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Nvidia in Advanced Talks to Acquire SoftBank-owned Chip Maker ARM For $32 Billion

Image for Representation

Image for Representation

Buying ARM would consolidate graphics giant Nvidia’s position at the centre of the semiconductor industry.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: August 1, 2020, 11:05 AM IST

US chip-maker Nvidia is reportedly in advance talks to acquire SoftBank-owned UK chip company ARM in a cash-and-stock deal worth at least $32 billion. According to a report in the Financial Times on Friday citing sources, the talks began after “Nvidia approached SoftBank, which has been pursuing a series of other asset sales, about a potential acquisition”. The proposed deal includes “both cash and stock and that it valued ARM at above the $32bn price that SoftBank paid for the business in 2016”. Both Nvidia and ARM did not comment on the report. The British chip designer powers major mobile processor from companies like Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung and Huawei.

Apple last month confirmed its break up with Intel chips for ARM chips in its Mac desktops, announcing it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Buying ARM would consolidate graphics giant Nvidia’s position at the centre of the semiconductor industry. SoftBank bought ARM for $31 billion in 2016. Microsoft makes an ARM-based Surface laptop and a version of Windows designed for ARM. According to The Verge, Nvidia would make an interesting owner for ARM. While Nvidia is the leader for GPUs, it has little to do with CPU design or mobile hardware.

Nvidia said this week it delivered the world’s fastest Artificial Intelligence (AI) training performance among commercially available chips, a feat that will help big enterprises tackle the most complex challenges in AI, data science and scientific computing. Nvidia A100 GPUs and DGX SuperPOD systems were declared the world’s fastest commercially available products for AI training, according to MLPerf benchmarks. The A100 Tensor Core GPU demonstrated the fastest performance per accelerator on all eight MLPerf benchmarks.



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Intel 7nm Chipsets Delayed, Launch Cycle Could Potentially Move to 2022

Intel said on Thursday its new 7nm chip technology was six months behind schedule and it would consider farming out more work to outside semiconductor foundries, eroding a founding principle that manufacturing is key to its success. The setbacks will have little effect in the next few quarters, but will cause a years-long domino effect, delaying chips meant to counter the rise of rivals Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Nvidia until late 2021 or even 2023.

Intel’s 7nm delays extend the lead in the smaller, faster chip technology held by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC), which is now expected to remain at least one generation of technology ahead for years to come. They will likely benefit rivals AMD and Nvidia, which outsource their manufacturing to TSMC.”We’re going to be pretty pragmatic about if and when we should be making stuff inside or making outside, and making sure that we have optionality to build internally, mix and match inside and outside, or go outside in its entirety if we need to,” Chief Executive Bob Swan said on a call with investors.

Intel is the top supplier for processors for PCs and data centers, but Nvidia and TSMC are challenging the logic of Intel’s business model as a both a designer and manufacturer of its own chips. Swan told investors that Intel’s “Ponte Vecchio,” a data center graphics chip meant to compete with Nvidia, will not be released until late 2021 or early 2022 and could use outside chip factories. He said Intel’s first 7nm chip, meant for personal computers, will not arrive until late 2022 or early 2023. Its first 7nm data center processor will not ship until the first half of 2023.

In recent years, Intel has relied on booming growth in data centers that power cloud computing as PC sales declined, though both segments have expanded as the pandemic forced increased technology spending to facilitate working from home. The company estimated third-quarter revenue of about $18.2 billion on adjusted earnings of $1.10 per share, compared with analysts’ average forecast of $17.9 billion and $1.14 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. It updated its full-year 2020 revenue guidance to $75 billion versus analysts’ consensus estimate of $73.86 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

For the second quarter ended in June, Intel said overall revenue and adjusted profits were $19.73 billion and $1.23 per share, compared with analysts’ estimates of $18.55 billion and $1.11 per share, according to Refinitiv. Revenue for its data center segment was $7.1 billion compared to estimates of $6.61 billion, according to data from FactSet. Sales for PC chips were $9.5 billion, compared to analyst estimates of $9.10 billion, according to FactSet data. Nvidia, which designs but does not make its own chips, earlier this month overtook Intel as the most valuable US chip supplier, thanks to strong sales to data centers using Nvidia chips for artificial intelligence work.

