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Tachyum Shows Prodigy Running Existing x86, ARM, and RISC-V Software

Tachyum Inc. announced that its Prodigy Universal Processor has successfully completed software emulation testing across x86, ARM and RISC-V binary environments. This important milestone demonstrates that Prodigy will enable customers to run their legacy applications transparently at launch with better performance than any contemporary or future ARM or RISC-V processors. Coupled with hyperscale data center workhorse programs such as Hadoop, Apache and more, which Tachyum is recompiling to Prodigy native code, this capability will ensure that Prodigy customers can run a broad spectrum of applications, right out of the box. Tachyum customers consistently indicate that they would run 100% native applications within 9-18 months of transitioning to the Tachyum platform to exceed performance of the fastest Xeon processor. The emulation is to smoothly transition to native software for Tachyum Prodigy.

Arm Co-Founder Doesn't Think NVIDIA Owning the Company Would be in Its Best Interests

Arm co-founder Hermann Hauser recently gave an interview to BBC where he expressed some concerns regarding the prospective buy acquisition from NVIDIA, which has been in talks with Arm owner Softbank towards the IP-designer's acquisition. As Hauser puts it, "It's one of the fundamental assumptions of the ARM business model that it can sell to everybody," Hauser told BCC, "The one saving grace about Softbank was that it wasn't a chip company, and retained ARM neutrality. If it becomes part of Nvidia, most of the licensees are competitors of Nvidia, and will of course then look for an alternative to ARM."

Hauser doesn't think the NVIDIA deal will follow through due to these aspects of the chip design ecosystem, with many Arm clients - such as Intel, Apple, Qualcomm, TSMC, Samsung, among others - being direct or otherwise indirect competitors to NVIDIA. Hauser thinks that Arm would be much better served through a British government intervention in bringing the company back towards the British fold: "The great opportunity that the cash needs of Softbank presents is to bring ARM back home and take it public, with the support of the British government." The Softbank acquisition occurred back in 2016 and cost the company some $24 billion; however, recent estimates from New Street Research LLP placed Arm's valuation at USD $44 billion if its IPO took off in 2021, and as much as $68 billion by 2025.

Samsung Joins Arm Foray, Eyes Stakes Instead of Buyout

Samsung Electronics has joined the race to buy at least a slice of Arm Holdings from Japan's SoftBank, if not an all-out acquisition bid like the one from NVIDIA. According to a report by The Korea Times, As of now, the Korean semiconductor giant, which is also an Arm licensee like NVIDIA, is eying a tiny 3-5 percent take in Arm Holdings. A top industry official on condition of anonymity told the Korean paper, that Arm is likely to be acquired by a consortium of multiple companies from the semiconductor industry, given the complex shareholding pattern of Arm Holdings.

It is hence likely that NVIDIA's rival isn't directly Samsung, but rather an amorphous consortium that includes it. At the outset, Samsung's stake purchase could raise the valuation of Arm, making it that much more difficult for NVIDIA. The same official also comments on the uphill battle NVIDIA faces in its Arm bid, and doubted the company's financial prowess to pull something like this off. "NVIDIA won't become the sole suitor for Arm as the company needs to win approvals from fair trade authorities in countries that are doing business with the British company. I think it will be difficult for NVIDIA to gain approval from any of those authorities," he said.

NVIDIA in Advanced Talks to Acquire Arm from SoftBank

It was reported last week that NVIDIA is "interested" in acquiring UK chip-design firm Arm from Japan's SoftBank that holds a treasure chest of tech IP. Now Bloomberg reports that things are getting serious between NVIDIA and SoftBank, with the two reportedly engaged in "advanced talks" over the possible acquisition of Arm by NVIDIA. The graphics and scalar compute giant recently surpassed Intel in market capitalization.

