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FTC Sues to Block $40 Billion Semiconductor NVIDIA and Arm Chip Merger

The Federal Trade Commission today sued to block U.S. chip supplier Nvidia Corp.'s $40 billion acquisition of U.K. chip design provider Arm Ltd. Semiconductor chips power the computers and technologies that are essential to our modern economy and society. The proposed vertical deal would give one of the largest chip companies control over the computing technology and designs that rival firms rely on to develop their own competing chips. The FTC's complaint alleges that the combined firm would have the means and incentive to stifle innovative next-generation technologies, including those used to run datacenters and driver-assistance systems in cars.

"The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies," said FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova. "Tomorrow's technologies depend on preserving today's competitive, cutting-edge chip markets. This proposed deal would distort Arm's incentives in chip markets and allow the combined firm to unfairly undermine Nvidia's rivals. The FTC's lawsuit should send a strong signal that we will act aggressively to protect our critical infrastructure markets from illegal vertical mergers that have far-reaching and damaging effects on future innovations."

UK Competition Regulator Greenlights AMD's Xilinx Acquisition

AMD's ambitious acquisition of Xilinx, makers of cutting-edge FPGAs, has been approved by the UK Competition and Markets Authority. This would go down as AMD's biggest tech acquisition, as the company is forking out USD $35 billion in stock. If it goes through, the AMD-Xilinix combine will see current AMD shareholders own 74% of the company, and current Xilinx shareholders with the other 26%. Both companies announced in April 2021 that their shareholders "overwhelmingly" approved of the deal. The Xilinx buyout by AMD isn't too far behind in terms of value, to NVIDIA's ambitious $40 billion bid to acquire Arm Holdings.
Many Thanks to DeathtoGnomes for the tip

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.

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.

Intel CFO Talks About 7nm Rollout, Delay in 10nm, Increased Competition from AMD

Intel CFO George Davis in an interview with Barron's commented on the company's financial health, and some of the reasons behind its rather conservative gross margin guidance looking forward to at least 2023. Intel's current product stack is moving on to the company's 10 nm silicon fabrication process in a phased manner. The company is allocating 10 nm to mobile processors and enterprise processors, while brazening it out with 14 nm on the client-desktop and HEDT platforms until they can build 10 nm desktop parts. AMD has deployed its high-IPC "Zen 2" microarchitecture on TSMC's 7 nm DUV process, with plans to go EUV in the coming months.

"We're still keenly focused on gross margin. Everything from capital efficiency to the way we're designing our products. What we've said though, the delay in 10 nanometer means that we're going to be a little bit disadvantaged on unit cost for a period of time. We actually gave guidance for gross margin out in 2021 to help people understand. 2023 is the period that we were ultimately guiding [when] we're going to see very strong revenue growth and margin expansion. We've got to get through this period where we have the 10 nanometer being a little bit late [as] we're not optimized on a node that we're on. But [by] then we're moving to a two to two and a half year cadence on the next nodes. So we're pulling in the spending on 7 nanometer, which will start up in the second half of 2021 because we think it's the right thing to do competitively," he said.

A Christmas Gift: Intel Accuses Qualcomm of Stifling Competition

An Intel Newsroom post penned by the company's Steven Rodgers takes a stab at Qualcomm over their patent litigation cases. Titled "Qualcomm's Patent Litigation Campaign isn't Really about Vindicating Intellectual Property Rights", Rodgers cites the number of times Qualcomm has been fined by various authorities around the world, "nearly a billion dollars in China, $850 million in Korea, $1.2 billion by the European Commission and $773 million in Taiwan (later reduced in a settlement) for anti-competitive practices." Citing consequences such as reduced innovation and raised prices for consumers, Intel calls out Qualcomm in that its goal isn't to "vindicate its intellectual property rights, but rather to drive competition out of the market for premium modem chips, and to defend a business model that ultimately harms consumers."

