Apple Announces M1 Ultra: Combining Two M1 Maxes For Workstation Performance

As part of Apple’s spring “Peek Performance” product event this morning, Apple unveiled the fourth and final member of the M1 family of Apple Silicon SoCs, the M1 Ultra. Aimed squarely at desktops – specifically, Apple’s …

As part of Apple’s spring “Peek Performance” product event this morning, Apple unveiled the fourth and final member of the M1 family of Apple Silicon SoCs, the M1 Ultra. Aimed squarely at desktops – specifically, Apple’s new Mac Studio – the M1 Ultra finds Apple once again upping the ante in terms of SoC performance for both CPU and GPU workloads. And in the process, Apple has thrown the industry a fresh curveball by not just combining two M1 Max dies into a single chip package, but by making the two dies present themselves as a single, monolithic GPU, marking yet another first for the chipmaking industry.

Back when Apple announced the M1 Pro and the already ridiculously powerful M1 Max last fall, we figured Apple was done with M1 chips. After all, how would you even top a single 432mm2 chip that’s already pushing the limits of manufacturability on TSMC’s N5 process? Well, as the answer turns out to be, Apple can do one better. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say twice as better. As for the company’s final and ultimate M1 chip design, the M1 Ultra, Apple has bonded two M1 Max dies together on to a single chip, with all of the performance benefits doubling their hardware would entail.

The net result is a chip that, without a doubt, manages to be one of the most interesting designs I’ve ever seen for a consumer SoC. As we’ll touch upon in our analysis, the M1 Ultra is not quite like any other consumer chip currently on the market. And while double die strategy benefits sprawling multi-threaded CPU and GPU workloads far more than it does more single-threaded tasks – an area where Apple is already starting to fall behind – in the process they re breaking new ground on the GPU front. By enabling the M1 Ultra’s two dies to transparently present themselves as a single GPU, Apple has kicked off a new technology race for placing multi-die GPUs in high-end consumer and workstation hardware.

NVIDIA-Arm Acquisition Officially Nixed, SoftBank to IPO Arm Instead

NVIDIA’s year-and-a-half long effort to acquire Arm has come to an end this morning, as NVIDIA and Arm owner SoftBank have announced that the two companies are officially calling off the acquisition. Citing the current lack of regulatory approva…

NVIDIA’s year-and-a-half long effort to acquire Arm has come to an end this morning, as NVIDIA and Arm owner SoftBank have announced that the two companies are officially calling off the acquisition. Citing the current lack of regulatory approval of the deal and the multiple investigations that have been opened up into it, NVIDIA and SoftBank are giving up on their acquisition efforts, as the two firms no longer believe it will be possible to receive the necessary regulatory approvals needed to close the deal. In lieu of being able to sell Arm to NVIDIA (or seemingly anyone else), SoftBank is announcing that they will instead be taking Arm public.

First announced back in September of 2020, SoftBank and NVIDIA unveiled what was at the time a $40 billion deal to have NVIDIA acquire the widely popular IP firm. And though the two companies expected some regulatory headwind given the size of the deal and the importance of Arm’s IP to the broader technology ecosystem – Arm’s IP is in many chips in one form or another – SoftBank and NVIDIA still expected to eventually win regulatory approval.

However, after 17 months, it has become increasingly clear that government regulators were not apt to approve the deal. Even with concessions being made by NVIDIA, European Union regulators ended up opening an investigation into the acquisition, Chinese regulators have held off on approving the deal, and US regulators moved to outright block it. Concerns raised by regulators centered around NVIDIA gaining an unfair advantage over other companies who use Arm’s IP, both by controlling the direction of its development and by their position affording NVIDIA unique access to insights about what products Arm customers were developing – some of which would include products being designed to compete with NVIDIA’s own wares. Ultimately, regulators have shown a strong interest in retaining a competitive landscape for chips, with the belief that such a landscape wouldn’t be possible if Arm was owned by a chip designer such as NVIDIA.

As a result of these regulatory hurdles, NVIDIA and SoftBank have formally called off the acquisition, and the situation between the two companies is effectively returning to status quo. According to NVIDIA, the company will be retaining its 20 year Arm license, which will allow the company to continue developing and selling chips based around Arm IP and the Arm CPU architecture. Meanwhile SoftBank has received a $1.25 billion breakup fee from NVIDIA as a contractual consequence of the acquisition not going through.

In lieu of selling Arm to NVIDIA, SoftBank is now going to be preparing to take Arm public. According to the investment group, they are intending to IPO the company by the end of their next fiscal year, which ends on March 23rd of 2023 – essentially giving SoftBank a bit over a year to get the IPO organized. Meanwhile, according to Reuters, SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son has indicated that the IPO will take place in the United States, most likely on the Nasdaq.

Once that IPO is completed, it will mark the second time that Arm has been a public company. Arm was a publicly-held company prior to the SoftBank acquisition in 2016, when SoftBank purchased the company for roughly $32 billion. And while it’s still too early to tell what Arm will be valued at a second time around, it goes without saying that SoftBank would like to turn a profit on the deal, which is why NVIDIA’s $40 billion offer was so enticing. Still, even with the popularity and ubiquity of Arm’s IP across the technology ecosystem, it’s not clear at this time whether SoftBank will be able to get something close to what they spent on Arm, in which case the investment firm is likely to end up taking a loss on the Arm acquisition.

