Ubuntu 20.04/21.04 64-bit RISC-V released for QEMU, HiFive boards

Ubuntu RISC-V HiFive QEMU

Let’s a lot of excitement around RISC-V open architecture, but a lot of work still needs to be done to bring the ecosystem to level with Arm or x86 architecture from the silicon to the software. Progress is made step-by-step and one of these steps is Canonical released Ubuntu 64-bit RISC-V (RISCV64) images for some of SiFive HiFive boards, as well as QEMU open-source emulator. Specifically, Canonical released an Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS image for HiFive Unleashed & QEMU, and an Ubuntu 21.04 image for HiFive Unleashed, HiFive Unmatched, and QEMU. Note those are only server images, and there’s no desktop image yet like for Ubuntu 21.04 on Raspberry Pi 2/3/4. It’s been possible to run RISC-V Linux in QEMU for at least three years, but when I tried it was a minimal system based on Busybox, so let’s try again with Ubuntu 21.04 following the instructions provided on Discourse. I […]

SiFive Performance P550 is the fastest 64-bit RISC-V processor so far

SiFive Performance P550 fastest RISC-V processor

SiFive has announced two RISC-V “Performance” cores with Performance P550 that should be the fastest 64-bit RISC-V processor so far with a SPECInt 2006 score of 8.65/GHz, as well as a Performance P270 Linux capable processor with full support for the RISC-V vector extension v1.0 rc. SiFive Performance P550 P550 highlights: RISC-V RV64GBC ISA 13 stage, 3-issue high-performance out-of-order pipeline Supports multicore coherence with up to 4 cores in a core complex Private 32KB+32KB L1 cache and a private 256KB L2 cache per core Up to 4MB L3 cache in a four-core cluster SPECint 2006 – 8.65/GHz 2.4 GHz in 7nm with a footprint of less than 0.25 mm SiFive compares the Performance P550 core to Arm’s Cortex-A75 with higher performance in SPECint2006 and SPECfp2006 integer/floating-point benchmark, all a much smaller area which would enable a quad-core P550 cluster on about the same footprint as a single Cortex-A75 core. There […]

RISC-V International to give away 1,000 RISC-V development boards

RISC-V development board giveaway

The best way for a new platform to get good software support is to bring hardware into the hands of developers. That’s exactly what RISC-V International is doing by inviting developers to sign up for a RISC-V developer board sponsored by RISC-V and contributing members. There are 1,000 boards on offer with 1GB to 16GB RAM depending on the target project from five companies and organizations namely Allwinner, Beagleboard.org, SiFive, Microchip Technology (previously Microsemi), and RIOS. Here are the stated goals of the giveaway: Spur innovation Enable new opportunities for the next generation of developers to work with the RISC-V ISA Provide a platform For testing To write programs that run on RISC-V Develop software Integrate existing software stacks Optimize ecosystem software Share feedback on the product such as ease to integrate software stacks, develop and test extensions, etc. The company did not provide an exact list of development board […]

SiFive Intelligence X280 64-bit RISC-V processor integrates AI extensions

Sifive intelligence X280

The last RISC-V core announced by SiFive was the U8-Series out-of-order RISC-V Core IP that aims to compete against Arm Cortex-A72 Core. But in their latest announcement, the company built upon the 64-bit RISC-V U7-series with the SiFive Intelligence X280 multi-core, Linux capable RISC-V processor adding vector extensions and SiFive Intelligence Extensions, and optimized for AI/ML compute at the edge. SiFive Intelligence X280 key features: 64-bit RISC-V ISA with 8-stage dual-issue in-order pipeline,  coherent multi-core, Linux capable based on U7 series core. SiFive Intelligence Extensions for ML workloads – BF16/FP16/FP32/FP64, int8 to 64 fixed-point data types 512-bit vector register length – Variable-length operations, up to 512-bits of data per cycle High-performance vector memory subsystem Memory parallelism provides cache miss tolerance Virtual memory support with precise exceptions Up to 48-bit addressing SiFive Intelligence includes software solutions to leverage the X280’s features and provide “great AI inference performance” using TensorFlow Lite. No […]

