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Pat Gelsinger: "Intel Has to be Better at Making CPUs Than That Lifestyle Company"

Intel's future CEO Pat Gelsinger, who supersedes current CEO Bob Swan come February 15th, has reportedly compared Intel with Apple's efforts, in wake of that company's decision to leave the Intel ecosystem in favor of in-house designed ARM CPUs. As Apple M1-powered devices hit reviewers' tables, the opinions mostly went one-sided in favor of Apple's decision, clamoring for that particular CPU design to be only lightly short of a computing miracle, considering the amount of computing power provided at that chip's TDP, and running circles around Apple's previous Intel implementations.

According to The Oregonian, a local newspaper from (you guessed it) Oregon where Intel has a strong branch presence, Intel held an all-hands meeting of its Oregon workforce, attended by future Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, who is quoted as having remarked that "We [Intel] have to deliver better products to the PC ecosystem than any possible thing that a lifestyle company in Cupertino makes. We have to be that good, in the future." Considering how Apple's M1 has raised the world's attention to the ARM architecture as a competitor with strong enough arguments to face the x86 ecosystem (as if ARM powering the world's current fastest supercomputer wasn't a strong enough argument), that seems like a strong yet adequate statement. We'll see how Intel fares with its Alder lake CPUs, which essentially bring ARM's design philosophy of an heterogeneous CPU with both high-performance and high-efficiency cores to the x86 table.

Samsung Unveils Their Flagship Exynos 2100 Mobile Processor

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced the Exynos 2100 through its first virtual event, Exynos On 2021. The new mobile processor is the company's first premium 5G-integrated mobile processor built on the most advanced 5-nanometer (nm) extreme ultra-violet (EUV) process node.

The chip's computation and graphic processing performance have been improved and refined to surpass the power user's performance expectations. As Samsung's first 5G-integrated flagship mobile processor, the Exynos 2100 is built on an advanced 5 nm EUV process technology that allows up to 20-percent lower power consumption or 10-percent higher overall performance than the 7 nm predecessor. For further enhancement, the chip offers improved cache memory utilization and a stronger scheduler. The octa-core CPU comes in an improved tri-cluster structure made up of a single powerful Arm Cortex -X1 core that runs at up to 2.9 GHz, three high-performing Cortex-A78 cores and four power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores delivering more than 30-percent enhancement in multi-core performance than the predecessor.

NVIDIA Acquisition of Arm to be Investigated by UK Regulator

NVIDIA's planned acquisition of Arm was one of 2020's defining moments for the tech industry, and many articles have already been written on the possible industry-wide consequences of this acquisition. However, the resulting NVIDIA company could raise some questions as to business practices and competition - critics, technologists, and lobbyists have already been working hard in calling the deal's attention to regulating authorities. And that seems to be paying off, as UK's Competition and Markets Authority announced Wednesday that it plans to investigate NVIDIA's proposed acquisition of British chip designer Arm.

This effort by the CMA will take place in a staggered way, where the regulator is for now asking for third party input on the deal and its consequences for British competition and the tech industry at large, before launching its official probe later this year. As is always the case with these sort of deals, some in the field expect the deal to be blocked, including Arm co-founder Hermann Hauser; others, however, speak to its eventual success. NVIDIA's share price has kept dropping ever since the announcement, from a high of $536.31 to $506.21 at time of writing.

Microsoft is Engineering Custom Processors for Servers and Surface PCs

Designing a custom processor can be a rewarding thing. You can control your ecosystem surrounding it and get massive rewards in terms of application-specific performance uplift, or lower total cost of ownership. It seems like cloud providers have figured out that at their scale, designing a custom processor can get all of the above with the right amount of effort put into it. If you remember, in 2018, Amazon has announced its Graviton processor based on Arm instruction set architecture. Today, the company has almost 10% of its AWS instances based on the Graviton 1 or 2 processors, which is a massive win for a custom design.

