Free Open Source GPU Under Development for RISC-V
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Another GPU developer emerges with a RISC-V-derived architecture.
The days of open-source GPUs may soon be upon us. The RISC-V architecture enables small companies to develop purpose-built processors and microcontrollers without paying a royalty. There are numerous free and commercial IP building blocks for RISC-V-based system-on-chips (SoCs), but the portfolio lacks a graphics option. This will change in a few years as a group of enthusiasts has started developing an open-source GPU based on the RISC-V architecture.

At this point, there are no plans to compete against AMD, Arm, Imagination, and Nvidia in the foreseeable future. Instead, the group plans to develop a scalable fused CPU-GPU ISA that could scale from simplistic microcontrollers all the way to advanced GPUs supporting ray tracing, machine learning, and computer vision applications with custom hardware extensions.

On a high level, RV64X-designed GPUs use a basic RV32I or RV64I core that supports new instructions built on the base vector instruction set. Initially, it will use an RV32I core, but eventually, an RV64I core will replace it as the goal is to create an area-efficient design with custom programmability and extensibility that could be used for CPUs, GPUs, and VPUs, writes Jon Peddie for EE Times.

(Image credit: RV64X)

To properly process graphics, the basic RISC-V core will support new graphics and machine learning specific — RV32X — data types, including scalars (8, 16, 24, and 32 bit fixed and floats, vectors…
Anton Shilov
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