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Qualcomm snaps up Nuvia in $1.4bn deal

by Mark Tyson on 14 January 2021, 10:11

Tags: Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaep2o

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High performance server chip startup was founded in early 2019 but registered its first ping on the HEXUS radar in November 2019 when it shared its plans for a new range of data centre processors. Formed by a trio of big-name Apple execs, the firm already had big money backing from the likes of Dell and various Silicon Valley investors. The Nuvia team didn't lack confidence, and wasn't shy in naming the data centre challenger targets of its first processor range - the Nuvia Phoenix Orion SoCs with disruptive performance per watt stats - Intel, AMD, Qualcomm and Marvell Technology.

Yesterday evening news broke that Qualcomm, one of the targets in Nuvia's crosshairs, entered into a definitive agreement to buy the startup. Qualcomm will splash out approx $1.4bn, with the contract subject to the usual closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

"The Nuvia team are proven innovators, and like Qualcomm, have a strong heritage in creating leading technology and products," said Cristiano Amon, President and CEO-Elect, Qualcomm Inc. "I am very excited to have them join our team. Together, we are very well positioned to redefine computing and enable our ecosystem of partners to drive innovation and deliver a new class of products and experiences for the 5G era."

Qualcomm's CTO, Jim Thompson, was similarly excited by the acquisition. Thompson specifically indicated that the high-performance Nuvia CPU designs were going to be integrated into Snapdragon SoCs in due course, lifting Snapdragon computing performance "to a new level". He thinks the tech will go beyond the well known Snapdragon range too.

In August 2020 Nuvia made some big claims about its "new way forward" for Arm-based cores. It will be very interesting to see how quickly this tech can be infused into the Qualcomm Snapdragon series and of course the real-world performance / efficiency impacts it can deliver.

Breakthrough for Snapdragon PCs?

We can be pretty sure Qualcomm's due diligence sees something pretty special here. Please don't forget that while Apple 'PCs' are currently moving towards to being wholly Arm-based (within 2 years), with the impressive first Apple M1 SoC, Windows users haven't been as impressed by 'Snapdragon PCs' and the like thus far.



HEXUS Forums :: 4 Comments

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So basically Qualcomm needed a ‘quick fix’ for their inferior Arm performance now the M1 is out and bought a ‘better’ core design to try and catch up…

As much as I'm no fan of Apple you have to thank them for getting the only other real Arm competitor (yes there are Samsung etc but most use Qualcomm) to get off their behinds and improve their offerings…
LSG501
So basically Qualcomm needed a ‘quick fix’ for their inferior Arm performance now the M1 is out and bought a ‘better’ core design to try and catch up…

As much as I'm no fan of Apple you have to thank them for getting the only other real Arm competitor (yes there are Samsung etc but most use Qualcomm) to get off their behinds and improve their offerings…
Apple, Qualcomm and Samsung mobile chips are all Arm chips, not Arm competitors. Or I guess you mean competitors of arm-based chips.
LSG501
So basically Qualcomm needed a ‘quick fix’ for their inferior Arm performance now the M1 is out and bought a ‘better’ core design to try and catch up…

As much as I'm no fan of Apple you have to thank them for getting the only other real Arm competitor (yes there are Samsung etc but most use Qualcomm) to get off their behinds and improve their offerings…

Erm Apple leveraged quite a lot of silicon to get the M1 to perform as well as it does. They have dedicated die space to accelerate emulation of x86 for example and have made great use of that. The actual cores are decent if not fantastic and about the same as X1 cores from ARM (Samsung Exynos 2100 uses one of those for example)
What Apple DO have is 5nm, total vertical integration so can control the whole thing well, and a small amount of products. Then throw in ram integrated closely and you can see how they manage it. The actual cores are just one small part of how the M1 is a capable chip
kalniel
Apple, Qualcomm and Samsung mobile chips are all Arm chips, not Arm competitors. Or I guess you mean competitors of arm-based chips.

Last time I checked Apple has a slightly different license to the others due to being part of the original group who designed ARM originally so while they are all ‘arm’ Apple does have some slightly different options available… having said that, if they are all using the same ‘arm’ processors, ignoring 5nm, why are the others so bad performance wise, they all had the same freedom in how they designed the chip etc…. just look at the m1 versus qualcomm on windows for arm and that's not even optimised for it.


3dcandy
Erm Apple leveraged quite a lot of silicon to get the M1 to perform as well as it does. They have dedicated die space to accelerate emulation of x86 for example and have made great use of that. The actual cores are decent if not fantastic and about the same as X1 cores from ARM (Samsung Exynos 2100 uses one of those for example)
What Apple DO have is 5nm, total vertical integration so can control the whole thing well, and a small amount of products. Then throw in ram integrated closely and you can see how they manage it. The actual cores are just one small part of how the M1 is a capable chip

The thing is everything Apple has done with the m1 could have been done by Qualcomm for the ‘windows arm cpu’, hell I've even suggested ‘x86 coprocessors’ in another thread so if someone who isn't a ‘processor engineer’ can come up with the ‘idea’ why can't a multi billion dollar company with specialist engineers do the same. Yes the total control over everything (along with unix and the ability to just ditch legacy code) will be a bonus for Apple but when an unoptimised windows on arm can run faster via emulation then on dedicated hardware it's pretty clear that qualcomm could have done a LOT better than they have, which in turn screws over Microsoft's efforts at embracing ARM.