Although Advanced Micro Devices has licensed ARM Cortex-A50 cores for its upcoming AMD Opteron-branded solutions aimed at micro-servers, the company has never publicly acknowledged that it has plans to design consumer-class solutions powered by ARM technology. However, recent comments made by an AMD vice president may indicate that the company is indeed looking in that direction.
When asked whether ARM architecture is indeed needed for server and other solutions considering the fact that both AMD and Intel Corp. now have very low-power x86 designs, Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of global business units at AMD, responded that ARM is has advantages when it comes to “new operating systems” and “high volume data center applications”.
“We view ARM and x86 as two important eco-systems that are out there in the industry. So x86 will always continue to be very important in both the PC and the server market but we see ARM being important with the new market especially new operating systems as well as some of the high volume data center application. So yes, there will be a market for both ARM and x86 and I think that’s one of the unique things that we can bring over the next few years to the marketplace,” said Ms. Su during the latest conference call with financial analysts.
Server-side operating systems are developed in a way to support both ARM and x86 microprocessors; there are no specific server operating systems for ARM-based application processors.
Meanwhile, there are emerging consumer-oriented operating systems that are designed to work on ARM-based system-on-chips (but they can naturally support different architectures, e.g. x86 or MIPS). Some of those “new” platforms are Apple iOS and Google Android. Supporting those “new” operating systems with ARM-based offerings means development of consumer-oriented hardware. Naturally, AMD does not discuss unannounced products.