Finally, the cancellation of the acquisition is also bringing some important changes to Arm itself. Simon Segars, Arm’s long-time CEO and major proponent of the acquisition, has stepped down from his position effective immediately. In his place, the Arm board of directors has already met and appointed Arm insider Rene Haas to the CEO position. Haas has been with Arm since 2013, and he has been president of the Arm IP Products Group since 2017.

Arm’s news release doesn’t offer any official insight into why Arm is changing CEOs at such a pivotal time. But with the collapse of the acquisition, Arm and SoftBank may be looking for a different kind of leader to take the company public over the next year.

Sources: NVIDIA, Arm

Interview with Alex Katouzian, Qualcomm SVP: Talking Snapdragon, Microsoft, Nuvia, and Discrete Graphics

Two driving forces are driving the current technology market: insatiable demand for hardware, and the supply chain shortages making it difficult to produce enough in quantity to fulfil every order. Even with these two forces in action, companies have …

Two driving forces are driving the current technology market: insatiable demand for hardware, and the supply chain shortages making it difficult to produce enough in quantity to fulfil every order. Even with these two forces in action, companies have to push and develop next generation technologies, as no competitor wants to sit on their laurels. That includes Qualcomm, and as part of the Tech Summit in late 2021, I sat down with Alex Katouzian, Qualcomm’s GM of Mobile, Compute, and Infrastructure to talk about the issues faced in 2021, the outlook for 2022, where the relationships lie, and where innovation is headed when it comes to smartphone and PC.

Intel’s Next Gen Bitcoin ASIC called BZM2: Built on 7nm, 137 GigaHash/sec at 2.5 W

It has been noted in the media that at the upcoming ISSCC conference at the end of February, Intel is set to give a talk entitled ‘Bonanza Mine: An Ultra-Low Voltage Energy Efficient Bitcoin Mining ASIC’. It already has a lot of attention,…

It has been noted in the media that at the upcoming ISSCC conference at the end of February, Intel is set to give a talk entitled ‘Bonanza Mine: An Ultra-Low Voltage Energy Efficient Bitcoin Mining ASIC’. It already has a lot of attention, as it confirms the fact that Intel is working towards blockchain-enabling hardware. Through a number of channels, we’ve been able to acquire more details about this chip ahead of the conference.

Mobileye Announces EyeQ Ultra: A Level 4 Self-Driving System In A Single SoC

While CES may have started out as the Consumer Electronics Show, the global event has over the years expanded to include everything from enterprise technologies to automobiles. As a result, the show has not only been a regular keystone event for thing…

While CES may have started out as the Consumer Electronics Show, the global event has over the years expanded to include everything from enterprise technologies to automobiles. As a result, the show has not only been a regular keystone event for things like CPU and GPU announcements, but it’s also become home to major automotive technology announcements as well. And for Intel’s autonomous driving subsidiary, Mobileye, those two paths are coming directly together this year, as this morning the group is announcing their next-generation Level 4 autonomous driving SoC, the EyeQ Ultra.

Qualcomm’s 8cx Gen 3 for Notebooks, Nuvia Core in 2022/2023

There are many column inches detailing Qualcomm’s design wins and marketing strategy, however to paint it all with a broad brush, it has often boiled down to ‘where can we stick our advanced wireless technology?’. The company has had…

There are many column inches detailing Qualcomm’s design wins and marketing strategy, however to paint it all with a broad brush, it has often boiled down to ‘where can we stick our advanced wireless technology?’. The company has had great success with smartphones, cornering a large chunk of US market and sizeable numbers worldwide, and in the last few years has pivoted to new markets, such as automotive and virtual reality, but also tried to reinvigorate existing markets, such as notebooks and laptops. Since 2017, Qualcomm has wedged a new category into the market, dubbed the ‘Always Connected PC’, offering Windows control with extreme battery life and mobile connectivity. At this year’s Tech Summit, Qualcomm introduced its latest processor, however the real magic might come next year.

Imagination Launches Catapult Family of RISC-V CPU Cores: Breaking Into Heterogeneous SoCs

December is here, and with it comes several technical summits ahead of the holiday break. The most notable of which this week is the annual RISC-V summit, which is being put on by the Linux Foundation and sees the numerous (and ever increasing) partie…

December is here, and with it comes several technical summits ahead of the holiday break. The most notable of which this week is the annual RISC-V summit, which is being put on by the Linux Foundation and sees the numerous (and ever increasing) parties involved in the open source ISA gather to talk about the latest products and advancements in the RISC-V ecosystem.  The summit always tends to feature some new product announcements, and this year is no different, as Imagination Technologies is at the show to provide details on their first RISC-V CPU cores, along with announcing their intentions to develop a full suite of CPU cores over the next few years.

The company, currently best known for their PowerVR GPU lineup, has been dipping their toes into the RISC-V ecosystem for the last couple of years with projects like RVfpga. More recently, this past summer the company revealed in an earnings call that they would be designing RISC-V CPU cores, with more details to come. Now at the RISC-V summit they’re providing those details and more, with the formal announcement of their Catapult family of RISC-V cores, as well as outlining a heterogeneous computing-centric roadmap for future development.

