Heater
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Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:40 am

Probably not anytime soon for phones/tabs etc but it looks like with dramatic rise in the RISC V architecture ARM is going to have a hard time moving into the new evolving IoT/embedded spaces.

https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?sect ... id=1334306#

https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334309

And check this new RISC V SoC out:
https://hackaday.com/2019/02/14/new-par ... t-dollars/
https://www.seeedstudio.com/sipeed

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:59 am

Dramatic rise might be over egging it a bit.
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:03 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't RISC run on ARM?
Edit: Seems to be a processor design maybe I am wrong

Personally, I refuse to use RISC. Tried RISC OS once, took half an hour to figure out how to shut it down.
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:08 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:03 am
Personally, I refuse to use RISC. Tried RISC OS once, took half an hour to figure out how to shut it down.
I tried RISCOS once, it took ten seconds to pull the power and 20 mins to rewrite the SDCard with something useful.
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:55 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:03 am
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't RISC run on ARM?
Edit: Seems to be a processor design maybe I am wrong

Personally, I refuse to use RISC. Tried RISC OS once, took half an hour to figure out how to shut it down.
ARM once stood for Advanced Risc Machine.

The Pi's have RISC CPU's (slightly more RISC'y in 64-bit mode).
Intel CPU's translate their CISC instructions into RISC-like uops.
RISC-V is obviously RISC.

Hard to avoid RISC!

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:58 am

jahboater wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:55 am
ARM once stood for Advanced Risc Machine.
Originally, Acorn RISC Machine

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:56 am

Private Frazer wrote:We're all DOOMED.
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:05 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:03 am
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't RISC run on ARM?
Edit: Seems to be a processor design maybe I am wrong

Personally, I refuse to use RISC. Tried RISC OS once, took half an hour to figure out how to shut it down.
Best stop using Pi then. And your smartphone.
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:16 pm

While I'm all for RISC-V I think it's far too early to say whether it will become the dominant force which crushes its competitors into oblivion.

ARM ( the company ) does have a particular problem because they have been protectionist and built a business around licensing as much as implementation. RISC-V threatens that business model but ARM could simply choose to evolve to some other model.

There is plenty of hype and predictions of success for RISC-V but we haven't seen how it fares in the real world, whether expectations and hopes are met in practice.

I think the real test will be as RISC-V evolves, as things fragment and people start to add stuff to their implementations which sets their version of RISC-V against others. What RISC-V is may become less important than what a particular implementation is and what features it has.

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:51 pm

RISC-V displacing microcontroller-type cores (in-order, 1-wide issue, modest clockspeed) is very much happening - Western Digital are now using RISC-V cores in their storage controllers. ARM doesn't really have any feature differentiation in this segment, except for being widely supported in gcc/llvm with extensive debugging tool support. With a gcc port of RISC-V and decent hardware support for debug, there's no reason to pay ARM royalties when proven silicon exists.

The apps processors (Cortex-A72, 73, 75 etc) are a different beast entirely, and it'll be a long road for RISC-V out-of-order superscalar designs to begin to catch up. Much of the special sauce going in to making apps processors go Fast(tm) requires lots of microarchitectural tweaking to fit a processor to a process node - and this gets expensive quickly.

RISC-V's user-defined extensions may promote a lot of vendor lock-in behaviour - proprietary DSP instructions useful for video codecs, for example. That's one business model that an ARM successor may use to guarantee sales - extend the instruction set to provide AV1 decode acceleration, then licence cores that use it.
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:07 pm

Dual core 64bit CPU with 8MB SRAM looks a bit better than current ESP-32 modules :-) Well unless the RAM is attached over SPI like newest ESP-32 modules with PSRAM already do, then it is similar.

Seedstudio is not exactly the cheapest store, I wonder what will be the price for this module on ebay/aliexpress. However I searched yesterday and could'n find it anywhere else. They had a campaign with module for $6 https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sipe ... -ai-module#/

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:27 pm

Admittedly my post title is a little bit over dramatized, and admittedly RISC-V may be a speck on the horizon still but I think "dramatic" rise is appropriate. In what seems no time at all RISC-V is now used in all computer architecture classes around the world, has been very publicly adopted my Western Digital and Nvidia, is the basis of many new products we are now beginning to see, has a ton of big name companies signed up to it's foundation. Including Raspberry Pi!

I did say "RISC V" not "RISC" or "RISCOS", https://riscv.org/, RISC V in an open specification for an instruction set architecture devised an US Berkeley and freely usable by anyone. Unlike Intel one can actually make ones own clones, unlike ARM one does not need to buy a license to do so.

ARM is a RISC design inspired by the guys that pioneered the RISC approach back in the late 1970's early '80's. RISC V comes from the same school and some of the same guys. Other RISC processors are MIPS, Spark, etc. RISC V learns from those efforts.

How will ARM respond to this?

Initially they panicked and put up a web page trashing RISC V. They had to back down when even their own engineers complained about it: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/07/1 ... v_website/. Shows they are concerned does it not.

They could lower their license costs. They could open the ARM instruction set architecture. But they have investors, SoftBank, eager for a return on their money.

