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Nvidia has approached Softbank and is considering buying ARM Holdings

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gdansk

Senior member
Feb 8, 2011
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I think going forward the Austin design team may be moved elsewhere to prevent US claims of ARM tech ownership.
I very much doubt it. The largest number of engineering job openings at ARM are in Austin.
You don't dump your Neoverse team because of hypothetical political problems.
 
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ThatBuzzkiller

Golden Member
Nov 14, 2014
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I very much doubt it. The largest number of engineering job openings at ARM are in Austin.
You don't dump your Neoverse team because of hypothetical political problems.
Technically, IPs can already be assigned outside of the country of origin the firm operated in ...

If ARM have design teams in the US then what ARM does is pay their employees and their employees produce IPs for them which in turn ARM can then transfer their IPs in a country to their liking such as the UK or etc ...

I'm pretty sure this is how Apple avoids paying their taxes by setting up a shell corporation in the Island of Jersey to transfer their IPs in and this shell then proceeds to collect royalties at very low tax rates ...
 
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soresu

Golden Member
Dec 19, 2014
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You don't dump your Neoverse team because of hypothetical political problems.
I didn't say dump, I said move.

Surely such an action would not be a great strain for CPU µArchitects that make a lot of money for their services..
 

Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
765
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Technically, IPs can already be assigned outside of the country of origin the firm operated in ...

If ARM have design teams in the US then what ARM does is pay their employees and their employees produce IPs for them which in turn ARM can then transfer their IPs in a country to their liking such as the UK or etc ...

I'm pretty sure this is how Apple avoids paying their taxes by setting up a shell corporation in the Island of Jersey to transfer their IPs in and this shell then proceeds to collect royalties at very low tax rates ...

That only moves taxes, it no longer effectively delays them forever, since the tax deferment for overseas corporate earnings not brought into the US no longer exists. Apple and other US companies can move profit from a higher tax country to a lower tax country, but now the lowest rate they can pay is now the US rate since their worldwide income is taxed at that rate (with a credit applied for any foreign taxes paid)
 
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DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
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It's been reported that the UK may block nVidia's acquisition of ARM over national security concerns:


Well that's interesting. National security?
 

DisEnchantment

Senior member
Mar 3, 2017
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It's been reported that the UK may block nVidia's acquisition of ARM over national security concerns:


Well that's interesting. National security?
With Jensen's ego I wouldn't be surprised if he just go ahead and buy some other semi design and IP company.
 
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Thibsie

Senior member
Apr 25, 2017
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I know that, but it doesn't mean it is the only solution.

Maybe they should buy MIPS then. LOL

What's left, if not ARM? RiscV but that's way too open for Nvidia.
 

guidryp

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2006
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It's been reported that the UK may block nVidia's acquisition of ARM over national security concerns:


Well that's interesting. National security?
IMO, UK threats are just for show, and arm twisting for more job guarantees.

In the end, I bet only China blocks it.
 

Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
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It is a single listing, and in a pretty specific niche. There is zero chance they are "looking into" switching from ARM to RISC-V overall. They don't have to, because nothing Nvidia could do as the owner of ARM would impact their ability to design and use ARM SoCs in the future. The only potential impact would be access to future iterations of the architecture (i.e. v10 etc.)
 

SarahKerrigan

Senior member
Oct 12, 2014
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Sure enough, Apple is hiring risc-v programmers. Doesn't mean they will make the switch but surely the deal made them start looking into it. Could be one of those things where even if the deal ends up falling apart, Apple makes the move anyway.
That is very clearly for an accelerator controller. The odds of Apple moving the Mac to RISC-V any time soon are pretty much nil.
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
9,397
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Sure enough, Apple is hiring risc-v programmers. Doesn't mean they will make the switch but surely the deal made them start looking into it. Could be one of those things where even if the deal ends up falling apart, Apple makes the move anyway.
That doesn't necessarily need to be for the "developer visible" CPU cores. Apple builds a ton of things like image processing units, AI accelerators, etc, and who knows what new accelerator they will add in 5 years' time. Doesn't mean they're going to ditch ARMv8 any time soon.