In the PC market, longtime Intel rival AMD this week announced new PC chips that analysts expect to be powered by TSMC’s manufacturing processes. Last month, Apple said it would end its reliance on Intel chips for Mac computers after nearly 15 years. Apple uses chip technology from SoftBank Group Corp-owed Arm. “The delay of its 7nm roadmap timing will create even more headwinds for Intel as its risk increased probability of further share loss to AMD and to other architecture like Arm in both its client and data center markets in the next two to three years,” said Kinngai Chan, an analyst at Summit Insights Group.


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IIT Hyderabad Collaborates With Nvidia To Unveil a Joint AI Research Centre

Graphics giant Nvidia, here on Thursday, unveiled a technology centre at the Indian Institute of Technology that will accelerate research in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its commercial adoption. The Nvidia AI Technology Centre will help accelerate research by the 220 IIT Hyderabad faculty members. The collaboration between IIT Hyderabad and Nvidia will focus on advancing AI research in the areas of agriculture and smart cities, besides language understanding.

The projects to be taken up included increasing crop yield using AI algorithms, applying AI-based solutions to support safer transportation systems and better ways of managing traffic. “The combination of Nvidia’s leading-edge technology for AI and some of the finest minds in the country from IIT Hyderabad will bring synergy to help find solutions to uniquely Indian challenges, be it enhancing crop yield or safer cities,” said B.S. Murty, Director, IIT Hyderabad.

“This will build on the strong AI capabilities of IIT Hyderabad, including the country’s first B.Tech in AI programme,” he said. IIT Hyderabad already houses two Nvidia DGX-1TM systems and an Nvidia DGX-2TM system, dedicated to research at the institute. “Nvidia is powering the AI revolution across research facilities everywhere. Our collaboration with IIT Hyderabad will accelerate AI research and help create innovative solutions to real-world challenges,” said Vishal Dhupar, Managing Director, Nvidia South Asia.


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Mi NoteBook Pro 15 With 10th-Gen Intel Processors, Nvidia GeForce MX350 Goes Official

Shortly after launching the new Mi NoteBook 14 series in India, Xiaomi has now announced the new Mi NoteBook Pro 15 in China. The new notebook is being offered with the latest 10th-gen Intel Core processors as well as Nvidia’s GeForce MX350 GPU. The notebook also comes with a slim form-factor.

Mi NoteBook Pro 15 Specs and Price

Xiaomi’s new laptop offering comes with a 15.6-inch full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) display with 81.5 percent screen-to-body ratio and 100% sRGB coverage. The new Mi Notebook Pro 15 is being offered in two configurations. There is the Intel Core i5-10210U processor option that comes with 8GB dual-channel 2666MHz DDR4 RAM and 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. There is also the option of a more powerful Intel Core i7-10510U coupled 16GB RAM and 1TB storage.

Other features include dual-band Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth v5.0, while the port selection includes two USB Type-C ports, two USB Type-A ports, an HDMI port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There are two 2.5W speakers with support for Dolby Audio Premium.The notebook also offers a backlit keyboard and a 60WHr battery.

As for the pricing, the Intel Core i5 model is priced at CNY 5999 (Rs 65,000 approx) while the Core i7 model is priced at CNY 6999 (Rs 75,000 approx). The Mi NoteBook Pro 15 will be available via JD.com, Youpin, and other major e-retailers in China. There is no confirmation of whether this model will be introduced in the Indian market.


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ASUS ROG Strix GA15, Strix GA35 Gaming Desktops With AMD Ryzen CPUs Launched in India

ASUS ROG Strix GA15, Strix GA35 Gaming Desktops With AMD Ryzen CPUs Launched in India

ASUS is offering two gaming towers which are aimed at reducing the stress of building an entire desktop system from scratch.

