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Qualcomm Acquires High-Performance CPU Company

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Jan 13, 2021, 10:01 AM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

Qualcomm has reached an agreement to acquire Nuvia, a company with "industry-leading expertise in high performance processors, Systems on a Chip (SoC) and power management for compute-intensive devices and applications". Qualcomm says it will use Nuvia's talent and chip designs for the CPU cores of future Snapdragon chips powering flagship smartphones. Qualcomm already designs its own GPU, DSP, and AI cores in its Snapdragon chips. But the CPU cores that handle general-purpose processing — which could be considered the heart of the chip — are based on Cortex designs from Arm. Bringing in Nuvia technology and talent may allow Qualcomm to build better CPU core designs, perhaps bypassing Arm's Cortex intellectual property altogether. Qualcomm already started down the path of customizing CPU core designs with the Cortex-X1 prime core in this year's flagship Snapdragon 888 chip. The Cortex-X1 was a special collaboration between Qualcomm and Arm to provide a primary CPU core with even greater performance than Arm's flagship Cortex A78 CPU core. (The Snapdragon 888 also has three Cortex A78 cores.) Of all the performance increases in the Snapdragon 888 compared to last year's 865, CPU is the area with the smallest performance gain at just 25%. Qualcomm will acquire Nuvia for $1.4 billion.

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