Nvidia in Advanced Talks to Buy ARM, Upend Silicon Industry

Those rumors about Nvidia being in talks with SoftBank about purchasing ARM have been upgraded to “advanced talks.” (Does that make these “advanced rumors?”)

Even if SoftBank can come to an agreement with Nvidia over selling ARM, which it bought for $32B, the regulatory scrutiny from various nations would be enormous, as Bloomberg reports. Apple, Qualcomm, AMD, and Intel all have architecture licenses from ARM, allowing them to design their own CPUs that are compatible with ARM’s instruction sets but that otherwise contain custom IP. Dozens more companies depend on ARM’s extensive hard-IP licenses for various CPU solutions. Given ARM’s ubiquitous position in smartphones, and its burgeoning presence in HPC and servers, everyone from Ampere to MediaTek is going to be concerned about ARM being owned by any single silicon company.

What’s the Advantage of Ownership?

In my previous story, I stated that buying ARM would give Nvidia an easy path to return to desktop and laptop computing with an integrated ARM/Nvidia SoC. What I should’ve addressed then — and didn’t — is how this would be different from Nvidia taking out an architectural license (which it already has), in the first place. After all, Nvidia already builds chips like Project Denver and its successor, Carmel, on an ARM architecture. Owning ARM doesn’t change that.

What owning ARM would do is give Nvidia control over how the entire ARM IP stack evolves in the future. If it wanted to pour development into ARM’s Neoverse server concept and develop new SIMD extensions that would speed its own HPC workloads, it could do so. Instead of being limited to an Nvidia-specific implementation, ARM could design said extensions directly into the standard.

Running multiple Docker container-based demos on Nvidia Jetson Xavier NX

Running multiple Docker container-based demos on Nvidia Jetson Xavier NX.

There are other potential advantages for Nvidia as well. The company could design a low-level GPU as a replacement for ARM’s own efforts, then extend the IP across its core families as well, giving the GeForce brand significant reach across the mobile ecosystem.

Regulatory issues, however, could still scuttle the deal. Historically, Nvidia has always preferred a very closed development model. The company doesn’t license CUDA to anyone and it typically prefers to develop its own value-added software and hardware capabilities as opposed to creating cross-vendor ecosystems. So long as Nvidia is just one ARM licensee among many, this presents no problem. If Nvidia were to buy ARM itself, however, the numerous firms that rely on ARM licenses would demand guarantees that their access to future products or licenses wouldn’t be impeded by anti-competitive measures. If the deal gets to this point, Nvidia will undoubtedly make a number of concessions and guarantees to avoid the appearance of favoritism.

What Nvidia would be buying, with ARM, isn’t just the ability to take out an architectural license. It has one already. What it would be buying, ultimately, is the ability to influence how ARM SoCs evolve in the future at multiple price points and markets. If Nvidia thought it would be useful to their own position to implement CUDA for mobile GPUs, they’d be able to do so. If they wanted to introduce a high-end hard-IP GPU core under the GeForce brand and position the SoC as a gaming solution, they could do that as well.

Just How Shelved Is AMD K12?

One thing I’d love to know is just how far AMD got with K12 before they shelved it and whether the chip might ever see the light of day. According to AMD contacts I spoke to when the company decided to pivot towards Ryzen, the K12 design wasn’t scrapped — AMD just decided that the ecosystem wasn’t mature enough to justify bringing the product to market. The scuttlebutt around K12 always suggested it was similar to Ryzen, with a number of shared design elements between the cores. While ARM and x86 are two different CPU architectures, it would be much easier to cross-leverage IP between ARM and x86 then between, say, x86 and Itanium. There’s no evidence that AMD finished the design or continued to evolve it in the background, but they wouldn’t have thrown the chip away, either. If ARM starts chewing into x86’s market share, I expect AMD might dust off K12, update it for the modern era, and bring it to market.

AMD’s K12 slide. This is most of what we know about the one-time product. AMD has never said how much of the work it completed before shelving the CPU.

Right now, the CPU market is more dynamic than it’s been in decades. A new ARM owner could send major ripples through the company’s long-term trajectory. Intel is struggling with manufacturing issues. AMD is gaining market share. Heck, even open-source efforts like RISC-V continue to drive engagement and interest. Any Nvidia effort to buy ARM can likely be read as an intention to push into x86’s turf in one market or another.

Feature image is Nvidia’s Orin, a self-driving car module with onboard ARM cores and an Ampere-based GPU.

