Google CEO Sundar Pichai talks about the company’s third-generation artificial intelligence chips.
Source: YouTube screenshot
Not content with relying on standard chips in high demand, some of the world’s largest technology companies are developing their own semiconductors.
“These companies want custom-made chips that fit the specific requirements of their applications, rather than using the same generic chips as their competitors,” said Syed Alam. AccentureHe told CNBC.
“This gives them more control over software and hardware integration while also differentiating them from their competitors,” said Alam.
Russ Shaw, a former UK-based non-executive director Communication SemiconductorHe told CNBC that custom-designed chips could perform better and work cheaper.
“These specially designed chips can help reduce energy consumption for certain tech company’s devices and products, whether it’s related to smartphones or cloud services,” Shaw said. Said.
NS ongoing global chip shortage That’s another reason why big tech firms are thinking twice about where to get their chips, Glenn O’Donnell, research director at analyst firm Forrester, told CNBC. “The epidemic threw a big switch in these supply chains, accelerating efforts to make their own chips.”
“Many have already felt limited that the pace of innovation is locked into chipmaker timelines,” O’Donnell said.
Right now, it’s almost a month before a Big Tech company announces a new chip project.
Perhaps the most notable example came in November 2020. Apple announced was moving away from Intel’s x86 architecture to make its own M1 processor, now found in its new iMacs and iPads.
More recently, Tesla’s announced He said he’s building a “Dojo” chip to train artificial intelligence networks in data centers. In 2019, the automaker started building cars with custom AI chips that help the onboard software make decisions in response to what’s on the road.
Baidu last month launched an AI chip designed to help devices process large amounts of data and increase computing power. Baidu said “Kunlun 2” chip It can be used in areas such as autonomous driving and has been put into mass production.
Some tech giants have chosen to keep certain semiconductor projects private.
Google reported to be closer Rolling out their own central processing units or CPUs for Chromebook laptops. The search giant plans to use its CPUs in Chromebooks and tablets running on the company’s Chrome operating system from 2023. report On September 1, Nikkei Asia’s Google did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Amazon, which operates the world’s largest cloud service, develop own network chip to power hardware switches that move data between networks. If it works, it will reduce Amazon’s reliance on Broadcom. Amazon, which has already designed a number of other chips, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Facebook’s chief artificial intelligence scientist told Bloomberg In 2019, he reported that the company was working on a new class of semiconductor that would work “very different” from most existing designs. Facebook did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
At this stage, none of the tech giants want to do all the chip development themselves.
“It’s all about the design and performance of the chip,” Shaw said. “At this stage, it’s not about manufacturing and foundries that are too costly.”
set up an advanced chip factory or foundry, such as TSMCIn Taiwan, it costs around $10 billion and takes several years.
“Even Google and Apple are reluctant to create them,” O’Donnell said. “They’re going to TSMC, even Intel to build their chips.”
O’Donnell said there is a shortage of people in Silicon Valley with the necessary skills to design high-end processors. “Silicon Valley has placed so much emphasis on software over the past few decades that hardware engineering has been seen as a bit of an anachronism,” he said.
“It has become ‘cool’ to make hardware,” O’Donnell said. “Despite its name, Silicon Valley now employs relatively few real silicon engineers.”