Move over GPUs, with 1,536 cores the Thunderbird RISC-V CPU is ready to eat your lunch

InspireSemi's Thunderbird with 1,536 RISC-V cores aims to revolutionize HPC with high efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

: InspireSemi's Thunderbird features 1,536 64-bit superscalar RISC-V CPU cores, offering significant power efficiency and scalability. Using open-source RISC-V architecture, the chip promises compatibility without the need for custom codes like CUDA or ROCm. Its affordability and PCI add-on card design make it accessible across various industries including life sciences and genomics.

InspireSemi has introduced the Thunderbird chip, which compiled of 1,536 64-bit superscalar RISC-V CPU cores and aims to provide a more cost-effective and power-efficient solution for high-performance computing (HPC) workloads. Four Thunderbird chips can be installed on a single accelerator card, giving a total of 6,144 cores per card and the flexibility to scale further with high-speed serial interconnects in cluster configurations.

What makes Thunderbird unique is its reliance on open-source RISC-V architecture and compatibility with existing CPU infrastructure. By using standard CPU programming models rather than custom platforms like Nvidia’s CUDA or AMD's ROCm, it eliminates the need for significant custom coding. This allows the PCI add-on card to be adaptable to currently available server infrastructures, making it attractive for clients with limited budgets for new facilities.

The RISC-based architecture of Thunderbird also promises enhanced power efficiency, claiming a 30-60% power improvement over similar solutions. Boasting figures of up to 24 FP64 TFLOPS at 50 GFLOPS/W, the chip scores better power efficiency compared to Nvidia's Ampere A100. InspireSemi asserts that Thunderbird's design will benefit a range of industries from genomics to climate research, setting a promising future for open-source HPC solutions.