NVIDIA has scored another high-profile hire for its Arm CPU push – this time, from under Intel’s nose. Rafi Marom, Intel’s Design Manager at its Israel facilities and one of the managers behind the successful Tiger Lake architecture, jumped ship to Nvidia’s facility based within the country. His new role as Senior CPU Director casts him as one of the premier architects for the company’s future Arm products.
After its multi-billion-dollar push for acquiring the U.K.-based company failed, Nvidia is seemingly doubling down on its Arm core design capabilities as it aims to push the envelope farther. Nvidia needs its chip designs to serve its purposes; Arm, on the other hand, bets on a general design that can be applied throughout multiple product categories and across partners.
Poaching – or contracting personnel that still have ties with their current contractors – is a relatively common semiconductor industry practice. While the sector has been showing tremendous growth – and that growth is only expected to accelerate – there’s a real problem with the lack of appropriately-trained, high-level tech workers. Intel, AMD, Nvidia and even Apple all routinely hire contributors between themselves, which strengthens their workforce and design capabilities and denies valuable assets to competitors.
It’s expected that Nvidia will leverage Marom’s knowledge in designing future Arm-based CPU offerings from Nvidia. These designs would launch after the company’s Grace Hopper Superchip, which leverages 72 Neoverse-based, Arm v9 cores and claims a 10x performance improvement compared to typical x86 CPU designs.
The announcement naturally caught Intel’s eye, prompting the company to recognize that Nvidia’s aim was to bring competition against the blue giant in the CPU space. Intel even set up a multi-billion dollar fund destined to retain and attract new talent to prevent situations such as these. Yet ironically, another of Intel’s own will now be doing his best to advance Nvidia’s aims.