AMD set to unveil servers with ARM processors
By Mike Jennings
Posted on 29 Oct 2012 at 11:59
AMD is set to announce its first server chips made with designs provided by ARM as it looks to expand its "ambidextrous strategy".
The designs, which will take advantage of ARM's low-power technology as well as AMD's processing cores, herald a renewed push by ARM to move into servers and cloud computing that was first announced in May. AMD will announce its new parts at an event in San Francisco tonight, according to a report in The Financial Times.
While ARM suggested servers running its chip designs would arrive this year, AMD sources claimed the first products using AMD-designed and ARM-based hardware won't hit shelves until 2014, the FT said.
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The new ARM-based chips will use the same 64-bit technology that has been the standard in desktop, laptop and server computing for some years. This removes the server limitations on memory usage that ARM-based chips currently experience, therefore eliminating one of the major bottlenecks to performance that means ARM-based servers haven't yet been widely used.
The move ensures that ARM will compete with Intel in enterprise, as well as in smartphones, tablets and Windows 8-powered laptops. It marks a turnaround after ARM rallied against Intel and AMD-based x86 servers in August, claiming that its low-power products are better suited to data centres thanks to the growth of cloud computing and Linux adoption.
The new AMD chips may rely on the groundwork laid down by the ARMv8 architecture, which was released in 2011 but is only currently supported by Linux operating systems.
ARMv8 is the first ARM architecture to support 64-bit technology, and is the successor to the ARMv7 architecture - which is currently found in the Google’s latest ARM-based Chromebook and will be used in Nvidia’s forthcoming Tegra 4 chipset.
The move marks a major play by AMD to diversify from its struggling core businesses. Last week the firm announced plans to cut 15% of its workforce – around 1,800 jobs – as well as announcing a loss of $157 million in the third quarter of this year.
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