Imagination Technologies Announces MIPS Warrior I-class I6500 Heterogeneous CPU with up to 384 Cores

Imagination has just unveiled the successor of MIPS I6400 64-Bit Warrior Core with MIPS Warrior I-class I6500 heterogeneous CPU supporting up to 64 cluster, with up to 6 cores each (384 cores max), themselves up to 4 thread (1536 max), combining with IOCU (IO coherence units), and external IP such as PowerVR GPU or other hardware accelerators.

mips-i6500-scalable-computeThe main features of MIPS I6400 processor are listed as follows:


  • Heterogeneous Inside – In a single cluster, designers can optimize power consumption with the ability to configure each CPU with different combinations of threads, different cache sizes, different frequencies, and even different voltage levels.
  • Heterogeneous Outside – The latest MIPS Coherence Manager with an AMBA ACE interface to popular ACE coherent fabric solutions such as those from Arteris and Netspeed lets designers mix on a chip configurations of processing clusters – including PowerVR GPUs or other accelerators – for high system efficiency.
  • Simultaneous Multi-threading (SMT) – Based on a superscalar dual issue design implemented across generations of MIPS CPUs, this  feature enables execution of multiple instructions from multiple threads every clock cycle, providing higher utilization and CPU efficiency.
  • Hardware virtualization (VZ) – I6500 builds on the real time hardware virtualization capability pioneered in the MIPS I6400 core. Designers can save costs by safely and securely consolidating multiple CPU cores with a single core, save power where multiple cores are required, and dynamically and deterministically allocate CPU bandwidth per application.
  • SMT + VZ – The combination of SMT with VZ in the I6500 offers “zero context switching” for applications requiring real-time response. This feature, alongside the provision of scratchpad memory, makes the I6500 ideal for applications which require deterministic code execution.
  • Designed for compute intensive, data processing and networking applications – The I6500 is designed for high-performance/high-efficiency data transfers to localized compute resources with data scratchpad memories per CPU, and features for fast path message/data passing between threads and cores.
  • OmniShield-ready – Imagination’s multi-domain security technology used across its processing families enables isolation of applications in trusted environments, providing a foundation for security by separation.

The processor is also based on the standard MIPS ISA, so developer will be able to leverage existing software and tools such as compilers, debuggers, operating systems, hypervisors and application software already optimized for the MIPS ISA.



The figure above shows what an SoC based on MIPS I6500 may look like with one cluster with 4 CPU cores, 2 IOCUs, another cluster with any CPU cores but instead eight IOCUs interlinked with third party accelerators, and one PowerVR GPU.

Target applications include advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous vehicles, networking, drones, industrial automation, security, video analytics, machine learning, and more. One of the first customer for the new processor is Mobileye EyeQ5 SoC designed for  Fully Autonomous Driving (interestingly shortened as “FAD”) vehicles will eight multi-threaded MIPS CPU cores coupled with eighteen cores of Mobileye’s Vision Processors (VPs). EyeQ5 SoC should be found in vehicles as early as 2021.

MIPS I6500 CPU can be licensed now, with general availability planned for Q1 2017.You’ll find more technical details on the product page, and blog post for the announcement.

Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.

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