Imagination launches RISC-V CPU family

2 min read

Imagination Technologies has announced the launch of Catapult, a RISC-V CPU product line that has been designed for next-generation heterogeneous compute needs.

Based on RISC-V, Imagination’s Catapult CPUs can be configured for performance, efficiency, or balanced profiles, making them suitable for a wide range of markets.

The CPUs are supported by the rapidly expanding open-standard RISC-V ecosystem, and Imagination’s entry will enable the rapidly expanding RISC-V ecosystem to add a greater range of product offerings, especially for heterogeneous systems. Customers will now have an even wider choice of solutions built on the open RISC-V ISA, avoiding lock-in with proprietary architectures.

Catapult CPUs are available in four distinct families: dynamic microcontrollers; real-time embedded CPUs; high-performance application CPUs; and functionally safe automotive CPUs.

The first family, microcontrollers, are already shipping in high-performance automotive GPUs in SoCs from Imagination customers. Real-time embedded CPUs are available now. High-performance application CPUs and Automotive CPUs will follow from 2022.

Catapult CPUs are engineered for markets ranging across 5G modems, storage, ADAS / autonomous vehicles, data centre, and high-performance computing. They are multi-threaded and come in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants and have a plethora of customer configurable options, as per application need. They can be scaled up to eight asymmetric coherent cores-per cluster for enhanced SoC versatility, with an option to add custom accelerators.

Tim Mamtora, Chief of Innovation, Imagination, said, “As the demand for compute grows in the cloud, at the edge and in devices, there is an ever-greater challenge to process immense amounts of data in tightly constrained area and power budgets. Heterogeneous architectures are key to providing performance, flexibility and resilience when accelerating an increasingly diverse set of workloads. Our new CPU cores allow us to better meet these needs by bringing to market a comprehensive range of outstanding RISC-V solutions that complement our GPU, neural network and Ethernet products.”

Catapult CPUs offer full hardware, software and debug support for SoCs using Imagination IP. With the early availability of performance models, SoC manufacturers can model their application needs and choose the right compute elements. This support allows producers to free up system resources and increase the performance and energy efficiency of their designs.

Catapult automotive CPUs are developed to ISO 26262 automotive standards and provide a range of CPU solutions for each Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL). In addition to being available in functionally safe and secure variants, the CPUs are based on industry-proven security concepts.

Catapult CPUs are delivered with a fully-featured SDK, which includes enhanced versions of industry-standard build and debug tools such as GCC, LLVM and GDB, optimised C libraries, and Imagination’s IDE: Catapult Studio. Catapult Studio is based on Visual Studio Code, with extra features focusing on embedded, RISC-V development and close integration to the wider SDK, empowering developers to take full advantage of Catapult CPUs.

Catapult SDK is available for Windows, Ubuntu, CentOS and MacOS and includes both FreeRTOS and full support for Linux including reference bootloaders, kernels and Yocto-based filesystems.

Catapult CPUs are delivered with both fast and performance models, which offer interactive debug and are compatible with the gem5 simulator, unlocking simulation environments for enhanced power and energy-efficiency testing.