Following Amazon's example, the next company to join the custom server processor race is going to be Microsoft. The Redmond based giant is looking to build a custom lineup of processors that are meant to satisfy Microsoft's most demanding sector - server space. The company's Azure arm is an important part where it has big and increasing revenue. By building a custom processor, it could satisfy the market needs better while delivering higher value. The sources of Bloomberg say that Microsoft is planning to use Arm ISA, and start building independence from the x86 vendors like Intel and AMD. Just like we saw with AWS, the industry cloud giants are starting to get silicon-independent and with their scale, they can drive the ecosystem surrounding the new processors forward rapidly. The sources are also speculating that the company is building custom processors for Surface PCs, and with Windows-on-Arm (WoA) project, Microsoft has laid the groundwork in that field as well.

AWS Arm-based Graviton Processors Sees the Biggest Growth in Instance Share

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world's largest cloud services provider, has launched its Graviton series of custom processors some time ago. With Graviton, AWS had a plan to bring down the costs of offering some cloud services both for the customer and for the company. By doing that, the company planned to attract new customers offering greater value, and that plan seems to be working out well. When AWS launched its first-generation Graviton processor, the company took everyone by surprise and showed that it is capable of designing and operating its custom processors. The Graviton series of processors is based on the Arm Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and the latest Graviton 2 series uses Arm Neoverse N1 cores as the base.

Today, thanks to the data from Liftr Insights, we get to see just how many total AWS instances are Graviton based. The data is showing some rather impressive numbers for the period from June 2019, to August 2020. In that timeframe, Intel with its Xeon offerings has seen its presence decrease from 88% to 70%, while AMD has grown from 11% to 20% presence. And perhaps the greatest silent winner here is the Graviton processor, which had massive growth. In the same period, AWS increased Graviton instance number from making up only 1% of all instances, to make up 10% of all instances available. This is a 10-fold increase which is not a small feat, given that data center providers are very difficult when it comes to changing platforms.

AWS and Arm Demonstrate Production-Scale Electronic Design Automation in the Cloud

Today, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com, Inc. company, announced that Arm, a global leader in semiconductor design and silicon intellectual property development and licensing, will leverage AWS for its cloud use, including the vast majority of its electronic design automation (EDA) workloads. Arm is migrating EDA workloads to AWS, leveraging AWS Graviton2-based instances (powered by Arm Neoverse cores), and leading the way for transformation of the semiconductor industry, which has traditionally used on-premises data centers for the computationally intensive work of verifying semiconductor designs.

To carry out verification more efficiently, Arm uses the cloud to run simulations of real-world compute scenarios, taking advantage of AWS's virtually unlimited storage and high-performance computing infrastructure to scale the number of simulations it can run in parallel. Since beginning its AWS cloud migration, Arm has realized a 6x improvement in performance time for EDA workflows on AWS. In addition, by running telemetry (the collection and integration of data from remote sources) and analysis on AWS, Arm is generating more powerful engineering, business, and operational insights that help increase workflow efficiency and optimize costs and resources across the company. Arm ultimately plans to reduce its global datacenter footprint by at least 45% and its on-premises compute by 80% as it completes its migration to AWS.

Arm Based Fugaku Supercomputer Retains #1 Top500 Spot

Fugaku—the Arm technology-based supercomputer jointly developed by RIKEN and Fujitsu—was awarded the number one spot on the Top500 list for the second time in a row. This achievement further highlights the rapidly evolving demands of high-performance computing (HPC) that Arm technology uniquely addresses through the unmatched combination of power efficiency, performance, and scalability.

In addition to the great work RIKEN and Fujitsu have done, we're seeing more adoption for Arm-based solutions across our ecosystem. ETRI, the national computing institute of the Republic of Korea, recently announced plans to adopt the upcoming Neoverse V1 (formerly code-named Zeus) CPU design, which feature Arm Scalable Vector Extensions (SVE), for its K-AB21 system. ETRI has set a goal of 16 teraflops per CPU and 1600 teraflops per rack for AB 21 (which stands for 'Artificial Brain 21') while reducing power consumption by 60% compared to its target.

TOP500 Expands Exaflops Capacity Amidst Low Turnover

The 56th edition of the TOP500 saw the Japanese Fugaku supercomputer solidify its number one status in a list that reflects a flattening performance growth curve. Although two new systems managed to make it into the top 10, the full list recorded the smallest number of new entries since the project began in 1993.

