SiFive’s P870 takes RISC-V further

ARM had a slow start on its way to move beyond microcontrollers and enter the high performance market. ARM Ltd made the Cortex A9, their first out-of-order core, in 2007. Throughout the 2010s, they gradually made bigger, higher power, and higher performance cores. Pushing performance boundaries isn’t easy, but today, ARM’s cores can be a viable alternative to Intel and AMD’s offerings in the server market.

RISC-V started much later, but has seen faster growth. Berkerly’s BOOM core had grown into a sizeable out-of-order design by 2016. Now, SiFive’s P870 looks a lot like ARM’s Cortex X series in terms of reordering capacity, core width, and execution units. It might not be a match for ARM’s best, since the load/store queues look a bit small and vector execution throughput is a bit weak. But from looking at P870, SiFive’s ambitions are clear. They want a chunk of ARM’s pie.

RISC-V is getting better and better at a rapid pace. The software side of the story still has a long way to go, but that, too, is getting better. Exciting.


  1. 2023-09-04 11:46 pm
  2. 2023-09-05 12:15 am
    • 2023-09-05 2:38 am