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January 29, 2014

AMD Unveils its First ARM-based Chip for Servers

With the PC decline expected to continue in 2014, the two major chipmakers in the space have been struggling somewhat. For Intel (News - Alert), the struggle has been less pronounced as it has long been the top dog in the CPU space. That said, it has been suggested that its latest batch of job cuts has to do with its foray into mobility and wearable technology, so the company may run into greater trouble down the line.

Meanwhile, AMD’s (News - Alert) struggles have been more pronounced and have likely been exacerbated by the fact that the company has stayed out of the mobile space. However, a recent development from the company suggests this could change down the line.

Indeed, AMD has unveiled its new Opteron A1100 processor for high-density server applications. The processor is noteworthy, though, for being the company’s first ARM (News - Alert)-based chip, as well as for being one of the first to use the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set.

Although this is far from AMD taking its first steps into the mobile space, it’s still a significant step for the company — one that could ultimately put it back on the road to profitability. This is because, according to AMD’s estimates, 25 percent of the server market may migrate to ARM-based platforms over the next five years in the search of more scalable, lower cost options.

Two factors are on AMD’s side here. First, there’s the fact that the Opteron A1100 offers improvements of between two to four times in compute power over its own X86-based server processors with similar power consumption characteristics. The second is that Intel has made it clear it has no intention of making an ARM-based chip any time soon; its mobile chips are still X86, after all.

The Opteron A1100, which goes by the codename “Seattle,” sports either four or eight ATM Cortex A57 cores running at 2GHz, supported by up to 4MB of L2 cache and 8MB of L3 cache. It supports dual-channel DDR3 and DDR4 ECC RAM (News - Alert).




Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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