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posted by chromas on Sunday July 15 2018, @06:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the begun-the-clone-wars-have dept.

Chinese companies are manufacturing chips nearly identical to AMD's Epyc server CPUs, using two joint ventures with AMD. This move comes after the US blacklisted certain Chinese supercomputing centers in 2015 in an attempt to prevent them from using Intel Xeon chips, and more recently, Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE was banned from buying components from US companies. China's Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer (formerly #1 on the TOP500 list) also uses domestically designed Sunway SW26010 manycore chips.

AMD's Epyc "clone army" may end up hurting Intel's server chip market share even more than it already has:

China isn't eager to embrace another American chipmaker like AMD. In response, AMD established two joint ventures with Chinese holding company THATIC -- one with Chengdu Haiguang Microelectronics Technology (CHMT), and another with Haiguang IC Design, also known as Hygon.

AMD owns a majority stake in CHMT, which ensures that its IP isn't transferred to THATIC. THATIC owns a majority stake in Hygon, which licenses AMD's IP from CHMT. Hygon designs the chips, and CHMT produces the chips through a suitable foundry and then sends them back to Hygon for packaging, marketing, and sales.

This arrangement seemingly placates American and Chinese regulators -- AMD's IP isn't being passed to a Chinese company, and a Chinese chipmaker gains access to superior data center CPU designs. AMD generates less revenues through these JVs than it would through direct sales, but it still gains a foothold in China's massive data center market. But more importantly, this move could wound Intel.

Good luck maintaining control of your "IP". As for the pain?

Many big companies, including Microsoft and Baidu, started installing AMD's cheaper chips in their data centers. In a meeting with Nomura Instinet analyst Romit Shah in June, then-CEO Brian Krzanich admitted that AMD was gaining ground, and Intel was trying to prevent it from gaining a "15% to 20%" share of the data center market. That admission was stunning, since Intel traditionally controlled more than 99% of the data center market with its Xeon chips. Intel's data center group grew its revenues by 11% to $19.1 billion last year, and accounted for 30% of its top line. Epyc was already a thorn in Intel's side, but AMD's sponsorship of Chinese clones could throttle its sales in mainland China, which accounted for 24% of its sales last year. Its total sales in the region only rose 6% in 2017, compared to 20% growth in 2016.

Original Submission

Related Stories

Intel Launches New Chips in China as US Bans Sales to Supercomputing Centers 21 comments

According to VR World and HPCwire, the U.S. government has blacklisted "high technology" shipments to the National Supercomputing Center Changsha (NSCC-CS), National Supercomputing Center Guangzhou (NSCC-GZ), National Supercomputing Center Tianjin (NSCC-TJ), and the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) in China. This effectively means that these major supercomputing facilities can no longer purchase Intel Xeon chips. Tianhe-2, the world's fastest supercomputer since June 2013 according to Top500, is located at the NUDT in Guangzhou and uses a total of 32,000 Intel Xeon and 48,000 Xeon Phi chips.

The main claim of the Bureau of Industry and Security's End-User Review Committee (ERC) is that NUDT, which used US-manufactured parts to produce the Tianhe-1A and Tianhe-2 supercomputers located at the National Supercomputing Centers in Changsha, Guangzhou, and Tianjin, is believed to be engaged in activities related to nuclear explosives.

The U.S. also uses supercomputers for nuclear weapons research.

The news coincides with the Intel Developer Forum 2015 in Shenzhen, China, at which the company announced new Braswell, SoFIA, and Cherry Trail chips, among other products. VR World speculates that the move could cost Intel $1 billion on lost Broadwell-EP Xeon E5v4 sales and accelerate the development of homegrown Chinese processors.

Tencent Chairman Pledges to Advance China Chip Industry After ZTE "Wake-Up" Call 8 comments

Submitted via IRC for guy_

Tencent chairman pledges to advance China chip industry after ZTE 'wake-up' call: reports

While the U.S. administration said on Friday it had reached a deal to put ZTE back in business after the company pays a $1.3 billion fine and makes management changes, the plan has run into resistance in Congress, indicating ZTE was still far from out of the woods. Also, ZTE is yet to confirm the deal.