Now, the collective hardware enthusiast memory isn't one to be trifled with, so I will leave it to you to figure out exactly where the irony is in these accusations. Of course, bad history on a company's part doesn't preclude any responsibility from any other company that is currently employing anti-competitive tactics that do, ultimately, stifle innovation and increase prices for consumers. As some Portuguese humorists would say, "one thing is one thing, another thing is another thing". But I'd say, jibbing my way through this, that it takes one to know one.

TechPowerUp Processor Survey Results: The Ryzen Effect is Real

Late May 2018, TechPowerUp started a front-page poll asking people which processor they use. 37 days and 16,140 responses later, we have a general idea of where the desktop processor market stands among our readers (predominantly PC gamers and enthusiasts). The top-two responses to our survey were 4th generation Core "Haswell," followed by the preceding two generations ("Ivy Bridge" and "Sandy Bridge"). This speaks volumes as to the hole Intel dug itself into, due to lack of competition from AMD. Processors that are 4-7 years old still run today's gaming PCs, and don't bottleneck today's games, as long as graphics cards keep getting faster (where there has been relatively more competition than the CPU market).

Despite being newer, fewer respondents use 6th generation "Skylake" and 7th generation "Kaby Lake" processors than older generations, because those on something like 4th generation "Haswell" or even "Ivy Bridge," don't see the value in upgrading. But then something changed in 2017 - AMD became competitive again, and forced an increase in CPU core counts across the segment. AMD's Ryzen processor family, including both its 1st and 2nd generations, are better received in the market than Intel's competing 8th generation "Coffee Lake" and 7th generation "Kaby Lake." The data stands to validate the "Ryzen effect," the idea that the introduction of Ryzen disrupted Intel's near-monopoly, increased core-counts, and brought innovation back to the segment.

Valve Fined by Australian Federal Court for Not Offering Refunds

Valve Software, which through its Steam platform sells and supports games and software on behalf of other game publishers, has been fined AU $3 million by an Australian Federal Court for "misleading consumers," and for not conducting commerce in line with the local consumer protection norms, which guarantee Australian consumers a host of remedies that include refunds, if a product or service purchased doesn't live up to its marketed standards.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) in 2014 pulled up Valve for not offering a satisfactory refunds system to Australian consumers. The case, heard by a Federal Court, after two appeals by Valve against penalties, ordered Valve to pay up AU $3 million in fine, and set up a consumer-satisfaction system in line with Australian Consumer Law. As a private company (not listed on any stock exchange), Valve is not obligated to reveal its net-worth, which was estimated by the press in various points in time. It was valued at USD $3 billion in 2012. Its founder Gabe Newell has an estimated net-worth of $5.5 billion, according to a Forbes report.

European Commission Fines Google in €2.42 billion for Antitrust Violations

Another year, another European Commission fine for an antitrust violation. This time, the target of the fine is none other than Google. In what could be the most important antitrust ruling in recent years (which overshadows even Microsoft's 2004 browser fine), the EC has found that Google has systematically worked towards increasing prominence in search results to those displayed by the company's own comparison shopping service, dubbed "Google Shopping". "Google Shopping" started in 2004, when Google entered the comparison shopping market in Europe, with a product that was initially called "Froogle", renamed "Google Product Search" in 2008 and since 2013 has been called "Google Shopping".

However, it would seem that Froogle wasn't all that successful. When Google entered the comparison shopping markets with Froogle, there were already a number of established players, which dampened the company's market foray. The EC states that Google was aware that Froogle's market performance was relatively poor, pointing to one internal document from 2006 that stated, quite plainly, that "Froogle simply doesn't work".

G.SKILL Announces 2nd Annual "OC World Cup 2015" Overclocking Competition

G.SKILL International Enterprises Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and solid state storage, proudly announces the 2nd annual "OC World Cup 2015" overclocking competition. This year, as a contribution to the overclocking community and to dedicated extreme overclockers worldwide, G.SKILL is raising the total cash prize to a staggering $16,200 USD. Following the tradition of the event, the Champion of the OC World Cup 2015 will receive a cash prize of $10,000 USD.

