July 16, 2024

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Pioneering Technological Innovation

SiFive announces Essential Gen4 RISC-V CPUs for embedded applications

2 min read

As the RISC-V Summit Europe 2024 is underway, SiFive has announced the fourth generation of its “Essential” RISC-V CPUs (Essential Gen4) with improved power efficiency and more flexible interfaces for SoCs used in embedded devices.

The update covers 32-bit and 64-bit RISC-V cores including the U6 and U7-series 64-bit application processors, the S2, S6, and S7 64-bit real-time embedded processors, and the E2, E6, and E7 32-bit real-time embedded processors.

SiFive Essential Gen4 RISC-V CPU IPSiFive Essential Gen4 RISC-V CPU IP

Essential Gen4 IP keys features:

  • Up to 40% runtime power reduction
  • 8x different baseline embedded 32-bit and 64-bit cores
  • From 2-stage single-issue to 8-stage superscalar
  • Improved L2 cache and enhanced L1 memory
  • Configuration and integration options
    • CPU type, profile, and options
    • On-chip memories selection
    • System, peripheral, and front ports
  • Advanced power management and security
  • Debug and trace

Software support includes embedded Linux and FreeRTOS operating systems and Eclipse-based IDE for C/C++ development.

SiFive Essential Gen4 PortfolioSiFive Essential Gen4 Portfolio

That’s another low-quality, light-on technical details announcement from SiFive with only basic information in the press release, and although we are told we can find more details on the product page, there’s nothing of substance there either. The documentation page on the website has nothing about the SiFive Essential Gen4 CPU IP either.

It appears it was just rushed in time for RISC-V Summit Europe 2024 and possibly written for the investor class with quotes such as:

The embedded space in 2024 represents a huge ($257 billion) market opportunity, growing with an 8.3% CAGR through 2030. RISC-V and SiFive have been increasingly gaining momentum and taking share from the other ISAs. SiFive is launching the products that these customers need while also innovating at the high performance and advanced AI levels,” said Rich Wawrzyniak, Principal Analyst at The SHD Group. “It is a mistake to discount the importance of embedded products as the flexibility and software portability of RISC-V makes designing products with multiple cores—including the highest performance cores—easier, creating a clear pathway for RISC-V into the next generations of high-performance chips.

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