SoftBank has completed the purchase of British chip designer ARM Holdings for $31.4 billion back in July.
After less than two months, SoftBank is announcing today that the transaction is complete. ARM will be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange tomorrow.
SoftBank’s purchase of ARM is the latest in a line of acquisitions in recent years for the Japanese company, including the $20 billion Sprint acquisition, and a $15 billion investment in Vodafone’s Japanese division.
SoftBank is expected to use the ARM deal to bolster its Internet of Things plans. While ARM only made around $1.5 billion in revenue last year, its low-power and efficient chips are one of the key parts of the mobile world.
Many analysts were surprised by the move, which was the most expensive buy for a European tech company ever. Many thought that SoftBank had lost its marbles with the deal as it had very little to do with that part of the tech industry.
A few weeks after Japanese company Softbank said it would buy ARM for $32 billion. ARM is expected to announce a design to crash into the server and Internet of Things market.
The chip design is being detailed at the Hot Chips conference in Cupertino, California today.
It looks like ARM has got the nod to build a new supercomputer based on the new chip design which will be installed in Japan. The Post-K supercomputer will be developed by Fujitsu, which dropped SPARC architecture for ARM for high-performance computers. Fujitsu helped ARM develop the new chip.
Post-K will be 50 to 100 times speedier than its predecessor, the K Computer, which is currently the fifth fastest computer in the world.
The new ARM processor design will be based on the 64-bit ARM-v8A architecture and have vector processing extensions called Scalable Vector Extension. Vector processors drove early supercomputers, which then shifted over to less expensive IBM RISC chips in the early 1990s, and on to general-purpose x86 processors, which are in most high-performance servers today.
British mobile chip designer ARM has been showing off a few new chips at Computex Taipei 2016.
The Cortex-A73 CPU and Mali-G71 GPU are designed to increase performance and power efficiency and support mobile VR.
Mali GPUs are big in the mobile world, with over 750 million shipped in 2015. The new Mali-G71 is based around the company’s third-generation Bifrost architecture.
The core allows for 50 percent higher graphics performance, 20 percent better power efficiency, and 40 percent more performance per square mm over ARM’s previous Mali GPU. It has 32 shader cores, ARM says the Mali-G71 can match discrete laptop GPUs like Nvidia’s GTX 940M.
ARM said that the chip was designed to fix specific problems thrown up by VR, supporting features like 4K resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 4ms graphics pipeline latency.
ARM also showed off its new Cortex-A73 core, which prioritizes power efficiency. It’s up to 30 percent more efficient than the previous Cortex-A72 while offering about 1.3 times the level of peak performance, but ARM has also focused on sustained usage — the A73 offers over twice the performance within its power budget.
ARM expects chips to move into production at the end of the year and appear in shipping devices in early 2017.
Linaro has launched a cloud service aimed at ARM developers.
The plan is to help develop hardware and software for ARM-based devices, and they are making available the service for developers looking to write and test server applications.
Developers’ that use the service will have remote access to bare-metal ARM servers — including Qualcomm’s upcoming 24-core server chip. The cloud service will also feature ARM-based server chips from AMD, Cavium and Huawei and is intended to be a cheap and an easy way for developers to test a wide range of ARM 64-bit server hardware platforms.
Qualcomm got into the ARM server market late and its rivals have had 64-bit server processors since 2013. To date, Qualcomm has only supplied test versions of its server chips to unspecified top-tier cloud players, and has stated consistently it would only enter the market when it was viable.
But there is a bit of interest in Qualcomm entering the ARM server market as a counterpoint to Intel x86. Qualcomm is big enough to give ARM server chips a kick-start.
George Grey, CEO of Linaro, said during a speech at the Linaro Connect conference in Bangkok this week, that the Linaro’s cloud service will be available through servers deployed in Cambridge, U.K., and Austin, Texas. It will be launched in China in the second or third quarter.
