Andes adds floating-point, virtual memory support to RISC-V cores

Andes adds floating-point, virtual memory support to RISC-V cores

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

The company, which went public in March 2017 on TWSE, introduced the N25 32bit RISC-V and the NX25 64bit RISC-V implementations later that year (see Andes processor cores offered on FDSOI). Now the company has introduced the N25F and NX25F and the A25 and AX25 with the A denoting virtual memory support as well as floating-point.

The N25F and and NX25F have twice the performance of the Cortex-M7 and Cortex-A7, as measured in Whetstone-MIPS per MHz, said Charlie Su, CTO of Andes. In addition support has been brought in for misaligned memory accesses in hardware, which is good for porting existing software from ARM and x86. Without it more than 100 cycles can be needed in the exception handler.

PPA comparison for 25-Series (32-bit). Source: Andes Technology.

The additional cores extend the applicability of the 25 series to networking, storage and data center applications to complement IoT and edge processing.

In an interview with eeNews Europe Su made the point that the company’s main focus is now on RISC-V and that the company is playing an active role in the RISC-V Foundation and is a major contributor in terms of architecture extensions. Andes is chair of the Packed SIMD/DSP Task Group and co-chair of the Fast Interrupt Task Group.

PPA comparison for 25-Series (64-bit). Source: Andes Technology.

The company has achieved a number of significant design wins including the Amazon Echo Dot2 courtesy of a MediaTek WiFi chip, as an ADAS controller in the Nissan X-Trail vehicle and in the Nintendo Switch in a Macronix flash memory controller.

Next: Advantages over other RISC-V

Su also claimed that Andes has significant advantages over other RISC-V IP licensors. These include superior human-readable RTL code that is configurable by customers. This delivers 20 percent higher performance and 12 percent smaller code size than Rocket, the University of California Berkeley designed processor that is the base of Si-Five CPUs, Su said.

With the latest introductions Andes has six processors in the 25 series based on the five-stage pipeline in the ALU. “We are working on some different cores and different pipelines. We have some customers needing higher performance and vector and security extensions,” he said. At the same time Andes is working on the next generation of cores that will bring in previous features of Andes cores such as CoDense code density and StackSafe security technologies.

While licensees are free to implement their own multicore solutions based on an Andes core there is as yet no direct support, unlike the higher performance ARM cores. “Multicore support is coming in a future generation of core, early in 2019.”

Related links and articles:

News articles:

Andes processor cores offered on FDSOI

MRAM revolution could trigger new ARM architecture

CEO interview: Andes’ cores for IoT suit Europe

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