Imagination’s new Catapult CPU is driving RISC-V device adoption 

Imagination APXM-6200 CPU: The performance-dense RISC-V application processor for Intelligent, Consumer and Industrial Applications

Imagination Technologies today unveils the next product in the Catapult CPU IP range, the Imagination APXM-6200 CPU: a RISC-V application processor with compelling performance density, seamless security and the artificial intelligence capabilities needed to support the compute and intuitive user experience needs for next generation consumer and industrial devices. 

“The number of RISC-V based devices is skyrocketing with over 16Bn units forecast by 2030, and the consumer market is behind much of this growth” says Rich Wawrzyniak, Principal Analyst at SHD Group. “One fifth of all consumer devices will have a RISC-V based CPU by the end of this decade. Imagination is set to be a force in RISC-V with a strategy that prioritises quality and ease of adoption. Products like APXM-6200 are exactly what will help RISC-V achieve the promised success.”

The APXM-6200 CPU is a 64-bit, in-order application processor with an 11 stage, dual-issue pipeline that delivers a 65% improvement in normalised performance and 2.5x improvement in normalised performance density compared to equivalent CPUs already on the market. Customers can choose between single-, dual- and quad-core configurations depending on their performance requirements, with per-core power control for maximum system efficiency, and cache coherency. AI capabilities are underpinned by support for the RISC-V vector extensions along with fast data-coupling for AI accelerators. 

“Imagination removes the barriers for companies looking to benefit from RISC-V based designs,” says Shreyas Derashri, Vice President of Compute, Imagination Technologies. “We are heavily investing in the open-source software ecosystem so that when APXM-6200 ships in silicon, the software stacks will be available and performant.  On the hardware side, our engineering team follows a rigorous design and verification process, perfected over Imagination’s thirty years’ experience of designing and supporting complex semiconductor IP, to ensure that Catapult CPUs are of the highest quality and built with customer satisfaction in mind.”

“Imagination has shown leadership both within the RISC-V community and across the industry with dedication to bringing compelling innovations to market,” said Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International. “Imagination’s strategic investment in RISC-V is a fantastic example of the unique design potential that only RISC-V offers through a set of modular standard specifications together with proprietary differentiation.”

Ease of Design Migration with Customer Flexibility  

Imagination’s RISC-V solution includes the Catapult SDK (Software Development Kit) which provides everything an embedded developer needs to write, build, and debug software for the target application, including a new set of vector compute libraries to boost performance for AI workloads. Outside of the SDK, Imagination also offers an extension for Microsoft’s popular Visual Studio Code Integrated Development Environment (IDE): the Catapult Studio extension. Now, any Visual Studio user can visit the Marketplace and install the Catapult extension into their regular development environment.  Included are QEMU (Quick Emulator) and Catapult software models, that developers can start using to build and run RISC-V software today, ahead of hardware availability.

In the AI-powered, connected world of today, security is paramount for both consumer and industrial applications. With the proliferation of RISC-V, seamless migration to established security frameworks is imperative. APXM-6200 can be easily designed into a SoC without compromising security thanks to a multi-domain isolation solution that integrates seamlessly with well-known and established security frameworks.

APXM-6200 is Android and Linux ready.  It is expected to ship in devices such as Smart TVs, Smart Home Hubs and Digital Signage, many of which also require a GPU to handle the graphical user interface.  As the industry’s preferred supplier of GPU IP for RISC-V based SoCs, Imagination is uniquely able to design the CPU, GPU system to deliver better performance.  Bus utilisation is doubled and memory traffic halved when APXM-6200 is paired with an Imagination GPU. 

In addition, we are partnering with trusted industry leaders like Lauterbach and ProvenRun to expedite our customers’ route to market, ensuring timely deployment at reduced costs.

“Security is a fundamental concern for the electronics industry,” says Thierry Chesnais, CEO, ProvenRun. “As chips grow in complexity and cost, designers need to be able to source the best IP for their use case without introducing unwanted risk or redesigning the security architecture. ProvenRun is working alongside Imagination on the development of ProvenCore TEE support for APXM-6200 to ensure that its security package meets industry standards and can be supported by our products and services.”

“The tools market is ready to support companies interested in building with RISC-V IP,” says Stephan Lauterbach, Chief Technology Officer, and Managing Director, Lauterbach GmbH. “For example, our Lauterbach TRACE32® toolset allows designers to debug and control any RISC-V core in any SoC, including those in Imagination’s Catapult range. Today we are announcing a partnership with Imagination not only support APXM-6200 but also to work together towards the wider success of RISC-V. This means that companies can invest in RISC-V products safe in the knowledge that they can get their products to market quickly and at the quality levels their customers expect.”

To learn more, visit Imagination Technologies at Embedded World, Hall 4, Booth 4-659, from 9-11 April, or visit our CPU page, to sign up for info about the Imagination Catapult CPU range. 

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