ARM ecosystem director Nizar Romdan told theCasual Connect conference in Amsterdam that the chips that his company creates with Nvidia, Samsung, and Texas Instruments will generate visuals on par with and then surpass what you get from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles by the end of 2017.
He said that we are about a year away from having smartphone and tablets that are capable of running the same games that we previously bought dedicated gaming hardware for.
This could bring more hardcore players into the $30 billion mobile gaming market, but it could also power the software for mobile virtual reality.
Romdan said mobile hardware was already powerful. ”If you take today’s high-end smartphone or tablet, the performance is already better than Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It’s catching up quickly with Xbox One and PlayStation 4.”
He had a PowerPoint which showed the relative power of consoles like Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in terms of their capability to calculate floating point operations per second (or FLOPS). PS4 can compute around 1.84 TFLOPS (tera FLOPS), and the chart shows smartphone chips approaching 2 TFLOPS by the last quarter of 2017.
To make matters more interesting, virtual reality eliminates that form factor difference. Wearing a headset on your face is the same if you’re tethered to a PC or using a Galaxy S6.
“Our view is that mobile VR is the use case that could unlock the potential of mobile for hardcore gamers,” he said. “For once, mobile devices are on par with PC and consoles in terms of experience [when it comes to the form factor of VR]. We won’t have the same processing. And battery life is a problem. But it is the same user experience. That could be a game changer for mobile gaming.”
After more than a year of delays, AMD has finally released its ARM based enterprise server chip.
Dubbed the Opteron A1100 series these are not the X86 cores AMD has been producing for years and are designed for networking, storage, dense and power-efficient web serving, and 64-bit ARM software development.
The Opteron A1100 System-on-Chip (SoC), was formerly codenamed “Seattle” and was promised in the first half of last year and never showed up. Under the bonnet are off-the-shelf ARM Cortex-A57 processor cores, with integrated high-speed network and storage connectivity.
The SoCs have up to eight 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 cores with up to 4MB of shared Level 2 and 8MB of shared Level 3 cache. They offer two 64-bit DDR3/DDR4 memory channels supporting speeds up to 1866 MHz with ECC and capacities up to 128GB, dual integrated 10Gb Ethernet network connections, 8-lanes of PCI-Express Gen 3 connectivity, and 14 SATA III ports.
The chip features an ARM TrustZone compliant crypto/compression co-processor, along with a Cortex A5-based system control processor. Each pair of Cortex A57s is linked to its own 1MB of L2 cache, hence the “up to” 4MB of shared L2 cache listed in the slide. Though the top-end A1100s feature eight Cortex A57 cores, quad-core models will also be offered that have a quartet of cores and their accompanying L2 cache disabled.
There will be three initial A1100-series Opterons. At the top end, the A1170 has 8 cores, with a max CPU frequency of 2GHz. The mid-range A1150 has a similar core configuration, but clocks in at a lower 1.7GHz peak. The A1120 has four cores and 2MB of cache, but also clocks in at 1.7GHz. All of the chips have the same memory limits and operating temperature range. The top two chips have higher 32W TDPs due to their higher core counts, versus the quad-core A1120’s 25W.
Pricing for the top-end Opteron A1170 will hover around the $150 mark it is not clear what the cheaper models will cost.
The Opteron A1100 series SoCs also work with both DDR3 or DDR4 memory types. DDR3 memory will be for lower-cost, and potentially lower-clocked solutions.
The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn which claims that the fruity cargo cult Apple is about to ditch Intel Skylake chips for something it cooked up on its own campus.
To be fair the rumour was started in the Tame Apple Press which has been baying at Apple to come up with its own chip like punters in a Geordie bar fight encouraging fisticuffs from one patron after another patron dissed his missus.
The core of the rumour is that next MacBook Air and MacBook Pro could be running on the company’s homegrown A10X processor and not Skylake. The logic is that the iPad Pro runs on an A9X processor which has proven to be pretty reliable so far. If Apple did make its own chip, then it would be independent as possible from its partners.