SiFive Core IP 21G1 release improves bit manipulation, floating-point unit, reduces code footprint

SiFive 21G1 Release RISC-V Cores

As SiFive has a portfolio of RISC-V cores ranging from low-power E2-series to high-performance U8-series cores with performance similar to Cortex-A7x cores, the company has not released new cores for a while, and instead focuses on improving their current RISC-V cores. We saw that last year with the SiFive 20G1 release that improved performance & efficiency, and lowered the silicon area for the same features set. SiFive further improved its cores and ecosystem with the latest SiFive 21G1 release. The main new  features brought by SiFive 21G1 release include: SiFive 2-Series and 7-Series processors are now available with the “Bit Manipulation” extension, RV32B, with Zba and Zbb extensions. This can accelerate Cryptographic Hash algorithms by up to 35% Support for FP16 half-precision floating-point computation in order to reduce memory size and power consumption, and for some AI workloads The memory map is now fully programmable SiFive RV64 processors support up […]

BBC Doctor Who “HiFive Inventor” Coding Kit aims to teach IoT to kids

BBC Doctor Who HiFive Inventor Coding Kit

In what should be one of the first RISC-V education platforms, the BBC, Tynker, and SiFive have just announced the BBC Doctor Who “HiFive Inventor” Coding Kit that comes with an MCU board with WiFi & Bluetooth and guided lessons for kids that teach them to code for the IoT. The HiFive Inventor board is based on a SiFive FE310 RISC-V microcontroller ( the same chip as found in the HiFive1 board) and an ESP32 Solo module for WiFi 4 and Bluetooth 4.x/5.x connectivity. Just like the BBC Micro:bit, HiFive Inventor provides a kids-friendly edge connector with I/O, an LED matrix, sensors, and more. The kit includes the HiFive Inventor hardware platform, a battery holder for three AA batteries (not included), the HiFive Speakers, an illuminated USB cable for power and programming, and alligator clips to connect the speaker or other add-ons to the HiFive Inventor board. HiFive Inventor board […]

SiFive launches HiFive Unmatched mini-ITX motherboard for RISC-V PC’s

When it comes to RISC-V based SoC, SiFive has always set a benchmark in the RISC-V ecosystem. On 29th October 2020, SiFive confirmed the first-ever RISC-V PC. After an increased demand for AI-focused RISC-V microarchitecture, targeting all applications from artificial intelligence, the internet of things, high-performance computing, and now even desktop PCs. SiFive Freedom U740 powered HiFive Unmatched mini-ITX motherboard comes with a complete development environment which allows developers to create RISC-V based applications from bare-metal to Linux-based systems. “HiFive Unmatched ushers in a new era of RISC-V Linux development with a platform in a PC form factor. Powered by the SiFive Freedom U740, a high-performance multi-core, 64-bit dual-issue, superscalar RISC-V processor.”, SiFive says. It is the world’s fastest native RISC-V development platform. SiFive HiFive Unmatched Board At the heart of the SiFive board is a SiFive FU740 processor coupled with 8 GB DDR4 memory and 32 MB SPI Flash. It […]

SiFive to Debut RISC-V PC for Developers based on Freedom U740 next-gen SoC


In recent years, people have discussed the need to have Arm-based PCs or workstations for developers to work directly on the target hardware, and there are now several options including SynQuacer E-Series 24-Core Arm PC, Ampere eMAG 64bit Arm Workstation, and HoneyComb LX2K 16-core Arm Workstation. Now it appears we’ll soon get something similar for RISC-V architecture with SiFive to debut the first RISC-V PC for developers at the Linley Fall Processor Conference 2020 taking place on October 20-22 and October 27-29. The PC will be powered by Freedom U740 next-generation RISC-V processor that will also be introduced at the event. We have very few details about this point in time, but the company points the SiFive Freedom U740 (FU740) SoC will enable professional developers to create RISC-V applications from bare-metal to Linux-based. The processor is said to combines a heterogeneous mix+match core complex with modern PC expansion capabilities, which […]