That said, the embrace of
the ARM architecture will be seen as a huge turning point for the x86
processor company. Only time will tell whether AMD can eke out a
position that differentiates it from many other ARM SoC makers in
embedded systems or the emerging microserver market.
Applied Micro is expected to show at ARM Tech Con
this week the first working version of its X-Gene, an SoC that uses its
own custom V8 core design and interconnect fabric on a single die.
AMD’s design will also be a single chip—including the existing SeaMicro fabric
chip and the new multicore Atlas cores with an on-board memory controller.
Meanwhile, startup Calxeda is already shipping a 32-bit ARM
server SoC with an integrated fabric. It said it will ship a 64-bit
version in 2014.
Marvell also is shipping a 32-bit ARM server
SoC, the Armada XP, being used in systems from Dell and Mitac. Samsung
has hired an ARM server design team, in part with ex-AMD engineers, but
has not announced its plans.
“It seems to me with AMD’s server
competence they would have” taken an ARM architecture license and
developed a custom core, said Patrick Moorhead, principal of Moor
Insights and Strategy (Austin, Texas). “But they still have a pretty
good play here with the secret sauce of their interconnect fabric,”
added Moorhead. “There are only three processor companies with
significant server experience--AMD, Intel and IBM--so this brings a lot
of credibility to the microserver market, and they are moving forward
quicker than some people believed."
AMD is holding a press conference Monday (Oct. 29) to describe its plans.
AMD lays off 15 percent, eyes embedded push
AMD fabric takes first step to broader market
Red Hat joins Applied in ARM server drive