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from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/computing/313405-nvidia-in-advanced-talks-to-buy-arm-upend-silicon-industry

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/07/nvidia-in-advanced-talks-to-buy-arm.html

Nobody’s Applying For Big Cybersecurity Jobs. This CompTIA Certification Training Can Get You In The Door

With U.S. unemployment still over 11 percent, there are literally millions of Americans looking for work. Of course, that number is considerably smaller when you look at the pool of trained cybersecurity professionals.

And the key there is finding trained professionals. Because while cybersecurity hiring is booming, with new employment up over 7 percent in May, companies are still having an extremely tough time finding qualified candidates. In fact, 86 percent of cybersecurity job openings attracted under 10 applicants each, just because workers don’t have the right skill set.

So the conclusion is clear — if you want to work as a cybersecurity expert, get trained now. Instruction like The CompTIA Security Infrastructure Expert Bundle ($39.99, over 90 percent off) is a perfect means of landing the skills needed to get working fast in this rapidly expanding field.

As added incentive, this package includes training compiled by CompTIA, the world’s most recognized IT certification body. Once you’ve completed these four courses, you’ll be ready to sit for four of CompTIA’s most important exams and earn certifications that earn you instant credibility with hiring managers.

The CompTIA CySA+ (CS0-001) kicks things off, helping new users understand the basics of spotting, fighting and ultimately preventing cybersecurity threats with the use of all the latest security analytics and tools. Students will learn how to configure and use threat detection tools, perform data analysis, and interpret those results to spot vulnerabilities and threats to their organization.

With the CompTIA Security+ (SY0-501) course, students delve deeper into IT security knowledge and skills, including how to provide the correct levels of protection to system information, apps and infrastructure, while also maintaining critical system access guidelines for each individual user.

While much of IT security training is geared toward system management, the CompTIA CASP+ (CAS-003) course centers on what practitioners need, not managers, to implement key cybersecurity policies and frameworks.

Finally, the CompTIA PenTest+ (PT0-001) course truly tests a student’s learning, requiring hands-on demonstration of the abilities and knowledge needed to identify and defend against penetration attacks across all environments, from traditional desktops and servers to mobile devices and even the cloud.

Earn for prime CompTIA certifications with this four-course collection, a $1,180 training package now on sale for just $39.99 while this offer lasts.

Note: Terms and conditions apply. See the relevant retail sites for more information. For more great deals, go to our partners at TechBargains.com.

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from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/deals/313414-nobodys-applying-for-big-cybersecurity-jobs-this-comptia-certification-training-can-get-you-in-the-door

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/07/nobodys-applying-for-big-cybersecurity.html

Charlton Athletic: EFL meets Addicks officials to clarify ownership

The EFL meets with representatives of Charlton’s prospective new owner and the current ones to find a way round the impasse surrounding a takeover.

from BBC News – London https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53615557

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/07/charlton-athletic-efl-meets-addicks.html

HMD’s Nokia 8.3 5G Will Come to the US This Year

This is the year of 5G whether you want it or not, and you can thank Qualcomm for making the new network technology mandatory in its latest ARM chips. That has led to some extremely big, expensive smartphones in 2020, but HMD plans to launch a more affordable 5G Android phone in the US this year. The Nokia 8.3 5G falls between flagships and budget phones, but we don’t know when it’ll launch or exactly how much it will cost in the US. 

The Nokia 8.3 5G is not technically a new phone, but it’ll be new for the US. HMD announced the 8.5 5G back in March alongside the 5.3 and 1.3. The Snapdragon 765G inside this phone has an integrated 5G modem unlike the 865, which needs a separate modem. There are only two high-power processing cores and six low-power — the 865 has a 4×4 setup. The 765 doesn’t crush benchmarks like the 865 does, but it has better battery life, and the real-world performance is almost as good. 

Odds are this 5G phone will only support sub-6 frequencies. The cost associated with millimeter wave, which is only common in the US, has thus far limited ultra-fast 5G to flagship devices. That’s not a huge loss, though. Millimeter wave only has a range of a few hundred feet and doesn’t pass through walls. 

HMD equipped the Nokia 8.3 with a giant 6.8-inch 1080p display, but it’s an LCD rather than OLED. That means a bit more bezel at the bottom of the phone, but HMD has helpfully slapped the Nokia logo in there in case you forget what phone you’re using. Happens all the time, right? The 8.3 also sports a 64MP main camera sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide, a 2MP macro, and a 2MP depth sensor. 

In March, there were precious few phones running the Snapdragon 765 system-on-a-chip (SoC), but this part of the market has since filled in with devices like the LG Velvet, Motorola Edge, and OnePlus Nord. That might make the Nokia 8.3 a tougher sell. HMD hasn’t mentioned US pricing just yet, but the international 8.3 5G runs €600, which is about $648. The Nord, which is available internationally and will come to the US in some form, is currently €200 less. The Velvet is slightly cheaper, and the Edge is just a bit more. So, it’s a much more crowded field in late 2020 than early 2020.

