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AMD "Stands Ready to Manufacture Arm Chips" According to CFO

AMD Chief Financial Officer Devinder Kumar has recently commented that the company "stands ready to manufacture Arm chips" if demand from business customers exists. These remarks were made at the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference held last week and build on comments made by CEO Dr. Lisa Su earlier this year confirming the companies willingness to create Arm chips. AMD has some experience creating Arm products with its K12 architecture which never reached market and their embedded microcontrollers such as the Platform Security Processors. While AMD hasn't confirmed if they have any current Arm projects underway there appears to be interest from customers which AMD is more than happy to fulfill. The pending sale of Arm to NVIDIA may complicate this if NVIDIA reneges on their pledge to continue Arm's open licensing system.

SSD-Insider++ Promises Ransomware-free SSDs

Over the past couple of years there has been a huge increase in ransomware attacks, and now scientists claim to have a solution that could help protect SSDs from getting encrypted by ransomware. The SSD-Insider++, as the solution has been named, claims to be able to detect ransomware activity and reverse the encryption on the fly.

SSD-Insider++ was developed by a group of engineers from South Korea's Inha University, Daegu Institute of Science and Technology, and the Cyber Security Department at Ewha Womans University (EWU), as well as a researcher from the University of Central Florida in the US. It's a firmware level based protection that looks for patterns of ransomware activity on the drive and stops it before any damage has been done.

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.

NVIDIA-Arm Acquisition Raises "Significant Competition Concerns:" UK Competition Regulator

The proposed $40 billion acquisition of Arm Holdings Plc from SoftBank by NVIDIA raises "significant competition concerns," says the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The scathing report by the UK's competition regulator goes on to say that the merger will stifle innovation. "We're concerned that NVIDIA controlling Arm could create real problems for NVIDIA's rivals by limiting their access to key technologies, and ultimately stifling innovation across a number of important and growing markets. This could end up with consumers missing out on new products, or prices going up," it reads.

In its first reaction, NVIDIA sought time to address CMA's concerns. "We look forward to the opportunity to address the CMA's initial views and resolve any concerns the Government may have. We remain confident that this transaction will be beneficial to Arm, its licensees, competition, and the UK," the company said. Although a subsidiary of Japan's Softbank, the report by UK's competition regulator does have some bearing on the fate of Arm, which remains headquartered in the UK.

NVIDIA Announces Financial Results for Second Quarter Fiscal 2022

NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) today reported record revenue for the second quarter ended August 1, 2021, of $6.51 billion, up 68 percent from a year earlier and up 15 percent from the previous quarter, with record revenue from the company's Gaming, Data Center and Professional Visualization platforms. GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $0.94, up 276 percent from a year ago and up 24 percent from the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.04, up 89 percent from a year ago and up 14 percent from the previous quarter.

"NVIDIA's pioneering work in accelerated computing continues to advance graphics, scientific computing and AI," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "Enabled by the NVIDIA platform, developers are creating the most impactful technologies of our time - from natural language understanding and recommender systems, to autonomous vehicles and logistic centers, to digital biology and climate science, to metaverse worlds that obey the laws of physics.

MediaTek Announces Dimensity 920 and Dimensity 810 Chips for 5G Smartphones

MediaTek today announced the new Dimensity 920 and Dimensity 810 chipsets, the latest additions to its Dimensity 5G family. This debut gives smartphone makers the ability to provide boosted performance, brilliant imaging and smarter displays to their customers.

Designed for powerful 5G smartphones, the Dimensity 920 balances performance, power and cost to provide an incredible mobile experience. Built using the 6nm high-performance manufacturing node, it supports intelligent displays and hardware-based 4K HDR video capture, while also offering a 9% boost in gaming performance compared to its predecessor, the Dimensity 900.

NVIDIA-ARM Acquisition Facing Delays, Still Pending Regulatory Approvals

The NVIDIA acquisition of ARM from the clutches of Softbank (for a cool, $40 billion) is increasingly looking stretched towards the future. When the acquisition deal was first announced back in September 14th, 2020, NVIDIA announced it expected the business to be closed within an 18-month timeframe, which would place it towards March 2022. However, that objective may prove to have been set too aggressively; we're now in July, and NVIDIA still hasn't received any sort of regulatory approval towards its embattled, and mostly negatively received, plans for the acquisition of ARM.

