Author Topic: Intel Buying SiFive?  (Read 2946 times)

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Offline brucehoult

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2021, 06:44:22 pm »
That's a $1 million or $2 million license. No need to spend 1000 times more buying the company.

In the times like this?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/biden-will-need-more-than-52-billion-for-chip-effort/2021/06/09/0f4ebffc-c91b-11eb-8708-64991f2acf28_story.html

Ugh.

Government money always comes with thick and unpleasant strings attached, and as many charlatans as innovators put out their hands for it -- and often spin a better story.
 
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Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2021, 05:04:20 pm »
I think back to the tech stock boom of 1998- 2000 when NorTel was flying high on insane valuations and I tried warning my father to sell them. Under John Roth NorTel was buying up companies left and right while at the same time inflating their order book by subsidizing their customers. Some of the companies purchased made a modicum of sense from the engineering perspective but over-all he was driving NorTel into the ditch.

Tell me about it. I worked for Nortel in that era and at first things were great and lots of people I know were able to buy houses and cars by cashing in stock options. Then the shit started hitting the fan and the stock price started collapsing and the layoffs started. I dumped all of my stock in the summer of 2000 before the plunge started and came out fine, but lots of others didn't and held on to their stock hoping for even more spectacular rises and ended up with nothing (including a job).
Complexity is the number-one enemy of high-quality code.
 

Offline srce

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2021, 06:00:24 pm »


Samsung and Qualcomm already use SiFive RISC-V cores for those purposes. For both the 5G modem and controlling the camera in the high end 2020 Samsung phones (they said so), and I assume but don't know in 2021 also. Same with Qualcomm for 5G.

That's a $1 million or $2 million license. No need to spend 1000 times more buying the company.

Which cores? E31 list price was $300k royalty free. $1m would be massively over market rate for that class of CPU.

No idea how you get a $2bn valuation based on selling a handful of licenses like that each year. If they are making any money, I'd have thought it would have to be selling silicon via OpenFive.

 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2021, 10:08:45 pm »


Samsung and Qualcomm already use SiFive RISC-V cores for those purposes. For both the 5G modem and controlling the camera in the high end 2020 Samsung phones (they said so), and I assume but don't know in 2021 also. Same with Qualcomm for 5G.

That's a $1 million or $2 million license. No need to spend 1000 times more buying the company.

Which cores? E31 list price was $300k royalty free. $1m would be massively over market rate for that class of CPU.

Where do you find a price list?

I was giving a very generous guess figure to be sure I wasn't understating the cost of a license compared to buying the company.
 

Online bson

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2021, 10:35:14 pm »
I struggle to see how such a deal would make sense for anyone.
Unless SiFive is out of runway and money, they all need new jobs, and Intel is offering this plus a stock swap that vests over four years.

Edit: but then $2b is still crazy, but that could just be paper figure.  $25m, sure.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 10:44:31 pm by bson »
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2021, 10:46:13 pm »
I don't have the last figures, but SiFive's annual revenue is roughly $120M from what I got, so that should give an idea.

$2B looks pretty over-valued, generally speaking, for a company with this kind of revenue, but still relatively common in this specific area, for a company that is probably still considered a "startup".

Certainly buying them just to avoid having to pay for IPs would be rather dumb. Especially since it wouldn't even get costs down to zero; you'd still have to pay for SiFive's operating costs (at least if you keep a significant part of it...)

Buying them to get the know-how, well that wouldn't be a good enough reason here either. I don't doubt SiFive's cores are good and that they have a bunch of great engineers, but I doubt it would be worth that much money.

So there is inevitably another good reason - as we suggested earlier.
 

Offline srce

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2021, 09:40:08 am »
I don't have the last figures, but SiFive's annual revenue is roughly $120M from what I got, so that should give an idea.
Any idea what the split is between IP, design services and silicon?
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2021, 04:06:01 pm »
I don't have the last figures, but SiFive's annual revenue is roughly $120M from what I got, so that should give an idea.
Any idea what the split is between IP, design services and silicon?

Absolutely not. But silicon sales must be a pretty small fraction of it.
 

