back to article Alibaba's research arm promises server-class RISC-V processor due this year

Alibaba's research arm, the Damo Academy, has promised to deliver a server-grade RISC-V processor later this year, showed off a RISC-V-powered laptop running the open source cut of Huawei's CentOS spinout, and talked up a growing community working on the permissively licensed CPU instruction set architecture. News of the …

  1. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    All the US is managing to do is undercut their own tech industry in the long term. The Chinese will succeed at supporting their own tech industry with their initiatives, and the products used to do so will be flooding the market with dirt-cheap Chinese hardware. Unless the US intends to completely cut themselves off from Chinese manufacturing and products, this is going to hurt Intel and AMD big time in the long run.

    But politicians never have been known to take the long view; they're too busy worrying about the next election to care what happens down the road.

  2. HuBo
    Thumb Down

    So impressive!

    Way to go "Damo Academy"! Finally a RISC-V with performance "on par with the ARM Cortex-A73", that is, mid-way between Raspberry Pi 4 (Cortex-A72), and Raspberry Pi 5 (Cortex-A76). I'll get me a Dev kit right away ... (What! $399! Like 4x the Pi 5!).

    Okay, okay, it has 2x 128-bit vector units ... wow? (ahem! Gimme a break ...)

    1. FIA Silver badge

      Re: So impressive!

      "Then they ridicule you."

      1. HuBo
        Black Helicopters

        Re: So impressive!

        I hear you. The PRC is thought to have a couple Exaflopping supercomputers bigger than Frontier, and so it seems that if they want to build something impressive, they can (and then use that for their military efforts). But this here C910-based RuyiBOOK is not it (still, I'm happy to read about it, and am glad that Simon wrote on this Alibaba lab story). Maybe the C930 will be more worrisome ("Details of the chip were not discussed") ... maybe.

    2. 3arn0wl

      A bellwether

      There's a tendency for techies to get caught up in the hyperbole of tech advances, and forget the baseline : the average computer user is doing the same things on their devices that they were doing a generation ago - using an office suite, emailing, surfing the net, and perhaps cropping some photos.

      And that's what's really significant about this : RISC-V is up to consumer device level.

      Of course there's going to be more performant silicon to come, and it shouldn't be too long before it arrives.

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: So impressive!

      The Pi5 is, to all intents and purposes, vaporware since it exists but its not easy to get hold of (and if you do it costs as much as a miniPC)(and it needs a fan).

      The Pi4 is a decent workhorse and it has enough power to do everyday computing tasks (yes, I've got one....). So a personal computer between a 4 and a 5 would have ample power for the vast majority of users, especially if their computing activities were not burdened by 'analytics'.

      The one thing you can say about RISC-V is that its only going to get faster.

    4. Bruce Hoult

      Re: So impressive!

      The Sophgo SG2380 chip will be coming out later this year with 16 SiFive (yes, US company) P670 cores, which are in the same class with Arm A78.

      That will be the chip to have for a while.

      Milk-V say they'll have a board using it starting from $120, but I expect that will be zero (or very little) RAM, no storage etc. Sipeed are talking about $300.

      1. HuBo
        Pint

        Re: So impressive!

        Yes, that's more like it! I'm typing this on a Whiskey Lake (and simultaneously drinking some) which my calcs suggest performs slightly below a Cortex-A76 (if it had the same base/turbo: 2.1/3.9GHz). This 1080p 16" laptop cost me $350, plus $70 for a later 16 GB RAM SODIMM upgrade. So, a $420 RISC-V laptop that bests this (Cortex-A78-style) could be palatable, with credible benchmarking.

        On this desk I have 3 Cortex-A53 boards with broadly differing performance. The NXP i.MX8MQ is, clock-for-clock, 1.5x faster than the Allwinner A64 for example (for my target dynamic-language workload). So, actual benchmarking remains important, even beyond expected equivalence to a given Cortex-A model (due to actual data bus width and speed, cache sizes, etc ...).

        Also, in my analysis, the RISC-V ISA (1W2R), is better suited to accelerator roles than generic workloads (esp. preemptive multitasking of apps running on VMs with automated memory management). Tenstorrent's Grayskull (with 500 RISC-V cores) is a great example of that IMHO. But, of course, if an SG2380, or other RISC-V, works wonders on my daily grind in a laptop format then I'm all for it (as long as I can find the proof inside of that $420-class pudding!).

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