Monday, September 6th 2021

Apple Exploring RISC-V Machine Architecture for Future Silicon

Having only recently transitioned its Mac ecosystem to the Arm machine architecture, away from x86-64, Apple is finding itself in a position where it must prepare for an eventuality where NVIDIA withholds cutting-edge development of the Arm IP to itself. The democratized nature of the current Arm IP enables licensees like Apple to stay on the cutting-edge; since its holding company SoftBank does not make chips of its own. Apple is turning its attention to open-source machine architectures such as RISC-V, and reported started foundational work on the architecture that could eventually result in its own high-performance SoCs powering the iPhone, other iOS devices, wearables, and future generations of the Mac.
Source: HotHardware
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45 Comments on Apple Exploring RISC-V Machine Architecture for Future Silicon

#1
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
I was initially in favour of NVIDIA buying ARM, but now I'm not so sure, for this reason.

I reckon only a company without a conflict of interest should buy it.
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#3
Chaitanya
TardianRISC-Y
One more change of platform for developers to code for and more translation layers. Guess its time to jump the ship.
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#4
TristanX
haha, for Apple changing procesor architecture is never ending story.
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#5
Xajel
That's why I don't trust NV buying ARM, even big players like Apple doesn't trust it..

While they can have another reason for this move, Apple makes millions of chips of each design, so it's just normal they're exploring multiple options to see what suites them more.