Starting from the top, the Catapult family is Imagination’s overarching name for a complete family of RISC-V CPU cores, the first of which are launching today. Imagination has (and is) designing multiple microarchitectures in order to cover a broad range of performance/power/area (PPA) needs, and the Catapult family is slated to encompass everything from microcontroller-grade processors to high-performance application processors. All told, Imagination’s plans for the fully fleshed out Catapult family look a lot like Arm’s Cortex family, with Imagination preparing CPU core designs for microcontrollers (Cortex-M), real-time CPUs (Cortex-R), high performance application processors (Cortex-A), and functionally safe CPUs (Cortex-AE). Arm remains the player to beat in this space, so having a similar product structure should help Imagination smooth the transition for any clients that opt to disembark for Catapult.

At present, Imagination has finished their first CPU core design, which is a simple, in-order core for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. The in-order Catapult core is being used for microcontrollers as well as real-time CPUs, and according to the company, Catapult microcontrollers are already shipping in silicon as part of automotive products. Meanwhile the real-time core is available to customers as well, though it’s not yet in any shipping silicon.

The current in-order core design supports up to 8 cores in a single cluster. The company didn’t quote any performance figures, though bear in mind this is a simple processor meant for microcontrollers and other very low power devices. Meanwhile, the core is available with ECC across both its L1 and TCM caches, as well as support for some of RISC-V’s brand-new extensions, such as the Vector computing extension, and potentially other extensions should customers ask for them.

Following the current in-order core, Imagination has essentially three more core designs on their immediate roadmap. For 2022 the company is planning to release an enhanced version of the in-order core as an application processor-grade design, complete with support for “rich” OSes like Linux. And in 2023 that will be followed by another, even higher performing in-order core for the real-time and application processor markets. Finally, the company is also developing a much more complex out-of-order RISC-V core design as well, which is expected in the 2023-2024 timeframe. The out-of-order Catapult would essentially be their first take on delivering a high-performance RISC-V application processor, and like we currently see with high-performance cores the Arm space, has the potential to become the most visible member of the Catapult family.

Farther out still are the company’s plans for “next generation heterogeneous compute” designs. These would be CPU designs that go beyond current heterogeneous offerings – namely, just placing CPU, GPU, and NPU blocks within a single SoC – by more deeply combining these technologies. At this point Imagination isn’t saying much more, but they are making it clear that they aren’t just going to stop with a fast CPU core.

Overall, these are all clean room designs for Imagination. While the company has long since sold off its Meta and MIPS CPU divisions, it still retains a lot of the engineering talent from those efforts – along with ownership of or access to a large number of patents from the area. So although they aren’t reusing anything directly from earlier designs, they are hoping to leverage their previous experience to build better IP sooner.

Of course, CPU cores are just one part of what it will take to succeed in the IP space; besides incumbent Arm, there are also multiple other players in the RISC-V space, such as SiFive, who are all vying for much of the same market. So Imagination needs to both differentiate themselves from the competition, and offer some kind of market edge to customers.

To that end, Imagination is going to be heavily promoting the possibilities for heterogenous computing designs with their IP. Compared to some of the other RISC-V CPU core vendors, Imagination already has well-established GPU and NPU IP, so customers looking to put together something more than just a straight CPU will be able to tap into Imagination’s larger library of IP. This does put the company more in direct competition with Arm (who already has all of these things as well), but then that very much seems to be Imagination’s goal here.

Otherwise, Imagination believes that their other big advantage in this space is the company’s history and location. As previously mentioned, Imagination holds access to a significant number of patents; so for clients who want to avoid extra patent licensing, they can take advantage of the fact that Imagination’s IP already comes indemnified against those patents. Meanwhile for chip designers who are based outside of the US and are weary of geopolitical issues affecting ongoing access to IP, Imagination is naturally positioned as an alternative there since they aren’t based in the US either – and thus access to their IP can’t be cut off by the US.

Wrapping things up, with the launch of their Catapult family of RISC-V CPU IP, imagination is laying out a fairly ambitious plan for the company for the next few years. By leveraging both their previous experience building CPUs as well as their current complementary IP like GPUs and NPUs, Imagination has their sights set on becoming a major player in the RISC-V IP space – and particularly when it comes to heterogeneous compute. Ultimately a lot will need to go right for the company before they can get there, but if they can succeed, then with their diverse collection of IP they would be in a rather unique position among RISC-V vendors.

United States FTC Files Lawsuit to Block NVIDIA-Arm Acquisition

In the biggest roadblock yet to NVIDIA’s proposed acquisition of Arm, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced this afternoon that the regulatory body will be suing to block the merger. Citing concerns over the deal “…

In the biggest roadblock yet to NVIDIA’s proposed acquisition of Arm, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced this afternoon that the regulatory body will be suing to block the merger. Citing concerns over the deal “stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies”, the FTC is moving to scuttle the $40 billion deal in order to protect the interests of the wider marketplace.

The deal with current Arm owner SoftBank was first announced in September of 2020, where at the time SoftBank had been shopping Arm around in an effort to either sell or spin-off the technology IP company. And while NVIDIA entered into the deal with bullish optimism about being able to close it without too much trouble, the company has since encountered greater political headwinds than expected due to the broad industry and regulatory discomfort with a single chip maker owning an IP supplier used by hundreds of other chip makers. The FTC, in turn, is the latest and most powerful regulatory body to move to investigate the deal – voting 4-0 to file the suit – following the European Union opening a probe into the merger earlier this fall. The

While the full FTC complaint has yet to be released, per a press release put out by the agency earlier today, the crux of the FTC’s concerns revolve around the advantage over other chip makers that NVIDIA would gain from owning Arm, and the potential for misconduct and other unfair acts against competitors that also rely on Arm’s IP. In particular, the FTC states that “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.”

