SiFive Essential 6-Series, 21G3 Release Add Mid-Range Performance & Features to Leading RISC-V IP Portfolio

By Brandon Lewis

Editor-in-Chief

Embedded Computing Design

December 10, 2021

News

SiFive Essential 6-Series, 21G3 Release Add Mid-Range Performance & Features to Leading RISC-V IP Portfolio

SiFive announced the Essential 6-Series of real-time and mid-range application processors ahead of this week’s RISC-V Summit. The company also made its 21G3 release available, which includes a series of updates to their processor IP portfolio.

The SiFive Essential 6-Series is a family of eight-stage, single-issue pipline IP that includes the single- or quad-core 64-bit U6 and S6 processors, as well as the single- or quad-core 32-bit E6 deeply embedded microcontroller. The U6 is a Linux-capable processor, while the others target real-time uses.

Despite their name, the 6-Series processors rely on the SiFive Essential 7-Series architecture. They come pre-configured but are tunable for general-purpose embedded/industrial and IoT, real-time embedded, or automotive applications.

“The new SiFive Essential 6-Series focuses our offerings for mid-range performance,” says Chris Jones, VP of Products at SiFive.

TIRIAS Research’ Principal Analyst Steve Leibson states that “6-Series processor cores expands the company’s 'Essential' family of processor cores and creates an even more comprehensive offering of application-tuned, 64- and 32-bit RISC-V processor cores, starting with high-end, multi-core application processors and extending all the way down to individual, low-power, embedded microcontrollers, which can all be customized to cover an even broader design spectrum.”

21G3 Portfolio-Wide Release Highlights

Meanwhile, the 21G3 release improves clock gating and power management across the entire SiFive portfolio. Another significant part of the release focuses on recently ratified RISC-V extensions, including the addition of Hypervisor extensions to SiFive Performance IP and SiFive Intelligence Extensions, which adds RISC-V Vector (RVV) extensions to IPs like the Intelligence X280.

SiFive Intelligence Extensions now supports the following AI/ML-centric features:

  • BFLOAT16 Compute
  • Quantization Acceleration
  • Improved Multi-Cluster

Finally, release 21G3 introduces SiFive Shield WorldGuard for the Essential line, which is a comparable technology to Arm’s TrustZone.

More information on all of the solutions outlined here can be found at www.sifive.com.

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Brandon is responsible for guiding content strategy, editorial direction, and community engagement across the Embedded Computing Design ecosystem. A 10-year veteran of the electronics media industry, he enjoys covering topics ranging from development kits to cybersecurity and tech business models. Brandon received a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University, where he graduated cum laude. He can be reached at [email protected]

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