. The K1 chip of Entering Time and Space adopts an 8-core design, and the single-core general computing power is equivalent to 1.3 times the Cortex-A55. In addition, the single chip also incorporates 2.0TOPS of AI computing power.
In 2024, I believe there will be more forms of hardware products integrating RISC-V chips, whether they are consumer electronics, product demos, or development boards. However, there are still some limitations to hardware-first. As more developers invest in the development of RISC-V software and improve the software ecosystem of this architecture, more manufacturers may join in to seek commercial implementation and even commercial success.
Operating system support is getting better and better
With the support of the RISC-V International Foundation, the developer community, and the Linux Foundation, RISC-V’s support for operating systems has been improved unprecedentedly, and more and more RISC-V chips can be launched at the beginning of their release. As for supporting major Linux distributions, the Debian 13 operating system released at the end of last year finally officially supports 64-bit RISC-V hardware.
Also receiving support is EulixOS, which is an operating system distribution based on openEuler created by the Institute of Software of the Chinese Academy of Sciences/Nanjing Institute of Software Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Its development goal is to integrate the latest scientific research of the Institute of Software The result is a safe and easy-to-use operating system for open source enthusiasts, researchers and students, providing online services, high-performance computing, AI computing and other usage scenarios. Version 2.0 of this system also integrates native support for the RISC-V architecture, and the installation image supports RISC-V hardware such as Nezha D1, Unmatched, and VisionFive.
It is worth mentioning that there are already related projects studying the support of RISC-V in car-machine systems. Recently, we have seen the car-grade Linux Demo running on the SiFive Vision development board. With the successive introduction of RISC-V car-grade chips and the support of car-grade systems, it may not be far away from us that RISC-V will be fully available in cars.
More major manufacturers are entering RISC-V
Last year, five chip giants (Bosch, Infineon, Nordic, NXP and Qualcomm) joined forces to establish Quintauris, a RISC-V company, aiming to promote the globalization of RISC-V through the development of next-generation hardware. For them, developing an ISA by themselves is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and risky. RISC-V, with its freely customizable features, is very suitable for the development of new self-developed chips.
Even Meta, which has recently been involved in chip research and development, said that the RISC-V architecture is the core of their future chip development plans. Judging from the published papers, Meta's next-generation AI chip MTIA is likely to be developed based on Andes Technology's AX25-V100 processor. The chip is expected to be widely used in Meta's own recommendation system.
At the same time, for these major manufacturers, RISC-V-based chip design costs are lower and can be used to develop new product lines or launch replacements for existing product lines. Qualcomm said that for product development, RISC-V eliminates the problem of being bound to proprietary ISAs and limited optional cores, avoiding the huge licensing fees required when developing new processors.
RISC-V has even developed to the point where governments in many countries cannot ignore it. For example, India has even launched a RISC-V processor development plan and established related foundations to promote the development of RISC-V processors. Even the United States, seeing the development of RISC-V in the Chinese market, actually hopes to restrict it through export controls. Unfortunately, they are facing an open architecture, and any restrictions will ultimately be in vain.
For the semiconductor market, 2024 may not be a good year for demand explosion, but it is likely to be a big year for design. More semiconductor companies will shift their focus to R&D and design. At this time, in order to pursue cost reduction and efficiency increase One of the big solutions happens to be RISC-V.
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