The entry level to the list moved up to 1.32 petaflops on the High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark, a small increase from 1.23 petaflops recorded in the June 2020 rankings. In a similar vein, the aggregate performance of all 500 systems grew from 2.22 exaflops in June to just 2.43 exaflops on the latest list. Likewise, average concurrency per system barely increased at all, growing from 145,363 cores six months ago to 145,465 cores in the current list.

MediaTek Announces Dimensity 700 SoC For Mass Market 5G Smartphones

MediaTek today unveiled its new Dimensity 700 5G smartphone chipset, a 7 nm SoC designed to bring advanced 5G capabilities and experiences to the mass market. The addition of the Dimensity 700 to MediaTek's Dimensity family of 5G chips gives device makers a full suite of options for 5G smartphone models - from flagship and premium to mid-range and mass market devices - making 5G more accessible for consumers everywhere.

"With our expanded Dimensity portfolio we're bringing the latest 5G capabilities to every smartphone tier so more people can enjoy 5G experiences," said Dr. JC Hsu, Corporate VP and GM of MediaTek's Wireless Communications Business Unit. "The Dimensity 700 has an impressive mix of 5G connectivity features, advanced camera capabilities like night shot enhancements and multiple voice assistant support, all in a super power-efficient design."

Arm Takes Aim at Laptops: Cortex-A78C Processor for PCs Introduced

In the past few years, the Windows-on-Arm (WoA) market has gotten some momentum has with companies trying to develop their WoA PCs, primarily laptops. One example of that is Microsoft. The company has launched a Surface notebook powered by a custom chip from Snapdragon, called Surface Pro X. This device is being powered by the Snapdragon SQ2 processor. However, what seemed to be missing for a while was the lack of support from the Arm itself for this type of market. That is what the company decided to change and make a brand new processor IP dedicated to "on-the-go" devices as they call it, translating into laptops.

The Cortex-A78C is a new design direction which Arm thinks is a good way for laptops, to get some more serious work done. Unlike the regular Cortex-A78 which is a heterogeneous design of big and little cores (Arm's famous big.LITTLE architecture), the new Cortex-A78C revision aims to change that. The "C" version of the processor is actually a homogeneous structure made up of all the big cores. Where you would typically use four big and four little cores for a design, Arm has decided to go all big with this design. For multithreaded purposes, this is the right decision to boost performance. The level three (L3) cache has seen a boost as well, translating to 8 MB of L3$ found on the die. We are eagerly awaiting to see the first designs based on this configuration and see how it performs.

Apple Could Unveil Arm-powered MacBooks on November 10

Apple late Monday sent out a public invite to an online launch event dated November 10, without revealing what it is. With new generation iPhones and Watches and iPads already announced it's likely that the November 10 event could deal with Macs, specifically, the company's very first MacBooks powered by a non-Intel processor since the company embraced x86 some decade-and-a-half ago.

Apple, having gained in-house expertise in designing powerful Arm-based SoCs, is likely to debut a new Arm-based processor with sufficient muscle to drive MacBooks, in what will be a "client-first" strategy of replacing x86 with Arm for Apple. This will likely see the most client-segment products, such as MacBooks and Mac Mini, get the processor, followed by MacBook Pros, iMacs, and lastly workstation-segment products such as the Mac Pro and iMac Pro. The November 10 event will likely only cover the very first Arm-powered MacBooks. Apple has been selling Arm-powered Mac Minis to ISVs along with a special version of macOS "Big Sur," so they could port their Mac software to the new platform. Arm-powered Macs could also see some form of unification between the iOS and macOS software ecosystems.

Apple Preparing to Launch First ARM-Powered MacBook Next Month

Apple announced plans to transition their Mac lineup to in-house ARM-based processors earlier this year. This decision came as a result of Apple's dependence on Intel for new processors each year and their recent underwhelming improvements. The upcoming 12 core chip is expected to be manufactured on TSMC's 5 nm node which should deliver significant power savings and performance. Apple has been working to optimize macOS and first party applications for the new processors along with sending out developer transition kits to hopefully ensure major software is supported at launch. The processor is rumored to debut in an upcoming 13-inch MacBook Pro or a new MacBook Air and should launch at a dedicated event in November according to a recent report by Bloomberg.

