Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD): ARM-based Server Chips will be Sold by AMD in 2014

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.(NYSE:AMD will sell a 64-bit processor design in 2014 from ARM and incorporate the Freedom Fabric interconnect technology in it from SeaMicro, which was taken over by AMD earlier this year. The company is all set to once again take on long-time rival Intel.

The latest offering from AMD is mainly for huge , web-scale workloads running in giant data centers and will feature a new line of system-on-chip Opteron processors. In 2003, AMD had unveiled its first 64-bit x86 processors and scored over Intel and the company wishes to replicate that success via ARM. Initially this product can be used on servers, but it might be available on tablets too, some time in the future. AMD wishes to score by selling new server chips to companies like Dell and Hewlett-Packard and to their own servers as well.

However, ARM has not announced the 64-bit processor design till now, which could be codenamed Atlas and is expected to be launched at its TechCon conference on Tuesday. Fate was not on their side because ARM CEO Warren East could not fly in from UK and he had to record a quick video in a cab, where he spoke of the deal with AMD.

Requirements for computers are changing fast due to online gaming and social networking, and the ARM-based servers will work wonders for them as they can handle bulk data of small transactions, according to Lisa Su, an AMD senior vice president and general manager. The architecture also uses less energy as they were initially modeled for mobile phones.

There are two SeaMicro technologies that are the USP -  Freedom Fabric, which can connect thousands of servers in a cluster with low latency and at a relatively low price and another custom chip that integrates many components from a traditional server board onto one chip, thereby enabling dense server designs.

Intel has taken a different route as it does not want to pay off a royalty to ARM for each chip. Instead, they are devising ways to make their server chips energy efficient. A low-power server chip with a code name Centerton will debut in the 2nd half of the year. Intel spokesman Radek Walczyk is confident that they meet client requirements that include low powered CPUs, support for vital server features, and software compatibility. But the Freedom Fabric technology is way ahead as it enhances communications and takes it to a different level altogether.

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