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posted by martyb on Wednesday September 16 2020, @07:40PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the whatever-happened-to-Amdahl's-Law? dept.

Jensen Huang Says Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs Are a Possibility

According to comments from Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a conference call yesterday, we could see Nvidia-branded CPUs in the future, setting the stage for a new level of competition with Intel and AMD.

[...] However, during yesterday's briefing, Timothy Prickett Morgan from TheNextPlatform asked Jensen Huang, "Will you actually take an implementation of something like Neoverse first and make an Nvidia-branded CPU to drive it into the data center? Will you actually make the reference chip for those who just want it and actually help them run it?"

"Well, the first of all you've made an amazing observation, which is all three options are possible," Huang responded, "[...] So now with our backing and Arm's serious backing, the world can stand on that foundation and realize that they can build server CPUs. Now, some people would like to license the cores and build a CPU themselves. Some people may decide to license the cores and ask us to build those CPUs or modify ours."

"It is not possible for one company to build every single version of them," Huang continued, "but we will have the entire network of partners around Arm that can take the architectures we come up with and depending on what's best for them, whether licensing the core, having a semi-custom chip made, or having a chip that we made, any of those any of those options are available. Any of those options are available, we're open for business and we would like the ecosystem to be as rich as possible, with as many options as possible."

Also at Wccftech.

Now Nvidia Is Armed To The Teeth

Huang reminded everyone that we are at the end of Moore's Law, and that we are in the era of accelerated computing – what we would prefer to call hybrid and highly tuned collectives of computing – and that Nvidia was really after creating one overarching (and hopefully not overreaching) architecture that would come from one company and span the entire $250 billion semiconductor total addressable market for datacenter, edge, embedded, and client markets.

So, when you look at a TAM like that and you realize that Arm still has a chance to take a chunk of the $67 billion or so in datacenter compute chips that are sold, then $12 billion in cash and $28 billion in stock issuance doesn't seem that expensive.

NVIDIA's Arm Acquisition Against British National Interest Says Union

NVIDIA Corporation's $40 billion acquisition of British chip design house Arm is at the receiving end of a backlash from the U.K. trade union Unite. Members of the union have requested British members of parliament to review the deal, on concerns that the acquisition is not in the best interest of the United Kingdom and that it will end up winding down the chip designer's operations in the country reports ITPro.

The trade union's concerns come after shadow business secretary Ed Milliband asked the government to ensure that the acquisition would not result in Arm's headquarters being moved outside the U.K. last week. Arm is one of the most valuable companies on the far side of the Atlantic, and its importance in the tech world is only set to grow in the near future. While the company's chip architecture has traditionally been used to create microprocessors and other components for low power devices such as smartphones, advances in semiconductor fabrication and packaging have allowed the company to expand its presence into applications such as supercomputers.

Previously: Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings


Original Submission

Related Stories

Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings 20 comments

We had two submissions about this just-announced story.

Nvidia to buy Arm Holdings From SoftBank for $40 Billion

Nvidia to buy Arm Holdings from SoftBank for $40 billion

Chipmaker Nvidia has agreed to buy Arm Holdings, a designer of chips for mobile phones, from SoftBank in a deal worth $40 billion, the companies announced Sunday. The deal will include $21.5 billion in Nvidia stock and $12 billion in cash, including $2 billion payable at signing.

Softbank acquired Arm in 2016 for $31.4 billion in 2016 in one of its largest acquisitions ever. Arm is best known as the designer of an architecture used in chips in most mobile phones, including the Qualcomm chips used in most Android phones, as well as Apple's iPhone. Apple is also planning to shift its Mac computers from Intel chips to an Arm-based design.

Nvidia, whose chips are widely used to support graphics and artificial intelligence applications, including for self-driving vehicles, pledged that it would "continue Arm's open-licensing model and customer neutrality."

Interest in RISC-V set to skyrocket again.

Also at Bloomberg, The Verge, Tom's Hardware, and Wccftech.

Previously: Nvidia's Market Cap Rises Above Intel's
Nvidia Considering Acquisition of ARM for Over $32 Billion

Arm Pioneer: Nvidia's Grace CPU is Proof That It Will 'Compete Unfairly' 17 comments

Arm Pioneer: Nvidia's Grace CPU Is Proof That It Will 'Compete Unfairly'

Arm pioneer Hermann Hauser has once again criticized Nvidia's plan to acquire the semiconductor design company, with The Telegraph reporting Sunday that he believes Nvidia is "clearly showing it will compete unfairly" if the deal is approved.

Hauser's concerns reportedly centered on the Grace processor Nvidia announced at GTC 2021. The company's first Arm-based CPU will connect to high-end GPUs via NVLink, which purportedly offers data transfer speeds up to 900 GBps. That's significantly faster than other technologies—it's also exclusively available to Nvidia.

This is why Hauser told The Telegraph that he believes using a proprietary interface like NVLink could end up "locking customers into [Nvidia] products," which "clearly shows that they will compete unfairly with other Arm-based server companies such as Amazon and Fujitsu," rather than retaining Arm's neutrality.

Previously:
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal
Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"?
Nvidia Enters the Arms Race with Homegrown "Grace" CPUs
UK Will Investigate Nvidia's $40 Billion Arm Acquisition Attempt


Original Submission

UK Will Investigate Nvidia's $40 Billion Arm Acquisition Attempt 22 comments

Nvidia's Share Price Dips as UK Goverment Questions $40 Billion Arm Acquisition

The UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport today announced that he is asking the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate the Nvidia-Arm merger because he believes the deal could have national security implications.

CMA has until July 31 to "prepare a report on the competition and national security aspects of the proposed transaction" for the UK Secretary of State. Then it's up to the Secretary to decide if Nvidia's acquisition of Arm will be allowed to proceed.

