But clearly the transition from simple multicore to many-core processing also represents a fundamental shift in battleground for a company like AMD. Software becomes much more important and to a degree it resets the competition. Intel has as little idea as anyone else, possibly less idea, about how to make efficient use of many-core processor chips. This would therefore be the right time for AMD to jump ship.
While AMD is focused solely on the x86 architecture its primary requirement is to make ICs perform like Intel's. And with multicore developments Intel is becoming harder to track it is quite probably too expensive for a fabless company that is only in the PC market, such as AMD, to do the work continually playing catch-up with Intel.
The only prize that AMD gets for that strategy is lot of expense and always being second to Intel, which may not itself be making all the right moves.
But if AMD joins the extended ARM ecosystem, in return for a few million dollars and a few percent royalty per chip it gets ready-made architectures that it can bolt together leaving it time to focus on performance at the system-level. And with full versions of Windows becoming available on ARM processors, this gives AMD the possibility to address not only the PC market but the broader consumer platform-style requirements of many OEMs.
This can get AMD out from under the thin-margin PC business into a broader landscape that roams from mobile phones to tablets to PCs. It does introduce AMD to competition from the likes of Samsung and others, but AMD has to be willing to back itself as creating value at doing something.
Now the choice between Windows running on x86 and Windows running on ARM becomes one of which is more power-efficient and which is a customers' preference.
Intriguing link @Yankiwi...there is an interesting analogy between Intel, Nokia, Microsoft etc. as large companies that once dominated their markets but now struggling to maintain their dominance...but they still have billions of dollars in the bank so you can't write them off just like that....Arm, Apple and Google might struggle one day too, this is a cycle of good capitalism that is healthy for all of us...Kris
AMD has long experience selling microprocessors into desktop, server and notebook computers. This is something which ARM has never been able to do because of a lack of Windows, until now.
Could AMD help ARM power up Windows-based computers?
Right, thereís no story here. ARM is always seeking another design compliment; Intel or otherwise. Trade here, exchange there, just another license. AMD abandon x86; never. $100,000 wafers for $4,000 wafers; not likely. Establish parity position in ARM cluster; possibly. Unique & differentiated; hard to say. Shadow of Intel; stepped on & dumped on & infiltrated & dismantled by Intel over, & over, & over again. Playing catch up; and that has something to do with being stepped on & dumped on; over & over & over again. Definer of x86 architecture and always playing catch up; Socket 7, first to 1 GHz, Hyper transport, 1st to 64 bit x86, first over 90 nanometer hurdle. Intel always uses others for their most risky prototypes. Code compatibility at a better price, sure, but only when Intel dumps below cost. Under pressure; more like forced under. From scaling down to scaling out; know Linux? And if only multiprocessing thatís more than distributed could make all those installed processors work meaning no more processors to sell; what would sales think? This margin; you do understand the difference between $100,000 wafers and $4,000 wafer donít you. Whatís not making sense here? 64 bit Windows efficient; bloat, bloat. Oh Samsung, you must mean the good Intel? Fusion dev conference; Iím wondering too? One always has to explain too Microsoft, exactly, why not combining with Intel makes financial sense. Yea, tablets, if the board said to anyone make meager processors below cost Iíd be upset with what that did to employee MBOís and enterprise profitability too. Destroy XEON, then you can afford dabble in tablet. ARM; maybe? But only if those wafers are worth a whole lot moore. x86 not worth second sourcing; are you out of your mind? Value of first source chips pays for everything else. Licensing x86 would essentially limit ARM to their little $600 million dollar island. Wake up.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for todayís commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.