P550: SiFive’s High-Performance RISC-V Core

SiFive P550 RISC-V

The SiFive Performance family has come up with two new processors, P270 and P550. The P270 core is SiFive’s first processor, which is Linux capable. While P550 is SiFive’s highest performance processor to date. The renowned semiconductor company has announced the release of a high-performance RISC-V Core P550 and claims it to be the “highest-performance RISC-V processor IP”. The P550 delivers a SPECInt 2006 score of 8.65/GHz. This makes P550 the highest performing RISC-V core available on the market. However, as per the declaration, this new high-performance processor won’t be available under an open license.

Features of RISC-V Core P550:

The SiFive P550 RISC-V features a thirteen-stage, triple-issue, out-of-order pipeline compatible with the RISC-V RV64GC ISA. This compatibility of the new core with the 47-instruction set architecture makes it suitable for various applications. Such applications include cache stashing to L3 for tightly coupled accelerators, Mix-Match capable of real-time deterministic workloads, etc. Moreover, the performance per area of P550 is three times that of Arm Cortex- A75.

The architectural features include three Issues, an out-of-order pipeline that is tuned for scalable performance. Furthermore, the private L2 Cache and Streaming Prefetcher provides an improved memory performance. The architectural features include RV64GBC capable core with Sv39/Sv48 Virtual Memory Support. In addition, there is SEC-DED ECC with Error Reporting. This provides correctable and uncorrectable errors, hence improving the performance.

Development Kit & Applications:

The development kit for the P550 RISC-V core is available. The deliverables of this kit include RTL Evaluation, Test Bench RTL, Software Development Kit, FPGA Bitstream and Documentation. Further, these new SiFive Performance family cores have joined the SiFive Intelligence and Essential families which were recently announced. The SiFive Intelligence family focuses on AI & ML applications. While the SiFive Essential family includes configurable cores consisting of U/S/E- Series of 64-bit and 32-bit processors.

 SiFive P550 RISC-V

The SiFive Performance family targets applications like Enterprise Switching/Routing/Storage and Smart NICs. It also aims for Edge Analytics and Big-Data Analytics. Besides, it can be in usage for Autonomous Machines, Edge Computing and various 5G infrastructure applications.

Dr Yunsup Lee, Co-Founder and CTO of SiFive said, “SiFive Performance is a significant milestone in our commitment to deliver a complete, scalable portfolio of RISC-V cores to customers in all markets who are at the vanguard of SOC design and are dissatisfied with the status quo.” He further explained “These two new products cover new performance points and a wide range of application areas, from efficient vector processors that easily displace yesterday’s SIMD architectures, to the bleeding edge that the P550 represents. SiFive is proud to set the standard for RISC-V processing and is ready to deliver these products to customers today.”

For more details, one can visit the official product page. SiFive also conducted a webinar on SiFive Performance, Intelligence and Essential family products on 14th July 2021. Recording is available on SiFive’s site for those who want to know more about these products. Also, the source for technical specifications and pictures is the official site.

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