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Alibaba open sources four RISC-V cores: XuanTie E902, E906, C906 and C910


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Alibaba open sources four RISC-V cores: XuanTie E902, E906, C906 and C910

October 20, 2021​

Alibaba introduces a range of RISC-V processors in the last few years with the Xuantie family ranging from the E902 micro-controller class core to the C910 core for servers in data centers. This also includes the XuanTie C906 core found in the Allwinner D1 single-core RISC-V processor.

While RISC-V is an open standard and there’s a fair share of open-source RISC-V cores available, many commercial RISC-V cores are closed source, but Zhang Jianfeng, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence speaking at the 2021 Apsara Conference, announced that T-Head had open-sourced four RISC-V-based Xuantie series processor cores, namely Xuantie E902, E906, C906, and C910, as well as related software and tools.

Those are not empty words as we can find the RTL for the four cores released on T-Head Semiconductor’s Github account with the first commits having taken place yesterday.

T-Head Semiconductor Github-Open Source RISC-V

Each repository contains the code and instructions to get started, all under an Apache 2.0 license. For example, the openc906 repo comes with the following directory structure:


|--gen_rtl/ ##the source verilog code of C906

|--setup/ ##set the environment variables

|--smart_run/ ##the RTL simulation environment

|--impl/ ##sdc file

|--logical/ ##the SoC demo and test bench to run the simulation

|--setup/ ##GNU tool chain setting

|--tests/ ##include the test suit, linker file, boot code and so on

|--work/ ##the working directory

|--Makefile ##the simulation script

|--doc/ ##the user and integration manual of C906

That means Verilog code, demo code, toolchain, scripts, and documentation are all available. Some part of the documentation such as the instructions set is only in Chinese.

As a side note, Alibaba also highlighted software support for their RISC-V cores with AliOS, RT-Thread, FreeRTOS, Linux, and Android, and claims to have shipped over 2.5 billion XuanTie cores so far.