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ARM launches PR attack on RISC-V
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-07-09 19:18:46

Anybody remember Microsoft's "get the facts" campaign? Well, ARM is having its "get the facts" moment, with the British company launching a site to disparage the open source RISC-V architecture.

The instruction set architecture (ISA) is the foundation of all chip or System-on-Chip (SoC) products. It is therefore one of the most fundamental design choices you will make. If you are considering using an open-source ISA, such as RISC-V, it is critical to understand the key factors you should consider as part of your go-to-market strategy.

It seems odd for ARM - riding high as it is - to attack RISC-V like this, which seems to barely be making a dent anywhere.

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Comment by FlyingJester
By FlyingJester on 2018-07-09 20:09:35
I can only see this backfiring on ARM
Permalink - Score: 4
Comment by Kroc
By Kroc on 2018-07-09 20:17:05
Japanese company -- it was sold to SoftBank group for £24 billion
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Comment by CowMan
By CowMan on 2018-07-09 20:28:19
Fair enough. I mean, for home use it's fine, but for a commercial product, that be, well... quite RISC-v.
Permalink - Score: 1
Is it British?
By PascalHaskell on 2018-07-09 20:29:26
Can ARM still be regarded as British? It doesn't manufacture anything (so no factory in the UK), has design offices spread around the world and is owned by a Japanese company and Saudi/Abu Dhabi venture capitalists.
Sure, its HQ is in the UK but it just seems less British than BMW Mini and Jaguar Land Rover, for example.

As for the RISC-V thing, it's a bizarre move by ARM - the equivalent of "you know that thing you're not thinking about? don't think about that thing, even though I've mentioned that thing and got you thinking about that thing"

Edited 2018-07-09 20:34 UTC
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Comment by smashIt
By smashIt on 2018-07-09 20:31:08
They are seeing the writing on the wall.
32bit µCs are already sold well below 1$ a pop.
Saveing 1-2c in this region is a big deal.
And once you have the new ISA implemented in silicon and dev-tools nothing is stopping you from deploying it in higher-end µCs.

Edited 2018-07-09 20:31 UTC
Permalink - Score: 5
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then ...
By kragil on 2018-07-09 21:20:41
... they fight you, then you win.
So they already ignored and laughed at RISC-V. I guess RISC-V will win soon.

I am hopefull.
Permalink - Score: 5
RISC-V is already having a huge impact
By crystall on 2018-07-09 21:56:15
While RISC-V cores might not show up in phones or computers (yet) it's already had a very large impact in the market for deeply embedded cores.

There are a vast number of cores you don't see in today's electronics. Practically every piece of hardware contains one or more small cores whose purpose is usually to execute a specific task (usually implemented by custom hardware) or control other computing resources. Hard-drive and SSD controllers, GPUs, video encoders/decoders, network cards, cellular modems are a few examples of hardware components that often contain multiple dedicated cores.

These cores all have a few things in common: they are not particularly high performance nor general purpose, but they all come with custom hardware attached to them used to implement the hardware's functionality.

These cores have traditionally come from a number of vendors, some of which you might never heard about such as Tensilica. ARM is one of those and has been pushing into this market with their Cortex R series.

RISC-V made huge inroads in this market in a very short time because of a number of factors: first of all these cores are custom so vendors don't care about backwards compatibility. Adopting a new ISA isn't an issue. These cores are customized so they will often ship with non-standard instructions and the RISC-V ISA has been designed as a module and extensible ISA making it perfect for this role. Finally, RISC-V is free, not only as-in-speech but also as-in-beer and already has a number of open-source cores available plus very modern tooling for adapting them and integrating them in new designs. As Microsoft found out trying to keep Linux outside of the server market it's very hard to beat something that's free.

Following the links on that website brings you to a page where ARM is offering free access to some of their designs for evaluation purposes. That really shows where RISC-V is hurting them with its free, open-source nature.

Anyway to get an idea of what I'm talking about regarding RISC-V's success it's enough to say that Western Digital has decided to switch all its internal microcontroller designs to RISC-V [1] and so is doing nVidia [2] [3].

[1] https://www.theregister.co.uk/201...
[2] https://riscv.org/wp-content/uplo...
[3] https://riscv.org/wp-content/uplo...
Permalink - Score: 15
I'd bet on RISC-V
By drcoldfoot on 2018-07-09 22:00:48
For what it's worth, ARM sees something we don't see. I see future competition. I saw that in the Cheap Chi-PAD market years ago in RISC. I wonder what the stock market is whispering about?
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Comment by kurkosdr
By kurkosdr on 2018-07-09 22:23:56
The bit about fragmentation is true. Android has shown that fragmentation is a real problem when OEMs get to have their way with something open source. The only thing keeping Android together is the proprietary extensions known as GMS. RISC-V CPUs have no such thing.
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Wikipedia the second casualty in the attack...
By kwan_e on 2018-07-10 00:36:59
Permalink - Score: 2

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