To that end, the FTC’s complaint is primarily focusing on product categories where NVIDIA already sells their own Arm-based hardware. This includes Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for cars, Data Processing Units (DPUs) and SmartNICs, and, of course, Arm-based CPUs for servers. These are all areas where NVIDIA is an active competitor, and as the FTC believes, would provide incentive for NVIDIA to engage in unfair competition.

More interesting, perhaps, is the FTC’s final concern about the Arm acquisition: that the deal will give NVIDIA access to “competitively sensitive information of Arm’s licensees”, which NVIDIA could then abuse for their own gain. Since many of Arm’s customers/licensees are directly reliant on Arm’s core designs (as opposed to just licensing the architecture), they are also reliant on Arm to add features and make other alterations that they need for future generations of products. As a result, Arm’s customers regularly share what would be considered sensitive information with the company, which the FTC in turn believes could be abused by NVIDIA to harm rivals, such as by withholding the development of features that these rival-customers need.

NVIDIA, in turn, has announced that they will be fighting the FTC lawsuit, stating that “As we move into this next step in the FTC process, we will continue to work to demonstrate that this transaction will benefit the industry and promote competition.”

Ultimately, even if NVIDIA is successful in defending the acquisition and defeating the FTC’s lawsuit, today’s announcement means that the Arm acquisition has now been set back by at least several months. NVIDIA’s administrative trial is only scheduled to begin on August 9, 2022, almost half a year after NVIDIA initially expected the deal to close. And at this point, it’s unclear how long a trial would last – and how long it would take to render a verdict.

NVIDIA Announces Jetson AGX Orin: Modules and Dev Kits Coming In Q1’22

Today as part of NVIDIA’s fall GTC event, the company has announced that the Jetson embedded system kits will be getting a refresh with NVIDIA’s forthcoming Orin SoC. Due early next year, Orin is slated to become NVIDIA’s flagship SoC for automotive and edge computing applications. And, has become customary for NVIDIA, they are also going to be making Orin available to non-automotive customers through their Jetson embedded computing program, which makes the SoC available on a self-contained modular package.

Always a bit of a side project for NVIDIA, the Jetson single-board computers have none the less become an important tool for NVIDIA, serving as both an entry-point for helping bootstrap developers into the NVIDIA ecosystem, and as a embedded computing product in and of itself. Jetson boards are sold as complete single-board systems with an SoC, memory, storage, and the necessary I/O in pin form, allowing them to serve as commercial off the shelf (COTS) systems for use in finished products. Jetson modules are also used as the basis of NVIDIA’s Jetson developer kits, which throw in a breakout board, power supply, and other bits needed to fully interact with Jetson modules.

NVIDIA Jetson Module Specifications
  AGX Orin AGX Xavier Jetson Nano
CPU 12x Cortex-A78AE
@ 2.0GHz
8x Carmel
@ 2.26GHz
4x Cortex-A57
@ 1.43GHz
GPU Ampere, 2048 Cores
@ 1000MHz
Volta, 512 Cores
@ 1377MHz
Maxwell, 128 Cores
@ 920MHz
Accelerators 2x NVDLA v2.0 2x NVDLA N/A
Memory 32GB LPDDR5, 256-bit bus
(204 GB/sec)
16GB LPDDR4X, 256-bit bus
(137 GB/sec)
4GB LPDDR4, 64-bit bus
(25.6 GB/sec)
Storage 64GB eMMC 5.1 32GB eMMC 16GB eMMC
AI Perf. (INT8) 200 TOPS 32 TOPS N/A
Dimensions 100mm x 87mm 100mm x 87mm 45mm x 70mm
TDP 15W-50W 30W 10W
Price ? $999 $129

With NVIDIA’s Orin SoC set to arrive early in 2022, NVIDIA is using this opportunity to announce the next generation of Jetson AGX products. Joining the Jetson AGX Xavier will be the aptly named Jetson AGX Orin, which integrates the Orin SoC.

Orin featuring 12 Arm Cortex-A78AE “Hercules” CPU cores and an integrated Ampere architecture GPU with 2048 CUDA cores, adding up to 17 billion transistors, Given Orin’s mobile-first design, NVIDIA is being fairly conservative with the clockspeeds here; the CPU cores for Jetson AGX Orin top out at 2GHz, while the GPU tops out at 1GHz. Otherwise, the SoC also contains a pair of NVIDIA’s latest generation dedicated Deep Learning Accelerators (DLA), as well as a vision accelerator to further speed up and efficiently process those tasks.

Rounding out the Jetson AGX Orin package, the Orin SoC is being paired with 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, which is attached to a 256-bit memory bus, allowing for 204GB/second of memory bandwidth. Meanwhile storage is provided by a 64GB eMMC 5.1 storage device, which is twice the capacity of the previous generation Jetson AGX.

All told, NVIDIA is promising 200 TOPS of performance in INT8 machine learning workloads, which would be a 6x improvement over Jetson AGX Xavier. Presumably those performance figures are for the module’s full 50W TDP, while performance is proportionally lower as you move towards the module’s minimum TDP of 15W.

Meanwhile, for this generation NVIDIA will be maintaining pin and form-factor compatibility with Jetson AGX Xavier. So Jetson AGX Orin modules will be the same 100mm x 87mm in size, and use the same edge connector, making Orin modules drop-in compatible with Xavier.

