Is RISC-V ready for HPC prime-time: evaluating the 64-core Sophon SG2042 RISC-V CPU

The Sophon SG2042 is the world’s first commodity 64-core RISC-V CPU for high performance workloads and an important question is whether the SG2042 has the potential to encourage the HPC community to embrace RISC-V.

In this paper we undertaking a performance exploration of the SG2042 against existing RISC-V hardware and high performance x86 CPUs in use by modern supercomputers. Leveraging the RAJAPerf benchmarking suite, we discover that on average, the SG2042 delivers, per core, between five and ten times the performance compared to the nearest widely available RISC-V hardware. We found that, on average, the x86 high performance CPUs under test outperform the SG2042 by between four and eight times for multi-threaded workloads, although some individual kernels do perform faster on the SG2042. The result of this work is a performance study that not only contrasts this new RISC-V CPU against existing technologies, but furthermore shares performance best practice.

↫ Nick Brown, Maurice Jamieson, Joseph Lee, Paul Wang

The Sophon SG2042 is the RISC-V processor found in the Milk-V Pioneer workstation, which was recently featured on LTT as well, for the video crowd among us. There’s definitely still a way to go for RISC-V, but the gains over the past few years are clear, and if this keeps progressing this way, it won’t be long before RISC-V becomes a valid, competitive architecture.


  1. 2023-12-12 6:04 am
    • 2023-12-12 11:05 am