Softbank selling ARM to Nvidia, finally after year of speculation...

Aegir

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If I was Nvidia, I'd be incredibly giddy over the idea of being able to make a my own console that uses my graphics cards paired with my own highly specialized CPU, to essentially build a console that's fully in-house and extremely competitive, with ultimate power. No more having to put Nvidia cards inside an AMD or Intel motherboard. Pure Nvidia.

As a consumer though, this would be just about the worst thing.
 

Red Falcon

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If I was Nvidia, I'd be incredibly giddy over the idea of being able to make a my own console that uses my graphics cards paired with my own highly specialized CPU, to essentially build a console that's fully in-house and extremely competitive, with ultimate power. No more having to put Nvidia cards inside an AMD or Intel motherboard. Pure Nvidia.

As a consumer though, this would be just about the worst thing.
This is literally what Apple is doing with their CPUs/GPUs/SoCs.
When NVIDIA does it, it's cool, but when Apple does it, booooo. :p

I think we are seeing NVIDIA rise to the status of a megacorp that will influence the future more than we know right now...
 

Lakados

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Don't think this will clear antitrust....at least not without some massive stipulations
If they don’t make any sweeping changes to their licensing model it will pass fine. They will likely have to raise prices though. SoftBank has been running ARM at a loss for the last few years and NVidia is going to want to be at least breaking even on it.
 

Aegir

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This is literally what Apple is doing with their CPUs/GPUs/SoCs.
When NVIDIA does it, it's cool, but when Apple does it, booooo. :p

I think we are seeing NVIDIA rise to the status of a megacorp that will influence the future more than we know right now...
As much as I find Apple to be pretentious, I do respect them for making their own CPUs finally.
It was pathetic to see these brainwashed Apple fanatics using the exact same hardware as I use but for multiple times the price.

But Nvidia ought to keep making cards for us. I don't really want to see them go into console production, even though that really would be one heckin' good system.

If Nvidia leaves the PC market, PCs become obsolete as gaming machines and Nvidia becomes the next god of humanity.
 

Meeho

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If I was Nvidia, I'd be incredibly giddy over the idea of being able to make a my own console that uses my graphics cards paired with my own highly specialized CPU, to essentially build a console that's fully in-house and extremely competitive, with ultimate power. No more having to put Nvidia cards inside an AMD or Intel motherboard. Pure Nvidia.
What is stopping them today?
 

emphy

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Why wouldn't it clear? SoftBank cleared so why discriminate against NVIDIA? They aren't a monopoly in any industry.
Problem isn't the market position of nvidia, but that of arm in a market where nvidia is customer. The potential for abuse of arm licensing to push nvidia chips/technology against their competitors is huge.
 

5150Joker

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Problem isn't the market position of nvidia, but that of arm in a market where nvidia is customer. The potential for abuse of arm licensing to push nvidia chips/technology against their competitors is huge.
Why is it abuse if they pay $40bn for it? Is it a crime if they try to make returns on it? Since when did technology become a community property? I see a lot of pearl clutching going on about evil nvidia taking over Arm but no solid reasons offered of why it’s such a bad thing. Apple controls it’s chain top down and so does Samsung yet I don’t see people crucifying them. In fact I've seen stupid suggestions that Apple or Amazon should take Arm over, as if that would be any better.
 

MangoSeed

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I don’t get Nvidia’s angle here. ARM isn’t making any money and Nvidia can already design ARM based mobile/desktop/server chips today to their heart’s content. So where’s the upside?

GeForce certainly replaces Mali. This surely isn’t just to get CUDA into a few mid-market phones.
 

Aegir

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I don’t get Nvidia’s angle here. ARM isn’t making any money and Nvidia can already design ARM based mobile/desktop/server chips today to their heart’s content. So where’s the upside?

GeForce certainly replaces Mali. This surely isn’t just to get CUDA into a few mid-market phones.
It could be a complex game of 4-dimensional chess, where Nvidia wants to crush AMD which is linked to the fact that AMD uses TSMC, which is linked to Apple who uses TSMC, which is linked to the fact that Apple is planning to use ARM.

So this Nvidia-AMD-TSMC-Apple quad-game of hyper-linear chess is the only viable option.

Nvidia wants to be able to see exactly how Apple designs its chips which will be made by TSMC, which also makes AMD's GPUs and CPUs. Perfectly logical. Uh, maybe.
 

MangoSeed

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It could be a complex game of 4-dimensional chess, where Nvidia wants to crush AMD which is linked to the fact that AMD uses TSMC, which is linked to Apple who uses TSMC, which is linked to the fact that Apple is planning to use ARM.

So this Nvidia-AMD-TSMC-Apple quad-game of hyper-linear chess is the only viable option.

Nvidia wants to be able to control and see exactly how Apple designs its chips which will be made by TSMC, which also makes AMD's GPUs and CPUs. Perfectly logical. Uh, maybe.
Nvidia doesn’t care about AMD. They’re not a threat to any of Nvidia’s strategic growth businesses and clearly aren’t a concern for gaming right now.
 