"The recent ZTE incident made everyone more clearly realize that however advanced one may be in mobile payment, without the mobile, the chips and the operating system, you still cannot compete," Chinese media reports cited Tecent's Pony Ma as saying at a forum in Shenzhen on Saturday.

[...] Tencent is looking into ways it could help advance China's domestic chip industry, which could include leveraging its huge data demand to urge domestic chip suppliers to come up with better solutions, or using its WeChat platform to support application developments based on Chinese chips, Ma said.

"It would probably be better if we could get in to support semiconductor R&D, but that is perhaps admittedly not our strong suit and may need the help of others in the supply chain."

Original Submission

AMD Ratcheting Up the Pressure on Intel 24 comments

Intel expects to lose some server/data center market share to AMD's Epyc line of chips:

The pitched battle between Intel and AMD has spread to the data center, and while Intel has been forthcoming that it expects to lose some market share in the coming months to AMD, Brian Krzanich's recent comments to Instinet analyst Roman Shah give us some insight into the surprising scope of AMD's threat. Shah recently sat down with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Barron's reported on his findings:

Shah relates that Krzanich "was very matter-of-fact in saying that Intel would lose server share to AMD in the second half of the year," which is not news, but he thought it significant that "Mr. Krzanich did not draw a firm line in the sand as it relates to AMD's potential gains in servers; he only indicated that it was Intel's job to not let AMD capture 15-20% market share." (emphasis added).

Furthermore, Intel's problems with the "10nm" node could allow AMD to pick up market share with "7nm" (although it may be similar in performance to Intel's "10nm"):

Nomura Instinet is less bullish on further stock gains for Intel after talking to the chipmaker's CEO, Brian Krzanich. [...] The analyst said Intel's problems in moving to its next-generation chip manufacturing technology may be a factor in its potential market share losses. The chipmaker revealed on its April 26 earnings conference call that it delayed volume production under its 10-nanometer chip manufacturing process to next year. Conversely, AMD said on its call that it plans to start next-generation 7-nanometer chip production in late 2018.

[...] "We see Mr. Krzanich's posture here reflecting the company's inability thus far to sufficiently yield 10nm for volume production while AMD's partner TSMC is currently making good progress on 7nm; thus, setting Intel up for stiff competition again in 2019," the analyst said.

Here are a couple of post-mortem articles on Intel's misleading 28-core CPU demo and more:

Rather than 28 cores, Intel may introduce 20 and 22 core CPUs to compete with AMD's Threadripper 2, along with 8-core Coffee Lake refresh CPUs to compete with Ryzen.

Original Submission

Chinese Company Produces Chips Closely Based on AMD's Zen Microarchitecture 33 comments

China Finds Zen: Begins Production Of x86 Processors Based On AMD's IP

Chinese-designed "Dhyana" x86 processors based on AMD's Zen microarchitecture are beginning to surface from Chinese chip producer Hygon. The processors come as the fruit of AMD's x86 IP licensing agreements with its China-based partners and break the decades-long stranglehold on x86 held by the triumvirate of Intel, AMD and VIA Technologies. Details are also emerging that outline how AMD has managed to stay within the boundaries of the x86 licensing agreements but still allow Chinese-controlled interests to design and sell processors based on the Zen design.

AMD's official statements indicate the company does not sell its final chip designs to its China-based partners. Instead, AMD allows them to design their own processors tailored for the Chinese server market. But the China-produced Hygon "Dhyana" processors are so similar to AMD's EPYC processors that Linux kernel developers have listed vendor IDs and family series numbers as the only difference. In fact, Linux maintainers have simply ported over the EPYC support codes to the Dhyana processor and note that they have successfully run the same patches on AMD's EPYC processors, implying there is little to no differentiation between the chips.

The new chips are surfacing against the backdrop of the trade war between the US and China that could escalate quickly, likely reinforcing China's long-held opinion that a lack of native processor production could be a strategic liability. Today's wars are won with chips, and their strategic importance certainly isn't lost on those in the halls of power. In fact, the Obama administration blocked Intel from selling Xeon processors to China in 2015 over concerns the chips were fueling the country's nuclear programs, and subsequent actions by the US have largely prevented China from achieving the technical know-how and equipment to develop its own chips through acquisitions and mergers.