With a few quick moves, NVIDIA stands a real chance of displacing Intel as makers of the world's most popular CPU machine architecture, driven mainly by smartphones, tablets, networking infrastructure, wearables, and IoT devices. The Arm architecture is also taking strides into the server space, and Apple recently decided to dump Intel x86 in favor of Arm-powered homebrew SoCs. Arm could cost NVIDIA an arm and a leg. New Street Research LLP estimated Arm's valuation at USD $44 billion if its IPO took off in 2021, and as much as $68 billion by 2025.

Arm China Goes Rogue, Ex-CEO Blocking the Business

Arm Ltd., owned by Softbank, has a division specially tailored for China, called Arm China. That division used to operate in Shenzen and it cooperated with Chinese customers. Today in a surprising turn of events, we have information that UK-based Arm Ltd. accuses Arm China ex-CEO of blocking its business, as the Chinese division goes rogue. The Arm China division used to have Mr. Allen Wu as its CEO, who was fired back in June. However, Mr. Wu has refused to cooperate and refused to step down from his position, remaining in control of the business without the consent of UK-based headquarters.

The situation has escalated to a point where Mr. Wu is "propagating false information and creating a culture of fear and confusion among Arm China employees," says Arm in a statement for Bloomberg. "Allen's focus on his own self-preservation has also put China semiconductor innovation at risk as he has attempted to block the critical communication and support our China partners require from Arm for ongoing and future chip designs." It is also said that Mr. Wu has refused to hold an event meant to connect Chinese chipmakers to Arm Ltd. He has hired personal security so no Arm Ltd. representatives can get to him. It is a waiting game to see how well Arm Ltd. can manage this situation, so we have to wait and see.

Samsung Electronics Announces Second Quarter 2020 Results

Samsung Electronics reported today KRW 52.97 trillion in consolidated revenue and KRW 8.15 trillion in operating profit for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020. Even as the spread of COVID-19 caused closures and slowdowns at stores and production sites around the world, the Company responded to challenges through its extensive global supply chain, while minimizing the impact of the pandemic by strengthening online sales channels and optimizing costs.

Quarterly operating profit rose 26 percent from the previous quarter and 23 percent from a year earlier, thanks to firm demand for memory chips and appliances, as well as a one-off gain at its Display Panel Business. A partial recovery in global demand since May also helped offset some COVID-19 effects, resulting in higher earnings than initially expected. Revenue in the quarter fell 4 percent from the previous quarter and 6 percent from a year earlier due to reduced sales of smartphones and other devices.

NVIDIA Interested in Acquiring Arm from SoftBank

The biggest tech news story from last week was Japan's SoftBank contemplating the sale of Arm, one of the hottest pieces of tech IP out there. Turns out, this has piqued NVIDIA's interest. The graphics and scalar compute giant recently surpassed Intel in market capitalization, and has the resources to pull off what could end up being the biggest tech acquisition in history. When it was acquired by SoftBank, Arm Holdings valued at $32 billion, and it's only conceivable that the firm's current valuation is significantly higher for SoftBank to dangle it out in the market. NVIDIA is already an Arm licensee, and following its acquisition of Mellanox, has stated intent to go big in the datacenter industry.

SoftBank Reportedly Considering Selling Arm Holdings

According to the report from The Wall Street Journal, we have obtained information that SoftBank, owner of Arm Holdings, is considering a future of Arm Holdings without SoftBank's ownership. The report is indicating that SoftBank can either sell its subsidiary or make it go to public with Initial Public Offering (IPO). If we recall, SoftBank has purchased Arm Holdings in 2016 for 32 billion USD, and the company is potentially worth much more today. Arm Holdings was established as a joint between Acorn Computers, Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.), and VLSI Technology. The news of SoftBank selling Arm Holdings is coming just after Apple decided to make a Mac based on Arm ISA.

The report from WSJ says that the market interest for such acquisition is unknown, so there is a big possibility that SoftBank will ultimately do nothing and just keep the company. My speculations could be that Apple may have an interest in the company since it is using its royalties and intellectual property. If such a thing happens Apple would be forced to sign a deal by antitrust regulators that force the company to continue offering to license the ISA. After all, Apple was one of the founding members of the joint venture. The possibility of that is of course very low. If another option such as IPO happens, the company would still be in ownership of SoftBank, it would just go to the public trading market.

