It’s a lovely day. Today I am planning to do my favorite Biceps workout, but before starting my workout, I would like to throw some light on RISC Vs CISC.

What are RISC and CISC?

RISC is a Reduced Instruction Set Computer. We prefer RISC primarily for battery-operated light-weight applications like IoT devices that use embedded system controllers or mobile phones that use SoCs.

And CISC is a Complex Instruction Set Computer. We prefer CISC primarily for high-performance applications like Cloud servers that use multi-core processors and run complex software applications on high-performance operating systems.

Now let me explain the basic approaches in bodybuilding and help you easily understand RISC Vs CISC. Athletes have different choices/techniques in bodybuilding, like lean-muscle-mass and bulk-muscle-mass workouts. We basically use light weights and do multiple repetitions, like 12 to 20 reps for each set for the lean-mass workout, and we do a few slow repetitions in the range of 8 to 12 with heavy weights for the bulk-mass workout.

It’s the same in the chip design. Engineers have different choices like RISC and CISC to realize different applications like mobile phones and cloud servers. Lightweight applications like Android/iOS mobile apps run in the form of multiple simple instructions on a RISC processor, and complex software applications like EDA tools on high-performance operating systems like Linux run in the form of a few complex instructions on a CISC processor, similar to lean-mass Vs bulk-mass workouts. Isn’t it?

Great, now we understand RISC Vs CISC, but What is RISC-V, and Why it’s unique and special?

RISC-V is also RISC, Reduced Instruction Set Computer, but it’s an open ISA, Instruction Set Architecture which is available with multiple extensions like the latest Flexi-dumbbell that we use in the gym. Flexi-dumbbell is an adjustable dumbbell that can be adjusted to any weight range, typically 2.5Kg to 28Kg. So, you do not need standard multiple dumbbells to do different kinds of workouts for both lean-mass and bulk-mass. This is how RISC-V works. Engineers can use RISC-V base ISA and its extensions to create any kind of processor like low-power RISCs and high-performance complex specialized processors without using proprietary standard processors.

Also, in the future, RISC-V may emerge as an industry-standard open ISA having some of the proprietary processor ISAs as its extensions or merging with its base ISA and extensions, like how UVM emerged as an IEEE standard verification methodology inheriting all great features from the legacy verification methodologies like eRM, AVM, OVM, and RVM.

To know more, explore our RISC-V courses – https://elearn.maven-silicon.com/risc-v​ ​

RISC-V is growing rapidly, follow this RISC-V video blog series to obtain knowledge about RISC-V
processors, Instruction formats, RTL Architecture, etc.

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Founder & CEO
Sivakumar P R is the Founder and CEO of Maven Silicon. He is responsible for the company's vision, business, and technology. Sivakumar is a seasoned engineering professional who has worked in various fields, including electrical engineering, academia, and semiconductors for more than 25 years. Before founding Maven Silicon, he worked in the top EDA companies Synopsys, Cadence and Siemens EDA as a verification consultant.