Arm Highlights its Next Two Generations of CPUs, codenamed Matterhorn and Makalu, with up to a 30% Performance Uplift

Editor's Note: This is written by Arm vice president and general manager Paul Williamson.

Over the last year, I have been inspired by the innovators who are dreaming up solutions to improve and enrich our daily lives. Tomorrow's mobile applications will be even more imaginative, immersive, and intelligent. To that point, the industry has come such a long way in making this happen. Take app stores for instance - we had the choice of roughly 500 apps when smartphones first began shipping in volume in 2007 and today there are 8.9 million apps available to choose from.

Mobile has transformed from a simple utility to the most powerful, pervasive device we engage with daily, much like Arm-based chips have progressed to more powerful but still energy-efficient SoCs. Although the chip-level innovation has already evolved significantly, more is still required as use cases become more complex, with more AI and ML workloads being processed locally on our devices.

Arm Spins-out Cerfe Labs to Advance Development of CeRAM Memory Technology

Today Arm announced the spin-out of Cerfe Labs to develop and license new types of non-volatile memories based on correlated electron materials (CeRAM) and ferroelectric transistors (FeFETs). Arm CeRAM researchers will join Cerfe Labs and assume ownership of the Arm joint development project with Symetrix Corporation.

As part of the spin-out, Arm will transfer its full CeRAM IP portfolio of more than 150 patent families to Cerfe Labs that will be the foundation for a roadmap of related CeRAM technologies. Cerfe Labs initial focus will be on producing meaningful prototypes which will be licensed to partners with a goal of accelerating timing of enabling these novel non-volatile materials for systems.

NVIDIA Building UK's Most Powerful Supercomputer, Dedicated to AI Research in Healthcare

NVIDIA today announced that it is building the United Kingdom's most powerful supercomputer, which it will make available to U.K. healthcare researchers using AI to solve pressing medical challenges, including those presented by COVID-19.

Expected to come online by year end, the "Cambridge-1" supercomputer will be an NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD system capable of delivering more than 400 petaflops of AI performance and 8 petaflops of Linpack performance, which would rank it No. 29 on the latest TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers. It will also rank among the world's top 3 most energy-efficient supercomputers on the current Green500 list.

Microsoft Accelerates x64 Application Support for Windows 10 on Arm

Microsoft has announced that they will be pushing x64 app support on their Windows 10 on Arm operating system. This is part of a move by Microsoft to mainstream adoption of their OS (and related services) on Arm-based platforms, ensuring that the company has a foothold in that market - especially as competition between Arm and x86-x64 architectures increases further and reaches more and more areas. Whereas before, Arm was relegated to low-power, relatively low performance designs, recent years have seen Arm's design performance (and philosophy) looking for higher performance use-cases both in the consumer and server/supercomputing spaces. One needs not look further than NVIDIA's plans to acquire Arm to see how much stock is being placed in Arm's future,

The x64 application support for Windows 10 on Arm will first be enabled for Windows Insiders come November, and will support all Windows 10 on Arm system released in the last couple of years, no matter the processor. This support works through emulation, though, so it remains to be seen exactly how well - and at what performance - these applications run. Microsoft has already improved tools and SDKs for application porting efforts to its Windows 10 on Arm ecosystem, and the company will be releasing custom-tailored versions of the Edge Browser, Microsoft Teams, and Visual Studio that play on the platform's strengths. Interesting times lie ahead of us - and if NVIDIA is able to go through with its Arm acquisition (which is a long way from being a guarantee), we might be looking at NVIDIA-branded laptops that run Windows 10 on Arm alongside branded Arm CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs.

ASUS Announces Refreshed AMD B450 Chipset Motherboards

AMD's Socket AM4 platform accommodates PC builders of all stripes. Those who need the latest connectivity and features can choose an X570 or B550 motherboard to enable the next-gen PCI Express 4.0 interconnect for the graphics cards and storage devices. Not every PC builder needs to be on the cutting edge, though, and the attainable B450 platform is tailor-made for systems where value is the most important consideration. We're boosting the bang-for-the-buck of this platform with a refreshed family of ASUS B450 motherboards.