TerraMaster Invites Developers To Create Their Own App

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products including network attached storage (NAS) devices, introduces the TerraMaster TOS APP Development Guide which allows independent developers to create apps that can run on the TerraMaster TOS. The TerraMaster TOS APP Development Guide provide developers a complete suite of tools and a suitable app development environment for creating applications. With this, TerraMaster can work hand-in-hand with developers that will help grow the TerraMaster TOS into a more robust and feature-packed storage ecosystem that will benefit all TerraMaster NAS users.

Developers are given the liberty to develop any application that will fit their needs. Developers can list the developed app on the TerraMaster TOS for other end users to use. Likewise, developers can also charge users for their apps. TerraMaster outlines a simple process for the app development below.

Basemark GPU will be the first benchmark for Apple Silicon based Macs

On Monday 22nd of June Apple announced Mac transition to Apple Silicon. Even though this transition was quite expected, the industry got very excited upon the announcement. Apple released quite a lot of information about their plans, but one key question remained unanswered: how fast are Apple's new ARM based Mac chips?

Apple said people should expect pure performance in one category in particular - graphical performance. What is the performance difference over the Intel integrated graphics that ship in a new MacBook Air? There is no public information available about it.
Basemark Benchmark Apple Silion

Microsoft Ports OpenJDK to Windows on Arm

Microsoft has a goal to nurture the Windows on Arm (WoA) ecosystem and give new adopters the best possible experience. Today, Microsoft made an important announcement. The OpenJDK, an open-source implementation of the Java platform, is coming to the WoA project. Why this is so important you might question yourself? Well, the OpenJDK enables plenty of Java applications to run, so with this, Microsoft is giving WoA users a whole set of new supported applications. Take for example Minecraft Java edition. Now you can run that as well thanks to the new port. This shows commitment to the Arm platform by Microsoft and strong will to not abandon it.
Minecraft Java edition

Intel Gives its First Comments on Apple's Departure from x86

Apple on Monday formalized the beginning of its departure from Intel x86 machine architecture for its Mac computers. Apple makes up to 4 percent of Intel's annual CPU sales, according to a MarketWatch report. Apple is now scaling up its own A-series SoCs that use Arm CPU cores, up to performance levels relevant to Macs, and has implemented support for not just new and upcoming software ported to the new Arm machine architecture, but also software over form the iOS and iPadOS ecosystems on Mac, starting with its MacOS "Big Sur" operating system. We reached out to Intel for some of its first comments on the development.

In a comment to TechPowerUp, an Intel spokesperson said "Apple is a customer across several areas of our business, and we will continue to support them. Intel remains focused on delivering the most advanced PC experiences and a wide range of technology choices that redefine computing. We believe Intel-powered PCs—like those based on our forthcoming Tiger Lake mobile platform—provide global customers the best experience in the areas they value most, as well as the most open platform for developers, both today and into the future."

Ampere Altra Family of Cloud Native Arm Processors expands to 128 cores with Altra Max

Ampere today announced further roadmap details of its Ampere Altra server processor family. In March the company announced Ampere Altra, the world's first cloud native processor, featuring 80 cores. Today, Ampere unveiled preliminary details of the expansion of the cloud-native processor family by adding Ampere Altra Max, which has 128 cores, providing customers with another cloud-optimized processor to maximize overall performance and cores-per-rack density.

Ampere Altra Max is ideal for applications that take advantage of scale-out and elastic cloud architectures. Compatible with the 80-core Ampere Altra and also supporting 2-socket platforms, Ampere Altra Max offers the industry's highest socket-level performance and I/O scalability. It will be sampling in the fourth quarter and additional details will be provided later this year.
Ampere Altra Processor

Apple announces Mac transition to Apple silicon

In a historic day for the Mac, Apple today announced it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Developers can now get started updating their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple silicon in the Mac. This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem.

