LONDON – Processor licensor ARM Holdings plc is trying to persuade Advanced Micro Devices Inc., the long-time rival to global chip leader Intel Corp. to license ARM processors and use them instead of the x86 architecture.
It is notable that software giant Microsoft and ARM (Cambridge, England) are due to provide keynoters for an upcoming Fusion development conference and that Microsoft recently announced that it would support its full Windows operating system running on ARM processors.
One possibility is that AMD could amend its Fusion architecture to include both x86 and ARM CPU cores plus graphics cores in a heterogeneous multiprocessor. However, it is also possible that AMD may choose to abandon difficult and expensive attempts to develop its own multicore x86 architecture in competition with Intel and, instead, allow ARM to provide its cores.
Speaking to EE Times during a discussion of ARM's first quarter financial results CEO Warren East said: "AMD is a successful company selling microprocessors. ARM is in the business of licensing microprocessor designs. It is perfectly natural that we should have been trying to sell microprocessor designs to AMD for about the last ten years. Hitherto we haven't been successful."
East also said: "AMD has signaled they are going through a rethink of their strategy, and that must provide a heightened opportunity for ARM. They might use ARM microprocessors in the future and you've got to expect that we would be trying to persuade them of that."
im all for AMD making ARM processors or combo x86/ARM processors
but i hate the idea of AMD not making x86 processors, i have a bunch of x86 programs and only use AMD, i would hate to have to use Intel.
Kinnar, 'dying' would sound a bit too soon but the trend is all too visible. I dont see many x86 based mobile platforms. Tablets, phones and the next generation of portable devices would run on ARM and other cores... Not long before the requiem for x86.
There are one or two other sources of x86 processors but not really in the PC space, but if AMD did choose to cease making x86 processors it might raise such monopoly concerns.
It all depends on how your define the market.
But given than Windows software will be able to run on x86 or ARM architecture processors it might well be not cause too much concern.
Also it would seem harsh if Intel was forced into actions by an antitrust ruling because of actions beyond its control by AMD.
We are so intent on "greening" the planet", and then we waste industry resources, energy, and thousands of man years on redoing something where, in the end "MOV A,B" achieves the same result. **yawn** Let's move on to more productive uses of silicon, and its designers, and leave the 20 year old stuff as "good enough". The monkey playing Solitaire on a tablet, can't tell, and won't care, anyway. Get a life ARM.
I don't think it would make any sense for AMD to drop x86. It's a huge busienss and opportunity for many, many years. However it might make sense for AMD to add ARM to its portfolio for some markets such as smartphones, tablets and ultra low power servers where it has a limited play.
I can see AMD adding ARM to its portfolio, but not at the expense of x86. They have had such a fierce rivalry with Intel, I think it would go against corporate culture to drop the x86. Maybe phase it out over several years but not just drop it and move to ARM.
I agree it does not make sense for AMD to drop x86 immediately. No doubt there is roadmap of designs coming through that will impact the market for some time.
BUT sticking with x86 is costly in terms of engineering resources while licensing ARM cores would be economically efficient.
And once both approaches are in-house, with Windows running on both, it would allow direct comparison.
There's two sides to all these coins. Right now AMD is number two in a huge x86 market that barely has a number 3 player (Via). X86 PCs running Windows and Linux ain't going away in my lifetime--such as it is. In the ARM world, AMD would have to compete with Freescale, TI, Qualcomm, Marvell, Nvidia and others all piling on the smartphone and tablet markets and tryoing toi edge into servers where they lack software support. ODMs already say there isn't much differentiation between these companies. Good luck to AMD being tenth in those markets.
I can't see it being a smart business decision to leave a market that has essentially one competitor to be a late-comer in a market that has (presumably) lower margins and a load of competitors. Adding in a low-watt processors to get into the tablet and phone markets might make sense, but as others have stated, not at the expense of AMD's core market.
AMD is already fabless. If they also go to IPless, where is their added value? I really like ARM, their products and their business model. I think they do a great service toward ubiquitous computing, but this to me, reads like either a publicity stunt or some misguided arrogance.
totally agreed, particularly on IPless point.
