Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has announced plans to build server CPUs based on ARM designs. The low-power processors will become available for purchase within two years.
PCWorld’s James Niccolai reported, “Advanced Micro Devices has announced it will sell ARM-based server processors in 2014, ending its exclusive commitment to the x86 architecture and adding a new dimension to its decades-old battle with Intel. AMD will license a 64-bit processor design from ARM and combine it with the Freedom Fabric interconnect technology it acquired when it bought SeaMicro earlier this year, AMD said Monday.”
Joseph Tsai from DigiTimes explained, “AMD has announced that it will design 64-bit ARM technology-based processors in addition to its x86 processors for multiple markets, starting with cloud and data center servers. AMD’s first ARM technology-based processor will be a highly-integrated, 64-bit multi-core system-on-a-chip (SoC) optimized for the dense, energy-efficient servers that now dominate the largest data centers and power the modern computing experience, according to the vendor.”
Wired’s Robert McMillan observed, “ARM still has a lot of work to do, as does AMD. Software has to be rewritten to run on the ARM processors, and ARM and its partners have to deliver designs that can compete with the world’s most technologically advanced chipmaker. But if these low-power designs actually end up working out, we could be witnessing the birth of a new, serious competitor to Intel in the data center: ARM, the company that’s already bested Intel in the mobile market.”
However, ZDNet’s Jack Clark noted that AMD itself has said that the energy efficiency benefits of ARM processors may disappear over time: “Suresh Gopalakrishnan, general manager of AMD’s server business unit, told ZDNet that ARM’s power advantages could be short-lived. ‘If you increase the capabilities of the [ARM] processor, it will consume more power. At the same time, if you start working on the [x86] architecture and process together you can bring the power down as well,’ Gopalakrishnan told me. ‘Right now ARM has the [power] advantage – five years down the road we’ll see.'”