Apple today also introduced macOS Big Sur, the next major release of macOS, which delivers its biggest update in more than a decade and includes technologies that will ensure a smooth and seamless transition to Apple silicon. Developers can easily convert their existing apps to run on Apple silicon, taking advantage of its powerful technologies and performance. And for the first time, developers can make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.

Arm CPUs Impacted by Straight-Line Speculation (SLS) Vulnerability

When Spectre and Meltdown were discovered, the whole industry got on its legs and started to question CPU security more seriously. There are a plethora of attacks that exploit the CPU function called branch prediction, which predicts paths of code execution so it can ready them and execute them faster. This approach is one part of the microarchitectural techniques used to add performance to the CPU design. However, nothing comes without a cost. Despite adding more performance, the branch prediction had taken a toll on the security of CPUs, making them vulnerable to side-channel attacks. Spectre and Meltdown where both discovered in 2018 and they impact millions of CPUs around the world.

Today, a new side-channel vulnerability was discovered, and on Arm CPUs. Called the Straight-Line Speculation (SLS), the speculation bug is haunting all of Arm Armv-A based processors. This represents a wide range of devices being powered by these CPUs, so Arm is taking action to prevent it. The way SLS works is that whenever there is a change in instruction flow, the CPU just starts processing instructions found linearly in memory, instead of changing the path of flow. This action is resulting in a new SLS vulnerability marked as CVE-2020-13844. The vulnerability was discovered by Google SafeSide project last year and they have reported it to Arm. In the meantime, Arm was working on a fix and they already send them upstream to important operating systems and firmware suppliers so it can be resolved. Arm says that the chances of this attack are low, however, they can not be dismissed.
Arm CPU

AMD "Ryzen C7" Smartphone SoC Specifications Listed

Last year Samsung and AMD announced their collaboration which promises to deliver smartphone chips with AMD RDNA 2 graphics at its heart. This collaboration is set to deliver first products sometime at the beginning of 2021 when Samsung will likely utilize new SoCs in their smartphones. In previous leaks, we have found that the GPU inside this processor is reportedly beating the competition form Qualcomm, where the AMD GPU was compared to Adreno 650. However, today we have obtained more information about the new SoC which is reportedly called "Ryzen C7" smartphone SoC. A new submission to a mobile phone leaks website called Slash Leaks has revealed a lot of new details to us.

The SoC looks like a beast. Manufactured on TSMC 5 nm process, it features two Gaugin Pro cores based on recently announced Arm Cortex-X1, two Gaugin cores based on Arm Cortex-A78, and four cores based on Arm Cortex-A55. This configuration represents a standard big.LITTLE CPU typical for smartphones. Two of the Cortex-X1 cores run at 3 GHz, two of Cortex-A78 run at 2.6 GHz, while four little cores are clocked at 2 GHz frequency. The GPU inside this piece of silicon is what is amazing. It features four cores of custom RDNA 2 based designs that are clocked at 700 MHz. These are reported to beat the Adreno 650 by 45% in performance measurements.

Arm Announces new IP Portfolio with Cortex-A78 CPU

During this unprecedented global health crisis, we have experienced rapid societal changes in how we interact with and rely on technology to connect, aid, and support us. As a result of this we are increasingly living our lives on our smartphones, which have been essential in helping feed our families through application-based grocery or meal delivery services, as well as virtually seeing our colleagues and loved ones daily. Without question, our Arm-based smartphones are the computing hub of our lives.

However, even before this increased reliance on our smartphones, there was already growing interest among users to explore the limits of what is possible. The combination of these factors with the convergence of 5G and AI, are generating greater demand for more performance and efficiency in the palm of our hands.
Arm Cortex-A78

MediaTek Unveils Dimensity 820 5G AI-ready SoC

MediaTek today announced the Dimensity 820 system-on-chip (SoC) which is optimized for premium user experiences. The Dimensity 820 delivers ultra-fast 5G speeds, and is feature-packed with MediaTek's latest multimedia, AI and imaging innovations.

