China's Hygon Unveils x86 Processors Based on AMD's Epyc Server Chip

Today’s topics include Chinese chip maker Hygon building x86 chips modeled on AMD’s Epyc design, and Microsoft introducing the Surface Go two-in-one tablet for $399.

Advanced Micro Devices in 2016 announced a joint venture deal with Chinese chip maker Hygon to produce x86 processors based closely on AMD’s Epyc server chips. Two years later, the joint venture is producing the “Dhyana” systems-on-a-chip, which are extremely similar to the Epyc processors, with the only real differences being the internally stored vendor ID and family series number.

The move to produce x86-based chips in China comes with far-reaching industry and political implications. AMD has long been in the shadow of Intel, and this deal brought an immediate $293 million in licensing fees to AMD and the promise of royalties on any chips developed by Hygon down the road.

It also gave AMD an avenue into the large processor market in China, which has been increasingly difficult for U.S. tech vendors to get into.

On July 9, Microsoft released a new, more portable version of the Surface Pro, called the Surface Go. The company claims its 10-inch touch display, which is more than 2 inches smaller than the Surface Pro’s screen, is ideal for the classroom.

The Surface Go includes an Intel Pentium Gold Processor and either 4GB or 8GB of RAM. Storage options include 64GB of Embedded Multimedia Card or solid-state drives with either 128GB or 256GB of capacity. Measuring 9.6 inches by 6.9 inches and a third of an inch thick, the Surface Go comes close to the 10.5-inch iPad Pro in terms of portability.

Prices start at $399, which is $400 less than the Surface Pro’s current price tag of $799. Microsoft is accepting preorders in select markets, with an Aug. 2 ship date.