Jetson AGX Oron modules and dev kits are slated to become available in Q1 of 2022. NVIDIA has not announced any pricing information at this time.

Today as part of NVIDIA’s fall GTC event, the company has announced that the Jetson embedded system kits will be getting a refresh with NVIDIA’s forthcoming Orin SoC. Due early next year, Orin is slated to become NVIDIA’s flagship SoC for automotive and edge computing applications. And, has become customary for NVIDIA, they are also going to be making Orin available to non-automotive customers through their Jetson embedded computing program, which makes the SoC available on a self-contained modular package.

Always a bit of a side project for NVIDIA, the Jetson single-board computers have none the less become an important tool for NVIDIA, serving as both an entry-point for helping bootstrap developers into the NVIDIA ecosystem, and as a embedded computing product in and of itself. Jetson boards are sold as complete single-board systems with an SoC, memory, storage, and the necessary I/O in pin form, allowing them to serve as commercial off the shelf (COTS) systems for use in finished products. Jetson modules are also used as the basis of NVIDIA’s Jetson developer kits, which throw in a breakout board, power supply, and other bits needed to fully interact with Jetson modules.

NVIDIA Jetson Module Specifications
  AGX Orin AGX Xavier Jetson Nano
CPU 12x Cortex-A78AE
@ 2.0GHz
8x Carmel
@ 2.26GHz
4x Cortex-A57
@ 1.43GHz
GPU Ampere, 2048 Cores
@ 1000MHz
Volta, 512 Cores
@ 1377MHz
Maxwell, 128 Cores
@ 920MHz
Accelerators 2x NVDLA v2.0 2x NVDLA N/A
Memory 32GB LPDDR5, 256-bit bus
(204 GB/sec)
16GB LPDDR4X, 256-bit bus
(137 GB/sec)
4GB LPDDR4, 64-bit bus
(25.6 GB/sec)
Storage 64GB eMMC 5.1 32GB eMMC 16GB eMMC
AI Perf. (INT8) 200 TOPS 32 TOPS N/A
Dimensions 100mm x 87mm 100mm x 87mm 45mm x 70mm
TDP 15W-50W 30W 10W
Price ? $999 $129

With NVIDIA’s Orin SoC set to arrive early in 2022, NVIDIA is using this opportunity to announce the next generation of Jetson AGX products. Joining the Jetson AGX Xavier will be the aptly named Jetson AGX Orin, which integrates the Orin SoC.

Orin featuring 12 Arm Cortex-A78AE “Hercules” CPU cores and an integrated Ampere architecture GPU with 2048 CUDA cores, adding up to 17 billion transistors, Given Orin's mobile-first design, NVIDIA is being fairly conservative with the clockspeeds here; the CPU cores for Jetson AGX Orin top out at 2GHz, while the GPU tops out at 1GHz. Otherwise, the SoC also contains a pair of NVIDIA’s latest generation dedicated Deep Learning Accelerators (DLA), as well as a vision accelerator to further speed up and efficiently process those tasks.

Rounding out the Jetson AGX Orin package, the Orin SoC is being paired with 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, which is attached to a 256-bit memory bus, allowing for 204GB/second of memory bandwidth. Meanwhile storage is provided by a 64GB eMMC 5.1 storage device, which is twice the capacity of the previous generation Jetson AGX.

All told, NVIDIA is promising 200 TOPS of performance in INT8 machine learning workloads, which would be a 6x improvement over Jetson AGX Xavier. Presumably those performance figures are for the module’s full 50W TDP, while performance is proportionally lower as you move towards the module’s minimum TDP of 15W.

Meanwhile, for this generation NVIDIA will be maintaining pin and form-factor compatibility with Jetson AGX Xavier. So Jetson AGX Orin modules will be the same 100mm x 87mm in size, and use the same edge connector, making Orin modules drop-in compatible with Xavier.

Jetson AGX Oron modules and dev kits are slated to become available in Q1 of 2022. NVIDIA has not announced any pricing information at this time.

European Union Regulators Open Probe Into NVIDIA-Arm Acquisition

Following an extended period of regulatory uncertainly regarding NVIDIA’s planned acquisition of Arm, the European Union executive branch, the European Commission, has announced that they have opened up a formal probe into the deal. Citing concerns about competition and the importance of Arm’s IP, the Commission has kicked off a 90 day review process for the merger to determine if those concerns are warranted, and thus whether the merger should be modified or blocked entirely. Given the 90 day window, the Commission has until March 15th of 2022 to publish a decision.

At a high level, the EC’s concerns hinge around the fact that Arm is an IP supplier for both NVIDIA and its competitors. Which has led the EC to be concerned about whether NVIDIA would use its ownership of Arm to limit or otherwise degrade competitors’ access to Arm’s IP. This is seen as an especially concerning scenario given the breadth of device categories that Arm chips are in – everything from toasters to datacenters. As well, the EC will also be examining whether the merger could lead to NVIDIA prioritizing the R&D of IP that NVIDIA makes heavy use of (e.g. datacenter CPUs) to the detriment of other types of IP that are used by other customers.

It is worth noting that this is going to be a slightly different kind of review than usual for the EC. Since NVIDIA and Arm aren’t competitors – something even the EC notes – this isn’t a typical competitive merger. Instead, the investigation is going to be all about the downstream effects of a major supplier also becoming a competitor.