Particularly here is NVIDIA's submission of the acquisition deal towards the European Commission - which still hasn't happened. Seeking regulatory approval on acquisitions usually is a bureaucratic minefield; even more so when we're talking about tech industry giants such as NVIDIA and ARM and the possibility of market monopolization. It's expected that any regulatory appraisal of the acquisition will take upwards of six months, considering the scope, scale, and legal hurdles involved, and with the European Commission's summer holidays starting today, NVIDIA will now only be able to submit acquisition documentation come September. That gives the European Commission only six months to evaluate an acquisition of this magnitude if NVIDIA were to complete the deal in its announced timeframe; regulators, however, usually aren't too interested in bending over backwards to accelerate timeframes just because of a company's interest, even if that company is NVIDIA. Should the acquisition go wayside or be delayed far too long for ARM's interests, the company is expected to opt for an IPO so as to raise investment.

NVIDIA Brings RTX and DLSS to Arm Platform

NVIDIA at GDC dropped a major hint at where it wants to take PC gaming post the Arm acquisition. The company is demonstrating its RTX real-time raytracing technology, and the DLSS performance enhancement, on an Arm processor by MediaTek. To the PC, this means NVIDIA is laying the foundations of gaming in the post-x86 world where it holds Arm IP; foundations that were dug up by Apple and its mighty M1 chip, based on Arm CPU technology.

Making this unequivocal, was MediaTek. "RTX is the most groundbreaking technology to come to PC gaming in the last two decades," said PC Tseng, general manager of MediaTek's Intelligent Multimedia Business Unit."MediaTek and NVIDIA are laying the foundation for a new category of Arm-based high-performance PCs." The Taiwan-based Arm SoC major has developed a new Arm-based PC processor called Kompanio 1200, which it hopes will power PC platforms much like the Apple M1 or the Qualcomm Compute Platforms.

Surface Pro X with Windows 11 Shown Running Microsoft-branded Qualcomm Arm SoC

A next-generation Microsoft Surface Pro X with Windows 11 was shown running a Microsoft-branded processor that's expected to be a design collaboration between the company and Qualcomm, in a bid to develop a high performance/Watt solution rivaling the Apple M1. Microsoft's contribution to this is the x86-64 emulation heavily integrated into Windows 11, letting you run native x86-64 apps seamlessly, with the OS handling the hardware abstraction much like WOW64.

Called the Microsoft SQ2, the silicon features an 8-core/8-thread CPU, and an iGPU that meets the minimum requirements of Windows 11 for its standard UI, with just enough power for web-browsing with high-res videos. The CPU runs at speeds of up to 3.15 GHz, and has a fairly advanced memory system that includes a 3-level cache and LPDDR5 memory.

Qualcomm Wants to Build an M1-Like Processor for PCs

Qualcomm is trying to get into the PC space with their mobile Snapdragon chips, which offer great battery and decent performance. However, so far only Apple managed to get the right formula for developing custom low-power, high-performance chips. It is exactly Apple's M1 processor in question that Qualcomm intends to mimic. According to the recent interview with Qualcomm's new CEO Cristiano Amon, we are informed that Qualcomm plans to produce laptop chips that would directly compete with Apple's. That means that, despite the ecosystem differences of Apple M1 (macOS) and Qualcomm Snapdragon (Windows-on-Arm), the company wants to deliver equal if not better performance and great battery life.

With the recent acquisition of Nuvia, Qualcomm has a team of very talented engineers to back up its claims. The company also recently hired some of the developers behind Apple's M1 chip. The company notes that it will be using only the best solutions for its upcoming SoC, which will include a 5G modem. Mr. Amon has also noted the following:
We needed to have the leading performance for a battery-powered device. If Arm, which we've had a relationship with for years, eventually develops a CPU that's better than what we can build ourselves, then we always have the option to license from Arm.

Three Major Arm Licensees Endorse the NVIDIA Takeover

NVIDIA's $40 billion takeover of Arm Holdings plc from SoftBank, got a shot in the arm, as three major licensees of the IP came out in support of the bid. These include Broadcom, MediaTek, and Marvell Technology Group. This development is key for NVIDIA to fight the perception built up by a rival faction, that the democratized nature of the Arm IP would get lost if a chipmaker like NVIDIA owns it. This rival faction is primarily led by Qualcomm.

It's interesting to note the individual backers of the NVIDIA takeover. There is nothing but love between Broadcom and Qualcomm, especially after the former's failed bid to acquire the latter. MediaTek is a major smartphone and IoT SoC maker, dominating the low-cost and mainstream smartphone segments. Marvell is big in datacenter and storage IP. Each of the three are results of huge IP consolidation over the past decade.