The OC World Cup 2015 is split into three rounds: Online Qualifier, Live Qualifier, and Grand Final. Live Qualifier and Grand Final will be held live at the G.SKILL booth during Computex 2015.

Kingston Technology to Hold Dota 2 Competition, Overclocking Finals at CES 2014

Kingston Technology Company Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced it will hold the live finals for its Dota 2 and overclocking global contest during the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nev. In addition, Kingston will showcase exciting new products and technologies coming this year.

Dota 2 is a competitive game of action and strategy, played both professionally and casually by millions of passionate fans worldwide. The HyperX Dota 2 League tournament began online last October with 16 professional gaming teams from around the world. The four finalists are: Alliance from Sweden, LGD Gaming, Vici Gaming from China, and Fnatic from Europe. The four teams will battle live for $50,000 (USD) in prize money.

TechPowerUp HWBOT Competition 2013

The TechPowerUp HWBOT team, in partnership with Intel, is announcing the TechPowerUp HWBOT Competition 2013. Spread across three tests which anyone can participate in - 3DMark 2001, 3DMark 03, and SuperPi 32M, the competition gives you the chance to win some cool new gear, including a Core i7-4770K quad-core processor, an AMD CPU and motherboard combo, and a PayPal cash prize. The contest is open from November 1, 2013 to December 15, 2013.

For more information, visit this page.

ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ Sets New World Records in CPU-Z and 3DMark11

The world's leading motherboard brand ASRock announced the winner list of FM2 A10 OC COMPETITION with HWBOT, sponsored by AMD, PowerColor, ADATA, and Thermaltake today. CherV, the overclocker from Hong Kong, broke the world record of CPU-Z once again and achieved the highest 3DMark11 Performance with ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ and AMD A10-6800K CPU.

The final champion of CPU-Z and 3DMark11 Performance, CherV, achieved an all-time high CPU-Z score of 8520.22 MHz and highest 3DMark11 Performance score of P 3177 with ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+. With the amazing result, the final champion won the prizes worth over $5,000 USD, bonus prize of $2,000 USD, and extra $2,000 USD for breaking world records in 2 overclocking benchmarks.

ASRock Z87 OC Formula Achieves Highest CPU Frequency Record on Haswell Platform

The world's leading motherboard brand ASRock today announced the winner list of the 8 Series OC Competition with HWBOT, sponsored by Intel, Kingston, Antec, Nvidia and Gainward. Two contestants broke the record for the highest Haswell CPU frequency and both crossed the threshold of 7.1GHz, which is also the only two in the world to exceeded 7.1GHz for the time being. The final champion of CPU-Z, Dfordog (China) reached an all-time high CPU-Z score of 7.13609 GHz with ASRock Z87 OC Formula and Intel Core i7 4770K Haswell CPU and won the bonus prize of USD1,000.

Besides the incredible result in the CPU-Z category, the final champion of memory clock CherV (Hong Kong) created a stunning score of 2155.7 MHz which ranks second on the worldwide memory frequency chart. The contest successfully generated awesome OC results with ASRock 8 series motherboards: Five scores entering the top 10 Haswell CPU frequency scores, two scores entering the HWBOT Super Pi 32M Hall of Fame and three scores entering the HWBOT Memory Clock Hall of Fame. The final and bi-weekly champions either utilized ASRock Z87 OC Formula or Z87M OC Formula, which strongly corroborates the power of Z87 OC Formula Series, regardless the form factor.

ASRock Kicks off FM2 OC Competition

Global leading motherboard brand ASRock announced today to organize ASRock FM2 OC Competition with HWBOT, the top organization hosting the world's only 24/7 overclocking competition to bring together 35,000 participants and feature competitions in thousands of categories. The participants will be competing for the highest CPU-Z or 3DMark Vantage score which is submitted to HWBOT.org.

