I hope Apple M1 gets proper staunch competition.
Qualcomm said today that its new internally designed CPUs are expected to sample in the second half of 2022 as it completed the purchase of chip designer Nuvia. Bought for $1.4bn, the Arm data-centre chip design business launched in 2019 and swiftly raised a $53m Series A round from a bevy of investors that included Dell …
Maybe, but we really need significant competition with silicon that provides all details about the hardware. Many of the available cores and SoCs are increasingly becoming closed black boxes with only a known CPU-API-model published.
Maybe Risc-V can add some transparency, but that is still only the core. The rest of the hardware needs to be accessible too for the programmers. We need to stop the walled garden politics. Then we get real competition on quality.
Amid the renewed interest in Arm-based servers, it is easy to forget that one company with experience in building server platforms actually brought to market its own Arm-based processor before apparently losing interest: AMD.
Now it has emerged that Jim Keller, a key architect who worked on Arm development at AMD, reckons the chipmaker was wrong to halt the project after he left the company in 2016.
Keller was speaking at an event in April, and gave a talk on the "Future of Compute", but the remarks were unreported until picked up by WCCF TECH.
Qualcomm has reiterated it would like a stake in Arm and help create a consortium that would keep the Brit chip designer neutral, or out of the hands of any single chip company at least.
The latest development in the Arm IPO saga comes from Qualcomm's chief executive, Cristiano Amon, who told the Financial Times that his company was interested in investing in Arm, and that Qualcomm could join forces with other chipmakers to buy Arm outright from owner SoftBank.
"It's a very important asset and it's an asset which is going to be essential to the development of our industry," Amon said.
Updated Arm today told The Reg its restructuring ahead of its return to the stock market is focused on cutting "non-engineering" jobs.
This is after we queried comments made this morning by Arm chief executive Rene Haas in the Financial Times, in which he indicated he was looking to use funds generated by the expected public listing to expand the company, hire more staff, and potentially pursue acquisitions. This comes as some staff face the chop.
This afternoon we were told by an Arm spokesperson: "Rene was referring more to the fact that Arm continues to invest significantly in its engineering talent, which makes up around 75 percent of the global headcount. For example, we currently have more than 250 engineering roles available globally."
Arm has at least one of Intel's more capable mainstream laptop processors in mind with its Cortex-X3 CPU design.
The British outfit said the X3, revealed Tuesday alongside other CPU and GPU blueprints, is expected to provide an estimated 34 percent higher peak performance than a performance core in Intel's upper mid-range Core i7-1260P processor from this year.
Arm came to that conclusion, mind you, after running the SPECRate2017_int_base single-threaded benchmark in a simulation of its CPU core design clocked at an equivalent to 3.6GHz with 1MB of L2 and 16MB of L3 cache.
Qualcomm knows that if it wants developers to build and optimize AI applications across its portfolio of silicon, the Snapdragon giant needs to make the experience simpler and, ideally, better than what its rivals have been cooking up in the software stack department.
That's why on Wednesday the fabless chip designer introduced what it's calling the Qualcomm AI Stack, which aims to, among other things, let developers take AI models they've developed for one device type, let's say smartphones, and easily adapt them for another, like PCs. This stack is only for devices powered by Qualcomm's system-on-chips, be they in laptops, cellphones, car entertainment, or something else.
While Qualcomm is best known for its mobile Arm-based Snapdragon chips that power many Android phones, the chip house is hoping to grow into other markets, such as personal computers, the Internet of Things, and automotive. This expansion means Qualcomm is competing with the likes of Apple, Intel, Nvidia, AMD, and others, on a much larger battlefield.
Analysis Supermicro launched a wave of edge appliances using Intel's newly refreshed Xeon-D processors last week. The launch itself was nothing to write home about, but a thought occurred: with all the hype surrounding the outer reaches of computing that we call the edge, you'd think there would be more competition from chipmakers in this arena.
So where are all the AMD and Arm-based edge appliances?
A glance through the catalogs of the major OEMs – Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Inspur, Supermicro – returned plenty of results for AMD servers, but few, if any, validated for edge deployments. In fact, Supermicro was the only one of the five vendors that even offered an AMD-based edge appliance – which used an ageing Epyc processor. Hardly a great showing from AMD. Meanwhile, just one appliance from Inspur used an Arm-based chip from Nvidia.
Arm has a champion in the shape of HPE, which has added a server powered by the British chip designer's CPU cores to its ProLiant portfolio, aimed at cloud-native workloads for service providers and enterprise customers alike.
Announced at the IT titan's Discover 2022 conference in Las Vegas, the HPE ProLiant RL300 Gen11 server is the first in a series of such systems powered by Ampere's Altra and Altra Max processors, which feature up to 80 and 128 Arm-designed Neoverse cores, respectively.
The system is set to be available during Q3 2022, so sometime in the next three months, and is basically an enterprise-grade ProLiant server – but with an Arm processor at its core instead of the more usual Intel Xeon or AMD Epyc X86 chips.
Arm is beefing up its role in the rapidly-evolving (yet long-standing) hardware-based real-time ray tracing arena.
The company revealed on Tuesday that it will introduce the feature in its new flagship Immortalis-G715 GPU design for smartphones, promising to deliver graphics in mobile games that realistically recreate the way light interacts with objects.
Arm is promoting the Immortalis-G715 as its best mobile GPU design yet, claiming that it will provide 15 percent faster performance and 15 percent better energy efficiency compared to the currently available Mali-G710.
Arm is most likely to list on the US stock exchange Nasdaq, according to Masayoshi Son, chief executive of SoftBank Group, which bought the chip designer in 2016 for $32 billion.
Although he stressed no final decision had been made, Son told investors that the British chip designer was better suited to a US listing. "Most of Arm's clients are based in Silicon Valley and... stock markets in the US would love to have Arm," Son told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting.
He said there were also requests to list Arm in London without elaborating on where they came from. The entrepreneur did not say whether the conglomerate is considering a secondary listing for Arm there.
The UK government is upping the ante in attempts to have Arm listed on the London stock exchange, with reports suggesting it is considering the threat of national security laws to force the issue with owner SoftBank.
According to the Financial Times, the British administration is considering whether to apply the National Security and Investment Act (NSIA), which came into force at the start of the year, in a bid to have SoftBank change its mind over listing Arm exclusively on the Nasdaq in New York, as it has previously indicated.
The FT cites the usual "people familiar with the matter", who indicated there had not yet been a formal debate over using national security legislation, and the idea was opposed by some government officials.
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