That makes it even more surprising that AMD has managed to establish a franchise that allows Chinese processor vendors to develop and sell x86 processors in spite of US regulations and the licensing restrictions with Intel, but now more information is coming to light about how AMD pulled off the feat.

Related: Intel Launches New Chips in China as US Bans Sales to Supercomputing Centers
Intel Hints at Patent Fight With Microsoft and Qualcomm Over x86 Emulation
Data Centers Consider Intel's Rivals
Tencent Chairman Pledges to Advance China Chip Industry After ZTE "Wake-Up" Call

Original Submission

TSMC Will Make AMD's "7nm" Epyc Server CPUs 4 comments

AMD "Rome" EPYC CPUs to Be Fabbed By TSMC

AMD CEO Lisa Su has announced that second-generation "Rome" EPYC CPU that the company is wrapping up work on is being produced out at TSMC. This is a notable departure from how things have gone for AMD with the Zen 1 generation, as GlobalFoundries has produced all of AMD's Zen CPUs, both for consumer Ryzen and professional EPYC parts.

[...] As it stands, AMD seems rather optimistic about how things are currently going. Rome silicon is already back in the labs, and indeed AMD is already sampling the parts to certain partners for early validation. Which means AMD remains on track to launch their second-generation EPYC processors in 2019.

[...] Ultimately however if they are meeting their order quota from GlobalFoundries, then AMD's situation is ultimately much more market driven: which fab can offer the necessary capacity and performance, and at the best prices. Which will be an important consideration as GlobalFoundries has indicated that it may not be able to keep up with 7nm demand, especially with the long manufacturing process their first-generation DUV-based 7nm "7LP" process requires.

See also: No 16-core AMD Ryzen AM4 Until After 7nm EPYC Launch (2019)

Related: TSMC Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for "5nm" Fab, Production to Begin in 2020
Cray CS500 Supercomputers to Include AMD's Epyc as a Processor Option
AMD Returns to the Datacenter, Set to Launch "7nm" Radeon Instinct GPUs for Machine Learning in 2018
AMD Ratcheting Up the Pressure on Intel
More on AMD's Licensing of Epyc Server Chips to Chinese Companies

Original Submission

Oracle Offers Servers with AMD's Epyc to its Cloud Customers 1 comment

Oracle puts AMD EPYC in the Cloud

The process of AMD ramping up its EPYC efforts involves a lot of 'first-step' vendor interaction. Having been a very minor player for so long, all the big guns are taking it slowly with AMD's newest hardware in verifying whether it is suitable for their workloads and customers. The next company to tick that box is Oracle, who is announcing today that they will be putting bare metal EPYC instances available in its cloud offering.

The new E-series instances will start with Standard E2, costing around $0.03 per core per hour, up to 64 cores per server, Oracle is stating that this pricing structure is 66% less than the average per-core instance on the market. One bare metal standard instance, BM.Standard E2.52, will offer dual EPYC 7551 processors at 2.0 GHz, with 512 GB of DDR4, dual 25GbE networking, and up to 1PB of remote block storage. Another offering is the E2.64 instance, which will offer 16 cores by comparison.

Related: AMD Epyc 7000-Series Launched With Up to 32 Cores
Data Centers Consider Intel's Rivals
Cray CS500 Supercomputers to Include AMD's Epyc as a Processor Option
AMD Returns to the Datacenter, Set to Launch "7nm" Radeon Instinct GPUs for Machine Learning in 2018
Chinese Company Produces Chips Closely Based on AMD's Zen Microarchitecture
More on AMD's Licensing of Epyc Server Chips to Chinese Companies
TSMC Will Make AMD's "7nm" Epyc Server CPUs

Original Submission

AMD Improves Server Market Share by 100%... to 2% 11 comments

AMD's EPYC CPUs have already snatched server market share away from Intel

Intel has enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the server CPU arena for some time. However, AMD's EPYC series of processors, based on the latest iteration of Zen architecture, may change that. The first generation of these chipsets, Naples, managed to reduce Intel's market share to 99% shortly after its launch. This may sound less than impressive, but in a billion-dollar industry, it was possibly quite valuable to AMD.

