LeapFive’s RISC-V N62 Processor Aims To Take on x86 & ARM CPUs, Mass Production Aiming Late 2022

LeapFive's RISC-V N62 Processor Aims To Take on x86 & ARM CPUs, Mass Production Aiming Late 2022

Source: My Drivers

LeapFive, a computer component company founded by ex-Google CTO Jiang Zhaohui, is prepared to take on x86  and Arm chips with the company’s latest RISC-V chips. This year, the company has stated to begin mass producing its high-performance products in logistics, electricity, and secure computing.

x86 & Arm have a new competitor! Leapfive to offer in-house RISC-V processors with mass production starting late 2022

Regarding performance, the LeapFive (also known as Yuefang Technology) high-performing RISC-V CPU NB2 can easily compete with Arm’s Cortex A55 and A72 chips.

The final evaluation of a chip product should be based on the scale and maturity of the application as a reference, so The core is that application is king.

The logic of converting to the bottom layer has three points: bringing supply chain security to customers, having differentiated features, and having cost advantages.

— Yuan Bohu, Vice President of Research and Development, Yuefang Technology

My Drivers website states that “there were few chip startups with explicit target application scenarios.”

When we started our business in 2020, the company only had Yuan Bohu and me, and now the company has a team of 170 to 80 people.  We focus on three cores, focusing on industrial and Internet of Things field.

The first is to use the RISC-V open source CPU architecture to design edge chips with high, medium, and low-end performance; the second is to include blockchain technology to ensure that data cannot be tampered with and the source can be traced; the third is to focus on security performance.

— Jiang Zhaohui, founder, CEO, and CTO, Yuefang Technology

It is reported that Yeufang Technology’s strategy of focusing on industrial and IoT operations benefited their rapid growth. Jiang Zhaohui sees the opportunity to resolve energy crisis scenarios and assist with more innovative energy options for consumers, enterprises, and industrial organizations. It is also easier to supply the demand for SoC chiplets in focused marketplaces, such as the industrial markets that utilize RISC-V chips in larger quantities.

Due to the fierce competition in the market for consumer chips, they will focus on cost and then consider functional differentiation and supply chain security. Industrial chips are just the opposite. Customers will first consider supply chain security, then differentiation, and finally, It’s a cost advantage.

In terms of software ecology, the software ecology in the industrial field is slightly smaller than the consumer ecology, which is very consistent with the development status of RISC-V.

Yuan Bohu, Vice President of Research and Development, Yuefang Technology

Leifeng.com discovered Yuefang Technology’s recognition of the need for chips in the industrial and Internet of Things categories at the beginning of the company’s early designs. Now, the company is cooperating with China Electric Power Academy to design a high-performance NB2 processor and is interested in replicating the chips significantly.

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Pu Tianjiao, director of the Artificial Intelligence Application Research Institute of China Electric Power Research Institute Co., Ltd., shared during a press conference that the energy required for the Internet of Things encounters several common concerns. The director stressed issues such as “high data transmission and processing pressure, heavy computing load on the cloud master station, and massive data value.” Supplying chips is highly difficult and impossible to mine. Hence, new conditions are placed for innovative but “high computing power, low power consumption, and autonomous control at the power edge.”

In view of the technical advantages of the NB2 chip, we, China Electric Power Research Institute, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Yuefang Company, and settled in the State Grid Corporation’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Demonstration Center. Specification formulation, collaborative R&D, and achievement of the edge smart chip for the power Internet of Things, etc.

— Pu Tianjiao, director of the Artificial Intelligence Application Research Institute of China Electric Power Research Institute Co., Ltd.

Yuefang Technology’s NB2 chip utilizes a 12nm process to develop a RISC-V processor, focusing on frequencies higher than 1.5GHz and integrating industrial SoCs, NPU, DSP, and VPUs.

The NB2’s central frequency of the self-developed processor reaches 1.8GHz, while the frequency of the GPU is 850 MHz. For the performance of the NPU, it can go 4 TOPS in INT8 data formats and incorporates the “VPU, visual DSP for enhancing auxiliary NPU visual processing, and audio DSP.”

From the perspective of CPU performance, the CPU performance of NB2 is between Arm Cortex A55 and Cortex A72. It is anticipated that NB2 will eventually replay higher-end Arm Cortex M series chips on the market. However, current software limitations are slowing the process down at this time.

Based on the current development status of RISC-V, we have chosen the industrial Internet, and the stability of industrial applications is given priority, which provides some convenience for us to start from RISC-V and design a software ecosystem that is relatively application-friendly for the industrial track.

Yuan Bohu, Vice President of Research and Development, Yuefang Technology

Yuan Bohu stressed that NB2 is the first globally produced premium 12nm industrial-grade SoC based on RISC-V chip technology.

We strictly follow the test standards of industrial-grade chips and have tested for more than 1,000 hours in an environment of minus 55 degrees Celsius to 125 degrees Celsius, with industrial-grade quality, and its performance in high-temperature measurements is also very consistent with the thermal design of the power grid system need.

NB2 also sustains a heterogeneous OS operating setting, meeting the unique needs of specific programs working on bare metal while other programs run Linux in industrial systems.

We hope that with the rich SDK performance, all hardware performance can be brought into play, and customer applications can be migrated to our system normally, quickly, and stably.

Consumer adaption is also a crucial step for the growth of RISC-V chips. Yuefang Technology’s approach is to supply clients “with a complete system, chips and software, corresponding reference design hardware, and a complete development platform.”

To develop a full-stack software and hardware solution with customers is just a work that needs to be done with customers when the customer’s confidence is low at the beginning.

This is not a trend.

News Source: My Drivers

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