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rick merritt
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Nvidia's retort
rick merritt   7/31/2013 10:22:52 AM
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In the past, Nvidia defended itself saying Qcomm did not get significant performance benefits from the work of doing a custom core design (less than a 15% boost they claimed). They also argued ARM is putting out so many cores and interconnects so fast these days there's no real time to market advantage doing it yourself either.

Applied Micro may find the latter point is true by the time it gets out its 64-bit server SoCs.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Nvidia's retort
Peter Clarke   7/31/2013 10:36:48 AM
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yes but is that betraying an emphasis on computational performance.

ARM maybe putting out lots of cores and POPs but maybe 15 percent better power efficiency justifies going custom?

Tom Murphy
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Re: Nvidia's retort
Tom Murphy   7/31/2013 10:51:09 AM
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Rick and Peter raise an interested question:  just what is the tipping point between real performance increase and the cost of going custom?

mcgrathdylan
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Re: Nvidia's retort
mcgrathdylan   7/31/2013 2:11:36 PM
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I understand what Nvidia is saying, and I would agree that with ARM putting out so many cores the advantage of doing a custom core design would seem limited. But I also agree with Peter. 15 percent is something. That probably makes it worthwhile for Qualcomm.

DF0
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Re: Nvidia's retort
DF0   8/1/2013 1:03:12 PM
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True, but NVIDIA is developing their own ARM cores as part of their Project Denver.  Also, the Tegra 4i uses a modified A9, called A9R4.

DF0
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Re: Nvidia's retort
DF0   8/1/2013 1:04:57 PM
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I think the big thing that got a lot of the mobile SoC guys was that the A15, while fast, used too much power, and the A9 was getting outdated.  It looks like the A12 will fill this gap, but it's not going to be available for awhile.

DF0
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Re: Nvidia's retort
DF0   8/1/2013 1:08:14 PM
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A big benefit for Qualcomm was that, by developing their own core, they could provide something faster-than-A9 before everyone else, who were still waiting for the A15.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Nvidia's retort
Peter Clarke   8/1/2013 1:23:09 PM
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I believe A9R4 is just a standard updating revision of A9

All the Cortex-A series cores undergo continual revision and debug

 

The latest version for Cortex-A9 is r4p1

The latest version for Cortex-A15 is r4p0

 

 

The MicroMan
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An expensive 15%
The MicroMan   8/1/2013 1:33:11 PM
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There are so many things that make a successful processor chip.  Power consumption is critical, but selling the chip into a outrageously successful end product is the most important.  Maybe 10-20% more battery life makes a modest product an outrageous product, but probably not.  But the cost of manning your own design team to squeeze out less current, then possibly ongoing software differences, could also kill the financials if the end product doesn't hit volume.  Since Samsung sells the end product (smart phone) it *should* know it's customer the best and have a better confidence in whether those volumes will come.  Not for the faint of heart.

Tom Murphy
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Re: An expensive 15%
Tom Murphy   8/1/2013 1:57:26 PM
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Well said, MicroMan. I think in any industry, the creative types -- quite appropriately -- aren't really focused on costs of their endeavors, just on end results.  Upper management earns the big money for making those calls on the risk/return ratios, which sometimes seem incredibly insightful or hopelessly stupid to the rest of us after the results start flowing in. We often see a CEO fired after a product fizzles; it's their job to get it right.    So here's a rare moment of praise for the CFO and CEO who have the guts to say: "Yeah, go ahead, spend the money. What you guys are working on could be a winner for us."

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