Huawei new Kirin 990 contains advanced ARM 77

Apparently, ARM has dodged the American blockade and is now selling its most advanced designs to Huawei. Arm China spokesperson Liang Quan tells
“We are actually actively communicating …  we have recently confirmed that Arm’s follow-up infrastructure can also be licensed to Chinese customers, including Huawei.”
ARM processors are the heart of Huawei’s mobile chips; ARM’s public cutoff of Huawei could have been a major problem. ARM UK’s official comment is  

Arm continues to comply with the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Commerce Department. Under those current guidelines, Arm cannot license any IP subject to U.S. export controls to HiSilicon unless granted an export license by the US Commerce Department. However we are not providing any details on which Arm IP products are subject to U.S. export controls.

which I consider a non-denial. I have to go with what I have.  
I’ve passed the story to a DC reporter who will presumably get the facts. Tech reporters are also about to jump on this with the Kirin 990 announcement.
ARM is a British company owned by Softbank in Japan.  It was a great coup when the US security apparatus persuaded the company to cut off Huawei, one of ARM’s most important customers. 

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Sept 19 for Intel-killer Kunpeng (First Look)

Taishan X6000 board

Huawei is selling US$billions in servers and cloud services. Almost all are dependent on Intel processors, a dangerous situation. HiSilicon has been making network processors for years and will unleash a killer chip on Sept 29.

The 64 processors in the Kunpeng 920 will solve that problem. The performance should be comparable to Intel or AMD’s best, according to some early benchmarks.

The board was announced in April and isn’t new. Until now, it has been little known outside the company. It uses ARM cores, which have an attractive performance per watt compared to Intel.

Sept 19, Taishan & Kunpeng will come out to the world at Huawei’s Shanghai event. Hou Jinlong, President, Cloud & AI Products & Services, will keynote with Leading New Computing with Kunpeng. He will be followed by CEOs and other senior executives from China’s top companies.

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Huawei has reverse engineered ARM: He Hezhen

Academician He Hezhen is quoted, “Huawei has actually mastered the design of ARM and the modification of the architecture.” There is no official confirmation Huawei is far along. If He is correct, it would be a remarkable achievement.

ARM designs may have over 100,000,000 transistors. Over two decades, hundreds of ARM engineers have created the most power efficient designs in the world. It would be a miracle if Huawei had reproduced them in less than a year or two. Essentially every mobile chip from Apple to ZTE starts with ARM cores for the basic processing.

In development since 1983, the ARM computer design is generally considered the best combination of low power and high performance. The instruction set and interfaces are well-defined, but the internal workings are kept closed.

Huawei’s license on the current ARM versions continues, so the chips this year are only minimally affected. Apparently fearing the current ban, Ren decided several years ago to create Huawei’s own version.

ARM cut critical within a year

Every major chip needs a brain, a “CPU.” Huawei buys the design from Arm, a British company. The CPUs for something like Huawei’s 5G chip are literally hundreds of millions of transistors. Arm does a great job designing CPUs and sells them at a price much lower than it would cost to do your own design. Huawei and over a thousand others buy from Arm.

I wrote a few days ago that Huawei could obtain elsewhere 90% of what they buy from the U.S. and pointed to ways to solve the last 10%. Designing Huawei’s own core is likely to take more than a year.

This is potentially the most severe blow of the U.S. war, although it won’t be an issue until Huawei needs new chip designs, perhaps in 6-9 months.

Quote is from the Washington Post.

Losing Arm as a supplier would “cripple key Huawei chips.”

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