Wednesday, December 2nd 2020

RISC-V Processor Achieves 5 GHz Frequency at Just 1 Watt of Power

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley in 2010 have started an interesting project. They created a goal to develop a new RISC-like Instruction Set Architecture that is simple and efficient while being open-source and royalty-free. Born out of that research was RISC-V ISA, the fifth iteration of Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) ideology. Over the years, the RISC-V ISA has become more common, and today, many companies are using it to design their processors and release new designs every day. One of those companies is Micro Magic Inc., a provider of silicon design tools, IP, and design services. The company has developed a RISC-V processor that is rather interesting.

Apart from the RISC-V ISA, the processor has an interesting feature. It runs at the whopping 5 GHz frequency, a clock speed unseen on the RISC-V chips before, at the power consumption of a mere one (yes that is 1) Watt. The chip ran at just 1.1 Volts, which means that a very low current needs to be supplied to the chip so it can achieve the 5 GHz mark. If you are wondering about performance, well the numbers show that at 5 GHz, the CPU can produce a score of 13000 CoreMarks. However, that is not the company's highest-performance RISC-V core. In yesterday's PR, Micro Magic published that their top-end design can achieve 110000 CoreMarks/Watt, so we are waiting to hear more details about it.
Source: EE Times
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65 Comments on RISC-V Processor Achieves 5 GHz Frequency at Just 1 Watt of Power

#1
ratirt
These ARM CPUs are evolving so damn fast. Saying "ARM is the future" may no the necessarily be overrated after all.
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#2
Solaris17
Dainty Moderator
ratirt
These ARM CPUs are evolving so damn fast. Saying "ARM is the future" may no the necessarily overrated after all.
But its RISC-V
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#3
R-T-B
Solaris17
But its RISC-V
Thank you for not conflating ARM and risc.
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#4
Haile Selassie
This is an great achievement. Usually these RISCs with their super short pipelines aren't able to hit anywhere near 3GHz, let alone 5GHz.
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#6
Vya Domus
A dubious lack of information on the architecture. It wouldn't surprise me if this a really narrow in-order processor, no SIMD and with a puny amount of cache. 5 Ghz within 1 Watt is hardly an achievement if that's the context.

Look I know RISC-V is everyone's darling but so far there is nothing particularly impressive about the products using it.
Haile Selassie
Usually these RISCs with their super short pipelines aren't able to hit anywhere near 3GHz, let alone 5GHz.
They are also low performance for that reason.
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#7
cyneater
Risc V need a SOC like Raspberry pi ... or a desktop something cool and niech never happen though
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#8
ratirt
Isn't the difference between the two just licensing for ARM and open source for RISK-V allowing for custom designs?
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#9
R-T-B
ratirt
Isn't the difference between the two just licensing for ARM and open source for RISK-V allowing for custom designs?
They are completely different ISAs. They are as similar as ARM and MIPS or PowerPC, etc.
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#10
bug
Haile Selassie
This is an great achievement. Usually these RISCs with their super short pipelines aren't able to hit anywhere near 3GHz, let alone 5GHz.
A lot of things are possible in the lab. Mass production is, unfortunately, a different story.
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#11
londiste
So, lets see what we can read from their press release and EETimes story:
- 13 000 CoreMarks at 5GHz (5.19GHz), 1.1V and <1W (realistic or not, I do not see where the under Watt claim came from)
- 11 000 CoreMarks at 4.25GHz, 0.8V and 200mW
- 8 200 CoreMarks at 3.08GHz and 69mW (picture caption says 0.69mW which must be a typo)
I would assume this is core-only consumption.
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#12
ratirt
R-T-B
They are completely different ISAs. They are as similar as ARM and MIPS or PowerPC, etc.
ARM and RISC-V are both RISC and use same core ISA but each one can extend it. At least that's what I thought it was.
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#13
InVasMani
My only concern is can it run Marvel vs Capcom at 1W!!? Wasn't the Sega Saturn a RISC chip!!? I'm sorry, but that would be awesome especially at the right price. I mean come on who doesn't want a 1W solar powered SEGA Saturn!!? IDC that would be great and I want it.
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#14
progste
ratirt
Isn't the difference between the two just licensing for ARM and open source for RISK-V allowing for custom designs?
RISC is a design philosophy (reduced isntruction set computer) as opposed to CISC(complex instruction set computer).
RISC(ARM and similar) uses few simple instructions built in on the hardware and then executes the rest as a combination of those. (Pro: power efficiency, smaller size, fast simple tasks. Con: slower in complex operations).
CISC(x86 and x64) has a larger instruction set, meaning it can process complex operations at a hardware level. (Pro: faster complex operations when using the available instructions. Con: power, heat, size).


