RISC-V Performance On Ubuntu 24.04 LTS With Scaleway's EM-RV1

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 8 May 2024 at 10:45 AM EDT. Page 1 of 3. 9 Comments.

Recently I've been testing out the Scaleway's Elastic Metal RV1 (EM-RV1) RISC-V cloud servers. Initially they were using Ubuntu 23.10 for providing an up-to-date Ubuntu Linux RISC-V experience while quickly upgraded to Ubuntu 24.04 LTS. For those curious how Ubuntu 24.04 is performing on RISC-V hardware, here are some comparison benchmarks.

Scaleway's EM-RV1 cloud instances are powered by a T-Head 1520 SoC that provides four RV64GCV cores running at 1.85GHz. This SoC also sports an OpenGL ES / Vulkan capable GPU as well as a VPU and a 4TOPS@INT8 NPU, but for the focus of the initial testing the benchmarking is focused on the RISC-V CPU cores. The T-Head 1520 RISC-V SoC is paired with 16GB of LPDDR5 memory and 128GB of eMMC storage and 100 Mbit/s network connectivity.

Scaleway EM-RV1 login

The performance is far from impressive but this EM-RV1 is the first foray into RISC-V for the public cloud. Scaleway is promoting the Elastic Metal RV1 as a way to "taste the new open processor architecture." Albeit four cores @ 1.85GHz and eMMC-only storage isn't worth getting too excited about in 2024. It is though cheap at just 0.042 € per hour or 15.99 € per month. Besides trialing the RISC-V architecture, this low-cost RISC-V instance can also be useful for some basic RISC-V CI/CD pipeline and other RISC-V exposure for non-performance-critical testing.

Scaleway EM-RV1 cloud access

Those curious about the Elastic Metal RV1 can find all the specs and details on Scaleway Labs. In the next few weeks will be some benchmarks showing how the EM-RV1-C4M16S128-A compare against some other x86_64 and Arm cloud instance types, but again with just four cores at under 2GHz, don't get too worked up over the performance potential.

Given the performance gains seen on Ubuntu 24.04 with the likes of AMD Ryzen Threadripper 7980X, Ampere Altra Max, and Intel Xeon Scalable performance, I was curious over whether this Scaleway RISC-V instance was any faster in moving from Ubuntu 23.10 to the newly released Ubuntu 24.04. That's the focus of these benchmarks today.

RISC-V Scaleway EM-RV1

The same RISC-V Scaleway EM-RV1 instance type was tested both under Ubuntu 23.10 and then under Ubuntu 24.04 LTS. It is worth noting though that both of these Ubuntu Linux types in the Scaleway cloud for RISC-V are running on a rather dated Linux 5.10 derived kernel. So due to the same kernel does temper the expectations for performance benefits of Ubuntu 24.04 on this RISC-V cloud server.

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