An Alibaba partner launches a 16-core RISC-V Open Source CPU and offers a plan B in the US-China trade war

An Alibaba partner launches a 16-core RISC-V Open Source CPU and offers a plan B in the US-China trade war

The Chinese semiconductor manufacturer Pingtouge is not too well known, but this trading partner of the giant Alibaba has made a unique launch: a processor XuanTie 910 based on the RISC-V architecture of open code and which boasts 16 computer cores.

The processor is oriented to be used in devices with 5G connectivity and in fields such as artificial intelligence or autonomous driving, but the really interesting thing is that it gives Chinese manufacturers an option that will free you from dependence on ARM designs used by companies like Qualcomm.

The distance with ARM is shortened (a little)

This architecture and Open Source instruction set has been gaining more and more relevance for a long time, although the processors that have gone on the market they were far from their clear competitors, the processors based on the ARM architecture.


That has changed a bit today with the launch of the XuanTie 910 that its manufacturer can say reduce production costs of similar chips by 50%. There has been no concrete data at the moment on its performance or sale price, but this 16-core chip seems to show an important qualitative leap for these designs.

RISC-V vs. ARM and x86: the dawn of custom processors is Open Source

It does so at a particularly delicate time in that trade war between China and the United States. The veto to Huawei still has no clear future or conclusion, and that makes RISC-V stand as a viable alternative for Chinese companies that do not want to depend (so much) on US suppliers.

China is increasingly interested in RISC-V

The RISC-V Foundation that drives this Open Source architecture already has members like Google, NVIDIA or Qualcomm itself in its ranks, but up to 25 Chinese companies have joined this body.


Similar organisms have emerged in the Asian giant with greater participation: up to 185 Chinese companies They are part of these consortiums to promote this technology.

Without ARM, the only big exit for Huawei in the mobile world may be Samsung

As indicated in Technode, the interesting thing about this architecture is that not part of that "blacklist" US commercial, the 'Entity List', since it is an Open Source technology that Chinese companies can use without fear of losing access in the future.

In fact American companies like SiFive, which launched one of the first RISC-V cores, will be able to continue working with Chinese companies without problems.

Huawei's own designs (with their Kirin) are based on the ARM license they have to produce their custom CPUs, and the US veto could end up also affecting these microphones although ARM is British. Recall that ARM joined the Huawei blockade when the whole situation exploded.

China responds to Huawei veto and create its own commercial blacklist for "unreliable" foreign companies