SiFive Performance P550 Core Sets New Standard as Highest Performance RISC-V Processor IP

SiFive, Inc., the industry leader in RISC-V processors and silicon solutions, today announced launched the new SiFive Performance family of processors. The SiFive Performance family debuts with two new processor cores, the P270, SiFive's first Linux capable processor with full support for the RISC-V vector extension v1.0 rc, and the SiFive Performance P550 core, SiFive's highest performance processor to date. The new SiFive Performance P550 delivers a SPECInt 2006 score of 8.65/GHz, making it the highest performance RISC-V processor available today, and comparable to existing proprietary solutions in the application processor space.

"SiFive Performance is a significant milestone in our commitment to deliver a complete, scalable portfolio of RISC-V cores to customers in all markets who are at the vanguard of SOC design and are dissatisfied with the status quo," said Dr. Yunsup Lee, Co-Founder and CTO of SiFive. "These two new products cover new performance points and a wide range of application areas, from efficient vector processors that easily displace yesterday's SIMD architectures, to the bleeding edge that the P550 represents. SiFive is proud to set the standard for RISC-V processing and is ready to deliver these products to customers today."

NVIDIA to Invest At Least $100 Million in UK's Most Powerful Supercomputer

NVIDIA, the maker of high-performance GPUs, has yesterday announced that the company will be investing at least 100 million US Dollars into UK's most powerful supercomputer. Back in October of 2020, NVIDIA announced that it will be building a supercomputer in Cambridge, UK, that will be called Cambridge-1. However, the original plan suggested that the investment would amount to around 40 million GBP, which is roughly 55.6 million USD. Now, it seems that NVIDIA is doubling the initial investment plan and the company now wants to invest 100 million USD, just at the initial phase, which would mean that the total budget could be much greater.

As the company is facing difficulties in the process of acquiring Arm Ltd. from Softbank, by building the most powerful supercomputer in the UK, it hopes to show its commitment to growing UK's Arm operations. And more specifically, it is building the Cambridge-1 in the same place as Arm's HQ, which is also Cambridge. In terms of technologies that will end up in this supercomputer, we are still not supplied with exact information, however, we can expect it to combine the latest CPU, GPU, and networking technologies into one powerful machine.

Qualcomm Moots a Consortium of Chipmakers to Buy Arm if NVIDIA's Bid Fails

Qualcomm is proposing a consortium of companies that will make a competitive bid to acquire Arm Holdings from SoftBank, if NVIDIA falters in its acquisition, according to a report in The Telegraph citing an interview with Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon. Unlike NVIDIA's bid, where a single company that's in the SoC designing business, gets to own Arm IP, giving it a competitive upper-hand over other Arm licensees; the consortium would be made up of several companies, including Qualcomm, one of Arm's largest IP licensees, which makes SoCs for smartphones, tablets, wearables, and IoT devices, across all market segments.

"If Arm has an independent future, I think you will find there is a lot of interest from a lot of the companies within the ecosystem, including Qualcomm, to invest in Arm," said Amon. "We will definitely be open to it, and we have had discussions with other companies that feel the same way. That's the reason it's a logical conclusion for us, and for many other companies, that to invest in a strong and independent Arm is probably the best for everyone," he added. NVIDIA is in the process of acquiring Arm Holdings, lock, stock, and barrel, in a humongous $40 billion deal, which has run into hold-ups with competition regulators across the globe, including the UK, the home of Arm Holdings.

Tachyum Receives Prodigy FPGA DDR-IO Motherboard to Create Full System Emulation

Tachyum Inc. today announced that it has taken delivery of an IO motherboard for its Prodigy Universal Processor hardware emulator from manufacturing. This provides the company with a complete system prototype integrating CPU, memory, PCI Express, networking and BMC management subsystems when connected to the previously announced field-programmable gate array (FPGA) emulation system board.

The Tachyum Prodigy FPGA DDR-IO Board connects to the Prodigy FPGA CPU Board to provide memory and IO connectivity for the FPGA-based CPU tiles. The fully functional Prodigy emulation system is now ready for further build out, including Linux boot and incorporation of additional test chips. It is available to customers to perform early testing and software development prior to a full four-socket reference design motherboard, which is expected to be available Q4 2021.

Qualcomm Releases Snapdragon Developer Kit for Windows 10 on Arm

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. today announced the Qualcomm Snapdragon Developer Kit, which is designed to enable extended support for independent software vendors and application developers to test and optimize their applications for the growing ecosystem of devices powered by Snapdragon compute platforms. Built in collaboration with Microsoft, this Windows 10 on Arm-based developer kit is a cost-effective resource for developers to verify and validate their solutions to help ensure great user experiences for working, learning, and collaborating on Snapdragon-enabled Windows 10 PCs.