Going with one of our refreshed B450 boards for the foundation of your build gives you more flexibility in how you allocate resources in your next Ryzen system. You might be able to choose a faster processor, a boosted graphics card, a bigger, future-proof power supply, or quieter, more robust CPU cooling. The latest Ryzen 3000-series processors will be right at home in our buffed-up B450 boards, and you can still install first- and second-generation Ryzen CPUs in these boards if need be.

China Could Reject NVIDIA-Arm Deal, Predicts Former Lenovo Chief Engineer

In big corporate mergers and acquisitions involving multi-national corporations, money is the easy part, with the hard part being competition regulators of major markets giving their assent. The NVIDIA-Arm deal could get entangled in the US-China tech trade-war, with Beijing likely to use its approval of the deal as a bargaining chip against the US. Former Lenovo chief engineer Ni Guangnan predicts that the Chinese government's position would be to try and fight the deal on anti-trust grounds, as it could create a monopoly of chip-design tools. China's main concern, however, would be Arm IP falling into the hands of a US corporation, the California-based NVIDIA, which would put the IP under US export-control regulations.

Both Arm and NVIDIA announced an agreement for the latter to acquire Arm from SoftBank in a deal valued at USD $40 billion. NVIDIA CEO has been quoted as calling it the "deal of the century," as it would put NVIDIA in control of the biggest CPU machine architecture standard after Intel's x86, letting it scale the IP from low-power edge SoCs, to large data-center processors. Chinese regulators could cite recent examples of US export controls harming the Chinese tech industry, such as technology bans over Huawei and SMIC, in its action against the NVIDIA-Arm deal. Arm's 200-odd Chinese licensees have shipped over 19 billion chips based on the architecture as of mid-September 2020.

Intel Partners with Heidelberg University Computing Center to Establish oneAPI Academic Center of Excellence

Intel and Heidelberg University Computing Center (URZ) today announced that they have established oneAPI Academic Center of Excellence (CoE) at UZR. The newly established CoE has a goal to further develop Intel's oneAPI standard and enable it to work on AMD GPUs. This information is a bit shocking, however, Intel believes that the technology should work on a wide range of processors, no matter the vendor. The heterogeneous hardware programming is the main goal here. In a Twitter thread, an Intel employee specifies that Intel has also been working with Arm and NVIDIA to bring Data-Parallel C++ (DPC++), a core of oneAPI, to those vendors as well. That should bring this universal programming model to every device and adapt to every platform, which is a goal of heterogeneous programming - whatever you need to program a CPU, GPU, or some other ASIC, it is covered by a single API, specifically oneAPI.
UZR
URZ's work as a oneAPI CoE will add advanced DPC++ capabilities into hipSYCL, which supports systems based on AMD GPUs, NVIDIA GPUs, and CPUs. New DPC++ extensions are part of the SYCL 2020 provisional specification that brings features such as unified shared memory to hipSYCL and the platforms it supports - furthering the promise of oneAPI application support across system architectures and vendors.

New Arm Technologies Enable Safety-capable Computing Solutions for an Autonomous Future

Today, Arm unveiled new computing solutions to accelerate autonomous decision-making with safety capability across automotive and industrial applications. The new suite of IP includes the Arm Cortex -A78AE CPU, Arm Mali -G78AE GPU, and Arm Mali-C71AE ISP, engineered to work together in combination with supporting software, tools and system IP to enable silicon providers and OEMs to design for autonomous workloads. These products will be deployed in a range of applications, from enabling more intelligence and configurability in smart manufacturing to enhancing ADAS and digital cockpit applications in automotive.

"Autonomy has the potential to improve every aspect of our lives, but only if built on a safe and secure computing foundation," said Chet Babla, vice president, Automotive and IoT Line of Business at Arm. "As autonomous decision-making becomes more pervasive, Arm has designed a unique suite of technology that prioritizes safety while delivering highly scalable, power efficient compute to enable autonomous decision-making across new automotive and industrial opportunities."

Arm Announces Next-Generation Neoverse V1 and N2 Cores

Ten years ago, Arm set its sights on deploying its compute-efficient technology in the data center with a vision towards a changing landscape that would require a new approach to infrastructure compute.

