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AMD, Samsung Partnership to See Variable Rate Shading, Ray Tracing on Exynos SoC

AMD at its Computex event shed some light on its IP partnership with Samsung. We already knew this was going to be a closer collaboration than most IP licensing deals, as AMD themselves announced this would be a semi-custom solution designed between both companies. AMD CEO Lisa Su described the technology to be embedded in the upcoming Samsung Exynos SoC as being based on RDNA2 - but this likely is just a marketing and clarity perspective on AMD's technology being implemented, since between the design of RDNA2 and the announcement of the Samsung partnership a lot of water has necessarily run under AMD's graphics IP bridge.

Lisa Su did however confirm that two key RDNA2 technologies will find their way into Samsung's Exynos: Variable Rate Shading (VRS) and Raytracing. This isn't he first time VRS has made an appearance on a mobile SoC - it's already been implemented by Qualcomm in the Adreno 660 GPU (part of the Snapdragon 888 SoC design). However, Raytracing does seem to be a first for the SoC market, and Samsung might just edge out competition in its time to market with this technology. more details will certainly be shared as we get closer to the fabled AMD-partnered Exynos release.

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.

Dialog Semiconductor Licenses its Non-Volatile ReRAM Technology to GLOBALFOUNDRIES for 22FDX Platform

DIALOG SEMICONDUCTOR, a leading provider of battery and power management, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and Industrial edge computing solutions and GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF ), the world's leading specialty foundry, today announced that they have entered into an agreement in which Dialog licenses its Conductive Bridging RAM (CBRAM) technology to GLOBALFOUNDRIES. The resistive ram (ReRAM)-based technology was pioneered by Adesto Technologies which was recently acquired by Dialog Semiconductor in 2020. GLOBALFOUNDRIES will first offer Dialog's CBRAM as an embedded, non-volatile memory (NVM) option on its 22FDX platform, with the plan to extend to other platforms.

Dialog's proprietary and production proven CBRAM technology is a low power NVM solution designed to enable a range of applications from IoT and 5G connectivity to artificial intelligence (AI). Low power consumption, high read/write speeds, reduced manufacturing costs and tolerance for harsh environments make CBRAM particularly suitable for consumer, medical, and select industrial and automotive applications. Furthermore, CBRAM technology enables cost-effective embedded NVM for advanced technology nodes required for products in these markets.

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.

Samsung Aims to Become Number One Android AP Vendor by Joining Forces with AMD and Arm

Samsung Electronics has reportedly laid out a plan to become the number one Android application processor (AP) vendor in the industry with its plan to join forces with AMD and Arm. The report of Business Korea indicates that Samsung wants to use both company's knowledge and IP to produce the best possible silicon. In early November of last year, Samsung has decided to shut down its division responsible for making custom CPU designs, and to start licensing IP from Arm. Also last year, Samsung has announced a strategic partnership with AMD to use its RDNA graphics processors in smartphones.

So Samsung plans to license IPs from both companies and just put them in SoC that will be up to the task to deliver the best performance, as the company predicts. The CPU is reportedly going to be based on Arm's Cortex-X custom design that should deliver high-performance Samsung wants. In the past, the company had some problems with the heat-management of its CPUs as they were designed a bit inefficiently. To cover everything, Samsung also plans to increase the number of employees working on a neural processing unit (NPU) and make a good performing NPUs as well, to combine with the rest of IPs.

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."

AMD Reports First Quarter 2020 Financial Results

AMD today announced revenue for the first quarter of 2020 of $1.79 billion, operating income of $177 million, net income of $162 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.14. On a non-GAAP* basis, operating income was $236 million, net income was $222 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.18.

"We executed well in the first quarter, navigating the challenging environment to deliver 40 percent year-over-year revenue growth and significant gross margin expansion driven by our Ryzen and EPYC processors," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "While we expect some uncertainty in the near-term demand environment, our financial foundation is solid and our strong product portfolio positions us well across a diverse set of resilient end markets. We remain focused on strong business execution while ensuring the safety of our employees and supporting our customers, partners and communities. Our strategy and long-term growth plans are unchanged."

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AMD Halts Further x86 Technology Licensing to China

AMD Lisa Su at Computex 2019 confirmed to Tom's hardware that the company wasn't licensing anymore of its x86 IP portfolio to China-based companies. AMD entered a technology license agreement with China's Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co. Ltd. (THATIC) in 2016. As part of the agreement to license its x86 and SoC IP for chip development, AMD received a cash infusion worth $293 million (plus royalties).

As a result, Chinese chipmaker Hygon started delivering their "Dhyana" CPUs, which looked like copies of AMD's Zen-based Epyc chips with added, Chinese-government approved cryptographic capabilities. AMD had to go through some hoops to get this deal done, but it did. However, now the technology refinement pipe is draining for the Chinese companies, as AMD won't be delivering its post-Zen updates to the core design. It remains to be seen if AMD's intellectual property was enough for Chinese companies to ignite their own in-country CPU development, or if the ongoing US-China trade war will keep on draining the company of CPU independence.
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