The latest report on the server market by DRAMeXchange indicates that Intel's share is down to 98% by now. This represents a 100% improvement for AMD. Furthermore, the analysts estimate that the release of EPYC Rome-based silicon will result in further gains. They will ultimately result in a total market share of 5% for these CPUs by the end of 2019.

Intel is keeping AMD under 15%. For now:

Now it's easy to tell that Intel will still remain the dominant player in the market, retaining a 90-95% market share lead over AMD but Intel's Ex-CEO, Brian Krzanich, stated that his company wouldn't want AMD capturing 15-20% server market share. In fact, at the pace at which AMD is gaining their server market share, 15% doesn't really feel like a far cry from now.

[...] Looking at the market penetration rate, Intel's Purley platform has been adopted by 60% users in the server space and is expected to reach 65% in the coming year. On the other hand, AMD's EPYC Naples platform has been adopted by 70% and considering that AMD is keeping socket longevity intact with Rome, we can see the adoption rate further expanding after 7nm chips launch.

Previously: AMD Misses Q1 Earnings Target; Withdraws from High-Density Server Market
AMD Ratcheting Up the Pressure on Intel
More on AMD's Licensing of Epyc Server Chips to Chinese Companies
AMD's server marketshare hits 1% for the first time in 4 years

Related: TSMC Will Make AMD's "7nm" Epyc Server CPUs
Intel Announces 48-core Xeons Using Multiple Dies, Ahead of AMD Announcement

Original Submission

AMD Will Not License Zen 2 to Chinese Joint Venture 7 comments

AMD has no plans to license its Zen 2 microarchitecture to the Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co. Ltd. (THATIC) joint venture:

AMD CEO Lisa Su confirmed to Tom's Hardware at Computex 2019 that the company isn't licensing further chip designs to its China-backed joint venture. That means that AMD's chip-producing joint venture in China will be confined to the Zen architecture that debuted in first-gen Ryzen and EPYC Naples processors, but will not move forward with designs based on AMD's new Zen 2 microarchitecture that powers the third-gen Ryzen and EPYC Rome processors.

[...] The agreement allowed Hygon, a Chinese server vendor, to design specialized processors based upon AMD's Zen microarchitecture, which is the underlying design of AMD's Ryzen and EPYC processors. Many of the architectural customizations consisted of specialized cryptographic elements that meet the requirements of the Chinese government, with the first products consisting of Hygon's 'Dhyana' x86 processors that appeared to be near-replicas of AMD's EPYC data center processors. We are told there are other optimizations to the architecture that are designed specifically for the Chinese market, but we haven't been given more details. Sugon, a Chinese government-backed server vendor, also had plans for a Zen 2-based exascale supercomputer, but the status of that project is now unknown.

[...] We asked Lisa Su if the company would continue working with the THATIC joint venture amid the U.S.-China trade war, and Su said that while the company is continuing the joint venture, "we are not discussing any additional technology transfers," and elaborated that most of the work took place on the JV's side, while there "is not a lot of work on the AMD side."

"THATIC was a single-generation technology license, and there are no additional technology licenses," Su explained, though she did not clarify if the decision not to extend the technology transfers was a direct result of the trade war. That means that the technology transfer, which provided THATIC with access to the first-gen Zen microarchitecture, will not be extended to allow the Chinese chipmaker access to AMD's Zen 2 microarchitecture.

Also at TechSpot.

Previously: Chinese Company Produces Chips Closely Based on AMD's Zen Microarchitecture
More on AMD's Licensing of Epyc Server Chips to Chinese Companies

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 15 2018, @01:28PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 15 2018, @01:28PM (#707593)

    Good luck maintaining control of your "IP".

    Are you suggesting there will be very cheap 32 core cpus coming?

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by realDonaldTrump on Sunday July 15 2018, @01:37PM

      by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Sunday July 15 2018, @01:37PM (#707595) Homepage Journal

      He said it in his journal. Threadripper 2990X. And he said, possibly it will be Teraflop like the intel. Great Christmas present for a boy -- or a very smart girl!!!