Aegir

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Nvidia doesn’t care about AMD. They’re not a threat to any of Nvidia’s strategic growth businesses and clearly aren’t a concern for gaming right now.
You're basically right. But then what is Nvidia's true aim?
They used to make motherboard chipsets, right? And they recently acquired Mellanox? Maybe they want to do something datacenter related.
It's tough to tell, but I hope Nvidia will let us know by releasing a sweet product. Did you hear about Mellanox's new thing? https://docs.mellanox.com/display/C...+PCIe+HHHL+Ethernet+Adapter+Cards+User+Manual
 

Ready4Dis

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If I was Nvidia, I'd be incredibly giddy over the idea of being able to make a my own console that uses my graphics cards paired with my own highly specialized CPU, to essentially build a console that's fully in-house and extremely competitive, with ultimate power. No more having to put Nvidia cards inside an AMD or Intel motherboard. Pure Nvidia.

As a consumer though, this would be just about the worst thing.
They do this now with their arm license... Absolutely nothing is stopping them from making another Nvidia shield. Owning arm just means they don't have to pay the license fee anymore. Besides stifling their competitors, this doesn't really help them in that direction. They can already do it. What they can't currently do without owning arm, is stop others from doing it too.

Agreed, I can't see how this would be good for consumers either.
 
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Ready4Dis

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It could be a complex game of 4-dimensional chess, where Nvidia wants to crush AMD which is linked to the fact that AMD uses TSMC, which is linked to Apple who uses TSMC, which is linked to the fact that Apple is planning to use ARM.

So this Nvidia-AMD-TSMC-Apple quad-game of hyper-linear chess is the only viable option.

Nvidia wants to be able to see exactly how Apple designs its chips which will be made by TSMC, which also makes AMD's GPUs and CPUs. Perfectly logical. Uh, maybe.
Funny enough, after reading your statement, this could be Nvidias play to get back into Apple ;). Buy arm, embed GPU, watch Apple be forced to use Nvidia IP. Put a decent APU together and get apple to put Nvidia drivers into MacOS.
My guess though is they are trying to be able to limit the # of competitors in some manner. They can already license arm IP... The license costs are cheap relative to buying a company for more than it's worth, so the motive isn't to buy a money maker. The motive isn't to gain access to a CPU. We won't know the true motive unless this deal actually goes through and we give it a few years to play out.
 

Snowdog

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I don’t get Nvidia’s angle here. ARM isn’t making any money and Nvidia can already design ARM based mobile/desktop/server chips today to their heart’s content. So where’s the upside?
I agree, If they merely wanted to make more ARM chips, the license is a pittance. So if NVidia is really doing this, and spending all that money, it's going to be for a massive outcome, rough for everyone not NVidia.

I speculated in one of the other story links about this yesterday (we need more story consolidation).

IMO if NVidia is really doing this, and it gets regulatory approval, here is what it's about:

NVidia, wants to drive the direction of ARM development. Mixing ARM talent, and in house chip design talent.

Primary focus: Shifting Windows PCs to ARM. First step: x86 killer ARM chip for Windows Desktops and Laptops.

ARM licence fees on SoCs for mobile are a pittance. Softbank overpaid for ARM, it's profit/revenue in this business don't justify what Softbank paid, much less what NVidia is purported to offer.

Because of Regulatory issues and long term contracts, you really can't just turn the cranks on those fees, especially someone like NVidia who is a competitor with some licensees.

BUT, Windows PC processors are MUCH more expensive than phone SoCs. They would be a difference class of product subject to higher license fees, and a very new large market of conquest that could make this move worth it.

ARM owns mobile, it will migrate naturally into data center/servers (NVidia can accelerate this), and the last bastion is the Windows PC, because x86 compatibility matters most there.

Push Windows to ARM, and then ARM owns the CPU business, and NVidia owns ARM.

Ten years after purchase, what this might look like with ARM everywhere.

NVidia build the best ARM Windows CPUs and APUs. They design the ARM cores, so they have first access to the best designs. Then they still take a license cut on all other Windows ARM CPUs from everyone, including Intel and AMD. If the PC goes ARM, why not the consoles...

For mobile, qualcomm still rules mobile because wireless, but NVidia still gets license fees on all of mobile.

In Servers/Data center, the Mellanox interconnects, NVidia GPU AI/computer, and ARM CPUs are dominant.

So IMO, if this is true, its a Boss Move by NVidia, dangerous to most of the CPU industry, as NVidia ends up in the drivers seat of all the major CPU and GPU industries, disrupting the x86 advantage of Intel and AMD.
 
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MangoSeed

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I am super pessimistic about the viability of ARM on Windows. There is an immense amount of software written for x86. All of that software has to run on ARM chips too for it to have any chance. Which means some slow and buggy software compatibility layer In Windows since Nvidia isn’t allowed to emulate x86 in hardware.
 

Auer

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I am super pessimistic about the viability of ARM on Windows. There is an immense amount of software written for x86. All of that software has to run on ARM chips too for it to have any chance. Which means some slow and buggy software compatibility layer In Windows since Nvidia isn’t allowed to emulate x86 in hardware.
I guess it would all boil down to how much Microsoft would get involved.
I have a feeling Nvidia is not going in blind in this purchase.
 

sleepeeg3

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Lots of speculation. Numerous possibilities.

