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Thread: Microsoft Silicon may be coming to datacentres and Surface

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    Microsoft Silicon may be coming to datacentres and Surface

    Insiders say that MS is creating Arm-based processors. Intel stock dips a further 6 per cent.
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    Re: Microsoft Silicon may be coming to datacentres and Surface

    making your own cpu does not necessarily mean money will be saved, off-the shelf CPUs have a massive advantage: COMPETITION. Simply put the fastest is picked.

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    Re: Microsoft Silicon may be coming to datacentres and Surface

    Quote Originally Posted by lumireleon View Post
    making your own cpu does not necessarily mean money will be saved, off-the shelf CPUs have a massive advantage: COMPETITION. Simply put the fastest is picked.
    It sounds like Microsoft are making their own SoC, not designing the CPU cores themselves. They can still buy off the shelf core designs (probably N2 or even V1 cores), and pair them up with things like off the shelf 25GbE network cores to make something that properly fits their needs.

    But for me the interesting thing here is whether the chips end up running Windows, or MS just put the usual datacentre standard of Linux on them.

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    Re: Microsoft Silicon may be coming to datacentres and Surface

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    It sounds like Microsoft are making their own SoC, not designing the CPU cores themselves. They can still buy off the shelf core designs (probably N2 or even V1 cores), and pair them up with things like off the shelf 25GbE network cores to make something that properly fits their needs.

    But for me the interesting thing here is whether the chips end up running Windows, or MS just put the usual datacentre standard of Linux on them.
    Now that ARM are doing server orientated designs, most big datacentre providers will be considering this. Certainly Azure like AWS is big enough to afford to do so.
    I'd expect Google to follow suite (think currently they only do those AI focuses TPU things).

    As for MS and Linux, well they have allegedly become a bit more open recently (although the bootloader shenanigans on Win10 continue to give dual booters trouble), but on the other hand they have the Windows source code so could make kernels etc. which suite their workload.

    Wonder whether the rumours about Apple doing some 8/16/32 core monster chips is mostly about datacentre too with maybe a use in a new consumer toaster (Mac Pro)? Otherwise, the market for their 'pro' stuff (which is generally anything but pro with limited expansion etc.) just seems far too small.

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    Re: Microsoft Silicon may be coming to datacentres and Surface

    Quote Originally Posted by kompukare View Post
    Wonder whether the rumours about Apple doing some 8/16/32 core monster chips is mostly about datacentre too with maybe a use in a new consumer toaster (Mac Pro)? Otherwise, the market for their 'pro' stuff (which is generally anything but pro with limited expansion etc.) just seems far too small.
    The thing is Apple will want something for devs to code on. As long as people are cross compiling from amd64 chips, ARM will be a second class environment. To suck the devs in, you need something at least vaguely on par with a high end AM4 chip.

    This does all make me wonder how quickly AMD could dust off their ARM ideas if needed. A Zen 3 back end pipeline with ARM instruction decoders at the front could be a very rapid bit of silicon.

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    Re: Microsoft Silicon may be coming to datacentres and Surface

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    The thing is Apple will want something for devs to code on. As long as people are cross compiling from amd64 chips, ARM will be a second class environment. To suck the devs in, you need something at least vaguely on par with a high end AM4 chip.

    This does all make me wonder how quickly AMD could dust off their ARM ideas if needed. A Zen 3 back end pipeline with ARM instruction decoders at the front could be a very rapid bit of silicon.
    Thing is who is actually left doing their own ARM designs currently?
    For consumer / phone loads Qualcomm gave up, as did Samsung. HiSilicon might have been tempted that got Trumped.
    So that leaves what? Only Apple really.
    Server and that Fujitsu supercomputer is a different matter.
    Still, neither x86 vendor can afford to ignore all this. Although for semi-custom consoles, I'd imagine AMD will have to be able to provide some AI acceleration for the next gen consoles I would think. Assuming someone can make some kind of AI framework for games - enemies with decent AI would be nice but the likes of Nintendo would probably come up with some custom controllers with enough image recognition circuitry.

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    Re: Microsoft Silicon may be coming to datacentres and Surface

    Quote Originally Posted by kompukare View Post
    So that leaves what? Only Apple really.
    Pretty much. Nvidia's Denver CPUs are still around even though they seem to mostly just drop in standard ARM cores into designs. Now that they own ARM, that's just another ARM design though.

    Most custom CPU design right now seems to be going into RISC-V. It seems to be a more interesting instruction set, creating smaller & lower power consumption parts as well as the zero architectural licence cost.

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    Re: Microsoft Silicon may be coming to datacentres and Surface

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kompukare View Post
    So that leaves what? Only Apple really.
    Pretty much. Nvidia's Denver CPUs are still around even though they seem to mostly just drop in standard ARM cores into designs. Now that they own ARM, that's just another ARM design though.

    Most custom CPU design right now seems to be going into RISC-V. It seems to be a more interesting instruction set, creating smaller & lower power consumption parts as well as the zero architectural licence cost.
    Yup - many seem to think that NV will crank up licence costs
    The ARM cores are so good there is no real reason to design your own to be fair, easier to just add your own bits like ISP, AI and 5G modems
    Old puter - still good enuff till I save some pennies!

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    Re: Microsoft Silicon may be coming to datacentres and Surface

    Just a warning to consumers: if the big boys start having their custom variants and through marketing gimmicks forcing us to buy their products will leave us in a circle like the SandyBridge era of 2 core Celeron's where SMP is a luxury.

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