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SiFive Brings Vectors to S-Series

January 5, 2021

Author: Aakash Jani

SiFive’s new RISC-V vector core, the VIS7, can perform 64 billion FP32 operations per second and is designed for deterministic operations. In addition, the company recently announced the 7-series 20G1 release, which delivers generational per-clock performance and frequency improvements.

The RISC-V startup believes intellectual-property (IP) designers will employ the VIS7 in base stations, storage, vision, and embedded AI solutions. For base stations, the VIS7, in conjunction with DSPs, could power the radio-processing chain. For storage, the core could serve as an SDD controller. For vision and AI, it would act as the supervisory CPU. Each of these applications rely on the real-time processing capabilities to deliver sustainable and reliable throughput. The vector-enabled core provides wide SIMD data and memory paths to optimize matrix and vector operations. SiFive has delivered preliminary RTL to its lead partners.

The new core implements the RVV 1.0 vector extension. The vector unit works with 8-, 16-, and 32-bit data in floating-point, fixed-point, and integer formats. It uses a 512-bit vector ALU and a 512-bit vector memory unit.

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