If they can make RISC-V works for them better, they can move to it, release them selfs from any danger of ARM being acquired by a company like NV. And also get rid of the ARM license fees. It's normal for any company as big as Apple to explore multiple options, they even tested AMD CPU's multiple times since they moved to x86 with Athlon/Opteron.
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#6
Bomby569
Apple with all their money should really do more for cpu and gpu development, it's nice to finally see them working on it.
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#7
Darmok N Jalad
Apple stopped using NVIDIA GPUs some time ago on their Macs, despite NVIDIA being the more performant GPU vendor for pretty much all of that time. It’s pretty clear that Apple wants nothing to do with them. If nothing else, starting development on another architecture gives them a little more bargaining room, even if they stick with ARM.
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#8
Fourstaff
Bomby569Apple with all their money should really do more for cpu and gpu development, it's nice to finally see them working on it.
They already do that with their A and now M series. Their emulation team has a lot of experience with Rosetta, I will not be surprised if Apple jumps again as long as RISC-V offers them either performance advantage, or just to mitigate Nvidia's threat.
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#9
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
This is the main reason why I don't want nVidia to purchase ARM.
Darmok N JaladApple stopped using NVIDIA GPUs some time ago on their Macs, despite NVIDIA being the more performant GPU vendor for pretty much all of that time. It’s pretty clear that Apple wants nothing to do with them. If nothing else, starting development on another architecture gives them a little more bargaining room, even if they stick with ARM.
If you used ARM for your business and a company known for seizing the opportunity to capitalize on acquired IP, like nVidia, was about to be the holder of your contract, I'd think about jumping ship too. That's a lot of risk for anyone using ARM. Don't get me wrong, I think nVidia probably could produce some nice hardware given such a portfolio, but I don't think it's good for the market as a whole. Regulators should be very concerned about what nVidia is trying to do to be completely honest.
XajelThat's why I don't trust NV buying ARM, even big players like Apple doesn't trust it..
That's because Apple knows that nVidia will not just hold back IP, but will make Apple pay through the nose for it.
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#10
Selaya
Anything that shows Crapple the bird is a good one. Thus, I support nGreedia. Let the problems fight themselves.
Come at me.
(It's really too bad that RISC-V isn't copyleft tho.)
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#11
XiGMAKiD
If big players are leaving ARM because of the acquisition what's the point doing it in the first place, patent? Also Apple going with RISC-V doesn't sound like a bad idea
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#12
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
SelayaAnything that shows Crapple the bird is a good one. Thus, I support nGreedia. Let the problems fight themselves.
Name calling aside, I think nVidia actually might be a shadier company than Apple and this has the opportunity to make all ARM license holders suffer, not just Apple. This isn't a good move for the entire industry, it's only good for nVidia.
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#13
mtcn77
XiGMAKiDIf big players are leaving ARM because of the acquisition what's the point doing it in the first place, patent? Also Apple going with RISC-V doesn't sound like a bad idea
It is like Intel purchasing TSMC to auction it off piecemeal.
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#14
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
mtcn77It is like Intel purchasing TSMC to auction it off piecemeal.
Except TSMC is a bigger company than ARM (sans Softbank as a whole,) and has far more physical assets. ARM has far fewer physical assets and most of its value comes from its IP and contracts to lease it. You lose a contract, you lose value. If TSMC loses a contract, they can use that capacity for someone else because the demand is there. So it's kind of comparing apples and oranges to be honest because you're talking about a company that primarily deals with IP versus one that's primary focused on manufacturing. I also don't think Intel has the resources to acquire a company as large as TSMC, forget regulatory concerns.
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#15
Selaya
Aquinus[ ... ] This isn't a good move for the entire industry, it's only good for nVidia.
I agree.
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#16
jimmyxxx
I'm interested in how this will affect the Mobile Chip industry.
I think Apple is the only company that could pull this off in a large scale and survive.
Will the next step for Apple be to make their own instruction set?
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#17
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
jimmyxxxI'm interested in how this will affect the Mobile Chip industry.
I think Apple is the only company that could pull this off in a large scale and survive.
Will the next step for Apple be to make their own instruction set?
I'll bet they've got the expertise to design their own CPU. Regardless, they're so rich, that they can just buy that expertise if necessary.
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#18
mtcn77
qubitRegardless, they're so rich, that they can just buy that expertise if necessary.
Intel couldn't...
AquinusExcept TSMC is a bigger company than ARM (sans Softbank as a whole,) and has far more physical assets.
Of course it isn't the same, otherwise how do you think it would play any different? Still, they are third party licensors.
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#19
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
ARM Should be Bought by a joint UK/EU Venture (at least a major Shareholding).
That way it Remains independent of the Major Chip designer/fabs and "Outside of National Intrest "
Looking at you USA/China/Russia
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#20
ZoneDymo
Good on you Apple, but I would prefere if you used your position and influence to stop the deal from happening
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#21
TheoneandonlyMrK
Soo they want to
ZoneDymoGood on you Apple, but I would prefere if you used your position and influence to stop the deal from happening
I'm leaning towards them just wanting to save the per chip license fees they pay arm, they have to increase they're profit somehow and they sure as shit don't mind having they're user base swap architecture and buy the same stuff again.
Probably rotate to x86 after RISC V.
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#23
mechtech
Darmok N JaladApple stopped using NVIDIA GPUs some time ago on their Macs, despite NVIDIA being the more performant GPU vendor for pretty much all of that time. It’s pretty clear that Apple wants nothing to do with them. If nothing else, starting development on another architecture gives them a little more bargaining room, even if they stick with ARM.
I think in their macbooks they had issues with nvidia GPUs and solder, maybe due to heat and/or solder alloy?

I think Apple is too big already, but for some reason I think I would rather see ARM in their hands instead of Nvidia. Ideally on their own or some other non-conflict party.
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#24
Darmok N Jalad
mechtechI think in their macbooks they had issues with nvidia GPUs and solder, maybe due to heat and/or solder alloy?

I think Apple is too big already, but for some reason I think I would rather see ARM in their hands instead of Nvidia. Ideally on their own or some other non-conflict party.
Yeah, and I do wonder what went so badly in that situation. NVIDIA must have left Apple high-and-dry on the recalls. To never use them again seems like some big disagreements came from that event.
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#25
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
eidairaman1NV us all about greed.
nVidia, the way you're meant to get played. :laugh:
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