Imagination introduces Catapult RISC-V CPU cores

As expected, Imagination Technologies is giving another try to the CPU IP market with the Catapult RISC-V CPU cores following their previous unsuccessful attempt with the MIPS architecture, notably the Aptiv family.

Catapult RISC-V CPUs are/will be available in four distinct families for dynamic microcontrollers, real-time embedded CPUs, high-performance application CPUs, and functionally safe automotive CPUs.

Catapult RISC-V CPU

The new 32-/64-bit RISC-V cores will be scalable to up to eight asymmetric coherent cores-per cluster, offer a “plethora of customer configurable options”, and support optional custom accelerators. What you won’t see today are block diagrams and detailed technical information about the cores because apparently, all that information is confidential even though some Catapult RISC-V cores are already shipping “in high-performance Imagination automotive GPUs”. The only way to get more details today is to sign an NDA.

Having said that we have some more information about the target markets and development tools.  Imagination Capapult RISC-V cores will be used in a variety of markets from 5G modems, storage, ADAS / autonomous vehicles, data center, and high-performance computing. Real-time embedded CPUs are available now, while high-performance application CPUs and automotive CPUs are expected in 2022. We’re also told the automotive parts will comply with the ISO 26262 automotive standards and be offered for each Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL).

Catapult CPUs will offer full hardware, software, and debug support for SoCs using Imagination IP and work with the company’s (PowerVR) GPU, AI, and Ethernet Packet Processor (EPP) cores. Customers can test the core on performance models compatible with the gen5 simulator to model their application needs and choose the right compute elements. Imagination Technology will also provide the Catapult SDK and Catapult Studio IDE for development with industry-standard build and debug tools such as GCC, LLVM, and GDB, as well as optimized C libraries. Catapult Studio is based on Visual Studio Code and works in Windows, Ubuntu, CentOS, and macOS, with both FreeRTOS and Linux supported with reference bootloaders, kernels, and Yocto-based filesystems.

The press release lists quotes from various companies and organizations, and there appears to be at least one customer with Tatsuya Kamei, Vice President, Automotive SoC Development Division, Renesas, saying:

Renesas has a long history of working with Imagination, and its proven track record of delivering reliability, trust and innovation has enabled us to deliver market-leading automotive SoCs. The growing RISC-V market requires a wide range of products and trusted delivery partners, as well as an increased focus on safety and security. We welcome Imagination’s new Catapult RISC-V CPU IP, which is sure to meet those criteria.

There are few other public details, but if you are ready to sign an NDA, click on the “Request Deep Dive” button on the product page.

Via Liliputing

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14 Comments
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David Willmore
David Willmore
9 months ago

Imagination? PowerVR? Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no,no.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 months ago

You’re thinking of Imagination Technologies. This is a new and friendlier company called Imagination Technology.

David Willmore
David Willmore
9 months ago

Oh, well in that case…. Still no.

Frank Earl
Frank Earl
9 months ago

Yeah, doesn’t that have a Silent “(Lacking)” in front of that? “Lacking Imagination Technologies…”

uiop
uiop
9 months ago

To any investor in Imagination: stop, just stop. This is the same company that essentially had it value erased by kowtowing to Apple to only have them dismantle the company. There is value in having the ability to program your hardware available to the public. This enables inertia. SoC makers can trust that their software enablement task approaches zero as the “community” takes over. This makes the orignal hardware design more valuable. And hence, you get more customers for that hardware design. hence you no longer have to be dependent on one large customer (like Apple). This in turn gives… Read more »

Frank Earl
Frank Earl
9 months ago

In truth…why would anyone buy their stuff? I wouldn’t. They had a chance on several fronts and they rendered themselves largely irrelevant like you’ve highlighted there.

If it was a choice of roll it yourself versus them…I’ll roll it myself. I’ve got access to some of the fastest designs in the space and some of the faster silicon…all for FREE for the design…and only the costs to fabricate.

Hard Pass.

crashoverride
crashoverride
9 months ago

This is actually a highlighted feature on the product page in the “Built on RISCV” section:

Protected by a rich portfolio of hundreds of fundamental CPU patents, giving you peace of mind when you ship.

Willy
Willy
9 months ago

Yeah, placing “peace of mind” in the same sentence as “patent” is only going to reassure those who come from the 19th century’s industry. There are hardly that many such engineers still alive, let alone interested in modern technologies! In the 21th century the sentence above would rather be rephrased “Tainted by hundreds of fundamental CPU patents, making sure you and your customers will eventually become the pawns of a 10-year long patent suit against one of our competitors, without you being able to escape”.

dgp
dgp
9 months ago

>The people working on Linux support for Apple’s M1 are doing the world a disservice.

I think they’re crazy too but you’re breaking the first rule of open source klub: Don’t tell other people what they do with their time unless you are paying for that time.

>it’s the same thing with the people working with Allwinner or SigmaStar hardware.
>Stop enabling this madness.

How about no.

uiop
uiop
9 months ago

you’re breaking the first rule of open source klub: Don’t tell other people what they do with their time unless you are paying for that time. I don’t pay a lot of people for what they end up doing in this world. It doesn’t mean I have to like it or approve of it. I was thinking of you dgp when I wrote my comment, but like I said, for you and people like marcan, it’s an intellectual challenge. That’s cool, and you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s important too, because if people didn’t we wouldn’t have all… Read more »

David Willmore
David Willmore
9 months ago

People, of course, are free to spend their time and monies anyhow they want to. I won’t aregue with that, as it’s fundimental to any kind of ‘freedom’ you might have in free software/hardware. Open is great, but free is better. I will agree, though, that how people chose to spend their time is a fair subject for comment and discussion. But, like any kind of discussion amongst parties with different opinions, there should be no expectation of consensus. Each participant in the discussion has their own unique situation which influences their point of view and their motivations. Additionally, many… Read more »

dgp
dgp
9 months ago

I don’t see this helping Apple and their hardware.I don’t think they can be redemed by hackers. There is no value in Linux for Apple. They don’t want other people’s stuff on their turf. The fact that it’s no threat to them is the only reason they don’t just block it. If Linux turns into a tool that can be used to get around their walled garden they’ll push out an update to block it. I think that will happen one day and the tens of people using the M1 port to impress people with their mad wizard linux skillz… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
9 months ago

> There is no value in Linux for Apple Bare-metal and today I would agree. Maybe there’s something going on the other way around. The Hypervisor/Virtualization Frameworks in macOS make it at least pretty simpel to run countless Linux/Container instances on macOS. As a significant amount of ‘application developers’ currently switches away from x86_64 to arm64 by accident and many rely on Docker/Kubernetes stuff maybe this has also an effect on the server side of things making arm64 server environments more attractive/common? And if Apple could deliver application processors with +100 Icestorm cores (the efficient ones, not the power ones)… Read more »

dgp
dgp
9 months ago

>And if Apple could deliver application processors with +100 Icestorm cores Because the world needs yet another wonky ARM server platform that will be launched to massive fanfare and claims that it’s the end of Intel and virtue signalling nonsense only to be discontinued a year or so after the first units ship. :p If we’re going to get all moral about what people work on, stuff they use etc. ARM is like the last thing anyone should be using. Cheap ARM SoCs basically created the current open source yet closed, spyware riddled, unserviceable, e-waste devices that are common place… Read more »

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