Offline srce

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2021, 10:16:35 am »
I don't have the last figures, but SiFive's annual revenue is roughly $120M from what I got, so that should give an idea.
Any idea what the split is between IP, design services and silicon?

Absolutely not. But silicon sales must be a pretty small fraction of it.
By silicon sales, I mean stuff done through OpenFive (i.e. what used to be Open Silicon). I would have thought they'd make more revenue through that, than IP licensing.
 

Offline mipl

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2021, 02:52:58 pm »
https://www.reuters.com/technology/sifive-aims-challenge-arm-with-new-tech-pairs-with-intel-effort-2021-06-22/

It should give some more info on to the subject: "SiFive Inc on Tuesday released a new computing chip design that aims to challenge Arm Ltd's dominance in smartphone chips and said it would pair with Intel Corp's factories to make the design available to hardware makers."
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2021, 01:13:57 am »
Horse Creek certainly looks like an interesting project!
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2021, 01:31:14 am »
Horse Creek certainly looks like an interesting project!

What is Horse Creek?
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2021, 02:46:36 am »
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #38 on: June 23, 2021, 04:09:49 pm »
Horse Creek certainly looks like an interesting project!

What is Horse Creek?

Intel 7nm chip / platform using P550 RISC-V cores.

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-to-adopt-sifives-new-high-performance-p550-risc-v-cores

Ah yes.
I'm really curious about this announced P550. If it's as powerful as they state, then things are going to be interesting.
 

Offline PCB.Wiz

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2021, 08:16:20 pm »
> Intel 7nm chip / platform using P550 RISC-V cores.
Ah yes.
I'm really curious about this announced P550. If it's as powerful as they state, then things are going to be interesting.

Yes, it's the info we cannot see that matters here. Intel likely already has test results on the P550 and it's even possible SiFive are somewhat in the loop with core <-> process tuning.
At the GHz and nm levels there is a lot of careful 'secret sauce' tuning of the critical paths, and the tight interfacing to peripheral blocks.
Cores may get talked about a lot, but the system engineering is very important too.

Apple and others will be keen for intel to develop in this direction, & customers that size, make 2B on paper look like chicken feed.
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #40 on: June 24, 2021, 12:17:24 am »
> Intel 7nm chip / platform using P550 RISC-V cores.
Ah yes.
I'm really curious about this announced P550. If it's as powerful as they state, then things are going to be interesting.

Yes, it's the info we cannot see that matters here. Intel likely already has test results on the P550

If the core has been formally announced (which it just was) then that means SiFive have final or near-final (there are always tweaks between announcement and people actually taping-out) RTL running in an FPGA, have booted Linux on it and run SPEC and other benchmarks, and have made the same available to lead customers.

Intel absolutely will have FPGAs with P550 running at 50 or 100 MHz or whatever. Possibly quite a bit faster as Intel has the big expensive hardware simulators, while SiFive just uses off-the-shelf FPGA boards such the $7k VCU118 (or Amazon F1 instances using the same FPGA chip).

It's still four or so years behind ARM's latest cores, of course, let alone Apple's. And around Core 2 in terms of Intel cores.
 

Offline nudge

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2021, 11:34:18 am »
Slightly off topic but a friend of mine had an office right next to theirs in San Francisco back in 2016 when they were still getting started. I managed to snap this pic when visiting and walking down the hallway. Amazing to see where they are at now!
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Offline brucehoult

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Re: Intel Buying SiFive?
« Reply #42 on: June 25, 2021, 12:51:13 pm »
Slightly off topic but a friend of mine had an office right next to theirs in San Francisco back in 2016 when they were still getting started. I managed to snap this pic when visiting and walking down the hallway. Amazing to see where they are at now!

Cool! By the time I first visited SiFive in October 2017 (while I was on a business trip from Samsung R&D Moscow to Samsung R&D in San Jose, after we finished what we'd gone to achieve) they were already in the office in San Mateo. There were still only about 20 people. That evening I went to dinner in Berkeley with some of them and other Berkeley folk.

The really funny thing was I dragged my team leader from Samsung along with me.

My H-1B paperwork five months later said there were 32 employees. By the time I actually got the H-1B and moved to the US there were 500.
 
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