This is the latest collaboration between Qualcomm Technologies and Microsoft to strengthen resources for developers who are recompiling, optimizing, and testing applications for Windows 10 devices powered by Snapdragon compute platforms. In September 2020, Microsoft announced the expansion of its App Assure Program to Windows 10 on Arm PCs powered by Snapdragon compute platforms, as well as the optimization of Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Teams, and Visual Studio Code. The latest advancement in the coordinated support of independent software vendors and application developers was the December 2020 introduction of x64 emulation preview for Windows 10 PCs, to the Windows Insider Program.

HiSilicon Develops RISC-V Processor to Move Away from Arm Restrictions

Huawei's HiSilicon subsidiary, which specialized in the design and development of semiconductor devices like processors, has made a big announcement today. A while back, the US government has blacklisted Huawei from using any US-made technology. This has rendered HiSilicon's efforts of building processors based on Arm architecture (ISA) practically useless, as the US sanctions applied to that as well. So, the company had to turn to alternative technologies. Today, HiSilicon has announced the new HiSilicon Hi3861 development board, based on RISC-V architecture. This represents an important step to Huawei's silicon independence, as RISC-V is a free and open-source ISA designed for all kinds of workloads.

While the HiSilicon Hi3861 development board features a low-power Hi3861 chip, it is the company's first attempt at building a RISC-V design. It features a "high-performance 32-bit microprocessor with a maximum operating frequency of 160 MHz". While this may sound very pale in comparison to the traditional HiSilicon products, this chip is used for IoT applications, which don't require much processing power. For tasks that need better processing, HiSilicon will surely develop more powerful designs. This just represents an important starting point, where Huawei's HiSilicon moves away from Arm ISA, and steps into another ISA design and development. This time, with RISC-V, the US government has no control over the ISA, as it is free to use by anyone who pleases, with added benefits of no licensing costs. It is interesting to see where this will lead HiSilicon and what products the company plans to release on the new ISA.

2021 COMPUTEX Forum Brings Tech Giants Together to Unlock the Secret of Future Technologies

As one of the most important tech summits globally, COMPUTEX Forum and its discussion topics have always garnered great attention. To facilitate the discussion on future technology trends, the COMPUTEX Forum on June 2 and 3 will evolve around the theme of "The New Era of Intelligence." TAITRA announced the lineup of speakers to discuss key applications of 5G, AI, IoT, and electric vehicles, deep diving into business strategies in the post-pandemic era.

In the morning of Wednesday, June 2, COMPUTEX Forum will address the topic of "AIoT Evolution." Leading semiconductor giants such as Intel, Micron, NVIDIA and Supermicro, will explore how they accelerate business opportunities in the 5G era. In the afternoon, NXP Semiconductors will kick off the "AI Empowerment" session by sharing its vision and lead the Secure Edge and AI Empowerment discussions in fields. As AI rises in various applications, Arm, Delta Electronics, Micron and Check Point Software will elaborate their latest solution in different scopes.

Big Tech and Lobby: Semiconductors in America Coalition (SIAC) Founded With Microsoft, Apple, Intel, AMD, TSMC, Others

Since lobbying is both legal and regulated in the US (an attempt to bring attempts of influencing political power by corporations under legal boundaries, as opposed to being done in the dark), it feels like it was only a matter of time before big tech attempted to join under one banner. As such, the Semiconductors in America Coalition (SIAC) has now been put together, and boasts of 64 members including Microsoft, Apple, TSMC, Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Arm, and Samsung. It seems that all of these companies - which are often at odds with one another when it comes to competing for consumers' choice and money - have found enough similarities to get organized in an attempt to nudge political power in their favor.

SIAC said in a press release that its mission is to "advance federal policies that promote semiconductor manufacturing and research in the U.S. to strengthen America's economy, national security, and critical infrastructure." The first announcement from the SIAC following its foundation was its intention to support the CHIPS for America Act. The Act (supported by The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and President Joe Biden) has already been approved by the House and the Senate as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2021 but has not yet been funded. It seems that SIAC's first mission is to get the government to open up its $50 billion-deep pockets.

