Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th Jul 2018 19:13 UTC
AMD

Chinese-designed "Dhyana" x86 processors based on AMD's Zen microarchitecture are beginning to surface from Chinese chip producer Hygon. The processors come as the fruit of AMD's x86 IP licensing agreements with its China-based partners and break the decades-long stranglehold on x86 held by the triumvirate of Intel, AMD and VIA Technologies. Details are also emerging that outline how AMD has managed to stay within the boundaries of the x86 licensing agreements but still allow Chinese-controlled interests to design and sell processors based on the Zen design.

Even though I doubt this will have any meaningful impact on competition, it's always good to see new x86 manufacturers. The licensing situation around x86 always feels impenetrable and mysterious to me, almost as if it was specifically designed and set up to divide up the x86 market, a huge cash cow for several decades now. With ARM use being on the rise and the architecture even making its first inroads into laptops, servers, and maybe even desktops, the x86 cash cow is starting to look mightily starved.

Order by: Score:
This could dominate the Chinese market
by rener on Mon 9th Jul 2018 22:19 UTC
rener
Member since:
2006-02-27

> Even though I doubt this will have any meaningful impact on competition

If US sanctions do not allow Intel to sell in China, this could take nearly all the market share there, ..!

Reply Score: 6

Conspiracy Theory
by galvanash on Tue 10th Jul 2018 04:46 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

I've seen a bunch of discussion about this on other sites, particularly bringing up how Intel will not like this. I actually think Intel is in on it... Hear me out.

There are two problems in China currently when it comes to computing:

1. There are no large scale Chinese semiconductor foundries capable of producing high end CPUs (yet).

2. US sanctions currently make it impossible to import high end processors, because currently most high end designs come from US companies.

Problem 1 is just a matter of time. China has a few fabs, but they are all on older process nodes. It might be 3-5 more years, but its inevitable for a Chinese company to build a modern foundry. That means at some point in the near future, China is going to be able to actually make high end CPUs for their own market. US sanctions are going to expedite this process imo.

So in a few years when China ramps up a modern foundry, what are they going to make? If you are Intel (or AMD) right now, what would you want them to make?

Giving them a way to produce chips using x86 IP means that there is really good chance that the ISA of choice for the Chinese market will remain x86. Without giving them some avenue to acquire this IP odds are China would heavily invest in ARM (which is not a US company and US sanctions don't apply to them).

This is a play for the market 5-10 years from now, a market which is just in its infancy right now. AMD doing this (probably with Intel's blessing is my hunch) keeps x86 alive in China until the dust settles.

This is a win-win for AMD and Intel. These chips will only sell in China, so there is no competitive threat. They basically get to seed the market their without having to do the heavy lifting themselves...

Edited 2018-07-10 04:51 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Conspiracy Theory
by nicubunu on Tue 10th Jul 2018 05:34 UTC in reply to "Conspiracy Theory"
nicubunu Member since:
2014-01-08

What makes you think those chips will sell only in China? Given a good price/performance ratio I would buy one.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Conspiracy Theory
by galvanash on Tue 10th Jul 2018 06:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Conspiracy Theory"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

What makes you think those chips will sell only in China? Given a good price/performance ratio I would buy one.


Because the agreement that was struck restricts Hygon to selling the processors only within China.

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/china-zen-x86-processor-dryhana,37...

(about half way down the page)

Unless your in China the only way your going to be able to get one is the black market...

Edited 2018-07-10 06:55 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Conspiracy Theory
by emphyrio on Wed 11th Jul 2018 07:47 UTC in reply to "Conspiracy Theory"
emphyrio Member since:
2007-09-11



...

Without giving them some avenue to acquire this IP odds are China would heavily invest in ARM (which is not a US company and US sanctions don't apply to them).
...



If it does business in the US or with US companies, US sanction apply, or they will when the US government closes the legal loophole.

Apart from that, ARM is owned by a Japanese company. I haven't checked, but I suspect it is very likely export restrictions to Chine from Japan are at least at the level of those from the US.