Now read:

from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/mobile/313384-hmds-nokia-8-3-5g-will-come-to-the-us-this-year

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/07/hmds-nokia-83-5g-will-come-to-us-this.html

How to Download and Install Windows 8.1 for Free (Updated)

Windows 8.1’s new All Apps view — an olive branch to Windows 7 users who miss their Start menu

Update 7/31/2020:  Windows 8.1 is long outdated, but technically supported through 2023. If you need to download an ISO to reinstall the full version of the operating system, you can download one from Microsoft here.

If you are still using Microsoft Windows 8.1, we recommend you at least begin considering what OS you will use in the future. It’s mid-2020 and Win 8.1 will shuffle off the mortal coil in January 2023. You can still qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 10 if you own a valid Windows 8.1 license, despite the fact that Microsoft formally ended its upgrade program five years ago. Additionally, Windows 10 has the same system requirements as Windows 8.1, so if you can run the latter, you can also run the former.

If you are somehow still stuck on Windows 8.0 and do not want to go to the hassle of a full OS swap, we recommend running Windows Update immediately and downloading all available patches for your system, including the Windows 8.1 update, which will likely be offered to you by default. If you want to download just the Windows 8.1 update files, you can do so here.

Original story below, from 2013:

Windows 8.1 has been released. If you’re using Windows 8, upgrading to Windows 8.1 is both easy and free. If you’re using another operating system (Windows 7, Windows XP, OS X), you can either buy a boxed version ($120 for normal, $200 for Windows 8.1 Pro), or opt for one of the free methods listed below. To download and install Windows 8.1 for free, follow the guide below.

How to download Windows 8.1 for free

Windows 8.1 boxIf you don’t want to wait for October 17 or 18, there are two options for downloading Windows 8.1: You can obtain a copy (and a license key) from a friend/colleague with an MSDN, TechNet, or DreamSpark (student) subscription, or you can download a Windows 8.1 RTM ISO from your favorite file-sharing website (The Pirate Bay, Mega, etc.)

While we’re not going to write a guide on how to obtain Windows 8.1 RTM from non-official sources, we will at least tell you to check the SHA-1 hash of the ISO that you download to make sure that it’s legitimate. If you hit up the MSDN Subscriber Downloads page, and then click Details under the version that you’ve obtained from elsewhere, you’ll find the SHA-1 hash. If you then use File Checksum Integrity Verifier (FCIV) on the ISO, the hash should match. If it doesn’t, assume the ISO has been compromised and download another. (But do make sure that you’re checking the right SHA-1 hash on the MSDN website; your ISO might be mislabeled).

The other easier, and completely legal, option is to download the Windows 8.1 Preview from Microsoft. It’s not as snappy as the final (RTM/GA) build, though, and has quite a few bugs/missing features. Bear in mind that if you go down this road, upgrading to a real version of Windows 8.1 will require a few more steps (discussed in the next section).

How to install Windows 8.1 for free

Once you have the Windows 8.1 ISO on your hard drive, the installation process is painless. Before you begin, you should consider backing up your important files and documents, but it’s not really necessary. You should also ensure that you have plenty of free hard drive space (20GB+).

Windows 8.1 setup processIf you’re already running Windows 8 and you downloaded the RTM ISO from somewhere other than the Windows Store, you can install Windows 8.1 by mounting the downloaded ISO in Explorer by double-clicking it, and then running the installer. If you’re on Windows 7, XP, or (bless your soul) Vista, you’ll need to burn the ISO to a USB thumb drive or DVD, or mount the ISO using a third-party virtual drive tool, like Magic ISO.

If you already have Windows 8, and you waited for the official release date, installing Windows 8.1 is as simple as visiting the Windows Store and downloading the free update.

In both these cases, the upgrade process should be very smooth, with your apps and settings fully preserved. If you upgrade from Windows 8.1 Preview, however, you will lose your installed apps, unless you first run a cversion.ini removal utility.

Once you’ve installed Windows 8.1, you should check out our extensive collection of Windows 8.1 tips and tricks, and be sure to check our Windows 8.1 review and hands-on impressions to ensure that you’re making the most of all the new features.

