As we settle into 2021, hardware news continues apace. Intel has remained ever in the headlines, as CEO-elect Pat Gelsinger is set to take over, and is already bringing former Intel talent back with him. Intel also disclosed full-year earnings for 2020 and offered some clarity on the future of its process technology and manufacturing plans. Nvidia is also in the news, both with a new Pascal-based GPU and updated G-Sync Ultimate marketing language.
There’s more, of course -- Seagate, Samsung, and Arctic are all in the news this week, as well. Within GN, we recently demonstrated the fire hazard that NZXT’s H1 case poses, revisited the GTX 980 in 2021, and made an appearance over at ArsTechnica.
This week’s news is anchored by yet more manufacturing woes from Intel, this time at 7nm. Intel has had to delay its 7nm products due to less than great yields, although the exact problem causing poor yields wasn’t disclosed. Joining Intel in manufacturing trouble is Samsung, as the company is reportedly struggling to improve its 5nm yields.
We also have leaks that NVIDIA is internally working on Ampere launch timelines now, which would point toward early rumors that the cards would see an August/September launch window. Igor of Igor’s Lab may be on the mark with that one. Finally, we have some smaller AMD and Cooler Master news to go over, as well as ARM interest by Nvidia.
News article and video embed are below, as usual.
Intel and AMD dominated the entire CPU market in the 90s and early 2000s, but ARM-based SOCs have taken a large chunk of their business. The ARM architecture and RISC instruction set is used in almost every phone today and can be found in Chromebooks, tablets, TVs, and servers.
ARM is a unique company as it licenses its patents to technology companies to use for a fee; in turn, ARM often receives royalties from these deals. The company actually doesn’t make any physical CPUs like Intel and AMD, so almost all of its money comes from patent deals with other companies to take its designs and create SOCs, which are then put into tablets, phones, or other products.
The only perceivable competitive threat faced by the world’s most successful silicon company, Intel, is the one posed by ARM. For an understanding of just how large Intel is, we can use market capitalization as a relative measurement: AMD sits under $3B these days, NVIDIA (for point of reference) is marked at $12.19B, ARM has grown to $25.5B, and Intel’s market cap rests near a staggering $161B. AMD is a non-threat, but ARM has continually ensured fierce competition in the mobile and integrated devices markets with its low-TDP, high-performance processors.
ARM wasn’t at GDC to talk about its CPUs, though.
With the beginning of the third fiscal quarter for 2014, we see analysts filing revenue reports and public companies announcing performance. We recently posted about the boon to desktop PC sales for 2014 -- recovering nearly 6% of a projected 7% decline -- and now it looks like Intel has similarly good news for the PC industry.
The semiconductor giant has reported 2Q14 revenue as $13.8B -- an 8% hike over 2Q13's $12.8B -- netting a $2.8B profit. Intel's quarterly profits have risen 40% over its 2Q13 reports of $2B. Promisingly for the world of PCs, Intel showed an $8.7B revenue in its PC Client Group (including desktops), a 6% increase over last year.
After offering reddit's computer hardware & buildapc sub-reddits the opportunity to ask us about our nVidia GTC keynote coverage, an astute reader ("asome132") noticed that the new Pascal roadmap had a key change: Maxwell's "unified virtual memory" line-item had been replaced with a very simple, vague "DirectX 12" item. We investigated the change while at GTC, speaking to a couple of CUDA programmers and Maxwell architecture experts; I sent GN's own CUDA programmer and 30+ year programming veteran, Jim Vincent, to ask nVidia engineers about the change in the slide deck. Below includes the official stance along with our between-the-lines interpretation and analysis.
In this article, we'll look at the disappearance of "Unified Virtual Memory" from nVidia's roadmap, discuss an ARM/nVidia future that challenges existing platforms, and look at NVLink's intentions and compatible platforms.
(This article has significant contributions from GN Staff Writer & CUDA programmer Jim Vincent).
We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.