  • Last Updated: June 3, 2020, 1:34 PM IST

Ryzen 4000 mobile CPU and Nvidia graphics card options. The company also announced two new additions to the ROG gaming desktop lineup. The ROG Strix GA15 and the Strix GA35 gaming tower PCs come with AMD’s 3rd generation Ryzen CPUs and seem to be perfect for gamers who don’t want to go out and build a PC from scratch. Notably, these machines were first showcased at CES 2020 in January.

ASUS ROG Strix GA15

First is the ROG Strix GA15 which is sort of the entry-level in the series. It can be configured with up to an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X processor which means you can get up to 8-cores of performance. It uses an AMD B450 motherboard and will be offered with up to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GPU, although the ASUS India website also mentions the GTX 1660 Super and the RTX 2070 Super. You can configure up to 32GB of DDR4 3200MHz RAM and up to a 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD for storage along with a standard HDD. The GA15 also comes with 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v5.1, a 500W 80 Plus power supply and of course a variety of connectivity ports.

ASUS ROG STRIX GA35

This one is a more powerful option for gamers. The tower is not only bigger but it also comes with the option of a more powerful AMD Ryzen 9 3950X processor. You can also configure this one with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB graphics card and up to 128GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM. All connectivity options are the same as the ROG Strix GA15 along with the ability to hot-swap SSD drives right from the front panel. The system comes with a custom AIO liquid cooler made in collaboration with Cooler Master. ASUS is also offering the option of a 500W or 700W 80 Plus power supply.

Both the systems come with RGB lighting which can be controlled with the company’s preinstalled software. ASUS also says that all the components can be fully upgraded and the company will continue to offer a warranty on all the existing parts even after you upgrade on your own. Currently, they won’t be shipped with any peripherals, but the company is planning to ship these with a keyboard and mouse combo in the future. The ROG Strix GA15 desktop starts from Rs 65,990 while the ROG Strix GA35 starts from Rs 1,79,990. One can purchase either of these from online and offline stores.




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ASUS TUF Gaming Notebooks With AMD Ryzen 4000 Launched in India Starting at Rs 60,990

ASUS TUF Gaming Notebooks With AMD Ryzen 4000 Launched in India Starting at Rs 60,990

The new TUF gaming laptop range seems to offer a balance between price, design and performance.

  • Last Updated: June 2, 2020, 1:32 PM IST

ASUS has brought its new AMD-based TUF gaming laptops to India. The range includes two models, the A15 and A17, both of which will be offered with the new AMD Ryzen 4000 CPU range. The updated TUF range comes with a revamped design and seems to take some inspiration from the higher-end ROG range.

ASUS TUF A15, A17 Specifications

The new TUF A15 and A17 will be offered with either the Ryzen 7 4800H or the Ryzen 5 4600H processors. As the name suggests, the A15 is the 15.6-inch model while the A17 comes with a 17.3-inch display. Notably, the 15-inch model will be offered with upto 144Hz refresh rate while the A17 will come with up to 120Hz refresh rate.

Both the notebooks can be configured with up to 32GB of DDR4 3200MHz RAM along with dual storage slots to install PCIe Gen 3 SSD as well as SATA HDD. Graphics options on the A15 range from the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 to the RTX 2060 while the A17 is limited till the GTX 1660Ti.

The notebooks also offer a wide range of connectivity options including a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen 2) with display support (DP1.4). Other than that there are two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen 1) ports, a USB Type-A USB2.0 port, an audio jack combo, an ethernet port, and HDMI. sadly there is no Wi-Fi 6 support here.

Other features include DTS:X Ultra audio support, special self-cleaning fans with anti-dust tunnels, and two colour options: Fortress Gray or Bonfire Black.

