AMD Flexes Its First ARM Based Server SoC

Paul Lilly

AMD's foray into ARM-based server SoCs begins with the Opteron A Series

A milestone has been reached in Sunnyvale less than a month into 2014. Chip designer AMD formally introduced its first 64-bit ARM-based server system-on-chip (SoC) previously codenamed "Seattle" and now called Opteron A1100. The chip is fabricated using a 28-nanometer process technology and is the first of its kind from an established server vendor. Along with the new SoC, AMD also unveiled a new development platform intended to make software design on the Opteron A1100 Series quick and easy.

AMD's new SoC supports 4-core or 8-core ARM Cortex A57 processors and has up to 4MB of shared L2 cache and 8MB of shared L3 cache. Other features include configurable dual DDR3 or DDR4 memory channels with ECC at up to 1866 MT/second; up to four SODIMM, UDIMM, or RDIMM; eight lanes of PCI-Express Gen 3; eight SATA III ports; two 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports; ARM TrustZone technology; and Crytpo and data compression co-processors.

"The needs of the data center are changing. A one-size-fits-all approach typically limits efficiency and results in higher-cost solutions," said Suresh Gopalakrishnan , corporate vice president and general manager of the AMD server business unit. "The new ARM-based AMD Opteron A-Series processor brings the experience and technology portfolio of an established server processor vendor to the ARM ecosystem and provides the ideal complement to our established AMD Opteron x86 server processors."

AMD's new development kit is packaged in a micro-ATX form factor and includes an Opteron A1100 Series processor, four registered DIMM slots for up to 128GB of DDR3 RAM, PCI Express connectors configurable as single x8 or dual x4 ports, and eight SATA connectors. They're compatible with standard power supplies and can be used stand-alone or mounted in a standard rack-mount chassis.

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