ARM and RISC-V are built with the same philosophy but different implementations, I don't know what set RISC-V uses but it can potentially be completely different than ARM.
Posted on Reply
#15
ratirt
progste
RISC is a design philosophy (reduced isntruction set computer) as opposed to CISC(complex instruction set computer).
RISC(ARM and similar) uses few simple instructions built in on the hardware and then executes the rest as a combination of those. (Pro: power efficiency, smaller size, fast simple tasks. Con: slower in complex operations).
CISC(x86 and x64) has a larger instruction set, meaning it can process complex operations at a hardware level. (Pro: faster complex operations when using the available instructions. Con: power, heat, size).


ARM and RISC-V are built with the same philosophy but different implementations, I don't know what set RISC-V uses but it can potentially be completely different than ARM.
Thanks for the info but I just wanted to know what the difference between the ARM and RISC-V is. From what I know (up until now) the difference was the open source for RISC-V instead of licensed ARM. Both are based on RISC instructions but the RISC-V gives more custom design possibility not like ARM being licensed. I know these are derivatives from same philosophy like you mentioned.
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#16
Vya Domus
ratirt
Thanks for the info but I just wanted to know what the difference between the ARM and RISC-V is. From what I know (up until now) the difference was the open source for RISC-V instead of licensed ARM. Both are based on RISC instructions but the RISC-V gives more custom design possibility not like ARM being licensed. I know these are derivatives from same philosophy like you mentioned.
The ISA itself matters little, the reason everyone got exited about RISC-V is that it's open source. You can more or less design identical processors using ARM or RISC-V.
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#17
Valantar
ratirt
Thanks for the info but I just wanted to know what the difference between the ARM and RISC-V is. From what I know (up until now) the difference was the open source for RISC-V instead of licensed ARM. Both are based on RISC instructions but the RISC-V gives more custom design possibility not like ARM being licensed. I know these are derivatives from same philosophy like you mentioned.
Being based on the same guiding design principles doesn't mean the instructions in each ISA are the same or are even remotely similar.
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#18
progste
InVasMani
My only concern is can it run Marvel vs Capcom at 1W!!? Wasn't the Sega Saturn a RISC chip!!? I'm sorry, but that would be awesome especially at the right price. I mean come on who doesn't want a 1W solar powered SEGA Saturn!!? IDC that would be great and I want it.
Can't you just run a saturn emulator on most modern phones? I have more experience with snes ones but it shouldn't be harder than that.
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#19
P4-630
But.. Does it run Crysis? :D
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#20
bonehead123
P4-630
But.. Does it run Crysis? :D
Or perhaps... can it run Crysis in "Can it run Crysis mode", just to be sure ?
Posted on Reply
#21
Valantar
progste
Can't you just run a saturn emulator on most modern phones? I have more experience with snes ones but it shouldn't be harder than that.
Smartphone SoCs typically consume 3-5W under load though.
Posted on Reply
#22
bug
ratirt
Thanks for the info but I just wanted to know what the difference between the ARM and RISC-V is. From what I know (up until now) the difference was the open source for RISC-V instead of licensed ARM. Both are based on RISC instructions but the RISC-V gives more custom design possibility not like ARM being licensed. I know these are derivatives from same philosophy like you mentioned.
The instruction set itself is the difference. We're looking at two sets of RISC-family instructions, both doing largely the same things. But the sets are not identical (I couldn't tell you the differences w/o looking them up). ARM licenses the instruction set and also offers reference implementations. RISC-V does away with licensing. Idk whether they provide reference implementations.
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#24
londiste
ratirt
Thanks for the info but I just wanted to know what the difference between the ARM and RISC-V is. From what I know (up until now) the difference was the open source for RISC-V instead of licensed ARM. Both are based on RISC instructions but the RISC-V gives more custom design possibility not like ARM being licensed. I know these are derivatives from same philosophy like you mentioned.
ARM and RISC-V are different ISAs.
"Based on RISC" is kind of a misnomer. "Derivate from philosophy" might be more accurate term here. RISC is not an ISA, it is a category of computers (or systems or CPUs or ISAs depending on how to look at it) and is more of an academic term than something specific in terms of ISA or (micro)architecture.
Valantar
Smartphone SoCs typically consume 3-5W under load though.
I bet this news tidbit is talking only about core consumption or something very close to that. Smartphone SoC runs a lot more stuff under load.
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#25
Vayra86
P4-630
But.. Does it run Crysis? :D
It does but you can't see it, no display.

They also tried running the Remastered version but it bluescreened.
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