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      510K CPUs, HDDs & more seized as smugglers keep trying to sneak tech into China / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 30 March, 2023 - 22:34

    Hong Kong customs said it seized about $3.8 million in tech, including these HP laptops, on Monday.

    Enlarge / Hong Kong customs said it seized about $3.8 million in tech, including these HP laptops, on Monday. (credit: Hong Kong Customs )

    The recent chip shortage showed us how far people will go to obtain rare components and gadgets. Those who couldn't wait for new electronics battled enormous price tags, frustrating lottery systems, questionable sellers, and unreliable stock. But just as people will go to extremes to buy tech, extreme measures can be taken to sell them.

    In 2023, the gray market for PC components, including CPUs, SSDs, and HDDs, and devices like phones and computers in mainland China appears thriving. Just ask the China and Hong Kong customs agents who have been announcing seizure after seizure of tech hardware, including a batch reportedly worth about $3.8 million obtained on Monday.

    510,000 electronics seized

    Hong Kong customs announced it seized 508,000 PC parts, including CPUs, computer hard drives, and RAM sticks, with an estimated market value of around $3.5 million. There were also 2,000 electronic devices, like laptops, phones, dash cams, and styli for touchscreens, that are estimated to be worth about $255,000.

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      Microsoft may be developing its own, in-house ARM CPU designs

      Jim Salter · / ArsTechnica · Friday, 18 December, 2020 - 23:55

    Microsoft has so far neither confirmed nor denied Bloomberg

    Enlarge / Microsoft has so far neither confirmed nor denied Bloomberg's claims regarding in-house CPU designs. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Grid Engine )

    This afternoon, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft is in the process of developing its own ARM CPU designs, following in the footsteps of Apple's M1 mobile CPU and Amazon's Graviton datacenter CPU.

    Bloomberg cites off-record conversations with Microsoft employees who didn't want to be named. These sources said that Microsoft is currently developing an ARM processor for datacenter use and exploring the possibility of another for its Surface line of mobile PCs.

    Bloomberg's sources paint the datacenter part as "more likely" and a Surface part as "possible." This seems plausible, given that Microsoft's chip design unit reports to the Azure cloud VP, with no direct reporting ties to the Surface division. Microsoft declined to comment on any specific plans, saying only that it "[continues] to invest in our own capabilities in areas like design, manufacturing and tools, while also fostering and strengthening partnerships with a wide range of chip providers."

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      Hands-on with the Apple M1—a seriously fast x86 competitor

      Jim Salter · / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 17 November, 2020 - 14:00 · 1 minute


    Enlarge / Apple's new octa-core ARM big/little CPU is putting its high performance x86 competition on notice. (credit: Apple)

    There's a lot of understandable excitement around Apple's ARM-powered devices right now. And we've got traditional reviews of those devices and their ecosystems , for Apple fans and the Apple-curious. This is not one of those reviews—though reviews are coming imminently for some of the new Macs. Instead, we're going to take a closer look at the raw performance of the new M1 in comparison to more traditional x86 systems.

    The M1's CPU is a 5nm octa-core big/little design, with four performance cores and four efficiency cores. The idea is that user-focused foreground tasks, which demand low latency, will be run on the performance cores—but less latency-sensitive background tasks can run slower and lower on the four less-powerful but less power-consumptive efficiency cores.

    In addition to the eight CPU cores, the version of the M1 in the Mac mini has eight GPU cores, with a total of 128 Execution Units. Although it's extremely difficult to get accurate Apples-to-non-Apples benchmarks on this new architecture, I feel confident in saying that this truly is a world-leading design—you can get faster raw CPU performance, but only on power-is-no-object desktop or server CPUs. Similarly, you can beat the M1's GPU with high-end Nvidia or Radeon desktop cards—but only at a massive disparity in power, physical size, and heat.

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      Nvidia reportedly to acquire ARM Holdings from SoftBank for $40 billion

      Financial Times · / ArsTechnica · Sunday, 13 September, 2020 - 16:50

    Components manufactured by ARM Holdings Plc sit inside a demonstration ARMmbed parking meter on display on the second day of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. A theme this year at the industry

    Enlarge / Components manufactured by ARM Holdings Plc sit inside a demonstration ARMmbed parking meter on display on the second day of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. A theme this year at the industry's annual get-together, which runs through March 2, is the Internet of Things. Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg via Getty Images (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

    SoftBank is set to sell the UK’s Arm Holdings to US chip company Nvidia for more than $40 billion, just four years after its founder Masayoshi Son bought the chip designer and said it would be the linchpin for the future of the Japanese technology group.

    Multiple people with direct knowledge of the matter said a cash-and-stock takeover of Arm by Nvidia may be announced as soon as Monday, and that SoftBank will become the largest shareholder in the US chip company.

    The announcement of the deal hinged on SoftBank ending a messy dispute between Arm and the head of its China joint venture, Allen Wu, who earlier rebuffed an attempt to remove him and claimed legal control of the unit.

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