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Year in Review: IP Suppliers Take More RISC-V

January 2, 2018

Author: Mike Demler

In its first two years, the RISC-V Foundation has grown rapidly and now comprises more than 100 members, including AMD, MediaTek, Nvidia, Qualcomm, NXP, Samsung, and other leading processor suppliers. RISC-V has also drawn interest from Andes, Cortus, VeriSilicon, and other small vendors of CPU intellectual property (IP).

Whereas RISC-V began at the CPU market’s low end, more-lucrative growth segments such as automotive, deep learning, and virtual reality (VR) have an insatiable appetite for higher performance. In 2017, processor-IP vendors targeted these markets with new high-end cores, in some cases far surpassing the designs they introduced just 12 months earlier.

Arm and Imagination introduced new premium GPUs that compete with Qualcomm’s next-generation graphics core in the Snapdragon 845. Neural-network acceleration is a hot market as well: new licensable cores from AImotive, Cadence, Imagination, and Synopsys are competing with Ceva products for the performance lead.

In 2017, DSP-IP vendors targeted new opportunities in 5G and the IoT. CommSolid entered the market with a complete modem subsystem for NB-IoT clients. IP suppliers also developed new solutions to address IoT security, including Arm’s Platform Security Architecture, Inside Secure’s IP for monitoring a chip’s internal operations, and SecureRF’s quantum-resistant cryptography cores. In 2018, we expect automotive, deep learning, IoT, and virtual reality to continue leading processor-IP growth, along with new designs targeting high-performance computing.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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