The world of CPUs with ISA ARM is divided into two different groups: on the one hand companies that license processors to ARM Holdings and on the other those that design their own processors. Nuvia is integrated into the second type, let’s not forget that it started as a start-up company made up of ex-workers from Apple’s semiconductor division, who left Cupertino to create their own designs for the server market. Which is one of the markets with the greatest potential for this set of records and instructions.
A few months ago Qualcomm bought Nuvia, the reason behind it was to catch up with Apple in terms of cores, since Nuvia currently has the most powerful CPU compatible with ARM binaries of all, having a higher IPC even than those of Apple and being many years ahead of the projects of its current owner, which completely changes the scenario and turns it upside down.
Let’s not forget, for example, who designs the CPUs for Microsoft’s Surface Pro X, for example, and the relationship between Qualcomm and Microsoft in Windows for ARM.
First Snapdragon with Nuvia CPU
Qualcomm just announced their first Snapdragon with Nuvia CPU, which they hope to finish by August 2022 in order to license it in products that we will see in 2023. This movement was to be expected, given that in recent years they had lagged far behind in this regard and we are not saying it, but in the words of James Thompson, CTO of the company:
If you look at our technology roadmap, this (CPUs) had been our weakness for a long time now.
And so it is, especially in the face of what Qualcomm is pursuing, which is nothing more than the leap of the PC from x86 to ARM, where in order to emulate x86 applications, its processors have had problems in giving the expected performance in them, while that Apple with its M1 has not had them. In other words, Qualcomm’s intention is for PC users to move from x86 to ARM in the same way that Apple users have.
We do not know how the Cupertino solution that allows macOS x86 applications to run on its ARM cores works in the hardware sphere. What we do know is that the Microsoft and Qualcomm solution is purely software and requires a lot of CPU power that current Snapdragon cannot give Microsoft, but Nuvia CPUs can.
Resistance is futile according to Qualcomm
NVIDIA is not the only one that has the ISA ARM as the future of the PC, Qualcomm has affirmed that the time of AMD and Intel has passed to a better life. These claims are not made for free, today the core of Nuvia is the most powerful that exists on the market. Let’s not forget that time passes very quickly and two years is a long time, especially if we consider that by 2023 both Intel and AMD will have their Meteor Lake and Ryzen 7000 with Zen 4 already deployed on the market.
Will the Nuvia CPU-powered Snapdragon give ARM the final push on mainstream PCs? Or instead, this will be like the promised RISC revolution of the early 90’s that came to nothing?