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.
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.
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.