Overall, the need for a review is not terribly surprising. Given the scope of the $40 billion deal, the number of Arm customers (pretty much everyone), and the number of countries involved (pretty much everyone again), there was always a good chance that the deal could be investigated by one or more nations. Still, the EC’s investigation means that, even if approved, the deal will almost certainly not close by March as previously planned.

“Semiconductors are everywhere in products and devices that we use everyday as well as in infrastructure such as datacentres. Whilst Arm and NVIDIA do not directly compete, Arm’s IP is an important input in products competing with those of NVIDIA, for example in datacentres, automotive and in Internet of Things. Our analysis shows that the acquisition of Arm by NVIDIA could lead to restricted or degraded access to Arm’s IP, with distortive effects in many markets where semiconductors are used. Our investigation aims to ensure that companies active in Europe continue having effective access to the technology that is necessary to produce state-of-the-art semiconductor products at competitive prices.”
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager

Following an extended period of regulatory uncertainly regarding NVIDIA’s planned acquisition of Arm, the European Union executive branch, the European Commission, has announced that they have opened up a formal probe into the deal. Citing concerns about competition and the importance of Arm’s IP, the Commission has kicked off a 90 day review process for the merger to determine if those concerns are warranted, and thus whether the merger should be modified or blocked entirely. Given the 90 day window, the Commission has until March 15th of 2022 to publish a decision.

At a high level, the EC’s concerns hinge around the fact that Arm is an IP supplier for both NVIDIA and its competitors. Which has led the EC to be concerned about whether NVIDIA would use its ownership of Arm to limit or otherwise degrade competitors’ access to Arm’s IP. This is seen as an especially concerning scenario given the breadth of device categories that Arm chips are in – everything from toasters to datacenters. As well, the EC will also be examining whether the merger could lead to NVIDIA prioritizing the R&D of IP that NVIDIA makes heavy use of (e.g. datacenter CPUs) to the detriment of other types of IP that are used by other customers.

It is worth noting that this is going to be a slightly different kind of review than usual for the EC. Since NVIDIA and Arm aren’t competitors – something even the EC notes – this isn’t a typical competitive merger. Instead, the investigation is going to be all about the downstream effects of a major supplier also becoming a competitor.

Overall, the need for a review is not terribly surprising. Given the scope of the $40 billion deal, the number of Arm customers (pretty much everyone), and the number of countries involved (pretty much everyone again), there was always a good chance that the deal could be investigated by one or more nations. Still, the EC’s investigation means that, even if approved, the deal will almost certainly not close by March as previously planned.

"Semiconductors are everywhere in products and devices that we use everyday as well as in infrastructure such as datacentres. Whilst Arm and NVIDIA do not directly compete, Arm's IP is an important input in products competing with those of NVIDIA, for example in datacentres, automotive and in Internet of Things. Our analysis shows that the acquisition of Arm by NVIDIA could lead to restricted or degraded access to Arm's IP, with distortive effects in many markets where semiconductors are used. Our investigation aims to ensure that companies active in Europe continue having effective access to the technology that is necessary to produce state-of-the-art semiconductor products at competitive prices."
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Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager

European Union Regulators Open Probe Into NVIDIA-Arm Acquisition

Following an extended period of regulatory uncertainly regarding NVIDIA’s planned acquisition of Arm, the European Union executive branch, the European Commission, has announced that they have opened up a formal probe into the deal. Citing concerns about competition and the importance of Arm’s IP, the Commission has kicked off a 90 day review process for the merger to determine if those concerns are warranted, and thus whether the merger should be modified or blocked entirely. Given the 90 day window, the Commission has until March 15th of 2022 to publish a decision.

At a high level, the EC’s concerns hinge around the fact that Arm is an IP supplier for both NVIDIA and its competitors. Which has led the EC to be concerned about whether NVIDIA would use its ownership of Arm to limit or otherwise degrade competitors’ access to Arm’s IP. This is seen as an especially concerning scenario given the breadth of device categories that Arm chips are in – everything from toasters to datacenters. As well, the EC will also be examining whether the merger could lead to NVIDIA prioritizing the R&D of IP that NVIDIA makes heavy use of (e.g. datacenter CPUs) to the detriment of other types of IP that are used by other customers.

It is worth noting that this is going to be a slightly different kind of review than usual for the EC. Since NVIDIA and Arm aren’t competitors – something even the EC notes – this isn’t a typical competitive merger. Instead, the investigation is going to be all about the downstream effects of a major supplier also becoming a competitor.

Overall, the need for a review is not terribly surprising. Given the scope of the $40 billion deal, the number of Arm customers (pretty much everyone), and the number of countries involved (pretty much everyone again), there was always a good chance that the deal could be investigated by one or more nations. Still, the EC’s investigation means that, even if approved, the deal will almost certainly not close by March as previously planned.

“Semiconductors are everywhere in products and devices that we use everyday as well as in infrastructure such as datacentres. Whilst Arm and NVIDIA do not directly compete, Arm’s IP is an important input in products competing with those of NVIDIA, for example in datacentres, automotive and in Internet of Things. Our analysis shows that the acquisition of Arm by NVIDIA could lead to restricted or degraded access to Arm’s IP, with distortive effects in many markets where semiconductors are used. Our investigation aims to ensure that companies active in Europe continue having effective access to the technology that is necessary to produce state-of-the-art semiconductor products at competitive prices.”
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager

Following an extended period of regulatory uncertainly regarding NVIDIA’s planned acquisition of Arm, the European Union executive branch, the European Commission, has announced that they have opened up a formal probe into the deal. Citing concerns about competition and the importance of Arm’s IP, the Commission has kicked off a 90 day review process for the merger to determine if those concerns are warranted, and thus whether the merger should be modified or blocked entirely. Given the 90 day window, the Commission has until March 15th of 2022 to publish a decision.

