Rumors that Advanced Micro Devices would start manufacturing ARM processors appeared in the past, but AMD mostly rebuffed them, when it bothered to comment on them at all. Now, what all those murmurs said has finally come to pass.
While it will continue to manufacture processors based on the x86 architecture, AMD will begin designing and selling ARM-powered chips as well.
The Sunnyvale, California-based company will begin with the cloud and data center market, but will expand to other segments over time.
All chips will be highly integrated, 64-bit capable multi-core system-on-chip (SoC) devices. They will be sold under the AMD Opteron brand.
The chip developer will draw on the experience and resources acquired when it bought SeaMicro back in March.
Thus, its ARM Opteron units will integrate the SeaMicro Freedom supercomputer fabric
(support for ultra-dense SAS/SATA modular storage systems), among other things.
The first 64-bit ARM-powered chip, and, by extension, the first servers based on AMD ARM units, will be complete in 2014.
It is clear to us that the company will be directly opposed to Calxeda
(also preparing 64-bit ARM units for 2014).
At this point, we find that we are experiencing clear difficulties in believing what Intel keeps saying about ARM
, that it will never be a threat to x86 on any of the latter's territories.
After all, there must be something to the architecture if AMD was willing to become the first manufacturer of both x85 and ARM processors. The move is reminiscent of how AMD introduced the first mainstream 64-bit x86 Opteron server solution in 2003.
Amazon, Dell, Facebook, Red Hat and HP have already expressed their support for the initiative, but it will be up to system designers to decide if their needs are best suited by this technology, or if normal Opteron chips, or perhaps even accelerated processing units (APUs), are more their style.