SiFive announced this week that due to component supply issues, it will discontinue its current generation HiFive Unmatched cards for RISC-V software and hardware developers. Instead, the company will focus on the development and production of next-generation HiFive single-board computers.
“With such ecosystem adoption, demand has exceeded our already high expectations and we are on the verge of exhausting our production inventory,” SiFive’s Phil Dworsky announced on the SiFive Forums (via Hackster.io). “Given the challenge of supply chain issues that we overcame for the first series of these boards (issues that we continue to face), we have decided to focus on next-generation SiFive HiFive development systems instead. than trying to deliver another version of the Unmatched HiFive Platform in 2022.”
Today’s SiFive HiFive Unmatched development board is based on the company’s Freedom U740 system-on-chip which can run high-level operating systems. It includes PCIe 3.0 x8/16 and M.2 slots as well as GbE and USB ports. The board was a good solution for RISC-V developers in 2020, but it might not be the most optimal choice for today’s realities. This is probably one of the reasons why the company decided to focus on next-gen hardware instead of ordering another batch of HiFive Unmatched.
About two years ago, most RISC-V developers designed solutions for rather simplistic products running RISC-V SoCs, and some focused on projects requiring a high-level operating system. This made the Freedom U740 an optimal choice. But now that SiFive is considering high-performance SoCs with up to 128 cores for data center applications, the Freedom U740 is not the optimal choice for developers creating server-grade software or hardware for upcoming SoCs. RISC-V. Meanwhile, high-performance processors don’t make sense for less-sophisticated app developers. So maybe in the future, it is more reasonable for SiFive to offer a variety of HiFive cards targeting different applications.
SiFive has yet to officially announce details of the future of its HiFive Unmatched products.
“Our sincere apologies to anyone who wanted a SiFive HiFive Unmatched board and weren’t able to get one – stay tuned for news on next-gen HiFive development systems,” Dworsky added.