RISC-V@Andes

Andes' Role in RISC-V Community

RISC-V ISA is an innovation for industry because it is open, compact, modular and extensible; also 64-bit is natively defined. However, RISC-V is merely an instruction set architecture. It needs microarchitecture implementation and other associated products (such as compiler, development tools, and platform) to provide complete CPU IP solution. Andes sees the potential of RISC-V. Andes is joining forces with partners of RISC-V community to grow the ecosystem by bringing Andes' CPU IP experiences together with RISC-V's technology:

  • Andes becomes one of the founding members of RISC-V Foundation (2016)
  • Andes is a RISC-V major tool-chain contributor (and maintainer).
  • Andes will provide a complete product portfolio with RISC-V CPU IP. Andes is your reliable RISC-V core IP business partner.
  • Andes provides world's leading customer-instruction extension capable RISC-V core IP (N25 and NX25) and tool.
  • Andes provides RISC-V cores that runs Linux.* (*available in Q3 2018)
  • Through years of interaction with customers, Andes is professional in designing details important to SoCs.


Andes' RISC-V Solutions

1. AndeStar™ V5 Architecture:
  • V5 is the new family of AndeStar architecture which is fully compliant with RISC-V technology while bringing extended features unique to Andes and already proven in the V3 processors, such as
    • Andes Performance Extension to speed up common program sequence such as those for memory accesses and branches
    • Andes Custom Extension™ (ACE) to enable user-defined instructions for Domain-Specific Acceleration (DSA)
    • CoDense™ for further code size compaction
    • StackSafe™ stack overflow/underflow detection for program reliability
    • PowerBrake frequency scaling for power saving.
  • Supports both 32-bits (RV32) and 64-bits (RV64), and the latter is for applications demanding addressability greater than 4 GB or those benefiting from data wider than 32 bits.

Processors based on V5 architecture are supported by the same rich and easy-to-use environment as in V3 processors. 


2. Facts of AndesCore™ N25/NX25 processors:
  • Officially released in Q4 2017
  • Based on AndeStar™ V5 architecture
  • Pipeline features of 32-bit N25 and 64-bit NX25:
    • Fast: Dynamic Branch Prediction, Local Memory (LM) and Caches.
    • Operating up to 1.1GHz with TSMC 28nm process
    • Compact: 5-stage pipeline, many features are configurable as customer's design requires.
  • Other key features: ECC and parity for memory protection, configurable multiplier, well-balanced pipeline
  • Platform-Level Interrupt Controller (PLIC): To meet the common requirements of microcontrollers and real-time applications, Andes enhanced RISC-V's PLIC with vectored interrupt dispatch, and priority-based preemption for greatly reduced interrupt service latency and easier software programming
  • Product package options
    • N25/NX25 pre-integrated with optional AHB/AXI platform (N25/NX25) to jump-start SoC design.
The upcoming release of cores in mid-summer will support:
  • MMU to support Linux kernel and run Linux applications, FPU for applications needing high-precision data computation such as GPS and motor control, and ACE support for domain-specific acceleration

3. Software development environment:
  • Offer the best RISC-V compiler and most comprehensive GUI-based development environment
  • Brings the production-proven methodology for instruction customization, ACE, to RISC-V world with a complete and easy-to-use toolset and verification framework.
  • Unified development environment through the tens of thousands of installation base AndeSight IDE, to integrate supports for both mass-produced V3 processors and emerging V5 processors into one tool framework and also to ease migration works to RISC-V based ISA V5.
  • Support the popular open source FreeRTOS version 10 and also the industrial-strength ThreadX on both 32-bit and 64-bit RISC-V processors. That's the first 64-bit RISC-V enabled ThreadX port running on AndesCore NX25.
  • Continuous contributions on RISC-V architecture port to gcc, binutils, newlib, qemu, LLVM, U-BOOT and Linux framework.

4. Hardware development environment:
  • Full-featured FPGA development board
  • Compact Arduino-compatible Corvette-F1 board
  • ICE debugger


Ecosystem and Support

Ecosystem:
For the past 13 years, we have engaged over 120 partners from the fields including:
  • Hardware: connectivity, security, mixed-signal, graphics, AI …
  • Software: software stack, development tools, RTOS/middleware, voice processing…
  • Development environments for complex SoC design

Knect.me:
In addition, we also have knect.me ecosystem focusing on IoT :
  • Over 50 partners, provides various IoT solutions such as security, wireless connectivity, protocol stacks, RTOS ...

Andes is working with many RISC-V Foundation members to provide an advanced development environment. For example, Imperas has fast Instruction Set Simulator (ISS) and Virtual Platform that enables software development before hardware is ready; Mentor, a Siemens Business, provides Veloce Emulator that reduces risk and shortens verification of complex SoCs; UltraSoC's embedded run control and trace IP can help debug touch bugs and identify software bottlenecks; Lauterbach's well-known Trace32 already supported Andes N25/NX25; Andes worked with Express Logic to port the first 64-bit ThreadX RTOS to RISC-V.More and more partners are joining Andes to rich RISC-V ecosystem together. We will update the list as we go! 

Support: 
Andes supports customers with a well-established support team that have years of experiences serving its customers. 


Strengths and Track Records


  • Andes is a public listed company in Taiwan Stock Exchange (March 2017)
  • Andes was awarded with TSMC's OIP "Partner of the Year” for New IP (2015) 
  • Andes has track record of over 140 commercial licensees and over 2.5B Andes-Embedded SoCs shipped.
  • Andes sales and support channel covers Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, United States, and Europe.
  • There are multiple world class companies evaluating Andes N25/NX25 now.