AMD to Ship ARM-Based Opteron PCs to Software Makers This Quarter

AMD Unveils More Details Regarding ARM-Based Opterons, Plans Sample Shipments in Q1

by Anton Shilov
01/31/2014 | 07:09 PM

Advanced Micro Devices has revealed additional details about its upcoming server-class Opteron microprocessors code-named “Seattle” with ARMv8 micro-architecture and said it would ship samples of the chips to software makers this quarter.  


“The needs of the data center are changing.  A one-size-fits-all approach typically limits efficiency and results in higher-cost solutions. The new ARM-based AMD Opteron A-Series processor brings the experience and technology portfolio of an established server processor vendor to the ARM ecosystem and provides the ideal complement to our established AMD Opteron x86 server processors,” said Suresh Gopalakrishnan, corporate vice president and general manager of the AMD server business unit.

AMD Opteron A1100 “Seattle” system-on-chips will be commercially available in the second half of 2014. As a part of the plan to prepare for the launch, AMD this quarter will ship the software development kits (CPUs, mainboards, etc.) to select software developers. The company also announced that it would contribute a new micro-server design using the AMD Opteron A-series chips to the Open Compute Project, as part of the common slot architecture specification for motherboards dubbed “Group Hug”.

The Opteron A1100 SoC feature to eight ARM Cortex-A57 64-bit general-purpose processing engines with up to 4MB shared L2 cache and 8MB shared L3 cache; the system-on-chip also features numerous offload engines, such as server caliber crypto and data compression co-processors. The chips integrate server-class dual-channel memory controller that supports up to 128GB of DDR3 or DDR4 ECC memory as unbuffered DIMMs, registered DIMMs or SODIMMs. Additionally, AMD Opteron A1100 SoC has broad integrated I/O, including eight PCI Express 3.0 lanes, two 10Gb/s Ethernet ports, Freedom fabric as well eight Serial ATA-3.0 ports. The chips are set to be made using 28nm process technology.

Thanks to extensive work that AMD and other partners of ARM have already accomplished, the 64-bit ARMv8 microprocessors for servers will be supported by a number of operating system vendors, including Canonical, Red Hat and SUSE, while virtualization will be enabled through KVM and Xen.

Operating system support is supplemented with programming language support, with Oracle and the community-driven OpenJDK porting versions of Java onto the 64-bit ARM architecture. Other popular languages that will run on AMD Opteron A-Series processors include Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby. The extremely popular GNU C compiler and the critical GNU C Library have already been ported to the 64-bit ARM architecture.

Through the combination of kernel support and development tools such as libraries, compilers and debuggers, the foundation has been set for developers to port applications to a rapidly growing ARM 64-bit server ecosystem.

The AMD Opteron A-series development kit is packaged in a micro-ATX form-factor. It features AMD Opteron A1100, four RDIMM slots, PCI Express connectors configurable as a single x8 or dual x4 ports, eight Serial-ATA connectors, standard UEFI boot environment. The kit comes with Linux environment based on Fedora, which provides developers with a rich set of tools and applications; standard Linux GNU tool chain, including cross-development version; platform device drivers. In addition, the devkit is loaded with Apache web server, MySQL database engine, and PHP scripting language for developing robust web serving applications as well as Java 7 and Java 8 versions to provide developers to work in a 64-bit ARM environment.