AMD Flexes ARM License for Upcoming Opteron Processors

Paul Lilly

After years of designing chips exclusively around x86 architecture, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is now waving around an ARM license that it intends to use to build 64-bit ARM-based processors for the server market, the Sunnyvale chip designer announced. The first of these will be 64-bit multi-core System-on-a-Chip (SoC) parts optimized for energy efficient servers found in large data centers.

"AMD led the data center transition to mainstream 64-bit computing with AMD64, and with our ambidextrous strategy we will again lead the next major industry inflection point by driving the widespread adoption of energy-efficient 64-bit server processors based on both the x86 and ARM architectures," said Rory Read , president and chief executive officer, AMD. “Through our collaboration with ARM, we are building on AMD’s rich IP portfolio, including our deep 64-bit processor knowledge and industry-leading AMD SeaMicro Freedom supercompute fabric, to offer the most flexible and complete processing solutions for the modern data center.

This collaboration will make AMD the only one offering both x86 and 64-bit ARM-based solutions. It's a bold move, and one that AMD hopes will give it a leg up on Intel in the server space. As part of its partnership with ARM, AMD intends to weave upcoming ARM-based Opteron chips with its Freedom Fabric interconnect technology that it acquired when it purchased SeaMicro for $334 million earlier this year.

The first ARM-based Opteron chips for servers are expected to debut sometime in 2014. AMD said it will continue to design x86 CPUs and APUs for client and server markets.

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