AMD Does Not Rule Out ARM-Based Solutions for Clients

Partnership with ARM May Open AMD Doors to Smartphones

by Anton Shilov
10/30/2012 | 03:19 AM

Even though the first ARM-based project from Advanced Micro Devices will be aimed at the market of cloud servers, the company does not rule out a possibility to release consumer solutions featuring ARM architecture. In fact, partnership with ARM opens AMD the doors to the market of smartphones and low-power media tablets.

 

As it appears, AMD became an ARM licensee in mid-2011, but the two companies kept the agreement under wraps. As a result, AMD secretly has been working with ARM for more than a year now on a variety of different projects, according to the company. The firms did not disclose which projects they were working on, but it is logical to assume that they involved solutions for different markets. At present, the company neither confirms, nor denies possible consumer system-on-chips with ARM cores.

“We view ARM as a strategic partner and expect that our relationship will continue to grow over time. Today we are focused on the immediate opportunity for ARM in the server space where we believe AMD can provide a unique leadership solution,” a statement by AMD reads.

Sunnyvale, California-based chip designer notes that the dense and cloud server markets represent the most immediate growth opportunity for AMD to offer a differentiated solution based on its unique IP and experience. Large data center annual CapEx spend is growing at 33.3%, and AMD can provide customers with disruptive technologies and choice in this space, which is why it concentrates on servers first.

While system-on-chips for servers represent a clear interest for AMD, as it will be the only company with proven experience on the market of server processors with its ARM-based Opteron SoCs, servers will not let AMD to leverage all of its capabilities and intellectual property.

For example, server chips will not use AMD’s leading-edge graphics technology. In a bid to actually take advantage of its graphics processing capabilities, AMD will need to make ARM-powered SoCs for media tablets or smartphones. However, to be competitive, the company will first need to license or get communication and some other technologies first. When that happens is completely unclear.