The Cost of Application-Class Processing: Energy and Performance Analysis of a Linux-ready 1.7GHz 64bit RISC-V Core in 22nm FDSOI Technology

10 Apr 2019  ·  Zaruba Florian, Benini Luca ·

The open-source RISC-V ISA is gaining traction, both in industry and academia. The ISA is designed to scale from micro-controllers to server-class processors... Furthermore, openness promotes the availability of various open-source and commercial implementations. Our main contribution in this work is a thorough power, performance, and efficiency analysis of the RISC-V ISA targeting baseline "application class" functionality, i.e. supporting the Linux OS and its application environment based on our open-source single-issue in-order implementation of the 64 bit ISA variant (RV64GC) called Ariane. Our analysis is based on a detailed power and efficiency analysis of the RISC-V ISA extracted from silicon measurements and calibrated simulation of an Ariane instance (RV64IMC) taped-out in GlobalFoundries 22 FDX technology. Ariane runs at up to 1.7 GHz and achieves up to 40 Gop/sW peak efficiency. We give insight into the interplay between functionality required for application-class execution (e.g. virtual memory, caches, multiple modes of privileged operation) and energy cost. Our analysis indicates that ISA heterogeneity and simpler cores with a few critical instruction extensions (e.g. packed SIMD) can significantly boost a RISC-V core's compute energy efficiency. read more

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