Edited 2018-07-11 07:48 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Conspiracy Theory
by galvanash on Wed 11th Jul 2018 10:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Conspiracy Theory"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Apart from that, ARM is owned by a Japanese company. I haven't checked, but I suspect it is very likely export restrictions to China from Japan are at least at the level of those from the US.


ARM already does business in China...

https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1333267

If Japan or anyone else wanted to block ARM from doing business there, they are about 2 years to late...

Reply Score: 3

until
by unclefester on Tue 10th Jul 2018 05:01 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

"Even though I doubt this will have any meaningful impact on competition..."

Until China bans Intel CPUs for 'security' reasons.

Reply Score: 0

RE: until
by galvanash on Tue 10th Jul 2018 06:53 UTC in reply to "until"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Until China bans Intel CPUs for 'security' reasons.


Intel can't sell their chips in China (at least the high end Xeon stuff) - the US government banned them from exporting there. That is the whole reason this is happening...

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: until
by Kochise on Tue 10th Jul 2018 08:05 UTC in reply to "RE: until"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

What about Loongson ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: until
by The123king on Tue 10th Jul 2018 12:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: until"
The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

It took too loong, son

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: until
by Kochise on Tue 10th Jul 2018 15:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: until"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03
RE[4]: until
by galvanash on Wed 11th Jul 2018 05:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: until"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Wish I could mod this up...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: until
by galvanash on Tue 10th Jul 2018 22:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: until"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Loongson, imo, is partly the reason this is happening. After 10 years of work they only managed to reach about 1/3 of the performance of a mid range Core i5 on native code. On emulating x86 code it is more like the performance of a very low end Haswell, if that. There are some specific things it is fairly good at (SIMD stuff), but its not enough to make up for the rest. Given another 3-5 years, and assuming they get to the point where they can compete on the process side of things, I still don't see it being a really competitive CPU...

I basically think this means they are throwing in the towel on Loongson, at least when it comes to supercomputer aspirations. One of these Dhyana processors (assuming they are mostly on par with their AMD counterparts) is probably worth 4-6 Loongsons in a supercomputer cluster...

tldr; I think this means Loongson is dead.

ps. I would also add that while this AMD deal seems like a new thing, it has been in the works for over 2 years. There hasn't been much news about new Loongson developments since 2016. Not a coincidence imo.

Edited 2018-07-10 22:14 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: until
by kwan_e on Wed 11th Jul 2018 01:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: until"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

One of these Dhyana processors (assuming they are mostly on par with their AMD counterparts) is probably worth 4-6 Loongsons in a supercomputer cluster...

tldr; I think this means Loongson is dead.


What's stopping them from applying the Dhyana technology to Loongson?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: until
by galvanash on Wed 11th Jul 2018 05:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: until"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

What's stopping them from applying the Dhyana technology to Loongson?


They went to a lot of trouble to make Loongson (a MIPS64 CPU) capable of running x86 code, and in the end it never really ran it all that well. Why would they bother to try and enhance it any more when they have the real thing now?

I think it is much more likely that they apply a few things they learned along the way from Loongson to Dhyana to be honest...

Edited 2018-07-11 05:21 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: until
by JimRaynor on Tue 10th Jul 2018 18:08 UTC in reply to "RE: until"
JimRaynor Member since:
2018-04-06

I don`t get it. If Intel cannot sell CPUs to China, why near all notebooks from alixpress are with Intel cpus? It`s hard to get notebook with arm. Also Windows dominated chines PCs, so they must be x86. WTF?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: until
by galvanash on Tue 10th Jul 2018 21:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: until"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

This is about high-end stuff, i.e. Xeons and whatnot. The US ban doesn't apply to laptop and desktop processors.

Reply Score: 3

@Alfman
by zima on Fri 13th Jul 2018 18:30 UTC
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

So, China yet again ( http://www.osnews.com/thread?658939 ) prefers to not develop own tech... ;) (I would do the same...)

Reply Score: 2