Price

As for the pricing, the new TUF A15 gaming laptop range starts from Rs 62,990 while the A17 starts at Rs 60,990. The TUF A15 Bonfire Black colour option will be available from Amazon India, while the A15 Fortress Gray colour option will be available across offline stores, Reliance Stores as well as Amazon India. The TUF A17 will be selling on Flipkart from mid June onwards.

We are currently testing the new TUF A15 loaded with the Ryzen 7 4800 CPU and GTX 1660Ti GPU. The notebook definitely feels solid and well suited for gaming enthusiasts and serious esports gamers.




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NVIDIA Recreates Pacman From Scratch Using AI to Mark 40th Anniversary

NVIDIA Recreates Pacman From Scratch Using AI to Mark 40th Anniversary

NVIDIA announced that it trained an AI to create an operational replica of the game simply from watching it being played 50,000 times.

  • AFP Relaxnews
  • Last Updated: May 26, 2020, 12:46 PM IST

After watching 50,000 episodes of Pac-Man being played, Nvidia’s AI was able to recreate a convincing replica of the game from nothing. On the 40-year anniversary of the beloved game Pac-Man, Nvidia, known for its graphic processing unit technology, announced that it has trained an AI to create an operational replica of the game simply from watching it being played 50,000 times — no human intervention required.

The artificial intelligence used to accomplish this is called NVIDIA GameGAN, a neural network model which “mimics a computer game engine by harnessing generative adversarial networks, or GANs.” These GANS use a pair of competing for neural networks which work together to create new content that looks impressively like the real deal it was designed to copy. And thus, without a game engine, GameGAN recreated Pac-Man without anyone programming it with code.

In 2019, the company used this same GAN technology to create two other apps: GauGAN and GANimal. While the former could take user doodles and convert them into photorealistic landscapes, the latter could put the expression of one animal — like that of your pet, for example — realistically onto the face of another.

As for GameGAN, Nvidia states that this tech could possibly be eventually used by game developers to “automatically generate layouts for new game levels,” or by AI experts to efficiently generate “develop simulator systems for training autonomous machines.” The AI-generated version of Pac-Man will be available for the public to play later this year.




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Nvidia RTX Super GPU Range Finally Makes its Way to Gaming Notebooks

Intel just announced its new range of high-performance 10th-gen H-Series processors offering up to 5.3GHz of clock speeds. Naturally, you need a powerful GPU to complement the massive amount of power. So, Nvidia has announced its new RTX Super GPUs for notebooks. The range currently includes the RTX 2080 Super and RTX 2070 Super mobile GPUs which will also be offered in Max-Q variants for slimmer notebooks.

The new mobile GPUs are based on Nvidia’s Turing architecture and include dedicated ray tracing Core hardware. Of course, these are the company’s most powerful and the most expensive RTX cards for laptops. They should offer a decent performance bump over the standard RTX 2070 and 2080. The Max-Q configurations are said to offer double the power efficiency by making use of a feature called Dynamic Boost. It can automatically distribute power between their GPU and CPU and it includes new low-voltage GDDR6 memory, upgraded voltage regulators, and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS 2.0), which makes use of artificial intelligence to render pixels.

The RTX 2080 Super comes with 3,072 CUDA cores compared to 2,944 from the previous version, with power ranging between 80 to 150+ watts. The boost clock, memory and bandwidth remain pretty much the same. The RTX 2070 Super gets 2,560 CUDA cores compared to 2,304 on the RTX 2070 Max-Q with the base boost clock going up from 1,155 to 1,380 MHz, compared to 1,125 to 1,455 MHz on the non-Super model. Rest of the specifications remain the same.

Also Read:

Intel’s New 10th-Gen Core H-Series Notebook CPUs Breaks the 5GHz Barrier

Expect the new chips to arrive on new notebooks in April with Asus, Razer, MSI, Acer, and Lenovo confirming that new products are on their way. Nvidia also confirmed that the RTX 2060 will be more affordable hence will be available to a wider range of notebooks starting at $999 (Rs 76,000 approx). There is also news that the new RTX 3000 series for desktops will be announced in August.