Furthermore in principle AMD is the only real competitor of intel (Via... are too insignificant). Adding ARM in portfolio is indeed interesting but dropping x86 makes no sense, even if done gradually will take several years.
Drop x86 and its revenue stream? That's suicide. Add ARM for mobile? Sure, if they can afford to increase their R&D expenses and work on ARM-based processors in addition to what they're already doing.
A low-power version of an ATI GPU plus a pair of ARM cores could be an interesting product...sort of a Fusion-lite for tablets.
"One possibility is that AMD could amend its Fusion architecture to include both x86 and ARM CPU cores plus graphics cores in a heterogeneous multiprocessor."
hardly, AMD or rather the ATI executives that now control much of the executive board now, could/did not even see fit to make the very latest Fusion "Ontario" architecture product that's been in development for 5 years have more than SSE3 SIMD on board.
apparently its got the old SSE/SSE2/SSE3 extension's but no SSE4a and no AVX.
look at all the SIMD x264 benchmarks over the years and you see that AMD have never once beaten Intel in these hand written assembly SIMD scores clock for clock.
so what hope is there that any AMD executive could make a viable choice to make hybrid x86/Arm Fusion architecture that can provide something better clock for clock than the other vendors in the future.
Well duh! That's what Chrome is all about... putting everything in the cloud and accessing it from the web.
Saying a ChromeOS netbook is broken because it doesn't do other stuff is like saying a truck is useless because it isn't any good as a boat.
Sure that means an Chrome netbook isn't much use for compiling or software development or playing FP shooter games, but that is not what it is designed to do.
All the flexibility that gives you a laptop that can serve as a development machine - or whatever - comes at a huge price. It makes for a very expensive, heavy and power hungry system with a short battery life.
Chrome OS recongnises that most people just use a computer for web and email and can happily live an "everything in the cloud" lifestyle. These people would benefit from having a cheaper, lighter netbook.
ChromeOS might be viable as on a Net machine where one does all of the normal financial transactions and is fairly virus-proof. Beyond that, it's got to be the next version of Android. I mean, how much would it take to make Android a general desktop OS as slick as Win7 or OSX?
Smart move by ARM: trying to put a foot into high end computing through a proxy :-) As for AMD, it does not make sense for them to drop x86, at least not for now - why should they?
By the way, I do not buy into the immortality of x86. I could well see a world without it, and during my life time. Efficient compilers, emulators and thin-client computing could smooth the transition.
I am not an expert, but as end user I know that Intel is very fast, AMD is fast, my ARM tablets/phones are slow.
To race the Indy 500 I need a 12 cylinders engine and a lot of fuel, to commute to/from work the old 4 cylinders does the job using 1 Gal for 25 miles.
What about a new architecture? Also the Arm concept is old! Can it be enhanced to a high performance device and how many programs the will be available for it? is this a PowerPC repeat? is there a unified design standard? and so on.
I believe that he chip technology is the paramount factor in power reduction.
I think AMD, that is geared to offer high performance devices, will not be profitable making he ARM unless they capture a vary good chunk of the market.
It will be very good it there is no solitary product, if everyone is over ARM then later ARM will become like Intel a solitary processor IP Rights holder, it will be nice is there are multiple players are there in the market.
AMD will sell x86 as long as there are buyers, and since embedded designs can stay in production for decades I wouldn't worry. The x86 wastes a lot of power for backward compatibility, when the new CPUs are so fast they can run old apps in emulation just fine. This is an opportunity for AMD to relieve its CPUs of 30 years of accumulated baggage.
Misleading headline, AMD can add ARM without dropping x86, and probably should. They have lots of experience with state of the art geometries and low power, and ARM licensing is an easy cheap R&D effort compared to starting from scratch on new processor core. Put a team in a skunkworks setting for 12 months and see what they create!
Windows on ARM will be a disruptive game changer.
It probably depends on how fast tablets start gobbling up the PC and laptop market. It seems we keep hearing that many people don't need all that processing power. If most people start buying tablets and not PCs, wouldn't x86 suffer?
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