RISC-V adoption predicted to get AI boost — forecast shows 50% growth every year until 2030 for the open-standard ISA

The RISC-V logo
(Image credit: RISC-V Foundation)

RISC-V chips are set to become a global powerhouse in the 2020s, with a market share of almost 25% by 2030, according to research by Omdia. The forecast outpaces even RISC-V International's own ambitious expectations from November.

RISC-V is an open-standard instruction set architecture (ISA) — the structure that tells CPUs how to interpret instructions, with alternatives being Arm or x86. RISC-V is unique in the chip world due to its open standard, allowing developers to use and even edit RISC-V to develop their own CPUs. 

Between 2024 and 2030, Omdia expects RISC-V-based chip shipments to increase by 50% annually, reaching a peak of 17 billion chips shipped in 2030 alone. The largest industry for RISC-V will be industrial applications, set to make up 46% of sales, but the greatest growth will be in automotive, with an expected 66% growth in automotive annually. 

"RISC-V has unique, desirable aspects for the automotive industry," says Edward Wilford, Senior Principal Analyst for IoT at Omdia. "You can own your design in RISC-V in a way that you simply can't with a licensed ISA, and in conversations in the industry, that's really highlighted as an important element." Bespoke use cases for RISC-V are how the ISA got a hold in the tech industry, with chips for IoT devices like smart fridges. The automotive world is excited for RISC-V not just for its customizability, but also for its ability to handle AI workloads.

Wilford chiefly highlights the continual growth of the nascent AI market as a contributor to RISC-V's success in the coming years. "RISC-V makes the most sense in novel applications, where a developer doesn't already have an existing Arm product in place. The rise of AI, the increase in use cases and capabilities, means a lot of new territory is being revealed and all of it has potential for RISC-V." This has already proven true for RISC-V, highlighted in this RISC-V microprocessor which can run CPU, GPU, and NPU workloads simultaneously on the same core. 

Omdia's forecast is believable, based on today's RISC-V trends. Major players in the tech world like Google and Meta are investing in RISC-V to power their AI datacenters, and chip producers like Qualcomm are creating their own RISC-V chips for consumer use. Chinese manufacturers are already using RISC-V in consumer laptops, much to the chagrin of angry U.S. lawmakers who have determined that Chinese entities cannot be allowed to have any access to the international open standard. 

Freelance News Writer
  • Findecanor
    No, AI will not cause there to be more RISC-V - based computers out there.

    RISC-V is just chosen for the control MCU inside the AI chips.
    Just like there are dozens of ARM MCUs inside every Intel PC, you won't see them, you won't run general-purpose code on them.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    BTW, I have zero notes on this article. Nicely written!
    : )
    @JarredWaltonGPU
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    bit_user said:
    BTW, I have zero notes on this article. Nicely written!
    : )
    @JarredWaltonGPU
    It takes a bit, be we eventually learn the difference between open source and open standard. :p
    Reply