Renesas expands RZ family with RISC-V core addition

Renesas has announced that its RZ/Five family now includes general purpose microprocessor units (MPUs) built around a 64-bit RISC-V CPU core. The company selected the Andes AX45MP, based on the RISC-V CPU instruction set architecture (ISA). 

According to Hiroto Nitta, senior vice president and head of SoC business in the IoT and Infrastructure business unit at Renesas, the introduction of the RZ/Five MPUs and accompanying ecosystem support, shows Renesas “taking the lead in providing RISC-V solutions ahead of the market”.

The RZ/Five is the first general-purpose MPU available to be built around a 64-bit RISC-V core from Andes,” confirmed Frankwell Lin, chairman and CEO at Andes Technology. “Andes has collaborated with Renesas first on the 32-bit RISC-V core and now on the 64-bit AX45MP, and I anticipate that this development will lead to the early adoption of customers’ devices in the global market built with Andes’ advanced RISC-V processor families,” he said.

There is increased demand for IoT endpoint devices, such as gateways for solar inverters or home security systems, to collect sensor data and connect to servers or to the cloud. In response, RZ/Five is optimised to provide the performance and peripheral functions required of IoT endpoint devices. Its maximum operating frequency is 1.0GHz. Peripheral functions include support for multiple interfaces, such as two Gigabit Ethernet channels, two USB 2.0 channels and two CAN channels, as well as dual ADC modules. Support is also provided for connecting external DDR memory with error checking and correction (ECC) and security functions.

The peripheral functions and package of RZ/Five are compatible with those of the Arm core–based RZ/G2UL. The RZ/Five also comes in a smaller, compact package. An RZ SMARC evaluation board kit will be offered with a module board conforming to the SMARC 2.1 standard, equivalent to the currently available environment for the RZ/G Series. This kit allows switching and evaluating between an RZ/Five CPU module and an RZ/G2UL CPU module, enabling easy evaluation and shortening product development cycles.

Renesas offers Linux support via a Verified Linux Package (VLP) with industrial-grade Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) Linux. This offers long term maintenance support for more than 10 years and is designed to make the RZ/Five series appealing for corporate infrastructure and industrial applications that require a high level of reliability and extended service life. It also allows users to dramatically reduce future Linux maintenance costs, said Renesas.

Samples of the RZ/Five MPUs are available starting today, and mass production is scheduled to begin in July 2022.

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