  • (Score: 1, Troll) by realDonaldTrump on Sunday July 15 2018, @01:31PM

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Sunday July 15 2018, @01:31PM (#707594) Homepage Journal

    The Hatfields & the McCoys. The China & the America. The Republicans & the Democrats. The intel & the AMD. Always something happening. Although, not always NICE!!! Deal?

  • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday July 15 2018, @02:23PM (8 children)

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Sunday July 15 2018, @02:23PM (#707608) Journal

    Shit. Just when I was getting back my respect for (what used to be) my favorite CPU manufacturer even. China's fucking evil. I can only hope this is some sort of "four-dimensional chess" ploy and whatever comes out of this has more benefit than allowing China's domestic CPU industry to get off the ground.

    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday July 15 2018, @02:37PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Sunday July 15 2018, @02:37PM (#707620) Journal

      Funny you should mention that. I bet China makes 90+% of the new chess boards in the world.

      For a country that will hack to get a hold of trade secrets, this is like bringing a buffet straight to them. Still, it doesn't mean that they will be able to reproduce Zen 2 (7nm) or Zen 3. I guess this could hurt AMD if China started exporting the chips to countries that don't care about protecting US IP, or if they stopped paying AMD for each chip produced (or whatever the arrangement is). We may be too pessimistic though.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
      • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Sunday July 15 2018, @09:29PM (1 child)

        by requerdanos (5997) on Sunday July 15 2018, @09:29PM (#707716) Journal

        if China started exporting the chips to countries that don't care about protecting US IP

        It would seem that no further export is necessary for the chips to be in a country that doesn't think much of US trademarks, copyrights, nor patents. The chips are already in China at this point, a country known for years [] as a world leader in counterfeit merchandise [].

        Am I just being dense and missing the point?

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday July 16 2018, @10:57AM

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Monday July 16 2018, @10:57AM (#707850) Journal

          You already said it on the previous story.

          According to the agreement, the final products can only be sold within China's borders

          Regardless of how bad China is, if that holds true, then the agreement has probably been respected (they may also have to pay AMD for every chip produced). If China starts exporting chips identical to Epyc, that's when AMD could be hurt.

          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Coward, Anonymous on Sunday July 15 2018, @03:03PM (2 children)

      by Coward, Anonymous (7017) on Sunday July 15 2018, @03:03PM (#707628) Journal

      You shouldn't call people evil, just because they are different.

      • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday July 15 2018, @07:16PM (1 child)

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Sunday July 15 2018, @07:16PM (#707694) Journal

        The government of China is fucking evil, full stop. I know about the organ harvesting vans, what they do to their own citizens, let's not forget the Great Firewall, etc...

        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16 2018, @03:59AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16 2018, @03:59AM (#707796)

          If someone deserves to die, I'm not opposed to taking their organs. How else can they pay their debt to society? Whether the justice system is fair is a different question. But you sound like a shrinking violet. So the US government likes to torture confessions out of people. Evil and good can coexist in one institution. Whine about the Great Firewall all you want. The PRC government has achieved a lot more for it's people than the more democratic government of India.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 15 2018, @05:58PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 15 2018, @05:58PM (#707670)

      No, China is not evil. At least not any more evil than America or Belgium or Sweden. You need to get out more and quit listening to your local propaganda. Different doesn't automatically mean scary or bad. Your government wants you to believe that your country is the best and all other countries are evil. Don't fall for it.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday July 15 2018, @07:14PM

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Sunday July 15 2018, @07:14PM (#707693) Journal, are you aware I spent most of my childhood in one of the nation's largest Chinatowns, can read and speak a little (Mandarin) Chinese, and am dating an ethnically-Chinese woman by way of Malaysia? It's not the people, it's the government.

        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 2) by legont on Monday July 16 2018, @01:41AM

    by legont (4179) on Monday July 16 2018, @01:41AM (#707778)

    Since Spectre, Meltdown and a shitload of related bugs discovery, there is no reason to have Intel at all. That' because their edge was mostly in those optimizations that now have to be turned off (which is by itself difficult if not really possible). Yes, AMD has it's own issues, but at the end of the day we will have AMD processors that are cheaper and simpler and not slower.

    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.