industry news
Subscribe Now

SiFive Introduces Industry’s First Open-Source Chip Platforms

SAN FRANCISCO – July 11, 2016 – SiFive, the first fabless semiconductor company to build customized, open-source enabled semiconductors, today announced its flagship Freedom family of system on a chip (SoC) platforms. Built around the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture invented by the company’s founders at the University of California, Berkeley, SiFive’s Freedom U500 and Freedom E300 platforms represent a fundamentally new approach to designing and producing SoCs that redefines traditional silicon business models and reverses the industry’s prohibitively rising licensing, design and implementation costs.

“The semiconductor industry is at an important crossroads. Moore’s Law has ended, and the traditional economic model of chip building no longer works,” said Yunsup Lee, co-founder of SiFive and one of the original creators of RISC-V. “Unless you have tens — if not hundreds — of millions of dollars, it is simply impossible for smaller system designers to get a modern, high-performance chip, much less one customized to their unique requirements. The Freedom platforms unleash the flexibility and power of custom silicon to the smallest company, inventor or maker. Companies of all sizes are no longer held hostage to current semiconductor providers’ software deliveries and outdated business models.”

RISC-V was born from the dire need to address the skyrocketing cost of designing and manufacturing increasingly complex new chip architectures, as a result of the economic demise of Moore’s Law. SiFive’s hardware designs leverage the body of software and tools available from the open-source community under the guidance of the RISC-V Foundation, dramatically reducing the cost of developing custom silicon. System designers can use the SiFive Freedom platforms to focus on their own differentiated processor without having the overhead of developing a modern SoC, fabric or software infrastructure.

“RISC-V represents a bold new path for system designers in embedded and industrial markets,” said Ted Speers, head of product architecture and planning for Microsemi Corporation’s SoC business unit. “We went to SiFive not only because its co-founders created RISC-V, but also due to its team’s agile methodology, which enabled the company to deliver a complete RISC-V sub-system and tool-chain targeting our secure, low power SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA platform on a very aggressive schedule.”

The Freedom platforms comprise a complete software specification, board OS support packages (BSPs), development boards and base silicon. The platforms provide customers the ability to create their own silicon enhancements and customizations, which SiFive then quickly incorporates and delivers to the customer at a much lower cost and faster time-to-market than traditional custom silicon designs. The platforms also provide significant performance and power advantages over existing microcontrollers and FPGAs.

  • Freedom U500 Series: The Freedom Unleashed (U) family features a fully Linux-capable embedded application processor featuring the world’s most advanced, multicore RISC-V CPUs, running at a speed of 1.6 GHz or higher with support for accelerators and cache coherency. Designed in TSMC 28nm, the Freedom U500 platform targets initial customers in diverse markets such as machine learning, storage and networking. The Freedom U500 platform also supports standard high-speed peripherals including PCIe 3.0, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and DDR3/DDR4.
  • Freedom E300 Series: The Freedom Everywhere (E) family is designed for embedded microcontroller, IoT and wearables markets. Designed in TSMC 180nm and architected to have minimal area and power, the Freedom E300 platform features the world’s most efficient RISC-V cores with support for RISC-V compressed instructions, which have been shown to reduce code size by up to 30 percent.

For Developers

To give developers a head start on software development, full FPGA models of each SoC are available through SiFive today. Developers will also be able to prototype their customizations in the form of custom RISC-V instructions, accelerators and co-processors. For more information, including how to purchase development boards with the Microsemi SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA, please visit dev.sifive.com.

SiFive will showcase the Freedom family of SoC platforms during the RISC-V 4th Workshop in Boston on Tuesday, July 12.

About SiFive

SiFive is the first fabless semiconductor company to build customized silicon based on the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture. Founded by RISC-V inventors Krste Asanovic, Yunsup Lee and Andrew Waterman, SiFive democratizes access to custom silicon by helping system designers reduce time-to-market and realize cost savings with customized RISC-V based semiconductors. SiFive is located in San Francisco and has venture backing from Sutter Hill Ventures. For more information visitwww.sifive.com.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
May 7, 2021
In one of our Knowledge Booster Blogs a few months ago we introduced you to some tips and tricks for the optimal use of Virtuoso ADE Product Suite with our analog IC design videos . W e hope you... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site. ...
May 7, 2021
Enough of the letter “P” already. Message recieved. In any case, modeling and simulating next-gen 224 Gbps signal channels poses many challenges. Design engineers must optimize the entire signal path, not just a specific component. The signal path includes transce...
May 6, 2021
Learn how correct-by-construction coding enables a more productive chip design process, as new code review tools address bugs early in the design process. The post Find Bugs Earlier Via On-the-Fly Code Checking for Productive Chip Design and Verification appeared first on Fr...
May 4, 2021
What a difference a year can make! Oh, we're not referring to that virus that… The post Realize Live + U2U: Side by Side appeared first on Design with Calibre....

featured video

Introduction to EMI

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

Conducted versus radiated EMI. CISPR-25 and CISPR-32 standards. High-frequency or low-frequency emissions. Designing a system to reduce EMI can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Watch this video to get an overview of EMI causes, standards, and mitigation techniques.

Click here for more information

featured paper

How to solve two screenless TV design challenges

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

The new 4K display chipsets from DLP Products help make screenless TV setup easier and save cost by reducing the number of components required while also adding more advanced image-processing capabilities. The DLP471TP DMD and DLPC6540 controller for small designs and the DLP471TE DMD and DLPC7540 controller for designs above 1,500 lumens help deliver stunning ultra-high resolution displays to the market and take advantage of the rapid expansion in the availability of 4K content.

Click here to read

Featured Chalk Talk

Protecting Circuitry with eFuse IC

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Toshiba

Conventional fuses are rapidly becoming dinosaurs in our electronic systems. Finally, there is circuit protection technology that doesn’t rely on disposable parts and molten metal. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Jake Canon of Toshiba about eFuse - a smart solution that will get rid of those old-school fuses once and for all.

Click here for more information about Toshiba efuses