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SiFive HiFive Unmatched Hands-On, Initial RISC-V Performance Benchmarks

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  • #11
    So to sum up this review, Michael bought a $700 paperweight.

    I wish I had that kind of spare cash.

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    • #12
      Originally posted by sophisticles View Post
      So to sum up this review, Michael bought a $700 paperweight.

      I wish I had that kind of spare cash.
      This is his career and livelihood though, that's the difference. I'm sure he would prefer not to do that.

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      • #13
        Originally posted by sophisticles View Post
        So to sum up this review, Michael bought a $700 paperweight.

        I wish I had that kind of spare cash.
        Ehh, it's uboot that's the turn off here. Note that this board still needs to bootstrap off uboot AND the microSD containing the OpenEmbedded distribution with its hardware-specific kernel and stuff before the RISC-V version of Ubuntu could start.

        If RISC-V's goal is to carve out a place in all segments of computing, it eventually has to reach a state where the current PC platform over x64 is; a boot firmware (UEFI) takes care of initializing the CPU, all the stuff on the motherboard, then hands over everything to a generic OS that finishes off the boot process. That means no hardware or device-specific kernels or OSes, like what is currently plaguing ARM. Every Android handset runs a tuned version of Android with a custom kernel that can only boot on that specific hardware combination in the SoC, no more, no less. Almost ARM developer board ships with its own customized Linux distribution that again bundles a custom tuned kernel for that SoC hardware combination only; putting in a mainline kernel causes the board to lock up hard.

        Microsoft, Red Hat and SUSE Enterprise are trying to address this by mandating UEFI for ARM64 and ARM is also trying to dig themselves out of this mess they created for themselves by introducing SBSA and SBBA, but the takeup has been just plain pathetic.
        Last edited by Sonadow; 24 September 2021, 12:57 PM.

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        • #14
          Originally posted by numacross View Post
          What in the world. I hope you are kidding, because these look like scam prices.

          It's as if I were to sell water, but I call it enterprise-class water and sell one small bottle for $1000.

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          • #15
            Originally posted by sophisticles View Post
            So to sum up this review, Michael bought a $700 paperweight.

            I wish I had that kind of spare cash.
            Are not there 14-day free goods return laws where he lives ? (real question, no sarcasm).

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            • #16
              Originally posted by sophisticles View Post
              So to sum up this review, Michael bought a $700 paperweight.

              I wish I had that kind of spare cash.
              As mentioned in the article, it was a review sample from SiFive...
              Michael Larabel
              https://www.michaellarabel.com/

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              • #17
                To put the performance numbers into perspective:

                The HiFive Unmatched uses SiFive's U74 CPU cores. Those are dual-issue in-order cores. Think of this as roughly Pentium 1 class microarchitecture. Also, this CPU does not have any vector instructions (nothing SSE/AVX-like). RISC-V's semi-equivalent would be the vector-extensions ("V"), but these extensions are not present here.

                The Raspberry Pi 4 uses A72 cores. Those are dual-issue out-of-order cores (think of this as the step from Pentium 1 to Pentium Pro/II). These cores also have ARM's NEON-instructions (roughly comparable to SSE instructions), which can make a big difference e.g. for media applications.

                A comparison to the Raspberry Pi 3 might be interesting. That one also runs at 1.2 GHz and features A53 cores - which are also dual-issue in-order cores.
                Last edited by SavageX; 24 September 2021, 01:53 PM.

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                • #18
                  To be honest, I'm quite shocked at how powerful it is. You have to remember, it's basically the first "really usable" RISC-V CPU made by a completely new player in the industry. Bravo!

                  Though Linux is probably quite heavy for it, so a smaller and more optimized OS like HaikuOS, SerenityOS (once it becomes usable), GenodeOS (if you can somehow navigate it) or others is probably a better fit than trying to run GTK/QT.

                  Or maybe Alpine + a light GUI like sway?
                  RISC-V = Linux

                  Other operating systems are in the early stages (startup only)

                  In addition, the Linux kernel has recently added many features to RISC-V

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                  • #19
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv4-_a_3BKg&t=3233s

                    Rene rebe did work on RNDA2 support... however, nobody has offered to support his work so it remains in the dust bin. And note that he does do an extraordinary amount of work for free on T2 linux as well as upstreaming various patches to fix issues from time to time.

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                    • #20
                      Originally posted by SavageX View Post
                      To put the performance numbers into perspective:

                      The HiFive Unmatched uses SiFive's U7 CPU cores. Those are dual-issue in-order cores. Think of this as roughly Pentium 1 class microarchitecture. Also, this CPU does not have any vector instructions (nothing SSE/AVX-like). RISC-V's semi-equivalent would be the vector-extensions ("V"), but these extensions are not present here.

                      The Raspberry Pi 4 uses A72 cores. Those are dual-issue out-of-order cores (think of this as the step from Pentium 1 to Pentium Pro/II). These cores also have ARM's NEON-instructions (roughly comparable to SSE instructions), which can make a big difference e.g. for media applications.

                      A comparison to the Raspberry Pi 3 might be interesting. That one also runs at 1.2 GHz and features A53 cores - which are also dual-issue in-order cores.
                      It would be more appropriate to compare it with a contemporary in the same class... basically any netbook from about 4 years ago would have similar microarchitecture.

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