AMD unveils plans for 64-bit ARM processors for servers

AMD executives asserted that the chipmaker will be the first company to offer both 64-bit ARM and x86 server processors.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- AMD has announced that it is teaming up with ARM to develop 64-bit ARM processors for servers to meet growing challenges for data centers.

"AMD will transform the computing data center environment today," said AMD CEO and president Rory Read during a press conference on Monday afternoon, asserting that AMD will be the first company to offer both 64-bit ARM and x86 server processors.
Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of global business units at AMD, remarked that data centers are being inundated with mass amounts of data, suggesting that there has to be a way to solve this problem more efficiently.
Su described that the last five years have exploded with mobile devices and new business models, which have translated into a tremendous amount of strain and heavy workloads, which are changing at unprecedented rates.
She cited a statistic asserting that global data center IP traffic will grow by more than 30 percent on a compounded annual growth rate, or 6.6 zettabytes, within five years.
"The data center is where we think the growth will be and where the innovation will be," Su said, arguing that ARM technology-based CPUs can revolutionize the data center by providing disruptive compute per dollar and compute per watt rates.
"We're going to open up the next level of computing with ARM 64, transforming the server area into a whole new opportunity," Read also commented, adding that includes differentiated IP across "an ambidextrous architecture."
While that strategy might seem complex, the end goal is simple: deliver lower-cost solutions on a faster timeline.
Read argued that together, "AMD and ARM can change the industry landscape" because they "share a common vision about the industry" as well as a vision on "how to disrupt it together."
ARM CEO Warren East delivered his address via video, which was shot in the back of a London black taxi cab at Heathrow International Airport as his travel plans were derailed by Hurricane Sandy.
Basically, both parties are trying to frame this as a win-win situation.
East explained that ARM forged a partnership with AMD because of the chipmaker's knowledge of the channel, system designers, and the software ecosystem required in the server space makes for "a great match." Su added that ARM has a great client ecosystem as well.
ARM-based AMD Opteron processors for servers are scheduled to launch in 2014. These ARM technology-based processors will embed the AMD SeaMicro Freedom supercompute fabric, which Su quipped is the "secret sauce" behind this solution.

Additionally, AMD executives said the company will continue to design x86 CPUs and APUs for client and server markets.

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