Also at CNBC and Bloomberg.

Previously: Nvidia Considering Acquisition of ARM for Over $32 Billion
Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal
Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"?


Original Submission

Arm Officially Supports Panfrost Open-Source Mali GPU Driver Development 7 comments

Arm Officially Supports Panfrost Open-Source Mali GPU Driver Development

Most GPU drivers found in Arm processors are known to be closed-source making it difficult and time-consuming to fix some of the bugs since everybody needs to rely on the silicon vendor to fix those for them, and they may even decide a particular bug is not important to them, so you'd be out of luck.

So the developer community has long tried to reverse-engineer GPU drivers with projects like Freedreno (Qualcomm Adreno), Etnaviv (Vivante), as well as Lima and Panfrost for Arm Mali GPUs. Several years ago, Arm management was not interested at all collaborating with open-source GPU driver development for Mali GPUs, but as noted by Phoronix, Alyssa Rosenzweig, a graphics software engineer employed by Collabora, explained Panfrost development was now done in partnership with Arm during a talk at the annual X.Org Developers' Conference (XDC 2020).

[...] So that means a stable Panfrost driver should be expected quite earlier, and possibly with higher quality, than if the company still had to spend time and resources on reverse-engineering.

Related: Pagamigo: FOSS Python Script for PayPal Payments (Alyssa Rosenzweig)
Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal


Original Submission

Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"? 18 comments

Nvidia's US$40 billion deal to buy Arm is all but dead – it's a classic example of geopolitics killing innovation

Under normal circumstances, US tech giant Nvidia's takeover of British chip designer Arm for US$40 billion (£29 billion) would have sailed through without registering beyond the computing industry. Instead, it has made international headlines, with UK and EU monopolies regulators launching an in-depth investigation after outcry from competitors.

In effect, the deal is pretty much dead before it starts. At the heart of this lies a row about technological sovereignty. So what is going on?

[...] The biggest pushback, behind the scenes, actually appears to be from China. Ever since the US blacklisted Huawei and other semiconductor manufacturers in China, Beijing has been obsessed with becoming technically "self-sufficient".

While it works towards this goal, Arm has continued to license its chip architectures to Huawei. Arm claims that its chip technology is of British origin and therefore does not breach the US restrictions on exporting tech to a group of blacklisted Chinese companies. Thanks to this ongoing arrangement, Arm is one of the remaining enablers for China's semiconductor sector to keep pace with the outside world.

See also: ANALYSIS-Nvidia acquisition of Arm throws company into tech spat between U.S. and China

Previously: Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16 2020, @09:26PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16 2020, @09:26PM (#1051964)

    Nvidia must be hella careful or else they will kill the golden goose bought for 40B.

    A main attraction of ARM was that the licensees did not have to compete against ARM itself.

    • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Thursday September 17 2020, @10:37PM (2 children)

      by fakefuck39 (6620) on Thursday September 17 2020, @10:37PM (#1052425)

      More like a bronze goose. I may be wrong here, I'm pretty sure ARM's revenue is a few hundred million. envy-diva is something like $15 billion. they aren't buying it for licensing profit, nor do they give a crap about who uses ARM. They wanted a shitty cheap datacenter CPU to go with their GPU-intensive clusters.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 18 2020, @03:20AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 18 2020, @03:20AM (#1052587)

        Doubt it.

        ARM's design was good for low-power CPU. But it's main value today is that it has become the ecosystem for smartphones - that's why it's worth 40B.

        Once smartphone industry move away from it, it's just another CPU architecture that will die off.

        • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Friday September 18 2020, @04:13AM

          by fakefuck39 (6620) on Friday September 18 2020, @04:13AM (#1052612)

          you doubt what? that nvidia is trying to do an ARM+GPU hybrid chip for the datacenter, something they have been trying to openly do since 2011 (google project denver)? ARM may be the ecosystem for smartphones, but for ARM itself - it's actually half a billion dollars in the red this year.

  • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Wednesday September 16 2020, @09:37PM (4 children)

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday September 16 2020, @09:37PM (#1051972) Journal

    It will be great news for RISC-V

    --
    Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday September 16 2020, @10:22PM (3 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Wednesday September 16 2020, @10:22PM (#1051994) Journal

      RISC-V is a pipe dream at this point. Could Nvidia kill ARM and as a result fuel RISC-V research / growth? Definitely, just like any other major corporate acquisition. We'll see what Nvidia does, but something like this UK Trade Union thing might be able to revert the deal. In which case, RISC-V seems like even more of a long shot.

      --
      "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday September 16 2020, @10:26PM (2 children)

        by Freeman (732) on Wednesday September 16 2020, @10:26PM (#1051996) Journal

        Also:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RISC-V [wikipedia.org]

        Alibaba Group, in July 2019 announced the 2.5 GHz 16-core 64-bit (RV64GCV) XuanTie 910 out-of-order processor, the fastest RISC-V processor to date[46]

        Isn't out-of-order processing what got Intel into so much trouble with the Specture / Meltdown vulnerabilities?

        --
        "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Wednesday September 16 2020, @11:35PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 16 2020, @11:35PM (#1052016) Journal

          RISC-V is a pipe dream at this point.

          Isn't out-of-order processing what got Intel into so much trouble with the Specture / Meltdown vulnerabilities?

          Congratulation, you just discovered the proof that RISC-V is not a just pipe dream, but one of its implementation is already a reality (instruction pipe) nightmare.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 17 2020, @12:43AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 17 2020, @12:43AM (#1052046)

          Spectre is branch prediction. Meltdown is out-of-order memory accesses bypassing security checks. As AMD didn't have Meltdown issues, the out-of-order processing isn't necessarily in and of itself problematic.

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