The contest, sponsored by several prestigious brands including AMD, Kingston and Cooler Master, starts from January 7 and runs until February 4. It is opened to all overclockers with ASRock brand motherboards and AMD Socket FM2 CPUs. The total prize is worth up to 6,740 dollars and the final champions of the CPU-Z and 3DMark Vantage event will be awarded with a top prize worth of 2,170 dollars respectively. The grand prize makes it one of the most eye-catching online OC competitions on FM2 platforms, which is estimated to attract enthusiastic overclockers worldwide.

Club 3D Announces its Own Set of Game Bundles for GeForce and Radeon

Club 3D offers a wide range of graphic cards. But which one will you choose ? Perhaps the games which you will get when purchasing your graphic card will help you decide. This page summarizes the games that are available with Club 3D's graphic card line. The page is divided into three sections. The first section,"The games", will lead you through the available games, and will point to the graphic cards that have this game included in the bundle. The second section, "the graphic cards and the bundles", starts with the graphic cards and will point out which game or even multiple games that are included, and the third section identifies the software that is included with which graphic cards.

k|ngp|n and EVGA Eclipse the Competition in a Storming LN2 World Record Session

Vince "k|ngp|n" Lucido is one of the world's most well known Overclockers today. So in October 2012, EVGA put his skills to the test and challenged him to crush the competition and sweep the board for 3DMark 11 scores. Armed with an assortment of EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Classified, EVGA X79 Classified Motherboard, EVGA SuperNOVA NEX1500 Classified power supplies, and enough Liquid Nitrogen to turn Taipei into a deep freeze; Vince was able to smash three brand new 3DMark 11 World Records*. In fact, EVGA along with k|ngp|n were the first to reach over 17,000 points on a single graphics card!

World Records:
  • 3DMark 11 Performance (Single Card) - P17,047
  • 3DMark 11 Performance (2-Way SLI) - P25,380
  • 3DMark 11 Extreme (4-Way SLI) - X17,384

FXI Cottoncandy Faces Real Competition in $74 MK802 ICS PC on Stick

For those waiting for the $200 FXI Cottoncandy Android-driven PC on stick with no concrete availability in sight, its competitor already took shape. Discovered on trading and B2B portal AliExpress (from Alibaba), the MK802 is an Android 4.0 PC on a stick, which is priced at US $74 a pop ($70 a piece in >5 quantities). Measuring 88 x 35 x 12 mm, and weighing less than 200 g, the device is powered by a 1.50 GHz AllWinner single-core ARM SoC.

Compared to the Cottoncandy, there are a few things you'd have to do without. To begin with, the MK802 doesn't have an HDMI standard connector sticking out, which lets you plug it directly to TVs, instead it has a mini-HDMI port, so you'd need an HDMI cable. The device packs 4 GB of storage, which can be expanded by a microSD. Connectivity includes one full-size USB 2.0 ports, a mini-USB, with USB host support; and 802.11 b/g WLAN, which makes it an ideal internet-TV device.

G.Skill Hosts Extreme Overclocking Competition with HWBOT, in May

Following the release of its new extreme DDR3 lineup, TridentX, G.SKILL is thrilled to host an extreme overclocking contest at HWBOT, the widely recognized authority in the field of overclocking. The G.SKILL CUP OC competition will start May 1st and run until May 30th and consists of three different stages with 14 G.SKILL Memory kits offered to the winners. For more detail, please refer to the event page.

MSI Overclocking Competition Won By the Favourites, Real Money Handed Out As Prize

Well, this is good news for PC enthusiasts. PC overclocking has become a competitive sport in recent years with various brands hosting the competitions and others also chipping in with sponsorship money. This year's event was the fourth annual MSI Master Overclocking Arena competition held in Taipei, Taiwan, with sponsorship money coming from the likes of Intel and Kingston among others. Basic competition info: sixteen teams worldwide; benchmarks used were Super PI 32M, 3DMark 11 and surprisingly, the ancient 3DMark 2001SE but it's not clear why such an old benchmark is being used; the components used are given to contestants based on a lottery system, the team picking a number corresponding to either a CPU or a complete rig. This prevents contestants from having an unfair advantage by bringing in their own heavily modified kit to press home an advantage. Imagine how much more potent a modded motherboard with beefed up voltage regulators could be? Turned out that the favourites, previous winners Romania, won the competition. The prize money was only $3000, which is paltry compared to mainstream sports, but remember that this overclocking "sport" is still very new and is very niche in nature, so isn't so unreasonable when viewed in that light. Head on over to VR-Zone for more competition details and photos.

