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Electronic Design Article: 11 Myths About The RISC-V ISA

By January 31, 2019May 12th, 2021No Comments

Many companies today are exploring free, open-source hardware and software as an alternative to closed, costly instruction set architectures (ISAs). RISC-V is a free, open, and extensible ISA that’s redefining the flexibility, scalability, extensibility, and modularity of chip designs (Fig. 1). Despite its rich ecosystem and growing number of real-world implementations, there are misconceptions about RISC-V that have companies holding back from fully realizing its benefits.
Let’s take a closer look at several myths about the RISC-V ISA to better understand the technology, tools, and requirements of the architecture, and how it can be used to accelerate innovation and drive down costs.
1. RISC-V is another processor design.
RISC-V is a fixed ISA that’s open. Standard extensions can optionally be implemented, but the base ISA is frozen forever. Because the ISA is fixed, software need only be written once, and it runs forever on any RISC-V core. Innovation can be accelerated by leveraging the open ISA. Organizations are able to optimize and customize a design for their specific applications. RISC-V is to open hardware what Linux has been to open-source software.
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