That decade-long effort to lay the groundwork for a more efficient infrastructure was realized when we announced Arm Neoverse, a new compute platform that would deliver 30% year-over-year performance improvements through 2021. The unveiling of our first two platforms, Neoverse N1 and E1, was significant and important. Not only because Neoverse N1 shattered our performance target by nearly 2x to deliver 60% more performance when compared to Arm's Cortex-A72 CPU, but because we were beginning to see real demand for more choice and flexibility in this rapidly evolving space.

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang Says NVIDIA-Branded CPUs Could be Coming

It was just yesterday that we have received the news of NVIDIA's latest move - acquiring Arm Ltd. from Softbank Group for $40 billion. However, it seems like there are more reasons for the deal than what meets the eye. In the briefing regarding the acquisition, NVIDIA's CEO was asked a question, by Timothy Prickett Morgan, from TheNextPlatform, about NVIDIA's plans for a possible implementation of Arm's Neoverse core in an NVIDIA-branded CPU design and start selling them to data centers. To that question, Mr. Huang gave a prolonged answer indirectly saying that the company can build the CPU if there is a market for it.

He explains that there is an entire network surrounding the Arm ecosystem and that there may be customers interested in contracting NVIDIA to build them semi-custom or completely custom chip based on Arm ISA on NVIDIA's own interest. Any of these options are available and Mr. Haung says that they are there for the best interest of the ecosystem to enrich it enhance it even further. This means that it is just a matter of time before we see NVIDIA-branded CPU make its way to data-center or some other areas of technology, so we have to wait and see for ourselves.

NVIDIA to Acquire Arm for $40 Billion, Creating World's Premier Computing Company for the Age of AI

NVIDIA and SoftBank Group Corp. (SBG) today announced a definitive agreement under which NVIDIA will acquire Arm Limited from SBG and the SoftBank Vision Fund (together, "SoftBank") in a transaction valued at $40 billion. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to NVIDIA's non-GAAP gross margin and non-GAAP earnings per share.

The combination brings together NVIDIA's leading AI computing platform with Arm's vast ecosystem to create the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence, accelerating innovation while expanding into large, high-growth markets. SoftBank will remain committed to Arm's long-term success through its ownership stake in NVIDIA, expected to be under 10 percent.

MediaTek Advances its 5G Platform with New T750 5G Chipset for Routers and Hotspots

MediaTek today announced its T750 5G chipset to power next generation 5G CPE wireless products, like fixed wireless access routers (FWA) and mobile hotspots, to bring fast 5G connectivity into homes, businesses and anyone on the go. The highly integrated, 7 nm compact chip design comes with an integrated 5G radio and quad-core Arm CPU. It's full-featured with all the essential functions and peripherals for device makers to build high performance consumer premise equipment products in the smallest form factors possible. The T750 is sampling now with potential customers.

"Pervasive high-speed broadband connectivity is becoming more important with the increase in connected devices and the surge of people working from home, taking online classes and using services like tele-health and video calling," said JC Hsu, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of MediaTek's wireless communications business unit. "We are extending our 5G leadership beyond the smartphone segment with the T750 chipset, opening up new markets for broadband operators and device makers, and helping consumers - no matter where they live - to experience all the advantages of 5G connectivity."

Arm Announces Cortex-R82: The First 64-bit Real Time Processor to Power the Future of Computational Storage

There is expected to be more than 79 zettabytes of IoT data in 2025, but the real value of this data is found in the insights it generates. The closer to the data source we can produce these insights the better, because of the improved security, latency and energy efficiency enabled. Computational storage is emerging as a critical piece of the data storage puzzle because it puts processing power directly on the storage device, giving companies secure, quick and easy access to vital information.

Our expertise and legacy in storage puts Arm in a strong position to address the changing needs of this market - with around 85% of hard disk drive controllers and solid-state drive controllers based on Arm, we are already a trusted partner for billions of storage devices. Today, we're announcing Arm Cortex-R82, our first 64-bit, Linux-capable Cortex-R processor designed to accelerate the development and deployment of next-generation enterprise and computational storage solutions.
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