AMD adopts ARM architecture to supplement x86 chips

AMD has confirmed that it will be designing 64-bit ARM-powered chips in addition to x86 processors for multiple markets – starting with cloud and data center servers.

According to AMD CEO Rory Read, the company’s first ARM-based processor, due in 2014, will be a highly-integrated, 64-bit multicore System-on-a-Chip (SoC) optimized for dense, energy-efficient servers in data centers.

“AMD introduced the industry’s first mainstream 64-bit x86 server solution with [its] Opteron processor in 2003,” Read said today during a press conference in San Francisco.

”[And] we will be the only processor provider bridging the x86 and 64-bit ARM ecosystems to enable new levels of flexibility and drive optimal performance and power-efficiency for a range of enterprise workloads.”

Read also commented on the company’s collaboration with ARM, stating that the 64-bit RISC chips would benefit from AMD’s expansive IP portfolio, including SeaMicro supercompute technology. 

“[We] will integrate the SeaMicro Freedom fabric across AMD Opteron-, ARM- and x86-based processors –  enabling hundreds, or even thousands of processor clusters to be linked together to provide the most energy-efficient solutions,” Read added.

Meanwhile, Insight 64 analyst Nathan Brookwood noted that the computer industry has essentially coalesced around two high-volume processor architectures – x86 for personal computers and servers, and ARM for mobile devices over the past decade.

”[However], over the next decade, the purveyors of these established architectures will each seek to extend their presence into market segments dominated by the other,” Brookwood explained.

”The path on which AMD has now embarked will allow it to offer products based on both x86 and ARM architectures, a capability no other semiconductor manufacturer can likely match.”