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What is a CPU?

A central processing unit (CPU) is the central component of a System-on-Chip (SoC) responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations.

It serves as the primary unit for processing and controls the overall operation of the system. A CPU itself typically consists of one or more instruction processors, commonly referred to as cores. Each core within the CPU is capable of executing instructions independently, performing arithmetic and logic operations, and accessing memory. Multiple cores within a CPU allow for parallel processing, enabling the system to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

The terms CPU, core, and processor are however often used interchangeably.

Codasip glossary - RISC-V CPUs

What is a RISC-V CPU?

A RISC-V CPU refers to a central processing unit that is based on the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA), an open-source, royalty-free ISA developed by RISC-V International.

The RISC-V ISA follows the principles of Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC), which emphasizes simplicity and efficiency in instruction execution. It features a relatively small set of instructions with fixed-length encodings, enabling straightforward decoding and efficient pipelining in the processor’s microarchitecture.

RISC-V CPUs can be implemented using various hardware technologies, such as custom-designed integrated circuits (ASICs), field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), or even software-based emulators.

What RISC-V CPUs are available?

Several companies and organizations offer RISC-V CPU cores that adhere to the RISC-V ISA, providing a starting point for building RISC-V-based systems. Codasip’s RISC-V processor portfolio contains different IPs for a wide range of applications, covering low-power embedded domain as well as application Linux-capable cores.

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