Enterprise

AMD continues its ARM push in ‘ambidextrous’ vision for server & mobile chips

AMD ARM servers
Image Credit: AMD

Cloud providers and big companies run their own data centers with servers containing conventional CPUs, but the low-power, scale-out ARM age is coming. AMD thinks that market needs tending right along with more traditional chips.

So today the company didn’t only come out with another batch of news for its ARM plans, including the ARM-based “Seattle” chip running a Linux distribution based on the open-source Fedora project and a new “K12″ server core project with products coming in 2016.

AMD also presented a vision for selling 20-nanometer chips that will be pin-compatible with instruction sets for ARM as well as for standard x86 commands.

A 64-bit ARM-based chip in AMD’s new “Project SkyBridge” represents what the chip maker is calling its first “Heterogeneous System Architecture platform” for Android. ARM became popular inside mobile phones, and now AMD appears more keen on commanding the Android market.

Amazon, Facebook and Google have expressed interest in ARM-based servers. And as energy efficiency — and thus cost cuts — becomes a higher priority for companies with data center footprints, ARM could become more popular across a wide variety of markets.

Still, x86 remains a huge business, thanks to web companies running huge data centers, despite IBM’s recent sell-off of its x86 server business.

For AMD, the x86-plus-ARM campaign makes sense. AMD estimates that by 2017, the market for x86 and ARM chips will exceed $85 billion. Naturally, AMD wants to capture a substantial slice of the combined market — not just the ARM market.

AMD announced new ARM-based chips at the Open Compute Project Summit in January.


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