Now Read:

Sebastian Anthony wrote the original version of this article. It has since been updated with new information.

from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/computing/168685-how-to-download-and-install-windows-8-1-for-free

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/07/how-to-download-and-install-windows-81.html

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson says fans not allowed at sports pilot events as planned

Fans will not be allowed to attend the pilot sports events scheduled for this weekend in England after a spike in coronavirus cases.

from BBC News – London https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/53610375

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/07/coronavirus-boris-johnson-says-fans-not.html

Star Citizen Developer Publishes a Roadmap…for a Roadmap

Let’s get two things out of the way upfront: I love space combat sims, and I love Chris Roberts’ work, specifically. The original Wing Commander games are some of my all-time favorites. With that said, development on Star Citizen’s Squadron 42 — that’s the single-player component of the title — is, to all appearances, a train wreck.

Fans and backers of the game have been requesting an update on where Squadron 42 stood for months. Cloud Imperium Games, the developer behind Star Citizen, publishes regular monthly diaries that offer some insight into the single-player game’s development, but offer virtually nothing in terms of an over-arching roadmap.

Cloud Imperium wants its users to know that it has heard their issues loud and clear. That’s why the company is promising to publish a roadmap for its roadmap.

No, really. That’s what they’ve promised. CIG intends to deliver the following:

1. Give an explanation of the goals of our new Roadmap and what to expect from it
2. Show a rough mockup of the proposed new Roadmap
3. Share a work in progress version of the Roadmap for at least one of our core teams
4. Transition to this new Roadmap

This entire issue arose in March, when CIG admitted in a forum post that its existing roadmap doesn’t properly show the progress it has made on its own game. As a result, it wants to overhaul how it communicates its progress to players. Nothing wrong with additional transparency — provided, of course, that it’s eventually delivered. So far, all that’s been released is a literal roadmap for the development of a roadmap. The four bullet points above apparently took five months to write.

While the various monthly updates contain a fair amount of information, the information isn’t presented in a context that allows the reader to draw conclusions about how much work is left to do in the game or when the title might actually ship.

Is Doing Everything the Best Idea?

Whenever we discuss Star Citizen’s delays and development time, certain fans are quick to leap to its defense with the argument that no game has ever done anything like it and therefore the entire situation is reasonable and fine. In reality, it’s been a decade since Star Citizen began development, eight years since its Kickstarter, and five years since Squadron 42’s original release date. It’s not unfair to be asking if Chris Roberts can ever deliver the project he promised.

Star Citizen famously wants to be a game with unparalleled depth and scale, but at a certain point, it’s worth asking if smaller, more targeted projects would yield better results. One of the biggest reasons for Duke Nukem Forever’s endless delays was a combination of feature creep and aging engines. As the delays stretched out, 3D Realms had to port the game to new engines more than once, delaying the product even more.

Many of the milestones listed in the CIG development diaries suggest core systems of the game are being overhauled for exactly this reason. There are multiple references to the ongoing work being done to add Vulkan support, for example. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with supporting Vulkan, but the API is only four years old. If Star Citizen had hit its initial launch dates, Vulkan support would’ve been an aftermarket addition. Instead, the company is developing a Vulkan renderer, dubbed Gen12, now to keep its own product current. Except, that effort actually launched in 2017, so why isn’t the renderer done yet?

“We will publish the full roadmap to Squadron 42’s release in December.”

That quote is from CIG, but it’s dated December 2018. Needless to say, the “full roadmap” the company promised never materialized. If Star Citizen cannot figure out how to communicate its development schedule in a simplified form to its backers, how is it going to handle the incredibly complex task of integrating all of the features for the game?

Waiting five months to tell fans you’ve written a roadmap for a roadmap is a bad move on CIG’s part. Best-case, it paints CIG as incapable of effective project management. Worst-case, it raises questions of whether the various teams are in effective communication with each other.

If you can’t build a game in a decade when handed $306M, perhaps you shouldn’t be making a game in the first place. Not, at least, until you’ve got a better idea and an actual plan to deliver the product.

Squadron 42, like Star Citizen, has no release date. Perhaps when CIG is finished with the roadmap for the roadmap, they could give us a timeline for the timeline. I love Chris Roberts’ single-player storytelling, but I don’t have much faith in his ability to bring Star Citizen’s disparate parts together in the cohesive whole he’s promised his fans. I’d have sooner had a smaller Squadron 42 with several mission packs or full-blown sequels out of that $306M than one single uber-simulator that may never function as intended due to the sheer complexity of its own design. You don’t have to think Chris Roberts is a scam artist to believe the project has gone badly off the rails, and he wouldn’t be the first game developer to get stuck in the weeds this way.

Now Read:

from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/313367-star-citizen-developer-publishes-a-roadmap-for-a-roadmap

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/07/star-citizen-developer-publishes.html