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    Quote Originally Posted by DLD View Post
    The Silicon Valley has a lot more sway in the incoming administration than in the outgoing one. IOW, this will be approved by the DOJ. $40B is peanuts by the global standards anyway and the chip market is very competitive as it is.
    Even that isn't guaranteed, because ARM isn't a US company, so the EU could still block the acquisition. My guess is that nVidia's choice of using stock to make the purchase, making ARM a major shareholder, is to grease the EU wheels. But that's just a guess, since it's not my area of expertise.


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    Quote Originally Posted by JAMedia View Post
    The Apple M1 isn't an x86 instruction set and has more in common with the 68K than the x86.
    I never said Apple M1 used a x86 instruction set, I was pointing out it is a Power PC chip not manufactured by Intel.

    The question is what is a server? It's a data forklift truck reading information off a hard drive and firing it out a port.
    But the M1 is not a server chip.... so what? Write the code and build a suitable interface for a server crate.
    Important issues being speed and reliability of operation but the biggest is that of power consumption (the electricity bill for power and cooling).
    Greenland for the current intel based server makes sense but Greenland is expensive, in fact very expensive for salaries, property rates, power etc.

    Now introduce a chip that can offer similar or better performance that takes a fraction of the power and requires minimal or no additional cooling, you could relocate your data centre to Eastern Europe and enjoy the savings.
    When Intel was citing a chip that could run a few degrees hotter as being a big selling point the Apple M1 processor is a very attractive proposition.


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    You are right that cloud companies should seek speed per watt, not just speed. Google was talking about the importance of that over 10 years ago. In their custom-built servers, they preferred some of Intel's slower processors because of that. (They could just use more of them to get the needed speed.)

    Low power is attractive not just to servers but for laptops. It is the reason cited for Apple moving from PowerPC to Intel in 2005.

    But cloud providers can save electricity by using processors based on ARM without using Apple's M1 specifically. As Tamerlin points out, the M1 is customized for laptops. It would be more efficient to use a processor customized for servers. And that is exactly what Amazon did. Its ARM processors are called Graviton and use about half the power. I would think we would see more cloud companies (like Google and Microsoft) offer their own ARM servers in the next few years.

    Or I'm still thinking that RISC-V stands a chance.
    Last edited by combatentropy; 12-09-2020 at 08:37 AM.


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    16-Core MacBook, 32-Core iMac, 128-Core Mac Pro?! — Reacting to MASSIVE Leak Bombs!
    https://youtu.be/uuHVrtRqbrQ
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    Quote Originally Posted by vultch2 View Post
    I never said Apple M1 used a x86 instruction set, I was pointing out it is a Power PC chip not manufactured by Intel.
    It's not a PowerPC, either.

    The question is what is a server? It's a data forklift truck reading information off a hard drive and firing it out a port.
    Also wrong. Servers do a lot more than that. At least the ones that I typically code for do.

    But the M1 is not a server chip.... so what? Write the code and build a suitable interface for a server crate.
    Important issues being speed and reliability of operation but the biggest is that of power consumption (the electricity bill for power and cooling).
    Not entirely. A datacenter built around efficient but slow processors can actually end up consuming MORE power than one built on high performance processors that burn more power. The nVidia A100 is actually a great example of how -- replacing an ENTIRE datacenter with a single rack that's 2-3x faster than the entire datacenter saves a lot of compute time. The A100 isn't a power miser, but it's so powerful that the overall hardware requirements decrease drastically.


    Now introduce a chip that can offer similar or better performance that takes a fraction of the power and requires minimal or no additional cooling, you could relocate your data centre to Eastern Europe and enjoy the savings.
    You're acting like that's news. In reality, you're just not aware of all of the low power datacenter designs that are already out there. Zen3 looks like a power monster on paper when you look only at the wattage per socket, but when you look at its power consumption per core, it ends up not being that much higher than for the M1. Part of that is due to the fact that a lot of the power consumption isn't in the cores themselves, but rather in the interconnects and external I/Os.

    When Intel was citing a chip that could run a few degrees hotter as being a big selling point the Apple M1 processor is a very attractive proposition.
    That's why several companies have been building ARM based servers for years. Mostly, because they've been nowhere near as powerful as x86 processors, they've been going into web servers because web servers are latency constrained more than compute constrained, because they spend more time waiting for database queries to complete than they do to complete their own business logic and HTTP request/response processing.

    Even if Apple did decide to start selling M1 CPUs to to 3rd parties, it would be the newcomer trying to break into a market that several companies are already in, with products that are more suitable for that niche, and much higher end. There are already some 100+ core ARM server processors in the works. They'd be pretty unappealing for most of our needs though, due to not having GPUs and not having as much FPU throughput -- again by design. If your primary use case doesn't need it, it's wasted silicon and not a feature.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamerlin View Post
    ...Even if Apple did decide to start selling M1 CPUs to to 3rd parties, it would be the newcomer trying to break into a market that several companies are already in, with products that are more suitable for that niche, and much higher end....
    Also, things have changed a lot since Apple was a computer company. Back then one might envision Apple expanding into IT or the server market. Today Apple is so large there is insufficient revenue to warrant even considering that. Apple's revenue in one quarter is greater than the total *annual* hardware + software revenue of all server vendors combined -- worldwide. That is total systems, hardware, software, upgrades, etc. The revenue from supplying just CPU chips for servers would be tiny on Apple's current scale. Apple's revenue for wrist watches is greater than Dell's and IBM's total server revenue combined: https://9to5mac.com/2019/04/30/apple-watch-q2-2019/ See attached.
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    Yeah... I just don't see how Apple would justify the investment based on the return. Since x86 is the dominant server platform and it's a commodity, I'd guess that most of the profits are in services rather than in the hardware itself.


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    The global server market is about $90B in hardware sales, which is much smaller than the global smartphone sales of ~ $500B.

    But the smartphone industry is very competitive with an increasingly longer upgrade period and a rapidly improving performance, where a middle of the market product is becoming more than sufficient for most users. Apple is smart enough to recognize that. Which is why they keep diversifying their offerings and will continue to do so.


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    Apple seems to working on diversifying into a wider array of consumer electronics and content.

    You have heard of Apple TV, haven't you? Apple's investing nearly as much in content as Netflix...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamerlin View Post
    Apple seems to working on diversifying into a wider array of consumer electronics and content.

    You have heard of Apple TV, haven't you? Apple's investing nearly as much in content as Netflix...
    Not quite on par - $6B for Apple vs $15B for Netflix - but close to Amazon Prime.


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