AMD's A-Series 64-bit ARM Server SoCs Begin Sampling; Launch Set for Fourth Quarter

Pulkit Chandna

Opteron A1100 chips support up to eight 28nm Cortex A57 cores

AMD began sampling its Opteron A1100 64-bit ARM processors (codenamed “Seattle”) last month , the chipmaker announced during its first quarter financial results conference call Thursday. Hailing it as a key milestone “in our ambidextrous strategy,” AMD CEO Rory Read said that the company planned to begin shipping the chips in the final quarter of 2014.

"We have introduced Seattle, our first 64-bit ARM server processor and the industry's first at 28nm technology, positioning AMD as the only SoC provider to bridge the x86 and ARM ecosystems for server applications," Read said. "We're catching it just as the wave is forming. This is going to be an important market over the next three, five, 10 years."

Meanwhile, Lisa Su, AMD's SVP and GM of global business units, talked of the immense interest Seattle has managed to inspire in customers. But even she isn’t sure how much of that interest will actually translate into revenue for the beleaguered company. "Relative to revenue, it's probably too early to tell what's going to happen in 2015,” she said, “but I'd say the interest in the platform is quite high.”

“I think the important thing for us and what we're working with the customers on is platform development and software development and ensuring that we get some of the ecosystem there.”

When asked about Seattle finding its way into SeaMicro systems, Su had this to say: “One of the advantages of having a systems business is that we can do co-development between our chip development and our systems development. So it will be quite important for us to have Seattle in SeaMicro systems, and that’s in development.” However, she refused to put a date on the launch of such SeaMicro Fabric servers, clarifying that the “Q4 statement was a chip statement.”

The upcoming 64-bit ARM-based server SoCs (system-on-chip) from AMD will be available with four or eight ARMv8-based Cortex A57 cores, up to 4MB of shared Level 2 cache, 8MB of shared Level 3 cache, eight PCI-Express Gen 3 lanes, two 10 GB/s Ethernet, and eight SATA 3 ports. Further, the A-series chips support up to 128GB of DDR3 or DDR4 ECC memory as unbuffered DIMMs, registered DIMMs or SODIMMs.

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