"Our Dimensity 1000 is already powering impressive flagship 5G devices in a number of markets. With the new Dimensity 820, we're now making 5G much more accessible," said Dr. Yenchi Lee, Assistant General Manager of MediaTek's Wireless Communications Business Unit. "The Dimensity 820 stands out beyond competitors by offering four high-performance Arm Cortex-A76 cores at 2.60 GHz within its octa-core CPU, delivering superb performance and responsiveness, among its incredible AI, gaming and photography experiences."

Fujitsu Completes Delivery of Fugaku Supercomputer

Fujitsu has today officially completed the delivery of the Fugaku supercomputer to the Riken scientific research institute of Japan. This is a big accomplishment as the current COVID-19 pandemic has delayed many happenings in the industry. However, Fujitsu managed to play around that and deliver the supercomputer on time. The last of 400 racks needed for the Fugaku supercomputer was delivered today, on May 13th, as it was originally planned. The supercomputer is supposed to be fully operational starting on the physical year of 2021, where the installation and setup will be done before.

As a reminder, the Fugaku is an Arm-based supercomputer consisting out of 150 thousand A64FX CPUs. These CPUs are custom made processors by Fujitsu based on Arm v8.2 ISA, and they feature 48 cores built on TSMC 7 nm node and running above 2 GHz. Packing 8.786 billion transistors, this monster chips use HBM2 memory instead of a regular DDR memory interface. Recently, a prototype of the Fugaku supercomputer was submitted to the Top500 supercomputer list and it came on top for being the most energy-efficient of all, meaning that it will be as energy efficient as it will be fast. Speculations are that it will have around 400 PetaFlops of general compute power for Dual-Precision workloads, however, for the specific artificial intelligence applications, it should achieve ExaFLOP performance target.
K SuperComputer

Intel Apparently Reserving 28 W Ice Lake Mobile Chips for Apple, Removes Entries from ARK

The idea of an ARK is to preserve that which enters it; however, the legend on the basis of arks and their concept must've slipped Intel's internal memos. The company has de-listed a previously detailed Ice Lake mobile CPU from its database - the Core i7-1068G7 - which was a 28 W part available for system integrators to build machines around. That part was special, because it was - then - the only 28 W part listed for mobile Ice Lake, with the rest of the CPU lineup having configurable TDPs between 12 W and 25 W - thus having a lesser maximum theoretical performance due to reduced TDP.

In its stead, Intel has entered a new, Core i7-1068NG7 (yes, the same naming with an extra N), which places this as an Apple-exclusive CPU, according to the folks over at Notebookcheck. Besides this entry, Intel has also listed the i5-1038NG7, which also features a 28 W TDP that's higher than the other available CPUs for other system integrators. If this is true, then Intel is reserving its cream-of-the-crop CPUs for Apple. Since the California-based company wouldn't be using parts with worse thermal and power consumption figures than what's available for others, the only answer to how these products came to being is that they are binned CPUs with better than average characteristics. Intel could be doing this to keep Apple happy even as the California-based company is well on its way to eschew its dependence on x86 with a fully internally-developed ARM CPU.

Arm Offers Startups Zero-cost Access to its IP Portfolio

Arm today announced the launch of Arm Flexible Access for Startups, an extension of its already highly successful Flexible Access program. This new initiative offers early-stage silicon startups zero-cost access to a huge range of Arm's leading IP, along with global support and training resources, enabling them to start on their journey to commercial silicon and business scale.

"In today's challenging business landscape, enabling innovation is critical - now more than ever, startups with brilliant ideas need the fastest, most trusted route to success and scale," said Dipti Vachani, senior vice president and general manager, Automotive and IoT Line of Business, Arm. "Arm Flexible Access for Startups offers new silicon entrants a faster, more cost-efficient path to working prototypes, resulting in strengthened investor confidence for future funding."
Arm Chip

Newbie Ventilator Manufacturers Turn to Raspberry Pi as the Brains of Their Life-saving Devices

The unprecedented demand for ventilators in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, has pushed many firms from various industries to re-tool their production-lines to make them. A big chunk of these makeshift ventilator manufacturers are from the automobile and aerospace industries. A ventilator isn't as simple a device as it sounds. It's not a mechanized ambu bag. It is an intelligent device that assists in respiration by precisely combining oxygen and ambient air specific to the patient's needs, and assists them in expiration. This requires a microprocessor-based control. Established biomedical equipment manufacturers use their own ASIC-based electronics for their ventilators; but the likes of General Motors don't have time to develop custom electronics. Enter the immensely versatile Raspberry Pi.

