|Arm's first new chip architecture in a decade focuses on security and AI|
Mar. 30, 2021 3:33 PM ET NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) By: Brandy Betz, SA News Editor 17 Comments
- Last year, Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) agreed to acquire SoftBank's ( OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY) Arm chip unit for $40B. While that deal crawls through the regulatory hurdles, Arm is rolling out its first new chip architecture in a decade.
- Armv9 architecture was designed to address the demands for high security and artificial intelligence processing.Arm says the architecture should deliver 30% improved performance over the next two generations of mobile and data center processors. The latter processors are currently dominated by Intel (NASDAQ: INTC).The architecture includes the new Arm Confidential Compute architecture, a security feature that places applications in a hardware-protected area of memory that's accessible but not fully controlled by the operating system. If an app became infected with a virus, it wouldn't spread to the rest of the system.
- The first-gen Armv9-based processors will include Arm Memory Tagging, which allows developers to lock strings of data using a "tag." The data can then only be accessed with the correct key that's held by the code that calls data from memory. The setup aims to cut off memory corruption as a hacking tool.Scalable Vector Extension 2 allows developers to choose a vector length in multiples of 128, up to 2048 bits. And SVE moves from its high-performance computing focus to support a range of augmented and virtual reality workloads from genomics to computer vision.
- Arm sells its process designs and licenses a semiconductor-controlling instruction set to a wide range of tech companies, including Qualcomm, Samsung, NXP Semiconductors, and Google.“As we look toward a future that will be defined by AI, we must lay a foundation of leading-edge compute that will be ready to address the unique challenges to come,” says Arm CEO Simon Segars. "Armv9 is the answer. It will be at the forefront of the next 300 billion Arm-based chips driven by the demand for pervasive specialized, secure and powerful processing built on the economics, design freedom and accessibility of general-purpose compute.”
- “Arm’s next-generation Armv9 architecture offers a substantial improvement in security and machine learning, the two areas that will be further emphasized in tomorrow's mobile communications devices. As we work together with Arm, we expect to see the new architecture usher in a wider range of innovations to the next generation of Samsung’s Exynos mobile processors.” says Min Goo Kim, executive vice president of SoC development at Samsung Electronics.
- Sources: Press release / Arm CEO blog post
- Related: Qualcomm, Google, and Microsoft have complained about Nvidia's Arm acquisition to antitrust regulators around the world, concerned that Nvidia will cut off access to the architecture.