UK Competition Regulator Probes AMD's Buyout of Xilinx

British competition regulator Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Monday, launched an enquiry into the ramifications of AMD's buy-out of FPGA maker Xilinx. The agency is soliciting opinions from the public on whether the $35 billion all-stock purchase will make goods and services less competitive for the UK. Unlike NVIDIA's Arm buyout the Xilinx acquisition is seeing no opposition from tech-giants. The Register notes that AMD could combine Xilinx's FPGAs with its x86 CPU and RDNA SIMD to create highly customizable HPC accelerators. AMD president Dr Lisa Su said "By combining our world-class engineering team and deep domain expertise, we will create an industry leader with the vision, talent and scale to define the future of high performance computing."

Samsung's Apple M1-rivaling Exynos SoC Powering Notebooks by H2-2021

Samsung is readying a powerful Arm-based SoC rivaling Apple's groundbreaking M1 silicon, under its Exynos brand. This chip is being designed for thin-and-light notebooks, as well as premium tablets, essentially letting Samsung target Apple's MacBook (M1) and iPad Pro form-factors. Unlike Apple, Samsung won't be burdened with having to rally its ISV partners to develop specifically for its hardware; the company is preparing to launch notebooks in the second half of 2021 that are powered by a Windows 10 on Arm derivative. This would give the notebook access to all of the applications already developed for the OS, including Office and certain Adobe Creativity Suite apps. The M1-rivaling Exynos chip will pack the latest-generation 64-bit Arm CPU cores, as well as an integrated GPU designed by AMD.

Arm Announces Neoverse N2 and V1 Server Platforms

The demands of data center workloads and internet traffic are growing exponentially, and new solutions are needed to keep up with these demands while reducing the current and anticipated growth of power consumption. But the variety of workloads and applications being run today means the traditional one-size-fits all approach to computing is not the answer. The industry demands flexibility; design freedom to achieve the right level of compute for the right application.

As Moore's Law comes to an end, solution providers are seeking specialized processing. Enabling specialized processing has been a focal point since the inception of our Neoverse line of platforms, and we expect these latest additions to accelerate this trend.

UK Stalls NVIDIA's Acquisition of Arm to Investigate "National Security Concerns"

The UK government has stalled NVIDIA's $40 billion acquisition of Arm by constituting an investigation in "public interest." This investigation will look into the national security implications to the UK, of the acquisition. Although Arm is being transacted between Japan's SoftBank Holdings and American NVIDIA, Arm itself is a UK-based entity. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will lead the investigation, and file a report with the UK government by June 30, 2021.

NVIDIA responded to the development, stating that the acquisition has no material national-security issues affecting the UK. "We will continue to work closely with the British authorities, as we have done since the announcement of this deal," NVIDIA stated. Leading tech firms, namely Google, Qualcomm, and Microsoft, etc., voiced apprehensions over the deal. Unlike SoftBank, NVIDIA is a chip-designer in its own right, and could withhold cutting-edge Arm technology to itself, giving its CPUs/SoCs a competitive edge over other Arm licensees, these firms believe.

Intel CEO on NVIDIA CPUs: They Are Responding to Us

NVIDIA has recently announced the company's first standalone Grace CPU that will come out as a product in 2023. NVIDIA has designed Grace on Arm ISA, likely ARM v9, to represent a new way that data centers are built and deliver a whole new level of HPC and AI performance. However, the CPU competition in a data center space is considered one of the hardest markets to enter. Usually, the market is a duopoly between Intel and AMD, which supply x86 processors to server vendors. In the past few years, there have been few Arm CPUs that managed to enter the data canter space, however, NVIDIA is aiming to deliver much more performance and grab a bigger piece of the market.

As a self-proclaimed leader in AI, Intel is facing hard competition from NVIDIA in the coming years. In an interview with Fortune, Intel's new CEO Pat Gelsinger has talked about NVIDIA and how the company sees the competition between the two. Mr. Gelsinger is claiming that Intel is a leader in CPUs that feature AI acceleration built in the chip and that they are not playing defense, but rather offense against NVIDIA. You can check out the whole quote from the interview below.

NVIDIA Extends Data Center Infrastructure Processing Roadmap with BlueField-3 DPU

NVIDIA today announced the NVIDIA BlueField -3 DPU, its next-generation data processing unit, to deliver the most powerful software-defined networking, storage and cybersecurity acceleration capabilities available for data centers.

The first DPU built for AI and accelerated computing, BlueField-3 lets every enterprise deliver applications at any scale with industry-leading performance and data center security. It is optimized for multi-tenant, cloud-native environments, offering software-defined, hardware-accelerated networking, storage, security and management services at data-center scale.
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