However at no point has the Tame Apple Press actually looked at what the A10X can do in comparison to Skylake offerings. Sure the iPad Pro might be able to run on what is a glorified mobile phone chip because it is essentially a tablet. Keyboard-less netbooks don’t require much processing power, even when they have a keyboard.
Rumours that Apple will develop a chip for its notebooks have been going for a while. The Tame Apple Press has highlighted Jobs’ Mob’s presence in Israel as proof that it is looking to beef up its ARM based chips.
The rumour is that the next generation A10 architecture, will focus on the development of multi-threading and have up to six cores and based around 10nm or 14nm processing. The increase in cores is a huge step up from the twin core effort in the mobile A9 but is also incredibly unlikely. What is more likely is that the A10 will have three cores, but each core will include simultaneous multi-threading to use the chip’s resources better.
But all this is nothing like the power and ability of Intel’s Skylake offering. Chipzilla has been using hyperthreading in its mainstream processors for many years now.
Here is the heart of the problem. Apple might have a handle on the mobile market but it is not even close to what Intel can put under the bonnet of its MacBook’s now.
Like most Apple products these days the MacBook Pro 2016 is expected to offer pretty much the same specs though with more RAM and probably a better battery instead. The fact it is offering the same specs has suggested to some observers that it means to shove its own lower powered A10x mobile chip in the MacBook Pro.
But it is pretty clear that eating your own dogfood would give MacBook Pro users a low powered notebook which has less power than a netbook. While the Tame Apple Press is deluded enough to believe that this is a “high-spec” offering it is unlikely that even under Jobs’ Mob’s reality distortion field, Apple is stupid enough to think that.
Its chip effort has been pretty good, but it is an ARM-based mobile effort with none of the performance required for a serious desktop. Apple has not poured years of development and cash into chip research to anything like Intel levels.
British semiconductor company ARM said it has introduced a suite of products aimed at letting businesses scale up internet of things (IoT) technology.
The fresh releases include mbed Device Connecter, a service at no charge letting businesses connect and securely manage IoT devices.
Last year ARM introduced its mbed IoT device platform and it has improved its mbed operating system and introduced mbed reference designs.
Kriztian Flautner, general manager of IoT business at ARM said that his company has produced tools from a single cloud connected sensor to a set of more intricate devices for enterprise grade deployments of IoT.
The device connector, he said, lets developers connect devices in prototypes, build secure web applications and improve managing services.
The reference designs include a wrist based connected device with a battery life of eight weeks, and a smart city reference design with mesh network protocols.
In a bid to compete more successfully with Apple and with Chinese competitors, a report said it will introduce the Galaxy S7 in January 2016.
That’s according to the South Korean ET News, which said the earlier launch is months ahead of when it was first expected.
Samsung, according to the report, has started the production process by asking external suppliers to tender for components.
The Galaxy S7 will have a a brand new one chip application processor.
It will also re-segment its smartphone line up with a “premium” machine aimed specifically at Apple.
The report said that Samsung will use its own core in premium product lines rather than using an ARM core, codenamed “mongoose”.
Plucky British chip designer ARM said it has created a strategic partnership with Thundersoft, which makes smart device products, to open an accelerator for startups and OEMs to get into the internet of things (IoT).
The first of its office in Zhongguancun, close to Beijing, will offer an ARM mbed device lab and a system on a chip (SoC) design lab to offer joint facilities with its partner.
The unit will provide workshops, training and design services for mbed OS and Cortex microprocessor development.
Allen Wu, president of China at ARM said that the country is the largest IoT market in the world and collaboration is the key to future success.
Meanwhile, Hongfei Zhao, the chairman of Thundersoft, said that startups lack complete product experience, resources and support and the joint deal with ARM will provide software, hardware and system level development services.
A number of other organisations including Horizon Robotics and CSIP are teaming up with ARM and Thundersoft.