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China begins production of x86 processors based on AMD's IP
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-07-09 19:13:49

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.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-18
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This could dominate the Chinese market
By rener on 2018-07-09 22:19:34
> 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, ..!
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Conspiracy Theory
By galvanash on 2018-07-10 04:46:51
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
Permalink - Score: 6
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until
By unclefester on 2018-07-10 05:01:47
"Even though I doubt this will have any meaningful impact on competition..."

Until China bans Intel CPUs for 'security' reasons.
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RE: Conspiracy Theory
By nicubunu on 2018-07-10 05:34:14
What makes you think those chips will sell only in China? Given a good price/performance ratio I would buy one.
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RE[2]: Conspiracy Theory
By galvanash on 2018-07-10 06:50:19
> 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...

(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
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RE: until
By galvanash on 2018-07-10 06:53:02
> 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...
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RE[2]: until
By Kochise on 2018-07-10 08:05:11
What about Loongson ?
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RE[3]: until
By The123king on 2018-07-10 12:59:47
It took too loong, son
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RE[4]: until
By Kochise on 2018-07-10 15:13:10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V...
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RE[2]: until
By JimRaynor on 2018-07-10 18:08:38
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?
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