AMD Releases Catalyst 11.9 WHQL

Here's the latest Radeon Catalyst driver suite for all you Radeon graphics card fans! It has one major new feature:
Enables AMD HD 3D technology support on DisplayPort panels, such as the Samsung 750 and 950 series 3D displays
which sounds very cool and is begging to be reviewed and benchmarked, plus quite a few fixes:

Heads Roll in Lords of Overclocking Competition Cheating Scandal

Over the last week, the enthusiast community witnessed high drama as some world-renowned overclockers were disqualified from the MSI Lords of Overclocking online competition for engaging in malpractice. Futuremark noticed that some validation entries from top scoring candidates originated from the same setup, confirmed from consistency in Futuremark product key and PCI devices. Top three position-holders at the LoOC competition admitted to using scores generated by a third person, AndreYang. Hiwa, eXtremetweaker.de, KJ and Skinnee were named as disqualified candidates.

What happened next could come as a surprise to some. Major overclocking communities banned these individuals, some permanently, with enthusiast charts aggregator HWBOT handing out a 1 year ban to each of them (although HWBOT wasn't involved in that competition), and XtremeSystems.org issuing lifetime bans. Even as some question the motives behind Andre sharing scores with four people at the same time, the candidates deny that Andre had any intention to profit from it, other than just helping.

EU Slaps Chip Vendors with Penalties for Price-Fixing

As many as nine major chip vendors were fined a total of 331 million Euros (US $404.2 million) for participating in illegal price-fixing activities, by the European Union authorities. These include Samsung, Hynix, Nanya, Elpida, Infineon, NEC, Toshiba, Hitachi, and Mitsubishi. A 10th company in this price-fixing cartel was Micron Technology, which escaped the fine for exposing the malpractice to the EU authorities. Of these Samsung was given the single biggest fine of 146 million Euros, followed by Infineon at 57 million Euros. The fines were reduced by 10% because all companies extended cooperation in the investigations.

The price-fixing cartel mostly involved bad trade of DRAM chips, and was active between 1998 and 2002, operating with a network of contacts which secretly exchanged pricing information. They colluded to fix prices of DRAM chips sold to major PC and server manufacturers. Investigations in the scam began in 2002 when Micron blew the whistle on the cartel. "By acknowledging their participation in a cartel the companies have allowed the Commission to bring this long-running investigation to a close and to free up resources to investigate other suspected cartels," said EU's Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia. "As the procedure is applied to new cases it is expected to speed up investigations significantly," he added.

Futuremark Announces World’s Largest PC Overclocking Competition

Futuremark Corporation today announced a new competition for PC overclockers everywhere. The contest will see game, DIY, and overclocking enthusiasts from Europe, Asia and the Americas competing for the "Lord of Overclocking" title for their region. With Futuremark anticipating over 200,000 entries the online contest will be the largest overclocking competition ever staged.
Competition Home Page

The contest will run from May 18th to June 14th with prizes on offer for the top weekly and overall winners in each region. Furthermore one overall top winner will also be invited to attend the MSI Master Overclocking Arena 2009 event in Beijing, China in September 2009.

Statement by Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini on EC Ruling

Paul Otellini, Intel Corporation president and CEO today issued the following statement regarding the European Commission decision on Intel's business practices:

"Intel takes strong exception to this decision. We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace - characterized by constant innovation, improved product performance and lower prices. There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers. Intel will appeal."
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