Controlling ~75% of mobile phone processor and almost being able to build their own phones. They can increase licensing fees and shut down competitors as well.

Providing the core components for consoles will make them more competitive in consoles. AMD seems to be slowly taking over the console market, due to Ryzen.

Controlling a huge share of smart TVs, set top boxes, IoT devices

With revenue from all of that, they can expand their core business.

I think the main advantage for nVidia may not necessarily be what ARM can do for them, but the safety net it provides against these megacorporations. They go from a one trick pony where they are strong in PC graphics, to diversifying into many other fields.
 
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Spun Ducky

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I am super pessimistic about the viability of ARM on Windows. There is an immense amount of software written for x86. All of that software has to run on ARM chips too for it to have any chance. Which means some slow and buggy software compatibility layer In Windows since Nvidia isn’t allowed to emulate x86 in hardware.
I would have agreed with this 10+ years ago but more and more major software is going cloud based or running in a browser. As a dev I am constantly getting pulled into nodejs,web dev, and mobile stuff now a days. It is pretty rare now that I do native apps or systems level work. Arm cpus can run the major interpreted languages and also the major browsers so I wouldn't be surprised to see more and more that native apps unless absolutely necessary are going the way of the dodo especially requiring x86 under the hood.

On a side note non power users or serious games are moving to phones more than anything that are arm already. Samsung Dex is a good example. I know most of my family has ditched laptops/desktops to just use their phones even when I face palm at it.
 

Aegir

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All it'd take is a cheap x86 co-processor add-in card and now all your legacy programs would run like normal.
The main system CPU would be ARM and the GPU would be Nvidia with a proprietary PCIe style connector, but offering incredibly optimized performance.
 

vegeta535

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This is literally what Apple is doing with their CPUs/GPUs/SoCs.
When NVIDIA does it, it's cool, but when Apple does it, booooo. :p

I think we are seeing NVIDIA rise to the status of a megacorp that will influence the future more than we know right now...
Nvidia + Skynet.
 

Aurelius

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I am super pessimistic about the viability of ARM on Windows. There is an immense amount of software written for x86. All of that software has to run on ARM chips too for it to have any chance. Which means some slow and buggy software compatibility layer In Windows since Nvidia isn’t allowed to emulate x86 in hardware.
I can't help but wonder if this is where Apple gains some ground on Microsoft.

Windows' software legacy has normally been its greatest advantage, but also its greatest liability (see the companies hanging on to Windows 7, to use XP mode, to run some ancient Windows NT software). It's hard to tell people to jump to ARM-based Windows PCs when an old must-have app either refuses to run or runs slowly. Not that Mac users never have legacy software, but they're generally not trying to coax another decade out of a 20-year-old program.

(I'd add that Apple's approach to support with fat binaries and Rosetta 2 should be considerably more elegant.)

If Microsoft can't overcome ARM's problems, it may end up sticking to x86. That could be a problem if Apple makes strides forward in Mac processors like it did with iPhones and iPads. It could take several years, but I can imagine a scenario where MacBooks are running rings around similarly-priced Windows laptops simply because Apple isn't chained to x86 like Microsoft.

NVIDIA could help Windows by making ARM chips that perform well even with software emulation. I'm not counting on that, but if Qualcomm's current performance is any indication, Microsoft might lose some market share if there isn't a competitive ARM option for Windows.
 

Snowdog

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I am super pessimistic about the viability of ARM on Windows. There is an immense amount of software written for x86. All of that software has to run on ARM chips too for it to have any chance. Which means some slow and buggy software compatibility layer In Windows since Nvidia isn’t allowed to emulate x86 in hardware.
I think Apple is going to soon be showing what decent emulation can achieve.
 

Revenant_Knight

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Nvidia has wanted a X86 license for years, but it never happened. This is their chance. It behooves them to have Apple be incredibly successful with their ARM based products as it would encourage MS to put more resources into Windows ARM. Demand goes up for that, software follows, and we might actually have a third CPU maker in the market.

Alternatively...this could go really, really bad. Fortunately, RISC-V is waiting in the wings if does.
 

LazyGamer

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Looking at most of the stuff people use on Windows outside of games, well, those codebases are already running on ARM (and Linux / Unix kernels) elsewhere. Yeah, there's lots of legacy stuff that'll get left behind, but just like Apple isn't ditching x86 in one fell swoop, Nvidia with ARM won't be taking over the world in one day.
 

ComputerBox34

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I don’t get Nvidia’s angle here. ARM isn’t making any money and Nvidia can already design ARM based mobile/desktop/server chips today to their heart’s content. So where’s the upside?

GeForce certainly replaces Mali. This surely isn’t just to get CUDA into a few mid-market phones.
They want to control the entire platform and lock competitors out. NVidia is making huge plays for datacenter computing in hopes of being the main driver for future AI driven workloads that will continue to evolve over time. They recently purchased Cumulus networks which was an up and coming backend network solution for "cloud" platform and networks. By owning ARM, they can lock out any competitors hoping to use ARM to compete in the same space and force them to look elsewhere.
 
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