At a high level, the EC’s concerns hinge around the fact that Arm is an IP supplier for both NVIDIA and its competitors. Which has led the EC to be concerned about whether NVIDIA would use its ownership of Arm to limit or otherwise degrade competitors’ access to Arm’s IP. This is seen as an especially concerning scenario given the breadth of device categories that Arm chips are in – everything from toasters to datacenters. As well, the EC will also be examining whether the merger could lead to NVIDIA prioritizing the R&D of IP that NVIDIA makes heavy use of (e.g. datacenter CPUs) to the detriment of other types of IP that are used by other customers.

It is worth noting that this is going to be a slightly different kind of review than usual for the EC. Since NVIDIA and Arm aren’t competitors – something even the EC notes – this isn’t a typical competitive merger. Instead, the investigation is going to be all about the downstream effects of a major supplier also becoming a competitor.

Overall, the need for a review is not terribly surprising. Given the scope of the $40 billion deal, the number of Arm customers (pretty much everyone), and the number of countries involved (pretty much everyone again), there was always a good chance that the deal could be investigated by one or more nations. Still, the EC’s investigation means that, even if approved, the deal will almost certainly not close by March as previously planned.

"Semiconductors are everywhere in products and devices that we use everyday as well as in infrastructure such as datacentres. Whilst Arm and NVIDIA do not directly compete, Arm's IP is an important input in products competing with those of NVIDIA, for example in datacentres, automotive and in Internet of Things. Our analysis shows that the acquisition of Arm by NVIDIA could lead to restricted or degraded access to Arm's IP, with distortive effects in many markets where semiconductors are used. Our investigation aims to ensure that companies active in Europe continue having effective access to the technology that is necessary to produce state-of-the-art semiconductor products at competitive prices."
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Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager

The Arm DevSummit 2021 Keynote Live Blog: 8am PT (15:00 UTC)

This week seems to be Arm’s week across the tech industry. Following yesterday’s Arm SoC announcements from Apple, today sees Arm kick off their 2021 developer’s summit, aptly named DevSummit. As always, the show is opening up with a keynote being delivered by Arm CEO Simon Segars, who will be using the opportunity to lay out Arm’s vision of the future.

Arm chips are already in everything from toasters to PCs – and Arm isn’t stopping there. So be sure to join us at 8am PT (15:00 UTC) for our live blog coverage of Arm’s keynote.

This week seems to be Arm's week across the tech industry. Following yesterday's Arm SoC announcements from Apple, today sees Arm kick off their 2021 developer's summit, aptly named DevSummit. As always, the show is opening up with a keynote being delivered by Arm CEO Simon Segars, who will be using the opportunity to lay out Arm's vision of the future.

Arm chips are already in everything from toasters to PCs – and Arm isn't stopping there. So be sure to join us at 8am PT (15:00 UTC) for our live blog coverage of Arm's keynote.

Hot Chips 2021 Live Blog: Machine Learning (Esperanto, Enflame, Qualcomm)

Welcome to Hot Chips! This is the annual conference all about the latest, greatest, and upcoming big silicon that gets us all excited. Stay tuned during Monday and Tuesday for our regular AnandTech Live Blogs. 

Welcome to Hot Chips! This is the annual conference all about the latest, greatest, and upcoming big silicon that gets us all excited. Stay tuned during Monday and Tuesday for our regular AnandTech Live Blogs. 

Hot Chips 2021 Live Blog: DPU + IPUs (Arm, NVIDIA, Intel)

Welcome to Hot Chips! This is the annual conference all about the latest, greatest, and upcoming big silicon that gets us all excited. Stay tuned during Monday and Tuesday for our regular AnandTech Live Blogs. 

Welcome to Hot Chips! This is the annual conference all about the latest, greatest, and upcoming big silicon that gets us all excited. Stay tuned during Monday and Tuesday for our regular AnandTech Live Blogs. 

An AnandTech Interview with Jim Anderson, CEO of Lattice Semiconductor

In our coverage of the semiconductor space, we typically think of two main vectors of hardware – the CPU and the GPU. Beyond that, we look at FPGAs, microcontrollers, and this decade is bringing the advent of the dedicated AI processor. What tie…

In our coverage of the semiconductor space, we typically think of two main vectors of hardware – the CPU and the GPU. Beyond that, we look at FPGAs, microcontrollers, and this decade is bringing the advent of the dedicated AI processor. What ties all of these products together is actually the FPGA - a field programmable gate array that allows a skilled technician to essentially build a custom circuit out of configurable gates. This means an FPGA can be used to design and simulate a full CPU or GPU, but also an FPGA offers a reconfigurable way to offer optimized compute power that adapts to the needs of its users without the cost of millions or tens of millions to design dedicated silicon. One of the first FPGA companies on the market was Lattice Semiconductor, which now focuses on small power efficient FPGA designs that end up in everything from consumer devices to servers.

