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Google, the world’s largest advertising broker and search services provider, has been designing servers for its mega datacenters for quite a while now to maximize efficiencies. The company has also used custom microprocessors from companies like AMD or Intel for the same reason. According to a media report, the Internet giant is now looking forward to design its own system-on-chips for servers based on ARM architecture.

Citing a person with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg news-agency reports that Google is mulling its own server processors using architecture from ARM Holdings. With its own microprocessors, Google will be able to better manage interactions between software and hardware; besides, the company will be able to add custom IP, various special-purpose accelerators, better manage power consumptions, performance and input/output capabilities of its chips. In addition, the company will also be able to tailor pricing of such SoC in accordance with particular needs.

Google, along with Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and a number of other companies, is one of the world’s largest buyers of server microprocessors. In case the company proceeds with the plan, it will impact revenue of Intel Corp. as well, but will give a large revenue stream to ARM Holdings.

“We are actively engaged in designing the world’s best infrastructure. This includes both hardware design (at all levels) and software design,” said Liz Markman, a spokeswoman for Google, who declined to confirm chip development projects at Google.

Earlier this year Andrew Feldman, general manager of SeaMicro and corporate vice president at AMD, said that the Internet giants could eventually order fully-custom or semi-custom chips designed for them from the ground up by companies like AMD or Intel, or even develop certain system-on-chips themselves.

The high-ranking AMD executive estimated that one could build an entirely custom chip using the ARM architecture in about 18 months for about $30 million. By contrast, it takes three or four-year time frame and $300 million to $400 million in development costs required to build an x86-based server chip based on a new micro-architecture.

Tags: ARM, Intel, AMD, Xeon, Opteron, Business, Amazon, Google, Facebook, HP, Dell, IBM, Apple, Microsoft


Comments currently: 6
Discussion started: 12/13/13 10:11:49 PM
Latest comment: 12/16/13 09:25:40 PM
Expand all threads | Collapse all threads


make your own chips, and buy t-mobile before Sprint does.
0 0 [Posted by: John Doe  | Date: 12/13/13 10:11:49 PM]

Didn't AMD do this with the ps4 and x bone customize a design to suit a customer?
If one looks a AMD road-map one will notice an ARM design for a server chips.
I don't think that these two are related or are they?
0 0 [Posted by: tedstoy  | Date: 12/15/13 06:45:13 PM]
- collapse thread

Google is not interested in processors from Intel or AMD and the stories are not related.
0 0 [Posted by: UnbiasedONE  | Date: 12/16/13 08:56:59 AM]
Yes AMD did a custom job with the consoles, but AMD probably retains some rights to the custom designs, as they are x86 based, and AMD is an x86 ISA(instruction set architecture) license holder from Intel, from the days of the IBM PC (IBM required that Intel cross license the x86 ISA for obvious supply/market reasons) , and it was AMD that created the x86 64 bit ISA! Chips that are designed with an ARM holdings' ISA license, though they reguire an up front licensing payment to Arm Holdings, and a per unit royalty to Arm holdings, become the limited property of the licensee that commissioned the custom design, not including any other third party licensed IP/agreements.
Microsoft and Sony, could not sale the PS4 or Xbox one CPU/GPU hardware separately as that would require an x86, as well as AMD GPU license, CPU x86 from Intel; x86 64 bit CPU ISA, and GPU from AMD. An ARM Holdings licensee, as long as they pay up front and per unit royalty to Arm Holdings, are free to sell the CPU as a seperate SKU as well as using the CPU in their OEM devices! With ARM Google could create custom server CPUs as well as custom phone/tablet CPUs, and these designs become exclusive to Google, in the same way the ARM 64 bit ISA based A7 Apple clones are exclusive to Apple, not including any other 3rd party licensed IP/agreements. Arm Holdings only licenses CPU/GPU IP, they do not manufacture CPUs/GPUs, It is up to the ARM licensee to build the working products.
0 0 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 12/16/13 08:28:37 PM]

The proliferation of ARM is welcome, and I won't miss x86/amd64 as it is relegated to legacy niches. Seeing that Intel and AMD appear to have no interest in pushing the envelope, that may happen sooner than expected.

While ARMv8 isn't bad, there is a fascinating architecture on the horizon which promises DSP level efficiency on general purpose code. The Mill Architecture was developed from a clean slate, and aims to achieve high performance at low power and cost, in addition to simplifying OS code and compilers.
0 0 [Posted by: x  | Date: 12/16/13 07:55:45 PM]
- collapse thread

DSP, supercomputers and AI yes, graphics and other ???
Company(startup) looking to build own chips while holding IP licensing model (ARM style licensing) as a fall back if becoming a chip company does not pan out! The whole computing economy is moving towards an ARM style licensed IP market, for all mobile players, and maybe even the laptop/PC market also.
0 0 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 12/16/13 09:25:40 PM]


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