SiFive this week announced that due to challenges with components supply, it would discontinue its current-generation HiFive Unmatched boards for RISC-V software and hardware developers. Instead, the company will focus on developing and producing next-generation HiFive single-board computers.
"With such great ecosystem adoption, demand has exceeded our already high expectations, and we are close to selling out our production inventory," Phil Dworsky of SiFive announced at SiFive Forums (via Hackster.io). "Given the challenge of supply chain issues that we overcame for the first run of these boards (issues that we continue to face), we have decided to focus on the next generation SiFive HiFive development systems rather than trying to put together another build of the HiFive Unmatched platform in 2022."
Today's SiFive HiFive Unmatched development board is based on the company's Freedom U740 system-on-chip that can run high-level operating systems. It features PCIe 3.0 x8/16 and M.2 slots along with GbE and USB ports. The board was a fine solution for RISC-V developers in 2020, but it may 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-generation hardware instead of ordering another batch of the 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 OS. This made the Freedom U740 an optimal choice. But now that SiFive is looking at high-performance SoCs with up to 128-cores for datacenter applications, the Freedom U740 is not the optimum choice for developers building server-grade software or hardware for the upcoming RISC-V SoCs. Meanwhile, high-performance processors make no sense for developers of less sophisticated applications. So perhaps in the future, it is more reasonable for SiFive to offer a variety of HiFive boards targeting different applications.
SiFive yet has to formally announce details about the future of its HiFive Unmatched products.
"Our sincere apologies to anyone wanting a SiFive HiFive Unmatched board who has been unable to obtain one — please stay tuned for news on the next generation HiFive development systems soon," added Dworsky.