back to article SiFive's latest top-end RISC-V CPU core supports proper virtualization in hardware

SiFive's latest flagship RISC-V CPU will be revealed today – and we're told it will sport proper virtualization support in hardware. The Performance P650 was teased in October, and follows the P550 unveiled in June. The P650 is offered as an application core you can license to drop into your system-on-chip, and run Linux and …

  1. aerogems

    I'm hopeful that RISC-V will eventually become a viable alternative to ARM. An instruction set anyone can use and improve upon without paying any kind of licensing fee. Probably too much to hope, but it'd be interesting if AMD and/or Intel started working on their own RISC-V chips and then convinced Microsoft to dust off it's RISC support for Windows. I figure if they could get within about 80% of the performance of Apple's M-Series chips without having to integrate the RAM and GPU, while maintaining the energy savings, you would be laying the foundation to attract gamers and others, maybe putting the final nail in the coffin of x86.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Why in the world would gamers care about "open hardware"? If they cared about openness the gaming market would have left Windows for Linux years ago.

      1. Abominator

        Please no stating of the bleeding obvious.

      2. aerogems

        Just for one, you could potentially build a gaming system that doesn't need complex active cooling. And then there's also the impact on your utility bill every month. Improved battery life on gaming laptops...

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          I'll believe that when I see it. The problem is apples versus pears: close but not similar enough to really compare, as we haven't seen a serious ARM-powered gaming rig as of yet. The closest thing we have is the Nintendo Switch, but it's more cell phone tech. The new Macs have come out, but there hasn't been anything resembling Marathon of the PowerMac era.

          As for power consumption, I think these days most of the power in serious gaming rigs is taken up by the GPU, which can be CPU-agnostic.

      3. martinusher Silver badge

        My take on why Linux never got a whole lot of desktop traction with games or general purpose applications was that there was never the support for licensing that Microsoft had. Open source has innumerable benefits, especially for operating system components and utilities, but its difficult to make a business with FOSS end user applications.

    2. mark l 2 Silver badge

      It would be good to see RISC-V become a well supported viable alternative to ARM or x86, but as for MS porting Windows over to it, I don't realistically see that happening any time soon.

      Microsoft can barely get any developers to port their programs over to ARM Windows and even some of MS own apps still don't have native ARM versions. And Windows for ARM has been knocking around for a few years now. So they are unlikely to want to muddy the waters and bring out Windows for another platform.

      I think we will see Chromebooks and perhaps Android phones with RISC-V chips within the next couple of years though.

  2. sean.fr

    Hypervisor - not suiable for cars

    You need the ABS/breaks to be isolated from the Stat Nav, They should not be on the same hypervisor. The lifetime of a car is long. Do want to bet your life that no bug /hack is found between now and 2035? Even if over air patches are a thing are you sure there will not be another hyervisor jacking problem like CVE-2015-3456.

    I would prefer the radio was just a radio/music centre in a standard slot, and I can replace it with an after market device. I would prefer GPS ran on my phone, so I can pick the plan and upgrade. Just because you can put it all on one chip, that does not make it a good idea. The hardware saving is trival, and the locking to the manufacture worrying.

  3. sean.fr

    Hypervisor - not suiable for cars

    You need the ABS/breaks to be isolated from the Stat Nav, They should not be on the same hypervisor. The lifetime of a car is long. Do want to bet your life that no bug /hack is found between now and 2035? Even if over air patches are a thing are you sure there will not be another hyervisor jacking problem like CVE-2015-3456.

    I would prefer the radio was just a radio/music centre in a standard slot, and I can relace it with an after market device. I would prefer GPS ran on my phone, so I can pick the plan and upgrade. Just because you can put it all on one chip, that does not make it a good idea. The hardware saving is trival, and the locking to the manufacture worrying.

  4. YetAnotherJoeBlow Bronze badge

    Cannot wait...

    Am I the only one who is anxious to get a developer board to test?

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