SiFive speeds up computing chip designs as it staffs up

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Dec 2 (Businesshala) – Chip technology firm SiFive Inc said on Thursday it has ramped up its computing core design by 40% and now has 700 employees, with plans to double its workforce by next year.

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The Silicon Valley startup aims to challenge Arm Ltd.’s dominance in the supply of key parts for computing chip designs that are used throughout the semiconductor industry.

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Arm licenses its technology to major firms such as Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM.O) and is being bought by Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) in a deal worth more than $54 billion, though the deal It faces regulatory hurdles as firms such as Qualcomm have opposed it.

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SiFive said its new P650 computing core designs will be available to some of its customers early next year, at which point it is likely to take more than a year to find their way into physical chips. SiFive claims that the P650 computing core should be competitive with Arm’s A77 computing cores, which were found in several smartphone chips released in 2019 and 2020.

An estimated 40% speed increase from SiFiv’s previous design, called the P550, has come in just five months, while in the past Arm has announced new computing cores about once a year. SiFive chief executive Patrick Little said he believes he can bridge the gap with his firm’s much larger competitor.

“We should be at the top of Arm’s line within the next few years — that’s what customers are driving us to,” Little said.

Little said the company plans to double its workforce to 1,400 by next year. SiFive has made important appointments this year, such as Chris Laitner and Rohit Kumar, former software executives at Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), who have worked to design multiple generations of custom processors for Apple’s iPhones. Helped and iPad.

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Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Stephen Coates

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