Over the last three years at Lattice, Jim has initiated a cultural shift that is playing out in the company roadmaps – new products, a more agile approach, and a need to focus on enabling machine learning at every part of its product stack. The recent financial disclosures at Lattice show an increasing demand for its hardware, as well as the company making strides to double its addressable market over the next five years. I thought this would be a good time to reconnect with Jim to find out exactly what he’s doing at Lattice to earmark the next generation of growth at this foundational FPGA company.

Intel’s First High-Profile IFS Fab Customer: Qualcomm Jumps on Board For 20A Process

Alongside Intel’s sizable announcement today regarding their manufacturing roadmap over the next half-decade, the company is also announcing their first major customer for their third-party foundry service, IFS. And in an example of how Intel&rs…

Alongside Intel’s sizable announcement today regarding their manufacturing roadmap over the next half-decade, the company is also announcing their first major customer for their third-party foundry service, IFS. And in an example of how Intel’s entry into the contract fab business is going to make for some strange bedfellows, it turns out that major customer is Qualcomm.

Per Intel’s announcement, Intel and Qualcomm are partnering up to get Qualcomm products on Intel’s 20A process, one of the company’s most advanced (and farthest-out) process node. The first of Intel’s “Ångström” process nodes, 20A is due in 2024 and will be where Intel first implements Gate-All-Around (GAA) transistors, one of the major manufacturing technology milestones on Intel’s new roadmap.

Given that 20A isn’t due out for another three years, neither company is saying much more about the partnership at this point – we’re talking about chip designs that are still in their earliest stages – but even being able to name a major customer like Qualcomm is a big deal for Intel. Not only does it show that another major industry player has a degree of faith in what Intel is trying to accomplish with its silicon lithography technology, but it helps to validate Intel’s efforts to open up into the contract fab business.

Meanwhile, an announcement like this opens the door to all kinds of speculation over just what Qualcomm will be building over at Intel. Qualcomm is best known for their mobile SoCs, and the company already has significant experience using multiple fabs as a customer of both TSMC and Qualcomm. So it may be that Qualcomm is looking to build a mainstream mobile SoC or two at Intel as a way to get experience working with Intel and prove that Intel’s fabs will meet their needs. Alternatively, Qualcomm may be looking to take advantage of Intel’s PC-tuned manufacturing lines to produce Nuvia-infused laptop SoCs – which would mean Intel would be directly producing competing chips.

There are a lot of possibilities here over the long-run, though in the short-run it’s likely that Qualcomm is going to play things conservatively. So suffice it to say, it will be interesting to see just what Qualcomm is using their rival’s fabs for in a few years.

Qualcomm is excited about the breakthrough RibbonFET and PowerVia technologies coming in Intel 20A. We’re also pleased to have another leading-edge foundry partner enabled by IFS that will help the U.S. fabless industry to bring its products to an onshore manufacturing site.
-Cristiano Amon, President and CEO, Qualcomm

Intel to Create RISC-V Development Platform with SiFive P550 Cores on 7nm in 2022

As part of SiFive’s announcements today, along with enabling SiFive IP on Intel’s Foundry Service offerings, Intel will be creating its own RISC-V development platform using its 7nm process technology. This platform, called Horse Creek, wi…

As part of SiFive’s announcements today, along with enabling SiFive IP on Intel’s Foundry Service offerings, Intel will be creating its own RISC-V development platform using its 7nm process technology. This platform, called Horse Creek, will feature several of SiFive’s new Performance P550 cores also being announced today, and will be paired with Intel’s DDR and PCIe IP technology.

Xilinx Expands Versal AI to the Edge: Helping Solve the Silicon Shortage

Today Xilinx is announcing an expansion to its Versal family, focused specifically on low power and edge devices. Xilinx Versal is the productization of a combination of many different processor technologies: programmable logic gates (FPGAs), Arm core…

Today Xilinx is announcing an expansion to its Versal family, focused specifically on low power and edge devices. Xilinx Versal is the productization of a combination of many different processor technologies: programmable logic gates (FPGAs), Arm cores, fast memory, AI engines, programmable DSPs, hardened memory controllers, and IO – the benefits of all these technologies means that Versal can scale from the high end Premium (launched in 2020), and now down to edge-class devices, all built on TSMC’s 7nm processes. Xilinx’s new Versal AI Edge processors start at 6 W, all the way up to 75 W.

Arm Announces New Mali-G710, G610, G510 & G310 Mobile GPU Families

Today alongside the CPU announcements, Arm is also unveiling a whole family of third generation Valhall GPUs with the Mali-G710, G510, G310, with particularly large improvements in the mid- and low-end.

Today alongside the CPU announcements, Arm is also unveiling a whole family of third generation Valhall GPUs with the Mali-G710, G510, G310, with particularly large improvements in the mid- and low-end.

Arm Announces Mobile Armv9 CPU Microarchitectures: Cortex-X2, Cortex-A710 & Cortex-A510

Today Arm is announcing a whole cluster of Armv9 client CPUs: The Cortex-X2: A flagship core with more performance and deeper OOO, the Cortex-A710: a power-efficient performance core, and the Cortex-A510: the new much-awaited little cor…

Today Arm is announcing a whole cluster of Armv9 client CPUs: The Cortex-X2: A flagship core with more performance and deeper OOO, the Cortex-A710: a power-efficient performance core, and the Cortex-A510: the new much-awaited little core with a twist. All housed in a new redesigned DSU-110 L3.