Arm Compares Arm & RISC-V Benefits in RISCV Basics Website

Arm is a dominant force in mobile and embedded processors, but recently we’ve heard more and more about RISC-V open source and royalty-free alternatives, and for example SiFive has launched both application processors / IP with solutions like Linux capable Freedom U540 SoC found in HiFive Unleashed board, as well as RISC-V MCU Cores competing with Arm Cortex-M4 and Cortex-M0+ cores.

There’s certainly a lot of activity around RISC-V, but I have not seen many commercial solutions yet, and the platform needs to mature. However, Arm apparently takes the competition seriously with the company setting up a website – riscv-basics.com – comparing Arm and RISC-V, notably through the infographics below.

Arm vs RISC-V Infographics
Click to Enlarge

Arm recognizes RISC-V has no recurring license fees, but claims those fees are only a small fraction of the total investment required for a commercial processor. The company also questions RISC-V maturity, and at this stage is may be true, but it will eventually improve. The next argument is the risk of fragmentation with RISC-V processor since each implementation can be customized. It’s hard to not laugh at that one, since Arm is the king of fragmentation, which also brings benefits such as flexibility, lower costs, and higher efficiency.

Security in Arm is indeed likely to be better at this stage due to the whole ecosystem around the architecture, although that’s always a complex matter. For example, AFAIK RISC-V processors do not suffer from Sprectre / Meltdown bugs, but some Arm processors do.

Finally, Arm explains re-validation costs can be very high, and since RISC-V instructions set architecture can easily be modified, re-validating the processor and customizing software will be costly. I suppose this argument is valid if you extend/amend the default RISC-V architecture set.

Via David Sha on Twitter

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14 Comments
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Yuntian Zhang
Yuntian Zhang
2 years ago

The title doesn’t make much sense to me when you read as “Arm Compares Arm” and “RISC-V Benefits in RISCV” Basics Website…

Shon Frazier
Shon Frazier
2 years ago

Arm Compares RISC-V and Arm ISA Benefits …

Sreehari
Sreehari
2 years ago

I can’t seem to find any sources

zoobab
2 years ago

To put up such website, it means they are scared enough.

blu
blu
2 years ago

They definitely take RISC-V seriously, as they should.

BTW, I might be missing something, but how are ARM the kings of fragmentation in the context given by the ‘fragmentation’ point? ARM have been quite strict about the Architecture Licenses.

theguyuk
theguyuk
2 years ago

Do you think we will ever see a royalty free graphics solution? Back in the past the CPU provided the graphics ie ZX Spectrum, Arcade consoles with coprocessor for graphics, but today graphics are more demanding.

Noloqoq
Noloqoq
2 years ago

There are some modern opensource (GP)GPU project too, like NyuziProcessor, but they are still not at the level of production like RISC-V.

nobitakun
nobitakun
2 years ago

so, does it mean riscv won’t be like x86? I don’t see any benefits in fragmentation at all. They must work for riscv to disable vendors to change the stuff which must remain untouchable to be able to create just one linux distro for all and stop the headaches we are having with the current arm 🙁

Teh Jeef
Teh Jeef
2 years ago

I’d say it’s a good thing. ARM is already relatively aggressive in designing new architectures, I’d imagine RISC-V will only further their efforts.

Paul M
Paul M
2 years ago

“Risc-V products fairly new and yet to benefit from years of scrutiny…”
So, Arm, how about that Spectre and Meltdown problem???

TonyT
TonyT
2 years ago
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