I don't see ARM disappearing any time soon but the may not be getting all that new IoT market that is expected.

Would love to see a RISC V Raspberry Pi, but I guess that is pink pony and unicorn dreams...

Who will be the first to make a RISC V Pi HAT?

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:46 pm

Heater wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:27 pm
Who will be the first to make a RISC V Pi HAT?
I would put my money on the LowRisc guys in conjunction with RPT. The launch anniversary and Pi Day are just weeks away. That might however be wishful thinking.

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:15 pm

hippy wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:46 pm
I would put my money on the LowRisc guys in conjunction with RPT. The launch anniversary and Pi Day are just weeks away. That might however be wishful thinking.
Eben and others have pretty much stated that there will be no new major Pi release this year. The CM3+ was the last of the old line up.
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:06 pm

rpdom wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:15 pm
Eben and others have pretty much stated that there will be no new major Pi release this year. The CM3+ was the last of the old line up.
I wouldn't consider a RISC-V based HAT to be a "Pi release" as such, so I wouldn't discount it, even if not imminent. We have Atmel / Arduino, Propeller and FPGA HAT's, and others with embedded processors on them, and I'd see a RISC-V HAT sitting alongside those.

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:22 pm

A RISC V HAT would be great.

The Pi Foundation is not big into HATS but any of us could get on the case I guess.

But, LowRISC is across the road in Cambridge and I'm sure there are connections...

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:23 am

From here: https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334330#

“RISC-V is being received with open arms by the military and aerospace sectors,” said Tim Morin, director of strategic marketing in Microchip Technnology’s FPGA business unit. “They are very excited about it.”

Microchip is already invested in RISC V via their purchase of MicroSemi. Perhaps we will see RISC V PIC's soon.

The dramatic rise of RISC V gets more dramatic every day!

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:11 pm

Heater wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:23 am
From here: https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334330#

“RISC-V is being received with open arms by the military and aerospace sectors,” said Tim Morin, director of strategic marketing in Microchip Technnology’s FPGA business unit. “They are very excited about it.”
Said Tim Morin, who's a direcector of strategic marketing at company sells RISC-V chips...

Meanwhile, I have a spendid bridge for sale, only one previous city.
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:14 pm

jamesh wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:11 pm
I have a spendid bridge for sale, only one previous city.
Northbridge or Southbridge? :lol:
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:24 pm

London bridge
:)

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:25 pm

As usual the supporters of this new technology (RISC-V) are blinded by their enthusiasm, and predict the "death" of their opponents before even the first real test of strength. Just wishful thinking if you ask me.
Also, why predict the "death" of ARM, not the "death" of Intels x86 CISC architecture.

All a lot of crystal ball gazing, clouded by their warped opinions :evil:

its far to soon to predict that RISC-V will "take over", if that ever will be the case. :mrgreen:

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:39 pm

jamesh,
Said Tim Morin, who's a director of strategic marketing at company sells RISC-V chips...
I do appreciate your suspicion of the salesman's hype.

But here is the strange thing: As far as I can tell Microchip does not sell RISC V chips. They sell their PIC and MIPS architecture devices, they sell the AVR architecture MCU's since buying ATMEL, they sell FPGA since buying Microsemi recently. Currently those FPGA only have RISC V soft cores.

We might suspect Microchip as the last MCU company that would want adopt RISC V and cannibalize it's current, and profitable, product lines.

Or, Tim Morin has been around and soaked up the atmosphere and will be making plans to satisfy the demand...

Thanks, I have enough bridges to fill a desert though.

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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:40 pm

jahboater wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:24 pm
London bridge
:)
Neither London, nor Robert Paxton McCulloch (the guy who bought it) did badly out of that sale.
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:51 pm

Heater wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:23 am
From here: https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1334330#

“RISC-V is being received with open arms by the military and aerospace sectors,” said Tim Morin, director of strategic marketing in Microchip Technnology’s FPGA business unit. “They are very excited about it.”

Microchip is already invested in RISC V via their purchase of MicroSemi. Perhaps we will see RISC V PIC's soon.

The dramatic rise of RISC V gets more dramatic every day!

Poppycock and balderdash :roll:
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Re: Is ARM doomed?

Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:58 pm

mahjongg,
As usual the supporters of this new technology (RISC-V) are blinded by their enthusiasm, and predict the "death" of their opponents before even the first real test of strength. Just wishful thinking if you ask me
I think you are being a tad unfair there.

I have repeatedly said that I don't expect ARM or Intel be going anywhere, anytime soon. I have no delusions about the scale of that task. Above I admitted that my use of "doomed" was OTT.
Also, why predict the "death" of ARM, not the "death" of Intels x86 CISC architecture.
Because IoT. There are plenty who are predicting a huge growth in the shipments of controllers(SoCs) for IoT devices. Intel is not in that space. Many claim ARM licensing is a road block for them getting into that space.

Because, currently that low end is the where RISC V can make a start.
...its far to soon to predict that RISC-V will "take over", if that ever will be the case.
No doubt. But we should strive for independence in our computing infrastructure. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is in an excellent position to help the cause.

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