By leveraging Arm-based SBCs (single-board computers) such as Raspberry Pi, with its plethora of modern- and legacy I/O options, makeshift ventilator manufacturers are able to quickly design functional devices. All they have to do is write code for it. Even the cheapest $5 Pi Zero board with its GPIO interface suffices to run embedded Linux and code that runs the ventilator's hardware. Eben Upton, CEO and Founder of Raspberry Pi, says that demand for the Pi Zero is at an all-time high. The company manufactured over 192,000 units of the SBC in Q1-2020, and plans to scale up production to 250,000 per quarter, going forward. The Pi Zero features a Broadcom BCM2835 single-core Arm SoC and 512 MB of RAM, with a microSD slot for storage. That's plenty of brains to run a ventilator and save lives.
Raspberry Pi Zero

x86 Lacks Innovation, Arm is Catching up. Enough to Replace the Giant?

Intel's x86 processor architecture has been the dominant CPU instruction set for many decades, since IBM decided to put the Intel 8086 microprocessor into its first Personal Computer. Later, in 2006, Apple decided to replace their PowerPC based processors in Macintosh computers with Intel chips, too. This was the time when x86 became the only option for the masses to use and develop all their software on. While mobile phones and embedded devices are mostly Arm today, it is clear that x86 is still the dominant ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) for desktop computers today, with both Intel and AMD producing processors for it. Those processors are going inside millions of PCs that are used every day. Today I would like to share my thoughts on the demise of the x86 platform and how it might vanish in favor of the RISC-based Arm architecture.

Both AMD and Intel as producer, and millions of companies as consumer, have invested heavily in the x86 architecture, so why would x86 ever go extinct if "it just works"? The answer is that it doesn't just work.

Apple ARM Based MacBooks and iMacs to come in 2021

Apple has been working on replacing Intel CPUs in its lineup of products for a while now, and the first batch of products to feature the new Arm-based CPUs should be coming soon. Having a completely custom CPU inside it's MacBook or an iMac device will allow Apple to overtake control of the performance and security of those devices, just like they did with their iPhone models. Apple has proved that its custom-built CPUs based on Arm Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) can be very powerful and match Intel's best offerings, all while being much more efficient with a TDP of only a few Watts.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple has started an "aggressive processor replacement strategy", which should give some results by the end of 2020, around Q4, or the beginning of 2021 when the first quarter arrives. According to Kuo, the approach of doing in-house design will result in not only tighter control of the system, but rather a financial benefit, as the custom processor will be 40% to 60% cheaper compared to current Intel CPU prices.
Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro

Marvell Announces OCTEON TX2 Family of Multi-Core Infrastructure Processors

Marvell today announced OCTEON TX2, the latest family of infrastructure processors targeting a wide variety of wired and wireless networking equipment including switches, routers, secure gateways, firewall, network monitoring, 5G base stations, and smart network interface controllers (NICs). Massive increases in data traffic coupled with escalating requirements for end-to-end security are intensifying the need for highly scalable compute platforms with integrated workload-optimized hardware accelerators to meet performance, power and total cost of ownership requirements. Building on five generations of the industry's most scalable and widely adopted infrastructure processor platform, the OCTEON TX2 family is enabled by a broad software ecosystem including a feature-rich software development kit (SDK) and virtualization support, delivering a unique combination of performance and programmability. The OCTEON TX2 portfolio extends Marvell's industry-leading performance and scalability, delivering a 2.5x improvement over the previous generation and scaling up to 200 Gbps of packet processing throughput.
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