EDIT: Oh, the ad even says as much:

This is to support the necessary computation for such things as machine learning, vision algorithms, signal and video processing
 
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Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
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As to why they would want RISC-V instead of ARM for what is essentially an "embedded" processor, their architectural license allows them to add instructions but they cannot REMOVE instructions that are required as part of the ISA. If you have a role where some stuff is simply not needed - i.e. maybe for some role floating point simply isn't needed, they could design a RISC-V core without it. Sure ARM has older ISAs where floating point support is optional, but if you need 64 bits you can't use those older ISAs. I could also see something like this for the core of the Secure Enclave - if you have a simple enough CPU it can be formally verified like the seL4 OS it is running, so just cut out EVERYTHING you don't need to make the proof manageable.

There may be other reasons - i.e. we know they pay a flat fee for an architectural license (rumored to be $25 million per year) but there may also be some type of per core fee for every core they ship using the ARM ISA. If there is such a per core fee it would be really really tiny, but if you shipped 250 million iPhones a year and each included some accelerator with a dozen cores and each of those cores had a tiny CPU sitting inside it, that's 3 billion additional cores you'd owe license fees on for that alone. At some point it would start to add up, and therefore might make sense for embedded stuff where the ISA doesn't matter to use something else.
 

ThatBuzzkiller

Golden Member
Nov 14, 2014
1,078
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As to why they would want RISC-V instead of ARM for what is essentially an "embedded" processor, their architectural license allows them to add instructions but they cannot REMOVE instructions that are required as part of the ISA. If you have a role where some stuff is simply not needed - i.e. maybe for some role floating point simply isn't needed, they could design a RISC-V core without it. Sure ARM has older ISAs where floating point support is optional, but if you need 64 bits you can't use those older ISAs. I could also see something like this for the core of the Secure Enclave - if you have a simple enough CPU it can be formally verified like the seL4 OS it is running, so just cut out EVERYTHING you don't need to make the proof manageable.

There may be other reasons - i.e. we know they pay a flat fee for an architectural license (rumored to be $25 million per year) but there may also be some type of per core fee for every core they ship using the ARM ISA. If there is such a per core fee it would be really really tiny, but if you shipped 250 million iPhones a year and each included some accelerator with a dozen cores and each of those cores had a tiny CPU sitting inside it, that's 3 billion additional cores you'd owe license fees on for that alone. At some point it would start to add up, and therefore might make sense for embedded stuff where the ISA doesn't matter to use something else.
But what if some instruction implementations are bugged ? How can one tell if such a scenario is in deliberate design or simply a genuine error ? :smilingimp:

How would two corporations go about arbitrating these potential violations ? What would enforcement of compliance look like ? Are non-compliant implementations forced to do emulation via microcode or is this a matter for the courts to decide ?
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
17,791
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Anyone remember the problems with Alan Wu of ARM China?


It's getting worse, though ARM Holdings seems to be downplaying the severity of the situation. Might merit its own thread, but I do think the issue certainly complicates NV's attempts to control the entire ARM ecosystem.

edit: also noticed that Brussels wants in on the act:

 
Mar 11, 2004
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I'd be surprised if Apple hasn't already been doing some internal RISC work. Especially for embedded markets, wearables, and the like, where the focus isn't on device processing but rather probably low level control of sensors and the like and then communications. RISC is nowhere close to competing with ARM otherwise.

Anyone remember the problems with Alan Wu of ARM China?


It's getting worse, though ARM Holdings seems to be downplaying the severity of the situation. Might merit its own thread, but I do think the issue certainly complicates NV's attempts to control the entire ARM ecosystem.

edit: also noticed that Brussels wants in on the act:

That is baffling. So he's taking ARM China and making them lose basically all the advantage of ARM, by developing an entirely separate processor?
 
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