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Rockchip Accelerates AI for IoT

July 16, 2019

Author: Mike Demler

Rockchip has traditionally supplied low-cost application processors for Chromebooks, tablets, set-top boxes, and other consumer electronics, but its new RK1808 aims to reach the hot AI-processor market. The company recently joined with Allwinner, Arm China, Horizon Robotics, and others to launch Open AI Lab, a Shanghai-based organization that plans to develop a Chinese embedded-AI ecosystem for Arm-powered processors.

The RK1808 is a low-power neural-network processor designed for IoT and other devices that don’t need 3D graphics. It includes a multimedia subsystem for processing audio and video inputs. Rockchip manufactures the chip using 22nm FD-SOI technology, the smallest node it has employed for any of its products. The processor integrates a VeriSilicon VIP8000 neural-network engine that delivers 3.1 trillion operations per second (TOPS).

The company also integrates the VIP8000 in its RK3399Pro, an upgraded version of the RK3399 it previously supplied for Google Chromebooks.  The manufacturing technology is undisclosed, but we expect it’s also 22nm FD-SOI because the new design delivers the same neural-network performance as the RK1808. Along with the discrete packaged versions, the company sells both processors in system-on-module (SoM) carrier boards that comply with Linaro’s 96Boards specification. It plans to offer the RK1808 in a USB stick as well.

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